A Wolf Apart by: Maria Vale

THE LEGEND OF ALL WOLVES BOOK 2

THE LAST WOLF review [The Legends of all Wolves Book 1]

In this stunningly original wolf shifter romance, can a human truly make room in her heart for the Wild?

Thea Villalobos has long since given up trying to be what others expect of her. So in Elijah Sorensson she can see through the man of the world to a man who is passionate to the point of heartbreak. But something inside him is dying, and Thea’s heart aches for the man who could so easily become her wolf…

Elijah Sorensson has all kinds of outward success: bespoke suits, designer New York City apartment, women clamoring for his attention. Except Elijah despises the human life he’s forced to endure. He’s Alpha of the Great North Pack, and the wolf inside him will no longer be restrained…

She sizes me up quickly with eyes the color of ironwood and just as unyielding.

Thea Villalobos, she says, and it takes me a moment to get my breath back.

Thea Villalobos. Goddess of the City of Wolves.

bookshop.org

Content Warnings: Detailed sexual scenes, violence, blood/gore, animal death, childbirth complications, and murder. Mention of torture, loss of loved ones, kidnapping, and miscarriages.


Having read, and enjoyed, THE LAST WOLF, in February, I knew I wanted to pick up book two and dive in…and it did not disappoint. Even though I prefer multiple narratives, and so far THE LAST WOLF and A WOLF APART have both been single narratives…I really enjoyed both of them.

In A WOLF APART we get to know Elijah, one of the pack that lives among humans, in order to help protect their secrets as well as ensure they have money to protect their land and people. After thirty years of living away from home and being forced to fit in with humans…Elijah is tired and scared that he’s losing himself to the role he’s been forced to play.

At the beginning of the book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to connect or empathize with Elijah because he mentions the designers he wears a lot and talks about all the women he sleeps with but has zero attachment to, but within a few chapters his narrative opens up more and you start to see the pain he’s in and his desperation to not lose himself.

When he first meets Thea, someone who finally sees through the BS, he’s instantly attracted and wants to get to know her…but due to his autopilot playboy ways, they start out on the wrong foot. I actually really loved seeing this relationship develop only from Elijah’s perspective because we really get to see his insecurities and fear of not being enough for Thea without being reassured by her perspective. With only Elijah’s POV, I feel like I was able to truly understand his need, and almost desperation, for connection.

There was only one loose end that wasn’t tied up by the end…I’m hoping it’s brought up in book three and we get full closer because it seemed weird that it was kind of a big deal and then the book ends without neatly tieing it up.

Overall I really enjoyed getting to know Elijah and Thea and I can’t wait to get my hands on book three! If you’re looking for a paranormal romance with a deep history, and laws, associated with its pack I highly recommend giving this series a go.


Under the Oak Tree S1V2 by: Suji Kim

Season One Volume 2 [Chapters 40-78]

Maximilian (Maxi), the eldest daughter of the Croyso family, grows up being abused by her father. As a consequence of the physical and mental trauma, she develops a crippling inferiority complex about both her stutter and her physical appearance as well as a general lack of self-respect.

When Maxi’s father, Duke Croyso, receives a royal order from the King to fight the Red Dragon Sektor, he decides to marry his daughter off to Riftan Calypse, a peasant knight. Duke Croyso’s plan is to push off his martial responsibilities to his son-in-law. Maxi thus finds herself forced into a marriage with a man she barely knows. The newlyweds spend their first night together, but they become separated immediately as Riftan leaves for war early next morning.

Fast forward three years later, and the couple reunites when Riftan comes back to the city to celebrate his victory in war. Although the two spent only one night together and Riftan is a stranger to Maxi, she is afraid that he might want to divorce her, for the divorce would mean a death sentence for the young woman.

What are Riftan’s intentions? Will Maxi find the strength to overcome her trauma and lack of self-confidence? Will the couple survive and find love against all odds?

Amazon.com

Content Warnings: Graphic sexual scenes/situations, violence, blood/gore, bullying, child abuse, rehashing of verbal/physical/emotional abuse, ableism, PTSD, and anxiety.


