Book Review. Gods and Monsters by Shelby Mahurin. 4 stars.

Warning: Contains minor spoilers.

Another amazing book from Shelby Mahurin and another amazing series that left me sad that it was over. I can’t live like this… great stories just ending, 😭😭😭

Let’s start with what I liked…

Nicolina’s POV was a nice treat. We get another perspective on everything plus her own past and more about the wraiths. That made for another curious addition and how Lou got trapped inside Nicolina.

Lou’s POV from inside Nicilina was another good perspective. Her struggle to get free brought painful memories to the surface for both Lou and Nicolina, and I think that made me sympathise more with Nicolina.

Revelations on Coco’s family (I’ll spare you specifics here) made me so happy since that’s my favourite kind of magical being. It also expanded the world and allowed for more fun with gathering allies.

The epilogue. No spoilers but… I cried. I actually cried. 

What I did/didn’t like…

I both liked and didn’t like Lou and Reed having such a brief moment as themselves before it got take from them again. It felt like I didn’t get a chance to love them together again after their issues in book 2. I needed at least a chapter of normalcy between them before things changed. 

What I didn’t like…

Reid is still too bratty for my liking. 

Final thoughts…

After finishing this book, I felt satisfied enough over the story’s ending, but a sort of emptiness over leaving the characters. It’s a love story with a ton of magic and amazing characters along with a beautiful French influence.

Book Review. Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco, 3.5 Stars

Warning: Contains minor spoilers. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Another Hades and Persephone adaptation. That’s like the 5th I’ve read this year. But that’s not a criticism of this book, purely a comment that I clearly have a type. Lol. Anyway, I generally liked this book for the magic and its characters and interesting places, but I got confused a bit too often. Maybe it was just me.

What I liked…

Firstly, I absolutely love that it’s set in alternative historical Sicily with lots of Italian names and… Love me some limoncello. I found myself getting hungry in virtually every other scene because Emilia’s parents owned a restaurant, which was based on a real restaurant in the author’s life. Extra fun.

Also, Emilia… My name. I never see my name in books I like, so this was fun. Not that it matters. Just a personal thing. 

I loved that the main parts of the magic system weren’t particularly complicated. Witches can cast spells and demons can be summoned. With some variations and specific rules here and there, that was the gist of it. Also, gates to Hell and Hell Princes… again nothing complicated to wrap my head around.

What I did/didn’t like…

Wrath was a confusing fellow, especially at the end (no spoilers on that). I think that made him even more interesting, but I would have liked some of his and Emilia’s nicer moments to last a little longer. I didn’t feel the excitement of a pending romance with these two. Still, it worked on the whole. I dunno. Maybe m

What I didn’t like…

The existence of Hades confused me (even though it’s a Hades and Persephone story) since I thought it was more Christianity with some pagan goddesses for the witches. But Hades didn’t seem to fit into it except for one artifact.

The story felt slow to start and got a bit confusing along the way. I found it hard to keep track of why random Princes were showing up because Emilia didn’t question it. I think that would have helped me more if she had mused, even if she was wrong. It was just all a bit too random until the last moment, by then, I’d forgotten the earlier events because I was trying so hard to make sense of the current ones.

Final thoughts…

I would recommend this book to readers who like Hades and Persephone adaptations, witches and spells, demons, and limoncello. And I will definitely be reading book 2. That’s going to be on December’s TBR list. Or sooner, since I’m really curious to know what happens next.

Book Review. Blood and Honey by Shelby Mahurin. 4 stars.

Warning: Content may contain minor spoilers. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this book. It wasn’t quite as captivating as the first in the series, but I would happily read the next book.

What I liked…

Louis and Reid started off pretty strong in this as they reevaluated their relationship as witch and ex witch hunter-turned-witch. Wow. That was fun to see how Reid dealt with that. 

I enjoyed seeing more magical characters in this one and a new form of magic with Coco’s aunt. It made for a richer world. 

Lou struggles with her magic in this book having lost pieces of herself to it at the end of book 1. It’s like an addiction for her, a way to manipulate what she doesn’t like into something she does like. Nicely done methinks.

I love the journeys to get more allies. Having already failed to defeat Morganne, they need all the help they can get. Also, it created more tension as to whether the various other groups would actually help. Minor spoiler… Reid already f**cked up in that sense from his time as a witch hunter. Oops.

