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Revelations (Belle Morte, #2) by Bella Higgin

Hi All!

I hope everyone’s week is off to a lovely start!

This past week I read the second installment in the Belle Morte series Revelations by Bella Higgin.

After getting an ARC of book 1 last year, I was super excited to return to the world that has lived rent free in my head for the last 400+ days. I normally have a very bad habit of forgetting information and losing interest in series if I don’t read them one book after another. HOWEVER, Belle Morte has proven to be an exception to this rule. I cannot tell you how many times in the last year I have stalked Bella Higgin’s Instagram and Goodreads profiles trying to get more information on book 2.

For all intents and purposes, this series has sank it’s fangs into me in the most delicious little love bite ever and I’m not letting it let go!

First things first, check out my review of book 1 here: Belle Morte

Now let’s get to my book 2 review!

Genre:  Romance, New Adult, Paranormal

Publication Date: May 9, 2023

Quote that sums up the book: “The walls of Belle Morte were supposed to keep intruders out. I never imagined they’d keep traitors in.”

Goodreads Blurb:

Truth comes at a cost.

Ever since Renie Mayfield survived the merciless attack on Belle Morte that killed donors and vampires alike, she is forever changed. Now a vampire, the agonizing transformation of her body and mind is rivaled only by uncovering the horrific truth about her sister, June, who has escaped the mansion in her rabid form, adding even more chaos to Renie’s reality.

As the vampire responsible for Renie’s change, and now her distress, Edmond Dantes remains in his own desperate place. He’s confined in the secret cells of Belle Morte, awaiting the arrival of the council and the subsequent punishment for his actions. Edmond questions if what he did was right and deeply regrets what has become of his home.

Desperate to free Edmond, find June, and bring justice to whoever is behind the recent violence, Renie is out for blood in more ways than one. The smell of corruption is embedded in the walls of Belle More, but behind the walls are even more secrets that may lead to the truth and to justice.

What I liked about the book:

1. Vampire murder mystery full of political intrigue, secret passageways(!), the banding together of unlikely friends, and la petite mort we so desperately craved!

2. I loved and appreciated that the author gave us callbacks of events in book 1. I for sure didn’t remember some of the details, and Bella had our backs with reminding us of important details.

3. I loved watching the mutual respect grow between Ysanne and Renie. Getting to see from Renie’s point of view, we got insight into her internal thoughts on things, and saw her grow to truly understand Ysanne. This line for me, really sold that:

If Ysanne had been anyone else, I’d have comforted her, but I knew her well enough now to understand that was not what she wanted. To Ysanne, grief and comfort were things to be shown in private, not in front of everyone else.

Similarly, seeing Ysanne open up to Renie (in her own ways), was tragically beautiful. She was so broken in this book (for several, really good reasons) that she really opened up to those in her circle and we got to see that hidden side to her I KNEW existed.   

Given they are both strong, smart women, I loved watching them work together instead of against one another!

4. I loved that Roux and Jason still played such a large part in these series, and are now the only humans around going forward, besides maybe Nikki, who I LOVED!

5. The characters remained strong!

Edmond I felt was a stronger character in this one. Perhaps it was too long ago that I read book 1, but I felt he was more in touch with his soldier past in this book and I loved seeing this side of him. In fact, his battles side by side with Ludovic were some of my favorite scenes in the whole book!

Ysanne I for sure have a crush on. She is a Boss Babe and I would die for her!

Jason was hilarious and served as the comic relief in this actiony installment.

Roux was solving riddles like a world-class sleuth.  

Ludovic was even more badass than book 1 (didn’t know that was possible!) and I definitely didn’t miss those lingering glances at Roux. I swear to the Gods, if they don’t end up together I’m going to have a FIT!!!

Nikki was a new character who was fantastic! She was smart as a whip and fearless even in the face of potential death. I really hope she continues to be in this series and we see more of her!

6. I started a list of quotes and scenes I loved and quickly realized they are all Edmond! ALL OF THEM! Check these out and see why Edmond has me googling sweet men with French accents.

“I swore to myself that I’d never love again,” he said, and Renie stiffened. “I told myself that it wasn’t worth the pain,” he continued. “But…” Leaning forward, he rested his forehead against hers. […] “It was worth it. It’s always worth it. I didn’t want to fall in love with you, but you stole my heart and I don’t want it back.”


Loving someone was giving them your heart – when someone hurt Renie, they hurt Edmond too. He feared for her more than he feared for himself, and that fear was an icy wave that crashed into him, making him feel like all his vampire strength had been stripped away.

What use was superior strength when he couldn’t use it to protect the woman he loved?


Edmond: “How are you feeling?”

Renie: “Calmer. I’m still processing everything that’s happened, and I’m still not okay, but I’m not going to fall apart.”

Edmond: “If you do fall, I’ll always catch you.”

Renie: “I know.”


“I have lived a very long time, and I’ve loved a number of women, but you, ma chérie – you undo me.”


7. That cover is Gorg-town! Super pretty!

What could have been better:

1. Similar to my thoughts on book 1, it was dual POV, but Renie’s sections were in first person, while Edmond’s were in third person, and I disliked it strongly! I really wanted this story in first person dual POV, or if once Renie became a vampire her POV to shift to third person like Edmond’s. If this was a style choice by the writer to have all vampires be third person POV, I could have actually gotten behind this in a really big way, but that didn’t happen so I’m left with eye twitches of frustration.

2. Renie was kind of annoying in this book. I did like how every time she started getting annoying, though, she did call herself out. I appreciated her ability to self-regulate her attitude and trains of thought, but it was still a little annoying to go through the process with her.

