Letters by Cinderlight: A Tale of Cinderella (HighTower Fairytales) by Jacque Stevens

Book Cover

Publisher: sjacquebooks

Date of publication: May 20th, 2021

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: HighTower Fairytales

Winter Falls: A Tale of the Snow Queen—Book 1 (Review here)

Cry Wolf: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast—Book 2

Lone Wolf: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast—Book 3

Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast—Book 4

Between Dog and Wolf: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast—Book 5

Wolves at Bay: A Tale of Beauty and the Beast—Book 6

Depths—Book 7

Graves: A Tale of the Little Mermaid—Book 8

Storms—Book 9

Robin’s Hood: A Tale of Sherwood Forest—Book 10

Marian’s Man: A Tale of Sherwood Forest—Book 11

Lion’s Heart: A Tale of Sherwood Forest—Book 12

Letters by Cinderlight: A Tale of Cinderella—Book 13

Wishes by Starlight: A Tale of Cinderella—Book 14 (expected publication date: June 17th, 2021)

Purchase Links: Amazon

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Got Book From: Publisher

Trigger Warning: Child Abuse, Bullying


I, Elya Pavlovna, am a horribly wicked and unfortunate girl.

After her governess is fired for teaching her to read, Elya writes in a secret journal to continue her lessons on her own. Though, as an unwanted scullery maid, she doubts she will ever have much to say.

But when a charming stranger answers her private messages, Elya’s world turns upside down. He calls her sweet. He calls her strong. He challenges her to come to a palace celebration and leave her abusive past behind.

Each small push reveals more risks and hidden heartache. Will the magic of their words be enough to rewrite their story together, or will it all fade away at midnight?

If you like inspirational heroines, unique love stories, and untrustworthy fae, this romantic fantasy is for you! One-click now to start the magic, romance, and heart-wrenching emotional journey!

Letters by Cinderlight is a twist on the Cinderella story based in Slavic mythology and full of magical fairies with stories of their own.


First Line:

The story I have to tell is a sad one, but it is also a mystery.

Letters by Cinderlight: A Tale of Cinderella by Jacque Stevens

Review:

I am not one to like fairy tale retellings, and I do not go out of my way to read books that do so. I find that most retellings are boring. So, when I read the blurb for Letters by Cinderlight, I almost decided not to review it. But there was something about the blurb that caught my interest. I am glad I chose to review Letters by Cinderlight. It is one of the more imaginative fairytale retellings that I have read.

I usually don’t do this, but I want to give a heads up on possible triggers. Child abuse is the big one here. Elya is abused in every way except sexually. While most of the abuse scenes are not graphic, the scene where Elya is deliberately burnt in the face by her stepmother is. It was a scene where not only could I feel Elya’s pain, but I could hear her screams and smell the flesh burning. It did trigger me, but I could get through my trigger and continue reading the book.

The other trigger in the book is bullying. Elya is bullied horribly by her stepsisters. There is name-calling, a song that they would sing to her, and they did everything and anything to get her in trouble. They weren’t as graphic as the child abuse scenes, but they could still trigger someone.

Letters by Cinderlight did take a couple of chapters for the storyline to get going. But once it did, it moved fast. There was minimal lag (mainly after Lady Mother burnt Elya’s dress and before Grandmother Lada appeared), but it didn’t take away from the storyline.

I liked that the author incorporated Slavic mythology into the book. There was talk of rusalkas (one talked to Elya at various points in the book) and domovoy. Lada, who is spoken of at the beginning of the book and shows up towards the end, is the Slavic goddess of Spring. It made the book so much more interesting to read.

I loved Charming!! He was unwavering in his support for Elya (even when she was rude to him), and he tried so hard to bolster her self-esteem up. He made Elya rethink why she was being treated the way she was. He even changed the invites so scullery maids would be invited to the ball. I didn’t see him falling in love with Elya until after telling him about what her stepmother did. His response was telling, as was his letter at the end of the book.

Letters by Cinderlight is a very clean book. There is kissing, but I expected it between Charming and Elya.

The end of Letters by Cinderlight drove me nuts. I understood why Elya did what she did. She was scared. She had zero self-esteem and truly believed that Charming couldn’t love someone like her. It was one of the saddest scenes that I have read. That isn’t what drove me nuts. What drove me nuts is that the book ended on a flipping cliffhanger. I HATE cliffhangers!!!


Letters by Cinderlight was an interesting retelling of Cinderella. It was engaging and fast-moving. This is a book that I would read again.

I would recommend Letters by Cinderlight for anyone over the age of 16. This is a clean book with only two kissing scenes towards the end of the book. But there are disturbing scenes of child abuse, with two graphic scenes involving Elya, her Lady Mother, and a candle. There are also scenes of bullying.

Blog Tour: The Dark Lord Clementine by Sarah Jean Horwitz

Book Cover

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Date of publication: October 1st, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade, Children’s Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | B&N | WorldCat

Format Read: Unedited ARC

Received: Publisher

Trigger Warnings: None


Goodreads Synopsis:

The new face of big evil is a little . . . small.

Dastardly deeds aren’t exactly the first things that come to mind when one hears the name “Clementine,” but as the sole heir of the infamous Dark Lord Elithor, twelve-year-old Clementine Morcerous has been groomed since birth to be the best (worst?) Evil Overlord she can be. But everything changes the day the Dark Lord Elithor is cursed by a mysterious rival.

Now, Clementine must not only search for a way to break the curse, but also take on the full responsibilities of the Dark Lord. As Clementine forms her first friendships, discovers more about her own magic than she ever dared to explore, and is called upon to break her father’s code of good and evil, she starts to question the very life she’s been fighting for. What if the Dark Lord Clementine doesn’t want to be dark after all?


Review:

I am always on the lookout for books that my 13-year-old can read. My son is a voracious reader and will read anything that I give him. So, when I saw The Dark Lord Clementine’s blurb, the book caught my interest. I thought to myself: “My son would like this, but I need to read the book first.” I am glad that I did because The Dark Lord Clementine was a great read!!