But what they really need is to prove Lou is worthy of taking her mother’s place if they defeat her, and that’s Lou’s biggest inner struggle. 

As in book 1, the love scenes were nicely done. Oblivious but on the delicate side considering this book is categorised YA. Or maybe it’s NA. Either way, it gets mentioned a lot as YA, so who knows?. It also suited the characters and their emotions at the time. 

Image  by damar9 at Deviantart.

What I didn’t like…

Reid felt a little dramatic sometimes, maybe a bit bratty, even for YA/NA whatever it’s categorised as.

Anyway, I absolutely love this book and the entire series since I’ve finished book 3 now. I love witches, fun magic systems, wild adventures, and complex characters. This whole series ticked every box of things I love in a book as well as that je ne sai quoi. Lol. French. Oh, and I especially loved the French influence.

Book Review. A Strange Hymm, The Bargainer #2 by Laura Thalassa, 4 stars.

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was so excited to read book 2 of the The Bargainer series after I loved the 1st book so much. This didn’t disappoint.

Callie has to deal with her changes in magic, the permanent wings and scales that make it near impossible to go back to the human world. But she has Des, The Bargainer, Night King, and mate. I thought I’d get sick of the mate trope, but this is done a little differently since they have a history. 

I almost miss the flashbacks to when she first knew Des before he left her for seven years. Even though we got the explanation for that, I think forcing that separation made it more acceptable, at least from a fantasy fiction perspective. What’s a few hundred years in age when you’re practically immortal? 

I also love how we see more of the Otherworld in this book. I love fantastical worlds, and since Callie’s from Earth, albeit an alternative one, she’s seeing the Otherworld for the 1st time along with me, which adds to the wonder.

And I love the mystery. Sometimes, I thought surely Callie would have figured it out sooner with her being a PI, but… makes for better suspense as a reader.

Des and Callie are one steamy couple. Despite the massive age gap, she’s an experienced adult that knows what she’s getting into with him. Also, the balance of their magic fits, his darkness, her shiny siren. I love sirens.

What I liked…

  • I like how Callie is realistically traumatised from her experience with the King of Fauna, but she stays pretty strong considering.
  • I love how her wings are feathered while Des’ are webbed. I just love wings.
  • I liked how Callie dealt with her wings and scales. She could have outright hated them all the time, or slowly accepted them. The latter was done nicely since Des’ love of them helped her accept them. 
  • I liked how they knew things weren’t over with the Theif of Souls since none of the sleeping women were waking up. 
  • Callie’s dreams were also a good way to keep the bigger story in the forefront of the reader’s mind while having some good character developmental scenes.

What I didn’t like… again not much here.

  • Temper’s dramatic appearance felt a smidge overdone and not foreshadowed as well as it could have been
  • Again, writing could have been better. Lots of repetitive wording and structures that could have easily been avoided with the right editor.

I loved this book all the way through. If you like faeries with wings, an Earth and high fantasy world combo, sexy men with wings, sirens, lots of smut, and fun times mixed into a bigger plot, then you’ll love this book. 

Stay tuned for the final book, Dark Harmony. And I’ll get to Emperor of Evening Stars at some point.

Book Review. Rhapsodic, The Bargainer #1 by Laura Thalassa, 5 Stars

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

You can never tell if you’re going to devour a book or if the book is going to devour you. For me, this book falls into the latter. It just hooked me from page 1 and made me love everything about it all the way through. 

What I liked…

EVERYTHING! But I’ll be specific.

  • I love the unusual relationship between Callie and Des. It’s a friends to lovers and enemies to lovers combo. They were once friends, but for… reasons, they didn’t see each other for 7 years, and Callie is pissed when Des drops himself back into her life. Love the complexity.
  • I love the magic. It’s fun but uncomplicated. 
  • Wings 🥰❤😊 I can’t tell you how much I love fictional characters with wings. I’ve written many.
  • The Bargainer is… not dark haired and dark eyed like so many morally grey characters. But he’s got his lovely darkness to him.
  • I love how Callie sees a unique side to this supposedly dark character from the beginning. I like a rumoured bad character proving himself, but this take is refreshing. She gets to know him as a friend at first rather than being forced into a situation with him. That comes later, but since Des is also the infamous Bargainer, Callie owes him for past favours. So she got herself into the situation by choice.
  • I absolutely love the flashbacks to when she first met him, so we get a full picture without boring info dumps. So nicely done, Laura.
  • The love scenes are my kind of style. Not unnecessarily explicit but not too delicate and vague either. A wonderful balance of emotional and physical.
  • Sirens. Like winged characters, love sirens and love reading and writing about them. 
  • This is a mostly character-driven plot, but it has bigger things going on which make it an all-round great plot and story. 
Meet Des and Callie. Such a lovely and unique couple. Find the image here.