3. There simply was not enough build up into the Roux and Ludovic relationship I MUST HAVE in the next book! I will legit cry if this doesn’t happen

Final Rating: 

4 Ludovic-can-bite-me-any-day stars

Thank you to Rachel Wu at Wattpad WEBTOON Book Group and Bella Higgin for the advanced copy of this book! The thoughts and opinions expressed above are voluntary and my own.

Want to check out what else Bella is working on? Hop on over to her social media accounts using the below.

Goodreads | Instagram 

While you’re at it, let’s be antisocial together!

Goodreads | Instagram | Gmail

~COVER REVEAL~ Crossed by Emily McIntire

AAAAAAHHHHH!!!! I’m so excited for this next book in the Never After series inspired by The Hunchback of Notre Dame! 🥳

Please join me in lusting after this gorgeous cover reveal for Crossed by author Emily McIntire

Emily McIntire has revealed the gorgeous cover for Crossed, inspired by The Hunchback of Notre Dame!

Releasing: August 1, 2023

Cover Design: TRC Designs

He is righteousness. She is sin.

Father Cade Frédéric is a holy man. Brought up in the streets of Paris, he has dedicated his life to the church. But there’s a monster that lingers just beneath the surface. A sickness. One that bleeds darkness and feeds on the damned. When he’s tasked to become the priest in Festivalé, Vermont, a town both beautiful in architecture and riddled with despair, his sickness sings, demanding he rid the place of evil.

Amaya Paquette is Festivalé’s beautiful mystery. She spends her days caring for her younger brother and her nights transforming into Esmeralda, dancing for greedy eyes and shameless lips. Although she longs for love, she shies away from companionship, afraid of being abandoned again.

When Father Cade lays eyes on Amaya, he finds himself ensnared, convinced she’s using witchcraft to lure him to her. He can’t eat. Can’t breathe. Can’t think unless it’s of her.

And temptation is a devastating mistress.

She’s his weakness, so he decides he’ll be her demise…even if it means killing the only woman he might ever love.


Pre-order your copy today!


Amazon Worldwide:

Paperback on all retailers:

Paperback is 25% off on Barnes & Noble with the code: BLOOM25

Add to Goodreads:


Meet Emily

Emily McIntire is an Amazon top 15 and Publisher’s Weekly best-selling author known for her Never After Series, where she gives our favorite villains their happily ever afters. With books that range from small town to dark romance, she doesn’t like to box herself into one type of story, but at the core of all her novels is soul deep love. When she’s not writing you can find her enjoying her family or lost between the pages of a good book.


Connect with Emily





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Text MCINCULT to 833-942-4409 to find out when her next book goes live

Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood

Hi All!

I hope everyone’s week is off to a lovely start!

This week I read Love, Theoretically by Ali Hazelwood so I’m floating on big bubbly clouds of happiness while contemplating how much cheese I can purchase without the cashier eyeing me funny.

If you’ve seen reviews for Ali’s books, you’ve probably seen something along the likes of “one-hit wonder” mentioned. However, what some call a one-hit wonder, I call my happy place. After a long week or a big book slump, I can always count on an Ali Hazelwood book to bring me back to loving love 😊

Was this one any exception? Let’s find out!

Genre:  Romance

Publication Date: June 13, 2023

Edelweiss Blurb:

Rival physicists collide in a vortex of academic feuds and fake dating shenanigans in this delightfully STEMinist romcom from the New York Times bestselling author of The Love Hypothesis and Love on the Brain.

The many lives of theoretical physicist Elsie Hannaway have finally caught up with her. By day, she’s an adjunct professor, toiling away at grading labs and teaching thermodynamics in the hopes of landing tenure. By other day, Elsie makes up for her non-existent paycheck by offering her services as a fake girlfriend, tapping into her expertly honed people-pleasing skills to embody whichever version of herself the client needs.

Honestly, it’s a pretty sweet gig—until her carefully constructed Elsie-verse comes crashing down. Because Jack Smith, the annoyingly attractive and arrogant older brother of her favorite client, turns out to be the cold-hearted experimental physicist who ruined her mentor’s career and undermined the reputation of theorists everywhere. And he’s the same Jack Smith who rules over the physics department at MIT, standing right between Elsie and her dream job.

Elsie is prepared for an all-out war of scholarly sabotage but…those long, penetrating looks? Not having to be anything other than her true self when she’s with him? Will falling into an experimentalist’s orbit finally tempt her to put her most guarded theories on love into practice?

What I liked about the book:

1. Like Ali’s many, many MMCs and FMCs, she is something of a scientist herself: she has a formula and she sticks to it. It had witty humor, sarcasm up the wazoo, and all the feel-good feelings one can possibly muster about gigantic men in Henley’s and tiny women who are wicked smart.  

2. This couple was probably my favorite. And really, it’s because Jack was my favorite. He called Elsie out on all her issues and then was the most supportively sweet sweetie (with an edge, of course!) that only fictional men can be. From checking in with her periodically to replacing her beverage in a group of others without so much as another thought, he was the best incarnation of an Ali Hazelwood MMC I’ve read to date.

3. I absolutely LOVED the Adam and Olive content (The Love Hypothesis), as well as Sunny! And I’m pretty sure I saw a reference to Bee from Love on the Brain! I love when authors have throwbacks to other books/characters as it definitely gives the “it’s a small world after all” vibes.

4. Lastly, the supportive side characters (aka bffs, sassy assistants, Asexual fake boyfriends, etc.) in Ali Hazelwood books are always topnotch. They are the right amount of humor, undying loyalty, and spunk to keep the readers on their toes and add a touch of reality to the situation when Ali’s FMCs start to go off the rails.