We pick up directly where volume one left off getting to see a lot of day-to-day activities that Maxi does while continuing to try to prove her worth. Afraid that Riftan could decide to divorce her Maxi is determined to prove her usefulness at the castle. Still working on decorating the castle and improving the grounds Maxi is busy throughout the day.

I wasn’t as invested in this volume as I was the first…I was hoping to see more progress in Maxi coming into her own and finding her inner strength. The next volume sounds like it will be full of situations that will test Maxi, not only testing her individually but testing her trust/faith in her connection to Riftan. Both Maxi and Riftan are still secretive about their inner thoughts and feelings and I look forward to their trust, and love for each other, growing to where they finally feel free to completely open to one another.


A Song of Secrets by: Jayci Lee

Hana Trio #1

World-renowned cellist Angie Han is desperate to save her trio’s chamber music society. So when she discovers that her ex Joshua Shin is the anonymous composer setting the classical music world on fire, she asks for his help. The sexy musician agrees to an uneasy truce to protect his secret success. But when their passion reignites, Angie’s own secrets may be exposed. Will Joshua ever trust her again? And will what’s keeping them apart ever lead them to happily-ever-after? From Harlequin Desire: A luxurious world of bold encounters and sizzling chemistry. Love triumphs in this uplifting romance, part of the Hana Trio series: launches her new series with a reunion that strikes the perfect note. Will his secret reunite them? Her secret tore them apart.

storygraph.com

Content Warnings: Detailed sexual content, death of a parent due to cancer, and loved one dealing with heart issues.


Angie and Joshua met and fell in love in college…until, seemingly, out of nowhere Angie broke Josh’s heart. Ten years later, to save the chamber music society, she’s willing to put herself out there and ask for Josh’s help.

This was a novella, and I wish it would have been full length. I would have loved to see more of the world surrounding Angie and Josh. It’s mentioned that their families used to be rivals, because of the companies they owned, and I would have loved to see more about that. With them both being part of wealthier families I would have also loved to see that they were from the same circles and see some characters, or situations, that showed that.

Overall I found this to be a fun and quick read, easily light enough to cover during a leisurely visit to the beach. I look forward to reading the other two books in this trilogy and seeing if more layers are added to the world surrounding them.


Legacy of the Lost Mage: Jaeth’s Eye by: K.S. Villoso

The Agartes Epilogues #1

A hero’s daughter is caught between two brothers and a war involving a witch’s beast. From the author of the critically acclaimed The Wolf of Oren-yaro rediscovers the epic fantasy adventure that pits old legacies against a necromancer’s beast in a tale praised for its complex narrative, character development, rich worldbuilding, and a riveting conclusion.

Sume Kaggawa promised her father a dragon. Abandoned by an older brother who dreamed of grand adventures, she is the only hope left for a family fallen on hard times. A deal with a shadowy mage traps her in a conspiracy between greedy merchants and forgotten kings. For the chance to revive her family name and be everything her brother could never be, Sume must sign away her life and freedom–or forever doom her bloodline to failure.

Meanwhile, the mercenary Kefier finds himself chased down by former associates after a botched job leaves his friend dead. Already once branded a murderer, he crosses paths with his friend’s sister Sume and the merchant-mage, Ylir. Their intertwined fates brings them to the crux of a conflict with the first fire-breathing dragon seen in the continent for decades. But the dragon may very well not be a dragon, but a demon hell-bent on corrupting those in its path…including the three running head-first into it.

The 5th Anniversary Edition of the debut trilogy from the author of the critically acclaimed The Wolf of Oren-yaro rediscovers the epic fantasy adventure that pits old legacies against a necromancer’s beast in a tale praised for its complex narrative, character development, rich worldbuilding, and a riveting conclusion.

bookshop.org

Content Warnings: Alcoholism, loss of loved ones, violence, death, blood/gore, abuse, confinement, child sacrifice, attempted rape, sexual assault, and sexism.