The Dark Lord Clementine is a story about a girl named Clementine. She lives in a dilapidated castle with her Dark Lord father. One day, Clementine notices her father is missing his nose. That is when she finds out that the Whittle Witch has cursed him. Clementine takes it upon herself to try and find a cure for the curse. She also tries to assume the Dark Lord duties that her father cannot do. With the Whittle Witch waiting to take over the castle, Clementine is running out of time. Can she save her father?

The plotline for The Dark Lord Clementine was evenly paced. The flow of the book was perfect. It wasn’t too fast or too slow. There was no lag in the book or dropped plotlines either, which I enjoyed.

I loved Clementine. She was a timid little girl at the beginning of the book. But as the book went on, I could see her character growth. By the end of the book, she became this confident young woman. I loved it!!

I did feel bad for Clementine. She didn’t have any friends. Well, human friends. She did have the nightmares and the black sheep for company. But other than that, nothing. She longed for friends, even if she wouldn’t admit it to herself. Hiding in the shadows and watching the villagers play said so much. So, when Sebastian and then Darka befriended her, I was happy. Clementine needed it.

I didn’t care for Darka at the beginning of the book. I wouldn’t say I liked that she befriended Clementine to gain favor and hunt in the woods around the castle. I didn’t particularly appreciate that she was hunting unicorns. But I liked that her story had more depth to it. When it was revealed, I started to pity her. But it was Darka’s actions at the end of the book that made me love her!!!

I loved the humor in the book. The Gricken is the most notable one. When Clementine was younger, she tried to turn a frog into a chicken. Unfortunately (and hilariously), the spell backfired, and she turned her family grimoire into it. If she wants to learn a spell, she has to wait for the Gricken to lay an egg. There is a hilarious scene where Clementine pleads with the Gricken to lay an egg. I laughed so hard; I had tears in my eyes.

The end of The Dark Lord Clementine was perfect. I am not going to get into it because of major spoilers. I will say that what Clementine did was brave. The way the book ended made me wonder if there was going to be a book 2.

Ghost Detective (Myron Vale Investigations Series: Book 1) by Scott William Carter

Ghost Detective (Myron Vale Investigations, #1)

Publisher: Flying Raven Press

Date of publication: June 19th, 2013

Genre: Mystery, Paranormal, Fantasy, Ghosts, Urban Fantasy, Thriller, Horror, Paranormal Mystery, Supernatural

Series: Myron Vale Investigations

The Haunted Breadbox—Book 0.5

Ghost Detective—Book 1

The Ghost Who Said Goodbye—Book 2

The Ghost, the Girl, and the Gold—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Alibris | IndieBound | Audible | Kobo | Better World Books

Trigger Warning: Death, Drug and Alcohol Use

Goodreads Synopsis:

Everybody dies. Nobody leaves … Award-winning author Scott William Carter returns with his tenth novel, a spellbinding tale of a man who bridges both sides of the great divide.

After narrowly surviving a near-fatal shooting, Portland detective Myron Vale wakes with a bullet still lodged in his brain, a headache to end all headaches, and a terrible side effect that radically transforms his world for the worse: He sees ghosts. Lots of them.

By some estimates, a hundred billion people have lived and died before anyone alive today was even born. For Myron, they’re all still here. That’s not even his biggest problem. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t tell the living from the dead.

Despite this, Myron manages to piece together something of a life as a private investigator specializing in helping people on both sides of the great divide–until a stunning blonde beauty walks into his office needing help finding her husband. Myron wants no part of the case until he sees the man’s picture … and instantly his carefully reconstructed life begins to unravel.


First Line:

The first time I met Karen Thorne, I’d just clicked yes on two tickets to Honolulu for the holidays.

ghost detective by scott william carter

Synopsis Overview:

Ghost Detective had an exciting and somewhat sad plotline. Myron Vale, a Portland Oregon detective, was shot in the head during a robbery. That left him with an interesting side effect after he woke up from his coma. He can see and talk to ghosts. After a bit of an adjustment period, Myron has made peace with his unusual ability. He has also become a PI for the ghosts (use your imagination).

Myron agrees to take on Karen Thorne’s case when she asks him to look into her death and check on her husband. Hoping that her case would be open and shut, Myron is in for a surprise when he sees who her husband is. But obstacles are being thrown in his way by both the living and the dead. But with the help of his deceased wife and with the help of his former partner, Myron is determined to find out if Karen’s death was accidental and find where her husband is.


I enjoyed reading Ghost Detective. I liked that the author took a paranormal mystery and added a different spin to it. There were some parts (and characters) that I didn’t like, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of reading the book.

The book itself was well written with a fast-moving plotline. There were some predictable elements to the book, but those happened mainly at the end of the book. There was a bit of lag in the middle, but the book recovered quickly.

The mystery angel of Ghost Detective was well written. The author was able to keep me guessing at who killed Karen and the motive (which was silly when revealed). Also, Myron’s shooting was tied into that mystery. I won’t tell how but it made that angel very interesting.

There were some things I didn’t like about Ghost Detective. I was not too fond of Billie (Myron’s dead wife), and she drove me batshit crazy for most of the book. I figured out her secret, well, most of it, early on. I felt that she was keeping Myron from moving on with his life. Plus, she knew more about his investigation than what she was letting on, and that drove me CRAZY!!!

I would recommend this book to anyone over the age of 16. It is a clean book (no sex or kissing). There are some scenes with ghosts who died in gruesome ways (scalping, shot, drowned are a few examples).


Do you like paranormal mysteries? If you do, what are your favorites? Let me know!!!

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy: Book 1) by Laura Sebastian

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy, #1)

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Date of Publication: April 24th 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy

Ash Princess-Book 1

Lady Smoke-Book 2

Ember Queen-Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBoooks | Alibris | Powells | IndieBound | Indigo | Audible

Format read: eBook

Got Book From: Library (via OverDrive)

Trigger Warning: Violence, child abuse (one very graphic scene towards the end of the book)

Goodreads Synopsis:

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.