What could have been better:

1. This is basically The Love Hypothesis book 3. While the formula works, I would like to see something new from Ali. I know you have it in you, love, let’s see it!

2. Of all of Ali’s books, the romance was my favorite, but the sexy-times were my least favorite. Can’t decide how that split makes me feel yet… (Side note: No one will ever replace Levi’s mouth!)

Final Thoughts:

It’s Ali Hazelwood. Of course, it’s adorable.

Final Rating: 

4 stars

Special thank you to Edelweiss, Berkley Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, and Ali Hazelwood for the free ARC. My opinions expressed above are honest and voluntary.

Charm City Rocks by Matthew Norman

Hi All!

I hope everyone’s week has been great!

A couple “fun facts” about me:

  • When I was in high school, I played guitar and sang in an all-girl band called Forbidden Fruit,
  • I was a college radio DJ, and
  • I’m definitely one of those people who argue that some albums need to be listened to on vinyl to get the full experience.

With all of that said, this past week I read Charm City Rocks by Matthew Norman. As a lover of music (obviously) and romance, this seemed like it would be perfect for me!

How did this one play out for me? Did it hit the right note or was it a bit off-key? Let’s find out?

Genre:  Romance

Publication Date: June 6, 2023

NetGalley Blurb:

When a single dad meets the former rock star crush of his youth, everything they thought they knew about happiness and love is thrown into chaos in this hopeful, heartwarming romantic comedy.

Billy Perkins is happy. No, for real. It’s kind of his thing, actually. And why wouldn’t he be? He loves his job as an independent music teacher and his apartment in Baltimore above a record shop called Charm City Rocks. Most of all, he loves his brainy teenage son, Caleb. Although not the world’s most traditional parent, Billy has plenty to teach his son about art and manhood before Caleb goes off to college.

Margot Hammer, on the other hand, is far from happy. The former drummer of the once-famous rock band Burnt Flowers, she’s now a rock and roll recluse living alone in New York City. When a new music documentary suddenly puts Margot back in the spotlight, she begins to realize how much she misses her old band and the music that gave her life meaning.  

Billy has always had a crush on Margot. But she’s a legitimate rock star—or at least, she was—so he never thought he’d meet her. Until Caleb, worried that his easygoing dad might actually be lonely, cooks up a scheme to get Margot to perform at Charm City Rocks.

It’s the longest of long shots, but Margot’s label has made it clear that any publicity is an opportunity she can’t afford to miss. When their paths collide, Billy realizes that he maybe wasn’t as happy as he thought—and Margot learns that sometimes the sweetest music is a duet.

What I liked about the book:

1. I loved that this was a later in life romance (Is that what we call it when they’re in their forties???…That decade is creeping up real fast for me so let’s hope not!). I especially loved the scene where they were laying in bed pointing out their own flaws to one another, not in a “make me feel better about my flaws” way, but in the way you could tell these people were totally content with one another and comfortable with their flaws being on display in front of the other. And the fact that this turned into them making love was *chef’s kiss*.

2. I loved the characters and that we got to see the story from so many different perspectives. From the perspectives of both MCs, their two kids, their ex-lovers, and even a really cool co-dad, we got to see all sides of the story, which was nice. It made it so you didn’t hate the exes of the MCs (well, except maybe Lawson) and really showed that people recall and experience the same situation very differently.

For me, this also served as a real wake up call. If Buzzfeed created one of those quizzes where you find out which character in the book you are, I would undoubtedly wish to be a Poppy and end up being a Robyn. Robyn was fine, but I definitely saw a lot of Ghost of Christmas Future in her and I didn’t love it…

3. This very much seemed to serve as a love letter to Baltimore and I loved it! With the neighborhoods portrayed, the overall ambiance of music everywhere, and the food(!), I was intrigued if this is truly what Baltimore is like. I have never been to Baltimore, but with this story I have a new destination in mind!

What could have been better:

1. Overall, I was not a big fan of the writing style. It was a very direct, sometimes too sharp style. I tend to prefer more descriptive and flowy wording for romance books.

Also, this was written from the third POV so some of the more emotional or charged moments Could have been better suited to a first person POV. For a romance book, I feel third POV is a tricky feat because it takes a lot more work to invoke the butterflies in readers, or at least it does for me. Because of that, the giddiness I typically look for when reading a romance book was mostly missing.

2. There was a lot of downtime in the book. There were definitely major plot points, but overall, there were a lot of gaps where nothing really happened. I think this is typically where the romance is supposed to make you feel giddy but see item 1 above.  

3. I’m not a fan of fade to black scenes in romance books. We were told so much about how often the couple had sex, but there was nothing on page besides kissing. With Billy being a total cinnamon-roll, Margot being insecure and emotionally stunted, and them specifically pointing out their own flaws, I was looking for them to worship one another at least once.   

Final Thoughts:

Cute later in life romance, perfect for anyone who likes romance novels with little to no spice.

Final Rating: 3 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, and Matthew Norman for the advanced copy of this book. The review above is reflective of my honest opinions.

Priest by Sierra Simone

Hi All!

This past week I read Priest by Sierra Simone. I’ve been spammed with recommendations for this book from various Facebook groups and Instagram friends, so the time had finally come to indulge in what some have described as “the spiciest book I’ve ever read” 😈

Did this one light my fire? Let’s find out!

Genre:  Adult, Taboo Romance

Publication Date: June 18, 2015

Goodreads Blurb:

There are many rules a priest can’t break.