Having read, and loved, Villoso’s CHRONICLES OF THE BITCH QUEEN trilogy I knew that I needed to read more of their work. When I found out that this series takes place in the same world, just at a different time period, I was ecstatic to jump back in…and it did not disappoint.

This is one of those fantasy novels that bounces between a lot of different perspectives and in the beginning a lot of those narratives might not make sense but by the end we get to see how connected they all are. I absolutely love stories like this, when you really have to pay attention to see the whole picture by the end. Though I still need to read books two and three I have a feeling that this series is going to be another one that I adore re-reading.

The two main narratives that I enjoyed, and I feel like we get the most from, are that of Sume and Keifer. Sume, at the start is a sixteen year old, small town girl, who yearns for adventure like her father and older brother have been part of. Keifer, though still young himself, at nineteen, has had a rough life filled with pain that has left him jaded in some ways while still remaining very naive in others.

I love how Villoso always writes characters that are shades of gray, not one could ever be considered fully good or fully evil. The best part is, though certain characters I may love now…who knows what could happen between now and the end of book three that could have me changing my mind. I’m so glad that I was able to get my hands on this book and I can’t wait to read the other two!


The Reader by: Traci Chee

An instant New York Times Bestseller, this is a stunning debut set in a world where reading is unheard-of. Perfect for fans of Inkheart and Shadow and Bone

Finalist for the Kirkus Prize and nominated for the Goodreads Choice Award

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book–a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed–and punish the people responsible.

storygraph.com

Content Warnings: Violence, blood/gore, torture, murder, PTSD, child soldiers, death of loved ones, and mention of cannibalism.



This is one of those books that just gets better each time you read it. The first time I read this book I honestly didn’t know what I was getting into. Traci has created such a magical world that you can’t help wanting to fully explore.

In this first book, we’re introduced to a bunch of different characters, as well as jumping between a bunch of different perspectives. Altogether, we bounce between seven different people’s perspectives/stories in book one.

Our main journey, that we follow, is Sefia’s as she’s thrust into the world alone and must find answers that she didn’t know she needed. When the story first begins Sefia is 14, close to 15, and as we are closer to the end of the book she is 16. Sefia has lost everyone she’s ever cared about and is determined to hunt those that hunt her in order to get answers and revenge for all that she’s lost.

Along her journey Sefia meets, and frees, Archer a young man who was taken as a child, scarred, and forced to fight other young boys to the death. The trauma of being forced to murder, and then being locked in a box for extended periods of time, caused Archer to not only forget his past but also to become mute. After Sefia sets him free, unaware of who he is or where he’s from, Archer decides to follow Sefia and help her get answers from, and revenge on, those that have wronged them.

As we draw closer, to the end of the book, some of the perspectives/stories start to connect. When I first read this book, I struggled to see why there were so many different stories being told, and so many perspectives being switched too. Upon this re-read, I’m in even more awe of the way Traci has woven, and connected, all these stories together. Traci truly is an amazing storyteller.

Fun things you’ll find within these pages are…A world without a written language, pirates, war themes, secret societies, cannibals, magic, prophecies, and so much more.

This is definitely a story that you’ll want to re-read so you can see the breadcrumbs of how all the different stories are connected. Having read this book three times now…I’m still in awe of how Traci crafted this book and that THIS was her debut novel. Such a fantastic fantasy world that I love to immerse myself in.

8/2/20
Not going to lie…this book took me a bit to get into (like 150 pages *nervous laugh*)…but once I did…I COULDN’T PUT IT DOWN! I’m not used to reading a book that switches between a bunch of different viewpoints, so that threw me off a bit, and it’s so mysterious…just giving you little bits of information at a time…amazing story though. I’m so glad I bought the entire trilogy so I don’t have to wait to start book 2!