First Line:

The last person who called me by my true name was my mother, with her dying breath.

Ash Princess by laura sebastian

My Initial First Impressions of Ash Princess

Ash Princess has been on my radar for a while. I had requested it from NetGalley before it was published and got declined. I was pretty irritated by that since I had been reading posts from other bloggers about how good it was. Then, a couple of months ago, a lightbulb went off in my head. Why don’t I use the LIBRARY and see if they have it through Overdrive? So, that’s what I did, and after a month’s hold, I was able to get my digital fingers on Ash Princess.

I started Ash Princess by crying. Yes, crying. I sobbed my way through the prologue and the first few chapters. What Theodosia was forced to go through broke my heart. It also made me want to jump into the book and beat the living out of the Theryn and the Kaiser. When Theodosia was forced to kill her father while he was singing her a freaking lullaby, I lost it. I had to put my Kindle down and let myself cry it out.

I was suspect at Cress and Theo’s friendship from the beginning. Yes, I was that cynical person who couldn’t quite believe that the Kaiser’s executioner allowed his daughter to be besties with the deposed Queen of the land they had just taken over. My suspicions were somewhat confirmed when Cress became jealous when the Prinz started paying attention to Theodosia.

Speaking of the Prinz (or Soren), I couldn’t help but be cynical over his and Theo’s relationship evolved. He watched her being abused (whipped and beaten). He must have known of his father’s plans for Theodosia. Heck, I knew about them from the beginning. The Kaiser wasn’t subtle. Even the Kaiserina knew….smh. To have a romance, all of a sudden blossom between Soren and Theodosia, didn’t feel right to me. I mean, I knew it had to happen, just like I knew that there was going to be a triangle (Blaise, Theodosia, and Soren). It doesn’t mean that I had to like it.

Blaise, Heron, and Art showing up towards the end of the first half of the book was interesting. I say interesting because they were all escaped slaves they were all marked by the mines in some way. They were also dedicated to overthrowing the Kaiser and restoring Theo to her rightful place as Queen. I wouldn’t say I liked Art’s attitude towards Theo during this part of the book. She seemed to think that Theo lived this pampered life while her countrymen toiled. It annoyed me that Art would talk to her Queen that way.

The first half of Ash Princess flew by for me. The author did a great job of keeping my attention to the plot. There was no needless subplots or secondary characters cluttering things up, which I enjoyed.


Mid-book Impressions

As much as I loved the first half of Ash Princess, I thought the middle of the book was a little boring. I understand that the groundwork had to be laid for Theo and her group’s plan to work. It still bored me. I stopped reading the book for a couple of days because I got bored. But, once I got over that small bump, the book did pick up speed.

Theo and her group had a well thought out plan that Theo kept waffling on. Kill the Theryn, Cress, and Soren. Theo was OK with killing the Theryn. I mean, he was the one who slit her mother’s throat while her six-year-old self watched. But killing Cress, who was innocent, and Soren, who she was falling for, seemed like overkill.

Cress and Theo’s friendship did falter in the middle of the book. I was expecting it, primarily since Theo was tasked with killing the Theryn and Cress. But it still hurt to read. Cress was an innocent, and in Theo’s mind, shouldn’t be touched. I will say, though, I liked the 180 that Cress did towards the end of the book’s middle. But even then, Cress was looking out for Theo.

I was a little iffy on Soren and Theo’s romance. It was too sudden (like I said above). To go from him being apathetic to loving her within a couple of weeks made me go “meh.” It screamed of Instalove. Honestly, I thought that Theo was too emotionally damaged (from the abuse) even to form those kinds of attachments. But she did. That night on Soren’s boat was sweet, and it did show a different side of Soren then what I expected.

Blaise, Heron, and Art’s characters became a little more fleshed out. I loved Heron. He was a gentle giant who was a badass. I did feel bad when he explained his backstory. To lose his love to mine madness made my heart hurt. Art was still a raving bitch, but even that was explained. I felt that there was more to her character than what the author was letting on.


End of Book Impressions:

The end of Ash Princess was not what I thought it was going to be. A couple of twists in the plotline made me go “Huh” and “No way.” The author did an excellent job of wrapping up plotlines and setting new ones in motion.

I will warn you all that there is a very graphic scene where the Theryn whips Theo in front of the Kaiser and his court. It was a brutal scene to read. I was crying by the end of it. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Theo was ready to do whatever she could to free her people.

Cress and Theo’s friendship took a sudden and drastic turn at the end of the book. I did not blame Cress or Theo for how they felt. I mean, Theo did try to kill Cress, and instead, something else happened. I do think that if Theo acted differently instead of rubbing what happened in Cress’s face, maybe things would have been different? Who knows. All I know is that Theo’s actions created Cress, and Theo will have to do something about her.

I will say that Soren did come through for Theo after she was imprisoned. I figured that Blaise, Heron, and Art would be the ones to rescue her. So when Soren appeared, I was surprised. I wasn’t surprised at who Theo let loose in the dungeons, nor was I surprised at what was said to her. And I wasn’t surprised when Theo did what she did after the escape.

There was one twist in the plot that was left for last. I was taken by surprise, as was Theo. I couldn’t even begin to imagine what it was like for her to have that surprise sprung on her. Poor Art did try to tell her but was always cut off.

Like I said above, individual storylines were wrapped up, and new ones were started at the end of the book. There was enough not written for me to want to read book 2. I need to see what will happen to Theo, Soren, and everyone else in the book.


My Overall Thoughts on Ash Princess

I enjoyed reading Ash Princess. It was a fast read with complex characters. Theo was incredibly strong, and she was lucky to have people who were willing to help her. Some scenes made me uncomfortable (the implied rape of Art and the death of her younger brother was one of them). I didn’t get Theo and Soren’s sudden romantic relationship, but I got why the author had it happen so suddenly.

I would recommend Ash Princess to anyone over the age of 21. There is violence, implied rape, slavery, and child abuse (implied and otherwise).