A priest cannot marry. A priest cannot abandon his flock. A priest cannot forsake his God.

I’ve always been good at following rules.

Until she came.

My name is Tyler Anselm Bell. I’m twenty-nine years old. Six months ago, I broke my vow of celibacy on the altar of my own church, and God help me, I would do it again.

I am a priest and this is my confession.

***Priest is a standalone, full-length novel with an HEA.  For mature audiences only.***

What I liked about the book:

1. I love taboo romances! I don’t know if this is my own love for older men, my boss-in-the-streets-sub-in-the-sheets way of life, or something entirely different, but if I’m going to live vicariously through the lives of those on the page, I want it to be dirty and “wrong” and raw. This definitely hit all those buttons!  

2. There was a lot of sex (which I’ll talk about later). The talking during the encounters and the true dominant acts really were fantastic. I love a well-placed s|u+ or wh0re 🔥🥵🥰

What could have been better:

1. Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room…I’m not sure what this says about me, but this is definitely not the spiciest book I’ve read. I had a lot of high hopes around this one given the spice-meter reading my smut groups on Facebook listed it as, but ultimately, it wasn’t as good as I hoped; I’ve had read spicier.

2. While I sympathized with him at first, all the internal struggles and indecision on Tyler’s point got annoying very fast. I understand, he had a hard choice to make, but I did not read this book for drama. I read it for the smut, and since that didn’t deliver, I didn’t want to have to read the bullshit monologues about self-righteousness either.

3. This book is a fantastic reason why I don’t like first person single point of view. While we got to explore the innerworkings of Tyler’s mind (more than I would like in some cases), we didn’t get any real insight into Poppy other than she was the forbidden fruit that led him astray. We were told all about her history, her education, and her decisions in life, but otherwise, there was no real character development for her in my opinion. While the story tried so hard to show Tyler as a feminist dom, by not letting us see Poppy’s POV, I feel this did more harm than good and really did ultimately just equate her to an object. I feel if we would have had even just a few chapters from Poppy’s POV, I would have felt like she was more of a person and less of a means to an end. And that bullshit epilogue does NOT count.

4. There was a lot of sex, but very little talking. I don’t like that. I don’t like reading sexual scenes where all the dude is doing is thinking. That is not going to get me there, love.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, not what I was expecting. I had higher hopes for this one.

Final Rating: 2 stars

Like what you read? Let’s be antisocial together!

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The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith

Hi All!

This past week I read The Other Side of Infinity by Joan F. Smith. When I was a kid, I was OBSESSED with the movie The Butterfly Effect, so I was super excited when I got this ARC.

Yes, I realize this is a weird film for a child to go absolutely bonkers over, and yes, I realize there are probably things I would hate about this movie if I were to rewatch it as an adult. But kids are dumb and like dumb things. I mean, for Gods’ sake, I also had a crush on Pauly Shore for some unknown reason, so let’s just move on from young Britt’s interests.

ANYWAYS! How did this one stack up? Did it go swimmingly, or did it sink? Let’s find out!

Genre:  Young Adult, Romance

Publication Date: April 25, 2023

NetGalley Blurb:

They Both Die at the End meets The Butterfly Effect in this YA novel by Joan F. Smith, where a teen uses her gift of foreknowledge to help a lifeguard save a drowning man—only to discover that her actions have suddenly put his life at risk.

It was supposed to be an ordinary day at the pool, but when lifeguard Nick hesitates during a save, seventeen-year-old December uses her gift of foreknowledge to rescue the drowning man instead. The action comes at a cost. Not only will Nick and December fall in love, but also, she envisions that his own life is now at risk. The other problem? They’re basically strangers.

December embarks on a mission to save Nick’s life, and to experience what it feels like to fall in love—something she’d formerly known she’d never do. Nick, battling the shame of screwing up the rescue when he’s heralded as a community hero, resolves to make up for his inaction by doing December a major solid and searching for her mother, who went missing nine years ago.

As they grow closer, December’s gift starts playing tricks, and Nick’s family gets closer to an ugly truth about him. They both must learn what it really means to be a hero before time runs out.

What I liked about the book:

1. I loved the concept of this and when December’s unique ability really shone. I don’t want to give away too much, but it was fun seeing how she thought things out and how much she went down the rabbit hole with the butterfly effect of actions. I especially loved when she brought up her “hypothetical” situation to her friend group and there was an actual cerebral conversation about the topic.

2. I liked Nick’s friend Maverick and Nick’s sister Sophie the most.

Maverick was a wicked smart high schooler taking college classes and setting himself up to be one of the brightest doctors/scientists of his generation, but he also was trying to kick a nicotine habit. I appreciated the depth this small detail brought to his overall character and found him intriguing because of it.

Sophie was a fun and spirited 10-year-old. She had opinions, which were often humorous, and she really strove to accomplish her goals. We got to see her succeed in running and not succeed as well in dancing, which brought depth to her character.

I’ve definitely been reading too many brother’s-best-friend romances because I would totally read a spinoff focused on Mav and Sophie ten years in the future. However, I would not read any other spinoffs from this series.

What could have been better:

1. I didn’t really like any of the characters. I didn’t really hate them either, they were all just a bit boring. Let’s put it this way, none of the characters compelled me to care about them or their lives.

I also felt the circle of friends that December developed was really surface level for how much the author tried to play up her feeling included in their group. The trio of girls were mentioned first by Nick seeing them at the pool, and then they just suddenly became friends with December. I liked how this subverted expectations because they were the popular girls and December was “odd”, but otherwise, there was nothing super intriguing or deeply developed about them or the group dynamic.