In the Event of Love by: Courtney Kae


Releases: August 30th, 2022



I received an ARC through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Morgan Ross can plan world-class events, but she didn’t plan on returning to the hometown that broke her heart seven years ago—and re-discovering the girl of her dreams…

With her career as a Los Angeles event planner imploding after a tabloid blowup, Morgan Ross isn’t headed home for the holidays so much as in strategic retreat. Breathtaking mountain vistas, quirky townsfolk, and charming small businesses aside, her hometown of Fern Falls is built of one heartbreak on top of another…

Take her one-time best friend turned crush, Reed. The memory of their perfect, doomed first kiss is still fresh as new-fallen snow. Way fresher than the freezing mud Morgan ends up sprawled in on her very first day back, only to be hauled out via Rachel’s sexy new lumberjane muscles acquired from running her family tree farm.

When Morgan discovers that the Reeds’ struggling tree farm is the only thing standing between Fern Falls and corporate greed destroying the whole town’s livelihood, she decides she can put heartbreak aside to save the farm by planning her best fundraiser yet. She has all the inspiration for a spectacular event: delicious vanilla lattes, acoustic guitars under majestic pines, a cozy barn surrounded by brilliant stars. But she and Rachel will ABSOLUTELY NOT have a heartwarming holiday happy ending. That would be as unprofessional as it is unlikely. Right?

storygraph.com

Content Warnings: Loss of parent due to cancer and an alcoholic family member.


Formula wise this book has a lot of tropes, and themes, that I love, we have childhood BFFs with a second chance at romance, set in a small town at Christmas…and yet I didn’t love this book like I thought I would.

This book is set entirely from the perspective of Morgan Ross…who I found to be really unlikeable and narcissistic. Understandably when Morgan originally left home she was young and immature but it felt like she didn’t really do any emotional growth during the seven years she was away. If we’d gotten Rachel’s POV, as well, maybe I could have connected to her perspective, and it would have helped me understand why everyone so readily forgave Morgan’s behavior.

I wish more time would have been spent on Morgan self-reflecting and perhaps getting therapy to help her work through the trauma she still let’s affect her relationships…instead of so much time having Morgan blame everyone else for the problems she’s faced. With the lack of time spent on self-reflection, although this book ends with a seemingly HEA, it really just feels like an HFN. I don’t feel like the story showed growth in Morgan, in a way that would lead me to believe she won’t self-sabotage again…and that makes me so sad.

When I originally read the summary of this book I was so excited to read a sapphic romance, between two estranged childhood best friends, and watch a second chance romance occur in a small town during the holiday season…sadly this book just didn’t hit me in the feels like I thought it would. The flashbacks and stories told to Morgan, by her father and old boss, gave me the warm fuzzy feelings I was looking for but the overall story just fell flat for me.


The Curse of a Faeblood by: M.K. Lorber

THE FAEBLOOD SERIES BOOK 1

What happens when a human falls in love with a Faeblood?

An orphaned Faeblood raised in isolation, all Ember wants is to fulfill her childhood wish of finding others who share her gift, her curse. But when forced on the run after the murder of her mother, she struggles to survive without the only family she’s ever known.

In the harsh territories, life favors those with strong bodies able to fulfill the annual tithe — men like Gavyn, elite fighter and head trainer. As the right hand to the village’s cunning leader, he earns a hardened reputation creating a brotherhood he’ll defend to the death.

At first glance, the Kingdom of Morvak seems like a prosperous mountain realm. But the greedy ruling Faeblood are in constant fervor to assert their control over the human populace. For generations, the divide between the peasant class and the magical nobility has been absolute.

Until a Faeblood emerges outside the Castle walls and threatens the delicate balance of power.

As Ember and Gavyn risk their lives to save their loved ones, they must decide if embracing the passion smoldering between them is worth the heartache it brings to their found family.

Perfect for those who crave spice in their adventures, The Curse of a Faeblood is Gavyn and Ember’s story — featuring a grumpy hero, a sunshiny heroine, and a steamy happily-ever-after.

amazon.com

I received a finished copy of this book, through Best of Booktok, in exchange for an honest review.



Content Warnings: Blood/gore, violence, murder, racism, classism, loss of loved ones, and detailed sexual scenes.