They Mostly Come Out at Night (Yarnsworld: Book 1) by Benedict Patrick

They Mostly Come Out at Night (Yarnsworld, #1)

Publisher: One More Page

Date of publication: June 16th, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Horror, Dark Fantasy

Series: Yarnsworld

They Mostly Come Out at Night—Book 1

Where the Water Turns Black—Book 2

Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords—Book 3

From the Shadows of the Owl Queen’s Court—Book 4

To Dream and Die as a Taniwha Girl—Book 5

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | Audible | Kobo | Better World Books

Format Read: eBook

Purchase From: Amazon as Free eBook (not free now)

Trigger Warning: Violence

Goodreads synopsis:

He locked himself away from the dark, but in the Magpie King’s forest nowhere is safe…

Lonan is an outcast, accused of letting the monsters that stalk the night into the homes of his fellow villagers. Now, he will not rest until he wins back the heart of his childhood love and reclaims the life that was stolen from him. However, locked safely in his cellar at night, in his dreams Lonan finds himself looking through the eyes of a young prince…

Adahy has a destiny, and it terrifies him. How can he hope to live up to the legend of the Magpie King, to become the supernatural protector of the forest and defender of his people? But when the forest is invaded by an inhuman force, Adahy must rise to this challenge or let the Wolves destroy his people.

Watching these events unfold in his sleep, Lonan must do what he can to protect his village from this new threat. He is the only person who can keep his loved ones from being stolen away after dark, and to do so he will have to earn back their trust or watch the monsters kill everyone that he holds dear.

They Mostly Come Out At Night is a Dark Fantasy novel from Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series. If you like Neil Gaiman and Patrick Rothfuss then you will love this captivating, dangerous world in which ordinary people struggle to find their place in a land ruled by stories.

Start reading today to discover this epic tale of dreams, fables and monsters!


First Line:

Splintered wood, teeth and claws, blood in the night.

They Mostly Come Out at Night by Benedict Patrick

Beginning of Book Impressions:

I was pretty excited to read They Mostly Come Out at Night. Honestly, this has been the most exciting that I have been reading a book in a long time. I couldn’t wait to see what this book would be about. You know what? I wasn’t disappointed!! They Mostly Come Out at Night ended up being what I thought it would be and then some.

The book started fast and kept up the pace until the middle of the book. It took me a couple of hours to get through the first half of the book. That is a good thing seeing that I read before bed. I had to make myself stop reading because I needed to sleep.

Several things are revealed in the first half of the book. I am going to bullet point them with brief explanations. If I wrote paragraphs, this review could get lengthy, and we wouldn’t want that, would we!!

  1. The main characters. Lonan, the village outcast, and Adahy, the heir to The Magpie King’s throne. Out of the two, I liked Lonan the most. Even though the village shunned him, he was a good person. Plus, he was the only person who knew who and what Jareth Quarry was. Adahy, I liked him, but I thought he was weak and not fit to take over The Magpie King’s role.
  2. The Knacks. Everyone in Lonan’s village had a Knack. Everyone, except Lonan. It was another blow and another thing for people to taunt him over.
  3. Adahy’s relationship with Maedoc. Maedoc was Adahy’s whipping boy. If you don’t know what a whipping boy was, click here. To me, it was a warped relationship, but Adahy honestly thought that Maedoc was his friend.
  4. The folklore (fairy tales) that were included instead of regular paragraphs. It gave so much background into The Magpie King and the different Animals that certain groups of people took their names from (Mouse, Owl, Wolf). I liked that the author gave the reader a chance to make up their mind on how much was right with the folk tales.

By the end of the beginning of the book, some details were starting to come out. Lonan wasn’t responsible for anything, and Adahy wasn’t ready to become King. I was still trying to figure out how Lonan and Adahy were connected but was coming up blank.


Mid-Book Impressions:

The pace of the book did not slow down during the middle of the book. It picked up. I was left on the edge of my seat during several scenes.

Again, there is so much going on in this book; I will bullet point it to keep it straight.

  1. Jareth’s campaign against Lonan starts to unravel, and Jareth’s Knack is revealed. Jareth’s hatred for Lonan is also disclosed. I wasn’t surprised at what was revealed. I was saddened, though.
  2. Adahy’s quest to become the next King Magpie. I thought it was nuts. I also thought that bringing Maedoc with him was, well, not well thought out.
  3. The introduction of The Pale Woman. Talk about someone who freaked me out!! A faceless woman who kept the flower that Adahy needed to become the Magpie King. My spidey sense started tingling because Mother Ogma had mentioned her in a previous chapter.
  4. Branwen gradually starting to talk to Lonan again and Jareth’s insane reaction to it. I got why he acted the way he did but still.
  5. The reveal of Lonan’s Knack. I wasn’t surprised at what it was, but I was still confused about how Lonan and Adahy were connected.
  6. Maedoc’s betrayal of Adahy. I should have seen it coming. But I didn’t, and it was a shocking way to end the middle of the book.
  7. There were more folk tales about The Magpie King. But there were also a couple of stories about The Mouse King. Those tales foreshadow what was going to happen between Maedoc and Adahy.

End of Book Impressions:

The end of the book was fantastic!!! I loved that They Mostly Come Out at Night kept up the blisteringly fast pace. There was a twist that I didn’t see coming and one that I did.

I liked how the author brought Adahy and Lonan’s stories together. Any confusion that I previously had gone away when their connection was explained. It made total sense.

The Jareth angle of the book was ended at the beginning of the end of the book. I loved seeing that he got what was coming to him (sorry, not sorry). I also liked that the villagers went out of their way to make things right with Lonan. The only thing that wasn’t resolved was Lonan’s relationship with his mother. I figured that she came around with the rest of the village.

I am not going to go into the rest of the book. All I will say is that Lonan became what he was meant to be. But that came at a high cost. That final scene with Mother Ogma broke my heart.


My Overall Thoughts on They Only Come Out at Night:

I enjoyed reading They Only Come Out at Night. The dual storylines with small chapters of folk tales kept my attention. The lore was fantastic and made me want to know more. The characters were well written, and the plotline was fast-moving. There was no lag.