2. The pacing of this was too slow for my taste. I felt like Nick not acting on his lifeguard duty and his feelings about that took up too much of the word count. These feelings also led to him wanting to make it up to December and find her mom, which was not really something I was interested in; if December herself didn’t care, why should I?

I also felt like Nick had this secret through the whole book that we weren’t supposed to find out and it got annoying. For how vanilla this guy was, it didn’t seem juicy enough to keep me hooked, but it kept getting brought up over and over again.

3. The romance was a miss for me. I loved December’s descriptions of the butterflies and just letting herself fully fall into her emotions. THAT was brilliant! Otherwise, even with the foresight that they would get together, the start of their romance seemed to come out of nowhere; no real build up, no real flutters from Nick’s point of view, and then suddenly the boy couldn’t get enough of her. Is that really how high school boys think? Perhaps I’m wrong and giving too much credit to the younger opposite sex, but somehow, I don’t think so.

4. There were things drilled into (like December’s mom) that were wrapped up either unsatisfactorily or not at all. If I have to read about it, at least give it an ending!

5. I 100% did not like the ending. Because I didn’t feel a connection to the characters, the ending was more random than emotional for me. It could have been a real heavy hitter if some of the points I highlighted above were executed a bit more well.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, the idea was good and the writing was technically well done, I just felt the execution was lacking in some of the major areas I look at. Not for me.

Final Rating: 2 stars

Thank you to NetGalley, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group, Feiwel & Friends, and Joan F. Smith for the advanced copy of this book. The opinions expressed above are honest and my own.

Happy Pub Day: Time’s Orphan by Hayley Reese Chow

Hi All!

It’s finally here! Happy Pub Day “Time’s Orphan”!

This week I continued reading the Odriel’s Heirs series with the third and final book in the series, “Time’s Orphan”. If you didn’t catch my posts from the last couple weeks, I was provided with ALL 3 FULL-LENGTH AND 2 NOVELLA-LENGTH books in this series, including an ARC of this third book, by the author Hayley Reese Chow!

I’ve be reviewing one book per week up until now, the third book’s release date. I’ve laughed, I’ve fallen in love with another fictional family, and I’ve given you all my thoughts and feelings along the way. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Good thing Hayley saved the best for last!

Before we hop to my review for this last book, here are the links to my reviews of all the prior books and novellas in the series:

Odriel’s Heirs

Burning Shadows

Idriel’s Children

Night of Ash

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: February 8, 2023

Goodreads Blurb:

Speak of pain, and I’ll tell you of the Time who stole it away…

Besieged by war, ravaged by monsters, and crawling with the undead, the land of Okarria is dying. Seventeen-year-old Emara survives by using her modest healing gift to save as many as she can while eluding the invaders who thirst for her enchanted blood.

So when a cursed cat saves her life and reveals Emara is the legendary Time Heir the necromancer king’s been searching for, she agrees to act as bait in a plot to destroy him. But when the plan goes horrifically awry, Emara must discover how deep her powers go, what she can change…

And what she cannot.

Unfortunately, Time Heirs have a history of getting killed, and with Okarria’s future on the line, Emara may have no choice but to follow in her ancestors’ footsteps.

What I liked about the book:

1. In book 1, we got our feet wet in the world of Okarria. In book 2, we got to step into the Shadow Plane. In book 3, we got time travel baby!

I absolutely loved how this book brought yet another new “location” into play in the series. I loved figuring out who was who and where certain people would have been at this point in their lives. It brought that same air of mystery Hayley has woven in the other stories, with its own unique twist.

Similar to book 2 and the Shadow Plane scenes, a lot of my favorite scenes happened when Emara was 100 years in the past, so this was a big win for me!

It was especially fun to see how the areas acted before the Lost got really bad and it was still a relatively happy and functioning society; this definitely gave me hope that it could look like that again!

2. I really went into this book thinking that no one could top Aza, and DEFINITELY no one could top Makeo. I’m happy to announce that I was wrong on both fronts!

Emara at her core was a FIGHTER! No, she may not have been exceptionally talented with weapons or her fists, but she NEVER gave up. She was super resilient, was wicked smart, and was all for helping others. Even though she had been told to hide her abilities her whole life, at the first sign that she could help she brought that magic to her fingers and dug in! She also had no qualms about letting herself be captured in order to get closer to the bad guys. She was truly a team player and I loved her.

Speaking of her having to hide her abilities, I loved that she was so different from the other heirs. As someone who had never been told of her true identity and wasn’t trained properly for it, was constantly on the run from battle to battle, and was told to hide her magic growing up, she definitely wasn’t raised like the other heirs. Don’t get me wrong, they all had hard lives, but hers was just a little less cushy and it really made you want her to succeed that much more. In a series full of underdogs and badasses, she had so much to offer the entire group because of her differences! This line in reference to Emara’s thoughts on Aza really showed her difference to me:

This wasn’t just any woman in front of her, this was a legend.

It’s so strange in this world for an heir to think this of another heir; to think them as legendary and above all others. But I loved seeing this small but significant detail with Emara.

I loved her love interest so much for her, always wanting to be near her and seeking her out to take care of her when you can tell no one had really taken care of him. I also adored their back and forth. Their chemistry was so palpable from the beginning that I just kept eating it up page after page.

Jai was everything I thought Klaus was going to be in book 1 and more! He was this little street urchin, pickpocket with a quick mind, delicious smirk, and a deep loyalty for those in his circle.

Shadmundar was so much more caring in this one, really taking the Time Heir under his wing. I loved their connection and how he always had her best interest at heart. I can’t give too much away, but we finally find out why Shadmundar has been around for all these dang heirs and I loved every detail of it!