I stumbled onto the summary of this book when I got an email from BestofBooktok.com and was instantly intrigued. Since I was sent a free physical copy, to annotate to my heart’s content, I went ahead and read it on KU first and then annotated through my physical copy. I really love having my highlights posted on Goodreads, so if I have a book that also has a KU option, or it’s readily available on the Libby app, I’ll go ahead and read the digital version first. One of the reasons I like to do this is convenience, if it’s a thicker book and I need to run errands I can leave the book at home and pull the e-book up on my phone.

As a sucker for main character evolutions, I LOVED watching Ember go from a scared wanderer, taught that relationships cause complications and she needed to always be moving, to someone who found a home and a new family that loved and accepted her. Watching her learn to trust in herself, and others, as well as finding her own strength, both magically and physically, had me cheering for her throughout the book.

We also watch Gavyn, someone who’s always been made to feel like, outside of his brothers and sisters, no one would ever want to be with him for more than a few nights. Watching Gavyn go from a gruff, and VERY grumpy, man to someone who finally feels like maybe he deserves a HEA with someone who shines brightly…had me wanting to squish his cheeks and give him a hug.

Ember was taught to only be loyal to and protect herself…Gavyn was taught to only protect and be loyal to his siblings…but together they learn to see the value in themselves, as well as each other…and maybe the risk is worth the reward of opening up to each other.

I enjoyed Ember and Gavyn’s love story so much and cannot wait until next April when we get another book, and another couple’s love story, in this series. Having enjoyed the lore, and characters we met, in book one I’m excited to see how it expands in book two.


A Galaxy Next Door Vol 1 by: Gido Amagakure

Released: April 26th, 2022

I received an ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Ever since their father died, Ichiro Kuga has struggled to support his two younger siblings on nothing but a small inheritance and his passion for drawing manga. But it’s becoming harder to keep up with his growing responsibilities and deadlines, especially after his last two assistants quit to follow their dreams. Just as he’s nearing his breaking point, the beautiful and scarily competent Shiori Goshiki applies to become his new assistant. But there’s something almost otherworldly about Goshiki, and soon Kuga finds his reality turned upside down when she suddenly declares them engaged to marry!

storygraph.com

I stumbled on the summary of this book on Netgalley and knew I needed to give it a read! After losing his father Ichiro works hard, as a manga author, to provide for his two younger siblings and ensure they’re well taken care of. Life can get a little hectic trying to balance the responsibilities he faces as an older brother, as well as an artist with deadlines but Ichigo is determined to provide for his family and still pursue his dreams of being a successful manga author.

Though the loss of Ichigo’s father is discussed, overall, this is a very sweet and light-hearted read that had me giggling in joy and secondhand embarrassment.

Shiori and Ichigo are so adorable and somewhat socially awkward, Shiori because she’s not from our planet, and Ichigo because he’s more introverted and isolated due to all his responsibilities. From start to finish both characters had me cracking up and cheering them on.

Another thing I loved was that the author included some translation information in the back, in case anyone’s newer to Japanese culture. I also found out there’s an actual name, in Japan, for a common trope I adore [at least in media lol]…the trope is called: kabedon and it’s when one character slams their hand against a wall trapping the other character. So many Jdramas, and Kdramas, I’ve watched have had me squeeing, in fangirl, when the main love interest does this to the hero/heroine.

I’m so glad I stumbled onto the summary of this book and I cannot wait until more volumes are translated to English!


Beasts Made of Night by: Tochi Onyebuchi

Black Panther meets Nnedi Okorafor’s Akata Witch in Beasts Made of Night, the first book in an epic fantasy duology.

In the walled city of Kos, corrupt mages can magically call forth sin from a sinner in the form of sin-beasts–lethal creatures spawned from feelings of guilt. Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.

When Taj is called to eat a sin of a member of the royal family, he’s suddenly thrust into the center of a dark conspiracy to destroy Kos. Now Taj must fight to save the princess that he loves–and his own life.