What I didn’t like…

  • I was conflicted over how Des behaved with Callie sometimes when she was 16. I can adapt my brain to fantasy worlds, and he mostly kept some distance between them and stuck to friendly stuff, but it didn’t sit right that an ancient fae king was hanging out with a teenager. We find out more later, but still… super inappropriate.
  • I’m being completely picky here, but the writing had some technical issues that go against the grain for me. Lots of filtering, incorrect use of lay/lie, and too many begin/began to… It let the book down in my opinion. But like I said, I was being picky with this.

Despite the occasional wording issue, I adored this book from start to finish. It doesn’t happen very often that I fall in love with a book or series, so when it happens, I can’t help but rave bout it.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy world meets real world and characters who have fun magic.

Book Review. A Touch of Ruin by Scarlett St. Clair. 2 Stars.

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

What I liked…

  • Persephone’s inner conflict and how it manifested in her magic. I like how she struggles to control it when she’s angry or upset.
  • I like how she stands up to her mother. She couldn’t before, because she didn’t know what she was missing out on. Being in the real world and making friends with humans and fellow gods clearly made her realise what real freedom is. 
  • I like the writing. It’s emotional and engaging.
I’m not sure if this image is fan art for this series or a random Hades and Persephone image, but it’s fitting. Also, I just freaking love it. Find it here.

What I didn’t like…

  • There was too much conflict between Hades and Persephone for my liking. Some conflict is good and makes the story interesting, but they were constantly arguing and making up and it was usually Persephone overreacting.
  • Punishing her with sex? Sorry, but that doesn’t sit right with me. I can adapt my personal opinions to overlook a lot in fantasy when males get overly dominant, but this is too much.
  • Her reaction to the backlash after writing another article on a god was even more unrealistic than in the 1st book. Why didn’t she see that coming?
  • And why is it that after millennia of the gods being this way, Persephone not only convinces Hades to become a better person, but Apollo as well? She’s got that unrealistic specialness that feels forced to make the story work. But it just annoys me.
  • Trying to save her friend’s life when she could see her in the Underworld still didn’t make enough sense for her to go to all that trouble. And yeah, it was kind of disrespectful to Hades after he’d explained why he couldn’t do anything and that she shouldn’t either. She felt very selfish and bratty over this. 
  • Basically, she overreacts at every little thing, which took away from the things I though she had a right to react to. Her reaction to Hades having past lovers was overdone. I can get on board with some inner annoyance and jealousy about that, but not using it against Hades. He’s thousands of years old, so yeah, she wasn’t his first. 

Unfortunately, after a great book 1, book 2 let me down. I’m not sure if I’m going to continue with this series or not. I’ve since started reading another series, so we’ll see if I feel like reading A Touch of Malice after my current book.

Book Review. A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair. 3.5 Stars.

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I love all things mythological, so this was a fun book to read. However, I found that for everything I liked in general, there was a huge exception that put me on the fence with this book. I would have given it 2.5 stars based on that, but it had a certain… “je ne sai quoi,” to it, so it got an extra star for that. 

What I liked…

  • I love how the mythological gods were brought to life in the modern world very much how the myths depicted. 
  • I liked how Scarlett played on Persephone’s sexual inexperience without making her sound naive or like she has no idea what to do. It was a great balance in that respect.
  • I like how Persephone was conflicted over Hades based on her mother’s warnings and the stories of impossible bargains. 
  • I like the god of the underworld trying to maintain his reputation as the bad guy until Persephone comes along and makes him want to look like the good guy. 

Image here… Hades-and-Persephone-by-Procastle

What I didn’t like… which were exceptions to what I did like…

  • The contract??? It was too unclear for my liking, and I couldn work out how a card game lead to Persephone being tied to a contract with Hades. I mean, they agreed to terms of the card game, but then suddenly, it becomes a whole contract. Maybe it was me.
  • Persephone felt too naive when it came to everyday things. I get why some things were confusing to her because she’d been kept away from people until a few years ago. But it’s been a few years. Sure she’s figured things out by this point.
  • Her surprise over the backlash of her article seemed unrealistic. She’s a journalist who’s probably seen it happen to other writers. Again, might just be me.
  • The prose was a little… ho hum for my liking. It felt like a newer writer’s prose rather than a bestselling author’s. 
  • The love scenes fell short for me. All the actions were there along with some thoughts, but they felt rushed and lacked the physical sensations to complete and well-rounded emotional moment.