3. Speaking of Shadmundar, he had a much larger role in this story than the others. I loved how he acted as her historical guide as she came to terms with her identity. A lot of the things that I had questions about and made peace with not knowing in books 1 and 2, he explained to her in this book! We got to know all about why he was turned into a cat, we got to know all about Ivanora’s and Everard’s backstories, and we finally found out who the heck Bellaphia really was.  

4. Like all the other books in the series, the action was phenomenally written. BUT, you could also fully see Hayley’s growth as a writer present in this story. From the daunting and dark first 4 novels/novellas, we finally got to see some lightness, some comedy, and some romance that was better written than all the other stories. The lightness and comedy are more than likely attributable to Emara’s personality compared to Kaia’s and Aza’s, but the chemistry between Emara and her love interest was undeniably a level-up compared to the others.

5. By now you know I’m a fan of these gorgeous covers!

6. I loved that we got to see a lot of Aza in this one! I also loved how her life had developed in the last 10 years and getting to be part of that with her ❤

7. We have finally reached the end of the series, but definitely have only scratched the surface of Hayley’s wisdom. Here were some of my favorite lines for this story:

Both sides always lost in war; one just lost more than the other.

She’d never let them take her alive, even if it meant making the final cut herself.

So many cogs had already been set in motion. And she was only one.

Shad: “The world was never perfect. And even if we succeed, it will never be perfect. The only thing we can do is try to make it a little better with the time that we have.”

Emara: “I should’ve-”

Shad: “Don’t second guess the past. The paths are many, but we can never know where any of them lead. Once chosen, we can only go forward. No use carrying the weight of past mistakes when you still have so many to make in the future.”

Emara: “There’s…too many. I’m going to lose him!”

Aza: “You are not. You are a Time Heir of legend, gifted with the strength of Odriel himself to heal the injured, strengthen the weak, and be the wall between life and death. To the tireless, he gave the hardest task. To the gentle he gave the most power. That is you, Emara Alik, Ioni Rao, survivor of the blood-soaked west.”

– I loved seeing Aza pay the speech of strength forward!

“Secrets weigh lighter when spoken aloud.”

“…in matters of the mind I feel a needle may be more helpful than a club.”

What could have been better:

1. NOTHING! It was complete and total perfection!

Final Thoughts:

Bottom line, this series is a must read for any fans of YA Fantasy!

Final Rating: 5 beautiful stars

Want to check out what else Hayley is working on? Hop on over to her social media accounts using the below.

Goodreads | Instagram | Website

While you’re at it, let’s be antisocial together!

Goodreads | Instagram | Gmail

Progress Report by Roman Lando

Hi All!

I hope everyone’s week is off to a good start!

This week I read Progress Report by Roman Lando. As you may be aware from earlier posts, one of my goals this year is to read more books by male authors; therefore, when Roman reached out to me with this book with its intriguing synopsis, I said HELL YES!

There’s a lot to love about this book, so let’s dive in!

Genre:  Sci-Fi, Technothriller

Publication Date: December 10, 2022

Author Blurb:


Art is a computer geek and retro electronics aficionado who just wants to be left alone. When he stumbles upon an alien artifact, he can’t help but try and find out its purpose. Instead, he finds himself in over his head, in the midst of what might just turn out to be the end of the world, and nobody except him knows the truth. A truth that certain factions don’t want to get out – at any cost.

It’s not paranoia when self-driving cars are out to get you. Can Art survive the hunt, and maybe save the world in the process?

Progress Report is a near-future technothriller for fans of Ready Player One, Daemon, and Bobiverse. It’s packed with action, humor, and a sense of the profound that will linger long after you’ve turned the last page.

What I liked about the book:

1. The book is mostly the story of a man retelling the events of what led him to where he is: currently stranded inside a spaceship, alone and with a dying cell phone battery. In fact, the chapter titles are the percentage left on his cell phone as he tells the tale, which I found a very interesting concept that added some tension to the overall story. Would we hear the whole story before the cell died? What would happen when it got to zero? I thought this was a genius take especially given the overall plot of the story.

Through the diary-like storytelling, I loved that the book was in the first person and the character was talking to the reader. Isn’t that one of the first things we learn in school we “aren’t allowed to do”? I can still remember my teachers slapping me with the verbal ruler: “you can’t talk to the audience, Britt”. So of course, I loved the rebellion of this!

2. I also loved that the writing was intellectual and witty. The high description, high cerebral writing style very much reminded me of Alan Moore meets Ray Bradbury, which was amazing as these are two of my all-time favorites. Overall, a huge plus for me.

3. This book had nerdy references and damn the man attitude up the wazoo and I was HERE FOR IT! I loved all the pop culture, geek culture, and counterculture thoughts that permeated the main character’s head at all times. It honestly made him very easy to love very early in the book.

4. I loved how the author took real life historical events and shaped them into occurrences controlled by the different alien factions. I enjoy learning about history, though I am generally terrible at it (I can’t remember dates and names to save my life!), but this brought the fun learning aspect in that I totally crave.

I looked up each of the historical events referenced throughout the book to make sure they were real events (like the briefcase that barely didn’t kill Hitler), and they were! The author definitely did his research or is a true history buff. Either way, the thought process that went into involving real life scenarios to fit his schema was beautifully done.

What could have been better:

1. I, personally, didn’t like how a lot of the chapters ended on thought cliffhangers. Meaning, a lot of the chapters ended in questions, quotes, etc. I get this was likely a tactic to get the reader to keep reading, but after a bunch of chapters doing this back-to-back, it became a tiny bit daunting and annoying.