Debut author Tochi Onyebuchi delivers an unforgettable series opener that powerfully explores the true meaning of justice and guilt. Packed with dark magic and thrilling action, Beasts Made of Night is a gritty Nigerian-influenced fantasy perfect for fans of Paolo Bacigalupi and Nnedi Okorafor.

storygraph.com

Content Warnings: Violence, blood/gore, murder, racism, classism, oppression, drug use, loss of loved ones, and police brutality. Mention of forced sterilization and abandonment.


A few years ago, when I first joined Booktok, I saw a lot of people hyping this book up. And yet, like so many books I’ve bought, I placed it on my shelves and forgot about it. Having joined the #ReadYourOwnAdventure Tiktok readathon I’ve been looking through my bookshelves to see what books would fit the prompt I have. As this book is a Nigerian-influenced fantasy…it fit my “Non-Western Inspired World” prompt perfectly.

I found the lore in this book completely fascinating. Imagine a world where any sin you had could be extracted and taken into someone else. Instead of being constantly weighed down by the guilt of your own sins, you could simply have it removed and placed on a complete stranger. Or imagine being that aki [sin-eater] and as soon as signs appeared that you possessed the power of a sin-eater you were cast out of your home and community and forced to take on the sins of strangers in order to have money to survive?

While I loved the lore within this book I had trouble believing in the romantic subplot that was introduced between Taj and the princess. Can feelings develop after merely seeing someone you find attractive or having a short conversation with them? Of course, but the level and speed at which Taj develops feelings for the princess just didn’t fit for me. I also felt like they introduced a lot of characters, to Taj, but didn’t really give them any depth or story for us to feel a true connection to them.

Although the lore was fascinating, and I would love to read more about it, the way the rest of the story felt very flat to me…I’m not sure if I’ll pick up the next book to read. The beginning of this book felt like it had a good speed, introducing us to Taj as well as the lore, but the romance subplot didn’t feel fully fleshed out and the ending felt extremely rushed and forced. I feel like if they’d allowed this book to be 100-200 pages longer they could have fleshed out so much more of the story and perhaps then it all would have fit well together.


The Midnight Star by: Marie Lu


The Young Elite Review [Book 1]

The Rose Society Review [Book 2]

The thrilling finale to the New York Times bestselling Young Elites series from “hit factory” Marie Lu

#1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu concludes Adelina’s story with this haunting and hypnotizing final installment to the Young Elites series.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained. When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest–though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

storygraph.com

Content Warnings:
[Mostly pulled from the TriggerWarningDatabase.com with a few additions from me]

  • Child sex work
  • Hallucinations & delusions
  • Murder & attempted murder
  • Torture
  • Drowning
  • Forced conscription
  • War & rebellion themes
  • Animal death
  • Loss of loved ones [on page]
  • Self-harm, suicidal ideations, and suicide attempt [on page]

In this final installment, though we mostly see things through Adelina’s eyes, we bounce between six different perspectives as they face a new challenge, that will require them to work together. What will it take for the different Elite to put their past behind them as they head towards a threat that affects them all?

Having loved seeing Adelina grow from a broken and scared young girl to a conquering Queen…I was extremely nervous to read this book. Fantasy series are notorious for emotionally destroying me in their final installment…but I needed to see how this story ended. I found myself cuddled in bed as this book repeatedly had me crying.

There were a few things that happened, in book two, that I thought would be explained further in this book but sadly weren’t mentioned. I’m wondering if they were meant to be explored more but were forgotten? Although I LOVED having most of the story about Adelina I do wish all of the books would have given us a little more history and story to each of the other characters we follow.

Of course, I had a completely unrealistic hope for how this book would end…which didn’t come to pass but I was left still happy with how Lu decided to end it. I feel like I’m still processing so I may have more to add later, you know how those “late-night about to fall asleep” thoughts hit, but for now I’ll that’s all I’ve got. A YA trilogy with interesting world-building and complex characters…I’ll definitely be re-reading this series in the future.


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