I would recommend They Only Come Out at Night for anyone over 16. This is a clean book (no sex).

Through a Dragon’s Eyes (Chronicles of the Four: Book 1) by Marissa Farrar

Through A Dragon's Eyes: A Reverse Harem Fantasy (Chronicles of the Four Book 1) by [Marissa Farrar]

Publisher: Warwick House Press

Date of publication: April 24th, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Reverse Harem, Romance

Series: Chronicles of the Four

Through a Dragon’s Eyes—Book 1

With a Dragon’s Heart—Book 2

Into a Dragon’s Soul—Book 3

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | AbeBooks | Alibris | IndieBound| Walmart eBooks

Format Read: eBook

Purchased from: Amazon as a free Kindle book

Trigger Warning: None

Goodreads Synopsis:

A magic long forgotten.Four races divided.An epic journey.

She lost her brother, now will she lose her life?

Ever since the Treaty was signed after the Great War, one hundred and fifty years earlier, the separate races of Xantearos have been divided. Only every six months do a select group come together for the Passover—a time to trade much needed produce.

In the human city of Anthoinia, Dela Stonebridge has already lost her brother to The Choosing, and now it is her turn. The grueling journey across the mountains, through the Southern Pass, is always dangerous, but when magic and madness descends, she discovers herself exiled with the leaders of the three other races—the Elvish, Moerians and Norcs.

With the Treaty broken, they learn the secret to the unity of Xantearos lies in a magic long thought dead… that of the Dragonstone and the Dragonsayer.

Can they put their differences aside and work together to make their way back to their homelands? Or will they be walking into a war between each of their races?Get the first book in this brand new, fantasy, reverse harem series!


First Line:

Dela Stonebridge couldn’t take any more of her mother’s tears.

Through a Dragon’s Eyes by Marissa Farrar

Beginning of Book Impressions:

Through a Dragon’s Eyes starts with Dela (the female main character) chosen to be part of an expedition that takes place twice a year. This expedition helps restate a peace treaty with the other three races that humans share their lands with. It also helps give much-needed resources that the other races might need. The Treaty has been ongoing for 150 years and is required to keep The Treaty in place. Also, part of The Treaty is that magic is outlawed. It would help if you kept this in mind as you read the first half of the book. It is important.

I liked that the author chose to highlight each race before continuing the story with Dela. The races were the Norcs, the Moerians, the Elves, and the Humans. Each race was different. The Norcs lived high in the mountains, were massive, wore little clothing, rode mountain goats, and had bison pulling their carts of coal. The Moerians lived on the plains, were smaller than the Norcs and but bigger than the Elves, and rode their horses bareback. The Elves were slight, aged very slowly, were magic users, and rode stags. And then there were the humans. The humans walked, had oxen pulling their carts, and were smaller than the Elves and were weak. Another thing that set the other races apart was that the Norcs, Moerians, and Elves sent their leaders on these twice-yearly missions while the sent humans were varied (but no leaders). So, it would help if you also kept this in mind while reading the book.

The end of the beginning of the book is when Dela and her group set off to the meeting place. Several things happen to the group before they arrive. Put it this way, people were dropping like flies, and it was making the group nervous. Dela was also having lucid dreams about flying. Those dreams were getting more and more vivid the more time she spent on the road.


Mid-Book Impressions:

The middle of the book is when it started getting interesting. See, once the humans arrived at the meeting place, the shit hit the fan. I am going to use bullet points for this because writing would take forever.

  1. Warsga (the Norc) hears the humans coming. He openly and silently mocks them. Once he sees Dela, he is impressed with her. He is also the first one to see the danger in The Long White Cloud and urges everyone to get moving.
  2. Orergon (the Moerian) is the quiet one of the group. I really couldn’t get a feel for him except that he was somewhat of a badass. I mean, he was the ruler of ALL the tribes, and you don’t get there by being soft. He also saved Dela when they were running from The Long White Cloud.
  3. Vehel (the Elf) was the youngest (or oldest…depends on how you look at it) of the group. His own family hated him (didn’t say why but I figured it was because of him being able to use magic). He used magic to shield Warsga, Orergon, Dela, and himself from The Long White Cloud. Doing so broke The Treaty.
  4. The Long White Cloud battle. Ok, so I had a WTF was that moment while reading this part. This whole group didn’t stand a chance against it. Put it this way, it was like a blizzard on steroids, and that had demons things that couldn’t be killed living inside it. Yeah, frightening. I didn’t blame Warsga urging everyone to run. He knew what it was. Once it overtook the group, it was carnage except for our main characters. Vehel used magic to shield them, and when Warsga tried to cut his way out, he teleported everyone across the continent!!

The end of the middle of the book is when the group wakes up in the middle of nowhere. After taking some time to recover, the group decides to start walking to well; they don’t know where. That is when a…….murder hornet takes Dela. There was a name for it in the book, but I am calling it a murder hornet. She is paralyzed by it and brought to the burrow, leaving the boys frantic.

Surprisingly, for a reverse harem book, there is no sex. Zero. There was some flirting between Warsga (and a memorable scene where he wondered if he would fit inside Dela, which made me giggle a little). There was sexual tension all over the place, but no one acted on it. Honestly, with everything going sideways, there wasn’t time for Dela to have sex with anyone. It was a refreshing change of pace.


End of Book Impressions:

The end of the book starts with Dela’s dramatic rescue from the murder hornets. Vehel risked his life to get Dela out of there. But there was a small, teeny-tiny problem. Dela was paralyzed. So, the boys decided to continue their trek and try to find help.

They did find help. They found a Fae village surrounded by a protective barrier. The author’s version of the Fae was horrifying. They had tiny wings and sharp pointed teeth. The only reason the Fae decided to help Dela was because of her ring. I am not going to get into it was an exciting twist. The Fae also suggested Dela go to a mountain and see what is there. I wasn’t surprised by what was revealed. I figured it out when Dela was dreaming. But it was still exciting to read!!