Perhaps if this book was one you could quickly read and understand, that would have been fine, but the fact that this was a book that required mental digestion breaks to get through, it was a bit bothersome for me.

2. The romance aspect was definitely wanting. Art barely knew Tia but was thinking about her nonstop (or at least he told us he was).

Also, we got the lovely “she’s not like the other girls” thought process. Listen, if I’m spectacular, it’s not because of what’s between my legs, it’s because of what’s inside my brains, actions, and experiences. Let me correct that for you, “she’s not like other people.” There, much better.

3. At times I had to skim. It was a lot of words in places that weren’t really necessary. The author is obviously very knowledgeable about a lot of things, but I don’t need to know how the sausage is made every time. I’ll still trust you, I promise.

Final Thoughts:

It’s funny, it’s sci-fi, it’s historical, and it’s political. It was such a great read and I’m glad the author reached out to me to introduce this lovely piece of fiction to me. Thank you Roman!

Final Rating: 4 stars

Want to check out what else Roman is working on? Hop on over to his social media accounts using the below.

Goodreads | Website

While you’re at it, let’s be antisocial together!

Goodreads | Instagram | Gmail

In Nightfall by Suzanne Young

Hi All!

I hope everyone’s week is going well!

If you’re anything like me, you’re still super fascinated every time you have to write “XX/XX/2023” on something, and simultaneously freaked out that a whole month has already gone by! However, the good news is there are still 11 months left in the year to read as many books as we want!

Speaking of which, this weekend I read In Nightfall by Suzanne Young and had some pretty strong feelings about it. Let’s dive into it!

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Horror

Publication Date: March 28, 2023

NetGalley Blurb:

In the quaint town of Nightfall, Oregon, it isn’t the dark you should be afraid of—it’s the girls. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this propulsive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Treatment.

Theo and her brother, Marco, threw the biggest party of the year. And got caught. Their punishment? Leave Arizona to spend the summer with their grandmother in the rainy beachside town of Nightfall, Oregon—population 846 souls.

The small town is cute, when it’s not raining, but their grandmother is superstitious and strangely antisocial. Upon their arrival she lays out the one house rule: always be home before dark. But Theo and Marco are determined to make the most of their summer, and on their first day they meet the enigmatic Minnow and her friends. Beautiful and charismatic, the girls have a magnetic pull that Theo and her brother can’t resist.

But Minnow and her friends are far from what they appear.

And that one rule? Theo quickly realizes she should have listened to her grandmother. Because after dark, something emerges in Nightfall. And it doesn’t plan to let her leave.

What I liked about the book:

1. I liked the sarcasm and the relationship between Theo and her brother Marco. It was genuine and believable.

2. I absolutely adored Nonna, especially after she told Theo her history in the town! She was a total badass.

What could have been better:

1. I was definitely lured by the cover and blurb on this one. Given The Lost Boys and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (the Kristy Swanson and Luke Perry version) were two of my favorite movies when I was younger, I figured this would be a slam dunk.

What I didn’t figure was the book would feel like someone took The Lost Boys and made it into a Mad Lib for the author to fill out. It was especially hard to ignore in the first couple of chapters that this was a gender swapped, shot for shot remake of the film at times. Instead of the references being a “cool! I get that one!” they were very…cringy. Maybe if I hadn’t just watched the movie 2 weeks ago, I wouldn’t have caught as many of the comparisons and my thoughts on this would be a bit different?

However, I also didn’t feel there was much Buffy the Vampire Slayer­-ness to it other than fighting a bunch of vampires in a prom dress. Perhaps I’m missing something because I’m over 20 years late watching the television show, but I honestly don’t think so.

2. I liked the podcast and mystery ideas within the story, but I didn’t feel they were utilized to their potential. I didn’t really understand what the point was of her even listening to the first episode of the podcast focusing on the town if she had already met the podcasters and formed a relationship with them. I also didn’t understand why they mentioned episode two would drop and then that never went anywhere.

I felt like this was a check-the-box exercise in throwing a podcast into a story, which I’ve seen a lot more of recently. Other than perhaps trying to create a vibe reminiscent of Serial for murder mystery books or trying to show characters as relatable by listening to podcasts, I’m not sure what the theory is behind including this trait now and rarely do I see it executed well.

3. Unfortunately, the book didn’t really get exciting for me until the big reveal we all knew was coming at around the 70% mark. The romance was bleh, the characters besides Nonna were bleh, and the plot was predictable. Overall, just not for me.

4. I hate being THIS PERSON, but this definitely could have used another round of editing. A couple slips are absolutely no problem for me, but constant sentences where you can tell a word was supposed to be deleted stagnate the flow and bring me out of the story altogether.

Final Thoughts:

Overall, just not for me.

Final Rating: 2 stars

Thank you to Random House Children’s, Delacorte Press, and Suzanne Young for this free advanced review copy of this book. The thoughts and opinions expressed above are honest and my own.

Night of Ash (Odriel’s Heirs, #2.5) by Hayley Reese Chow

Hi All!

This week I continued reading the Odriel’s Heirs series with the second novella “Night of Ash”. If you didn’t catch my posts from the last couple weeks, I was provided with ALL 3 FULL-LENGTH AND 2 NOVELLA-LENGTH books in this series, including an ARC of the third book “Time’s Orphan”, by the author Hayley Reese Chow!

I’ll be reviewing one book per week until the third book’s release date of February 8, giving you all my thoughts and feelings along the way!