Like I said, I generally liked a lot about this book, but some of the issues made it less enjoyable than it could have been. Still, I read it and have just finished book 2, so it was worth the read.

Book Review. A Court of Silver Flames. 5 Stars

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I liked…

So much, so these are just the top ones…

  • Nesta’s PTSD. The fire, the darkness, the fear, the flashbacks, the alcoholism. All incredibly well done on my opinion.
  • The fact that her first real friend that doesn’t judge her is a house.
  • Cassian 😍😍😍 He’s not as possessive as Rhys, which I found a little much in previous books. But Cassian still has his moments that feel more like realistic bursts of testosterone that’s more swoon-worthy.
  • Cassian and Nesta are one steaming hot couple. 🔥
  • Wings. I love wings. 😍
  • The stairs and what they represent to Nesta. 
  • I loved getting Nesta’s full perspective on the past as well as recent events. If I’d read this book first I’d think the others were complete jerks for what they do to Nesta at the beginning of the book.
  • I like how she feels like she’s a piece of shit because others have made her feel that way.
Find this and more images at  Society6 by Dominique Wesson 

What I didn’t like…

  • I didn’t like how Cassian could cut the ribbon. I would have loved for him to almost do it, but not properly so the women could have a real win.

That’s it for the dislike list.

A Court of Frost a d Starlight paved the way for more perspectives in this series. The first three definitely suited Feyre with the odd hop to Rhys, but I’m glad it’s branched out. I think we needed a new protagonist to spice things up in the series.

If you like bigger picture plot movement, this isn’t going to be your thing. There is a bigger plot going on, and things get interesting all around but ACoSF is more character-driven, which I personally love when done right. This doesn’t disappoint.

Book Review. Eversong by Donna Grant. 3.5 Stars

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

What I liked…

  • Multiple POVs. I love 2 to 4 or even 5 POVs in my reading as well as my writing. I enjoyed the various perspectives  and where each character and group of people were coming from.
  • I liked the romance and the lack of unnecessary drama for the sake of building some tension like some romance tropes. 
  • The characters were nicely done with clear wants and needs.
  • I loved the love scenes.

What I didn’t like…

  • Without spoiling things, I think one of the earlier POVs could be cut since it doesn’t continue later in the book, and there’s another character that could convey the same thing.
  • Also, a couple of new POVs came in pretty late (half-way) for my liking. Personally, I feel that POVs should be established in the first act of a novel. 
  • The prose was a bit simple. It conveyed the right things, but was low on the creative side for my liking. 
  • The love scenes were a bit too explicit for YA in my opinion. I don’t mean for them to be fade-to-black, just a smidge more delicate for the age category.

If you like witches and witch-hunters out for revenge, then this should be on your TBR list. Just to warn you, the other books in the series each have their own set of main characters, so if you’re looking for a series to get addicted to for its characters, this isn’t going to be your thing.

Book Review. Once and Future Witches. 5 Stars.

Warning: Some reviews contain minor spoilers, but I keep the best parts vague. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more reviews and thoughts on reading.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

So many things to love about this book that I’ve probably missed things.

What I liked…

  • The writing style was an entertaining combination of eclectic and straightforward. I can’t pinpoint anything in particular, but I just love the tone of the POVs.
  • And OMG, I love the spells as epigraphs and the alternative fairytale interludes. They make for such a unique read in modern literature.
  • I love the casual slip into backstory that feel so perfectly place that it doesn’t even feel like backstory. It feels more like justification, which is exactly what I feel like backstory should be.
  • The characters were so wonderfully different but all ended up wanting the same thing. 
  • It’s a strong character-driven story, but the characterisation didn’t feel slow or boring like in some books. It grounded me in each of the sisters’ mindset so I understood their motives.
  • I really liked how it tied into real history with equality. I like real world issues in fantasy. It keeps it relatable to our own world and gives it more meaning and relevance.

 What I didn’t like…

  • Nothing worth mentioning. 

Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who loves great characters, real issues, and a little magic to make it fun.