The end of the book was a cliffhanger. I’m not too fond of cliffhangers, and this one wasn’t any different in my eyes. But it did its job and made me want to read the next book!!


My Overall Thoughts on Through a Dragon’s Eyes:

I enjoyed reading Through a Dragon’s Eyes. The story kept my attention, and I loved the lore. The author did a great job of not adding any unnecessary details to the book. The book was a fast read. What I enjoyed was that there was NO SEX!!!!

I would recommend Through a Dragon’s Eyes to anyone over 16. But that is this book only!!! I have a feeling the other books are 21+. It is a clean book with minimal violence. There is one kissing scene with Vehel and one scene where Dela and Warsga eye fuck each other.

Of Lords and Commoners (Lords and Commoners: Book 1) by Lynne Hill-Clark

Of Lords and Commoners: Book 1 (Lords and Commoners Series) by [Lynne Hill-Clark]
Of Lords and Commoners: Book 1 by Lynne Hill-Clark (Amazon cover)

Publisher: Hill, Clark, and Associates

Date of publication: June 21st, 2016

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | IndieBound

Series: Of Lords and Commoners

Of Lords and Commoners—Book 1

Of Prince and Dragons—Book 2

Of Gods and Goddesses—Book 3

Format read in: eBook

Goodreads synopsis:

Humans Have Always Had to Fight Plagues …

The only future Vallachia could have imagined, as well as her wonderfully simple life disappears when she finds herself in a struggle to figure out the rules of a strange new world.

She longs for her old life and the one she truly loves remains out of reach, as she embarks on an inconceivable journey.

Vallachia quickly finds herself on the wrong side of a brewing battle for vampire domination. Not knowing who to trust could have fatal consequences … for millions of people.


First Line:

We ran swiftly through the forest.

Of Lords and Commoners by Lynne Hill-Clark

First Impressions:

I am one of those people who’s impressions of books start with the covers. The cover of Of Lords and Commoners on Goodreads wasn’t much to look at. Black that faded to brown with a family crest under the title and gold words. It was very plain and didn’t give any clue about what the book was about. So visually, it was a nope for me. Fortunately, the blurb made me think twice about reading it.

Of Lords and Commoners is set in the Middle Ages. The first half of the book takes place in Vallachia’s village in the Carpathian Mountains. It doesn’t say precisely where but if I had to guess, Romania. Considering what I have read/know about the Carpathian Mountains, it was an excellent location for the first half of the book.

The book did get off to a slow and somewhat dull start. It was a struggle to get through the first couple of chapters. Once I got through them (once Lord Chastellain and Elijah arrived), the book picked up the pace.

I did feel bad for Vallachia. She was being forced into an impossible position: having to choose between Teller and Elijah. Teller was her childhood love. Elijah was the Lord’s son, who she was developing feelings for. But at the same time, I didn’t quite believe that she was allowed to choose who she was going to marry. It was the Middle Ages. Women didn’t get any say in anything. So for her father to have such a progressive view didn’t ring right to me.

The vampire angle of the book was interesting. I liked how the author stayed true to vampires’ fundamental myths and tweaked them a little bit. The author also added small things that made sense, like flying and swimming under the water. Oh, and the whole not being able to enter a church? Not happening in this book. Vallachia was able to enter several churches after being turned.

Speaking of Vallachia being turned, that was a pivotal scene in the book. Everything that happens from then on is connected to what Lord Chastellain did and what Elijah did (or in this case didn’t) do. I couldn’t believe what I was reading!! Of course, Vallachia’s relationship with her father, brother, best friend, and Teller took a significant turn.


Mid-Book Impressions:

Of Lords and Commoners hit some lag in the middle of the book. There was so much going on that the plotline started to stagnant. Fortunately, the author was able to breathe life back into the plot.

I felt terrible for Vallachia during this part of the book. She had to come to terms with being a vampire and getting involved in vampire politics. She also had to deal with her feeling for both Teller and Elijah. She didn’t have it easy at all.

I didn’t agree with Vallachia returning to her home village. I get that she had serious feelings for Teller, but she was protected with Elijah (safety in numbers). I also didn’t agree with her telling Teller that she was a vampire. His reaction was what I thought it would be. Honestly, it made me dislike him. Of course, then Lord Chastellain showed up and did what he did. That, in turn, forced Vallachia to turn Teller, who then did something unforgivable. But even that didn’t end Vallachia’s feelings for Teller. I did a considerable WTF when she still said she loved him. Seriously????

Interestingly, there was a subplot line about vampire rebellion that started in Constantinople. I wish the author had spent more time describing where the vampires live and even the city itself (there were a couple of well-written scenes, but it left me wanting more). It is that plotline that kept the book moving along. When Vallachia went to Denmark and then London (after she turned Teller), there was so much intrigue!!! There was also some LGBTQ+ representation in the book, which I enjoyed.


End of Book Impressions:

The plotline for Of Lord and Commoners worked itself out. There was new life breathed into the plotline by the increased attacks of the vampire revolution. That sent Vallachia, Elijah, and their friends on missions (for lack of a better word) to other countries to recruit allies. Because of that, I felt that the plotline picked up steam and was fast until the end of the book.

I wish that Teller had made an appearance. I was left wondering what was going on with him. Like Vallachia and her friends, I thought that he was behind the strange vampire-like sickness plaguing people. But that was proven wrong. He just poofed, and I wasn’t a fan of it.

I didn’t like how Vallachia’s brother died. Not going to get into it, but it was wrong!!! I was very frustrated at that.

The author did an excellent job of wrapping everything up by the end of the book. But she left enough unwrapped (the love triangle between Vallachia, Elijah, and Teller and the revolution) to read book 2.


My Overall Thoughts on Of Lords and Commoners:

I enjoyed reading Of Lords and Commoners. While the book was slow to start, did lag in the middle, and had the plotline stagnant at times, it managed to capture my attention. I liked the characters (except for Teller). I did think that it was a little progressive for the time it took place in (Middle Ages), but I soon forgot that. It was just an overall good YA book to read.