Before we hop to my review for this second novella in the series, here are the links to my reviews of books 1, 1.5, and 2:

Odriel’s Heirs

Burning Shadows

Idriel’s Children

Genre:  Young Adult, Fantasy

Publication Date: September 27, 2022

Goodreads Blurb:

The night buries all Shadows…

After healing from the last battle with Idriel’s Children, the young Shadow Heir, Aza Thane, once again finds herself at a magus’s door looking for answers. There, she and her companions learn of a dark plot to raise an ancient demon necromancer in the corpse of a soul-eating monster and rush to the once great city of Austerden to stop it.

Racing toward a city on the brink of a massacre and still haunted by her past mistakes, Aza will have to learn to trust again if she wants to save anyone at all… including herself.

What I liked about the book:

1. Similar to the first novella, this book picked up effortlessly from the groundwork Chow did in its predecessor novel. These novellas truly feel like lovely little glimpses into the world of the MCs just after the events in the previous book; an extension of the characters we love, before jumping to new MCs. I love these little shorts we get between the main books and the more time we get to spend with our favorite characters!

2. The characters were awesome as always!

  • Similar to Kaia’s growth shown in “Burning Shadows” it was amazing to see how Aza had grown from a woman of logic and saving those who were more “useful” first, to being willing to sacrifice herself for everyone and anyone. Her fierce spirit and love for those around her, especially in what she thought were her last moments, was phenomenal to watch!

If this was her fate, so be it, but she’d send a hundred of these things to the grave before she followed them.

  • Of course, Makeo, was downright loveable as always, constantly reassuring Aza at every turn and giving her the mental support she needed to continue.

Makeo: *put a reassuring hand on her back* “You need to stop second-guessing yourself.”

Aza: “If I’m that obvious, perhaps I should start third-guessing instead.”

– Giiiirl, that is a slippery slope. Trust me!

Makeo: “You’ve asked for everyone’s forgiveness, Aza, more than once. But you might want to consider asking it of yourself.”

Aza: “How could I ask that, when I’m the reason we’re here?”

Makeo: “Oh Aze.” *his gaze shone with a bittersweet warmth* “That’s where you’re wrong. You were only one stone in an avalanche of hundreds that got us here. If we’re going to stop the chain now, we need to look forward, not back.”

– I mean, how do you NOT fall in love with this guy???

  • I loved seeing a more in depth look into Zephyr, including his “new” romance with Hoku. He seemed less arrogant and more likable when she was around, and she was another badass woman in this series!

Zephyr: *turns to Hoku* “And-”

Hoku: “Don’t even think it. I may not be an Heir, but I have a keen mind. A sharp blade. An unbreakable will.” *lifts her chin, defiance glinting in her eyes* “Surely we’ll need all three.”

Zephyr: *runs a hand through his hair, his brows sloped with worry* “But what if-”

Hoku: “Besides, I’m the fastest rider here and the only one of you lot that’s even been to Austerden.” *she takes a step closer, a dangerous ferocity in her slow movements* “I’m coming.”

– Well, she just put him in his place…

  • And I loved getting to see the Shadow Heir and Dragon Heir get to fight in the same plane!
  • I loved the small bit we got of Dorinar and Marloa, who are DEFINITELY together. Just check this out:

Dorinar: “You can be certain Ivanora (Dorinar’s evil sister) has sent her monsters after us even now. While we’re alive, we’re a threat to her.”

Zephyr: “And you’re sure you won’t come with us, Dorinar? We could use your help.”

Dorinar: “And leave Marloa to travel on her own? With my most precious books?” *sniffles* “I can’t risk it.”

– Definitely not leaving his woman behind, and DEFINITELY DEFINITELY not leaving his books behind. I get it man, I get it.

  • I also loved the old guardsman, Samar Bhalla, at the end who gave Aza strength when she needed it most.

Samar: “It’s not about what you’ve done or haven’t, it’s about what you can still do. It’s your potential. I’m afraid, my lass, for better or for worse, as the Shadow Heir, you don’t just belong to yourself. But to all of Okarria. You hold our hope in your hands. You shoulder our fears. And you are the kindling for our bravery.”

Aza: “What if it’s already over?”

Samar: “That is a decision, lass. It’s never over as long as the brave are willing to fight on. And like it or not, it is your fight to lead. Your decision to make. Is this over? Or are you willing to fight for what was taken from us?”

3. I liked the progress shown in this book, including the history behind maybe why Ivanora is the way she is.

I also loved the fact that they didn’t come out on top! This novella definitely heightened the need for the elusive Time Heir and will feed beautifully into his/her story that’s up next! I really hope the next book doesn’t follow the same formula as books 1 and 1.5, meaning Aza and Zephyr won’t have much of a role in book 3 because of a time jump. I can’t bear to lose any more heirs! I just want my Time Heir and the whole story to end nicely!!!

4. This was the perfect amount of action, new plot development, and page count for a novella. I could not put it down and was able to finish it in about an hour or two.

What could have been better:

1. I was a bit bummed that we didn’t get more Makeo, Zephyr, and Hoku, especially since if the formula from books 1 and 1.5 does continue, they will have a small role going forward, much like Klaus and Kaia in books 2 and 2.5. Let’s hope that’s not the case because I need all the Maldibor babies up in this world, or at least the freaking curse broken and HEAs all around!

Final Thoughts:

Such a great addition to this series!

Final Rating: 4.5 stars

Want to check out what else Hayley is working on? Hop on over to her social media accounts using the below.

Goodreads | Instagram | Website

While you’re at it, let’s be antisocial together!

Goodreads | Instagram | Gmail