I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book. There is graphic violence. But it is a clean book. There is no sex and only a couple of kissing scenes.

The Recruit: Book One (The Recruit Series: Book 1) by Elizabeth Kelly


The Recruit: Book One (The Recruit Series 1) by [Elizabeth Kelly]

Publisher:

Date of publication: February 19th, 2014

Series: The Recruit

The Recruit: Book One

The Recruit: Book Two

The Recruit: Book Three

The Recruit: Book Four

The Recruit: Book Five

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Fantasy

Purchase Links: Walmart eBooks | Amazon

Format Read in: ebook

Goodreads Synopsis:

Hannah Torrington lives a perfectly normal and ordinary life until the night her sister is murdered by vampires.

Saved by a Lycan named Will and thrust into a world she never knew existed, Hannah is taken to a secret facility that trains men and women to hunt vampires.

Determined to take her revenge for her sister’s death, Hannah joins the recruit program. As she is pushed to the brink of physical and mental exhaustion by the intense training, she fights her forbidden attraction to her instructor Will and struggles to adjust to her new life.

Please Note: This is book one of a trilogy and contains a cliff-hanger ending.


First Impressions:

I wasn’t very impressed with The Recruit when I first started reading it. That first chapter made me think that this was going to be a hot and heavy romance between Will and Hannah with the hunter recruit program somewhat in the background. I did the one thing that I try not to do when reading books. I judged by the first chapter….sigh.

The feelers for the romance between Hannah and Will were laid out there too. Nothing happened though. A couple encounters that raised their sexual tension by almost 100%. But no sex. I was almost glad that they didn’t do anything that first half of the book and I am glad that the author deliberately kept Will being a Lycan a secret (well not exactly a secret, its kind of hard to explain).


Mid Book Impressions:

Remember how I mentioned that I thought that The Recruit was going to be hot and heavy supernatural romance with a secondary plotline about the hunter recruit program? Well, it wasn’t quite like that. The hunter recruit program became the focal point of the book after Hannah joined it. What I liked is that the author didn’t gloss over the training. Instead, she made Hannah suffer through it. My body ached for her during certain scenes. But, Hannah held on and I was happy about that.

Will and Hannah do have sex a few times. Each time was insanely hot. The first time in the training room took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting it to be so emotional and caring. They were found out after an encounter during a full moon and they were forced to seperate. That is when the author revealed the full scope of both Will and Hannah’s feelings. My heart broke for the both of them.

There was a storyline added late in the book that evolved around the mole in the facility. It started after the “babies” (the recruits) were attacked at a bar. What I liked is that the mole was mentioned a few times but no real details were given.

Also, and I found this was interesting, was the amount of hate that Lycans got in this book. The “babies” were horrified to learn that Will was a Lycan. When it was found out that Hannah was sleeping with him, she was shunned. Even the instructors carried that hate with them. And it wasn’t just a human versus Lycan type deal. It was Lycan versus human too.


End of Book Impressions

If I wasn’t a fan of the beginning of the book, I absolutely loved the end. I loved Hannah’s character development. She went from being a loner who didn’t like anyone in her personal space to this kick ass warrior who wasn’t afraid to get into other people’s personal spaces. I was 100% Team Hannah at the end of the book. I do wish that more of her training with Chen was highlighted but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.

Will and Hannah’s relationship ran into a huge wall by the end of the book. I am not going to say what but I will say that I wasn’t surprised. I did think that Will approaching Chen in wolf form was a bit much, though. But I understood why what happened happened. My heart broke for Hannah, though. She was truly the loser in that situation. But, I am rooting for them.

OMG, the fight scenes were out of this world!!! If you don’t like blood and gore, than this isn’t the book for you. Because it is bloody and violent.

The book does end on a cliffhanger. I am not a fan of cliffhangers. I would rather my books end resolved than have everything up in the air. But, they do make me want to read the next book. Will I read book 2? Probably.


My Overall Thoughts on The Recruit: Book One

This is a book that I would reread and a series that I could easily get lost in. It has everything that I liked in these types of books: sex, action and danger. The book didn’t truly get started until after Hannah joined the training facility and it gained momentum from there. Will and Hannah’s sexual tension and sex scenes were fantastic, as were the action scenes. I did figure out who the mole was about halfway through (it was obvious). This was a book that I enjoyed reading and, like I said in the first paragraph, one that I badly misjudged.

I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book. The sex scenes and the fight scenes were graphic.

Shorefall (Founders: Book 2) by Robert Jackson Bennett

5 Stars

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, Del Ray

Date of publication: April 21st, 2020

Genre: Fantasy

Series: Founders

Foundryside—Book 1 (Review Here)

Shorefall—Book 2

Where you can find Shorefall: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The upstart firm Foundryside is struggling to make it. Orso Igancio and his star employee, former thief Sancia Grado, are accomplishing brilliant things with scriving, the magical art of encoding sentience into everyday objects, but it’s not enough. The massive merchant houses of Tevanne won’t tolerate competition, and they’re willing to do anything to crush Foundryside.

But even the merchant houses of Tevanne might have met their match. An immensely powerful and deadly entity has been resurrected in the shadows of Tevanne, one that’s not interested in wealth or trade routes: a hierophant, one of the ancient practitioners of scriving. And he has a great fascination for Foundryside, and its employees – especially Sancia.

Now Sancia and the rest of Foundryside must race to combat this new menace, which means understanding the origins of scriving itself – before the hierophant burns Tevanne to the ground.


First Line:

“The gates are just ahead,” said Gregor.

Shorefall by Robert Jackson Bennett

My Review:

I was pretty pumped when I got the email from Del Ray/Random House asking if I wanted to review Shorefall. I had loved Foundryside and was wondering when the next book was going to be published. So, it was a no brainer what my answer was going to be.

Shorefall is the 2nd book in the Founders trilogy. I would highly recommend reading Foundryside first. You would better understand the world, the houses, Sanica, and everything else in the book.

Shorefall takes place three years after the events of Foundryside, and Orso, Sanica, Berenice, and Gregor have founded their scriving business. They have become a sort of Robin Hood to the poor but they give out scrives instead of money. After an excursion to steal one of the remaining Houses lexicons, Sanica is contacted by Valeria. Valeria has a warning. Her Maker is coming, and he is getting ready to destroy Tevanne. Sanica and her crew must prepare to fight Valeria’s Maker. But are they prepared for the toll it will take upon the group? And with the lines between good and evil blurred, will Sanica make the right choice?

Shorefall’s plotline was fast-paced. Seeing that this book takes place within a week or so of Valeria’s Maker arriving in Tevanne, there were no dropped plotlines or characters. The writing flowed beautifully when the book had to change from Sanica. There was no awkwardness either. That alone made me love the book.

It did take me some time to read Shorefall. But, and I want to stress this, it wasn’t because the book was awful and I was putting it off. Nope, it was the complete opposite. I slowed down my reading pace so I could savor this book. The writing, the language, the characters were beautifully written.

I can’t get much into the storyline or characters of Shorefall without giving away spoilers. I will say this; the characters blossomed in this book. And the storyline was fantastic. The details that the author thought to include was terrific.

I will touch upon Clef, Valeria, and Valeria’s Maker. There is a massive twist in the plot that I didn’t see coming that involves them. Looking back, it makes total sense. But when I was reading it, I was shocked. I ended up putting my Kindle down and saying, “No freaking way.

The end of Shorefall made me cry. Again, I can’t say why, but it does involve Orso and Gregor. My heart broke into smithereens during those scenes. With the way the book ended, I am not sure what is going to happen and now will be impatiently waiting for the final book!!


I would give Shorefall an Older Teen rating. There are mentions of sexual situations (no details). There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Shorefall. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy: Book 2) by Emily A. Duncan

Ruthless Gods: A Novel (Something Dark and Holy Book 2) by [Duncan, Emily A.]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Wednesday Books

Date of publication: April 7th, 2020

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Series: Something Dark and Holy

Wicked Saints—Book 1

Ruthless Gods—Book 2

Untitled—Book 3 (expected publication date: 2021)

Where to find Ruthless Gods: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

The stunning sequel to instant New York Times bestseller, Wicked Saints!

Darkness never works alone…

Nadya doesn’t trust her magic anymore. Serefin is fighting off a voice in his head that doesn’t belong to him. Malachiasz is at war with who–and what–he’s become.

As their group is continually torn apart, the girl, the prince, and the monster find their fates irrevocably intertwined. They’re pieces on a board, being orchestrated by someone… or something. The voices that Serefin hears in the darkness, the ones that Nadya believes are her gods, the ones that Malachiasz is desperate to meet—those voices want a stake in the world, and they refuse to stay quiet any longer.

In her dramatic follow-up to Wicked Saints, the first book in her Something Dark and Holy trilogy, Emily A. Duncan paints a Gothic, icy world where shadows whisper, and no one is who they seem, with a shocking ending that will leave you breathless.


First Line:

There was a darkness.

Ruthless Gods by Emily A. Duncan

My Review:

I was pretty excited when I saw that SMP/Wednesday Books had granted my wish for this book on NetGalley. I hadn’t expected it, though. My wishes never get granted on that site. After my excitement died down, I realized that it was the 2nd book. I was still optimistic about the book, though. Lately, I have been reading books that are 2nd or 3rd in a series, and that was stand-alone. I figured that Ruthless Gods would be the same. Oh boy, was I wrong.

Ruthless Gods had a fast-moving plotline. The author was able to keep the pace up even with the book being split into numerous POVs. That I did like, she marked who’s chapter it was. I had zero issues following along with the book that way. It also worked well with the pacing. Some storylines were left open, and characters that were mentioned but never brought up again. But, considering that this is the 2nd book in the series, I have a feeling everything will be tied together in the 3rd book.

As I mentioned above, Ruthless Gods is NOT a stand-alone book. You do need to read Wicked Saints before reading Ruthless Gods. That way, the backstories/explanation of the different countries/explanation of the religions (which is essential!!) are fully disclosed. I was lost when reading Ruthless Gods because I didn’t read Wicked Saints first.

Another source of irritation for me was the lack of understanding of the different relationships between the character. Nadya and Malachiasz, I got right away. Serefin and Kacper’s was a little muddier. Ostiya, Parijahan, and Rashid’s relationships with each other, and the central 3 was even more mysterious. That is where reading Wicked Saints would have come in handy — now saying that I was impressed with the character growth that Serefin, Nadya, and Malachiasz had throughout the book.

Ruthless Gods had to have been one of the more darker, bloodier young adult books that I have read in a while. The amount of violence was terrific. The author doesn’t even bother to build-up to the first violent scene. It was bam, there you go. Now, that didn’t bother me. I figured by reading the synopsis that it was going to be bloody and violent. But it might bother other people.

I was fascinated by a couple of things in Ruthless Gods. I was fascinated that this book was based loosely in Russia. I do wish that there was some glossary that explained the different terms used in the book. I was also fascinated by the various religions portrayed. I do wish that there was a glossary dedicated to the different saints/terms that Nadya and her fellow monks used. Again, it would have gone a long way to helping me understand everything.

The storylines were well written also. There was almost too much going on in the book at one point, but the author did a fantastic job keeping everything separate. The Nadya/Malachiasz storyline broke my heart. Serefin’s broke my heart too. I couldn’t imagine living like he did and being forced to do the things he did.

The best part of the book was the last part of the book from when Katya was introduced onwards. Everything just snowballed once the group got into that forest. I expected what Serefin and Nadya did. The whole book was leading up to those two crucial things. But, I wasn’t expecting what happened to Malachiasz. That took me completely by surprise. The epilogue was fantastic. I cannot wait to read book three because of what was promised in that epilogue.


I would give Ruthless Gods an Older Teen rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would reccomend that no one under the age of 16 read this book.

I would reread Ruthless Gods. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**