Smoke and Key by Kelsey Sutton

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Digital ARC provided by Entangled Teen and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Goodreads Synopsis:

A sound awakens her. There’s darkness all around. And then she’s falling…

She has no idea who or where she is. Or why she’s dead. The only clue to her identity hangs around her neck: a single rusted key. This is how she and the others receive their names—from whatever belongings they had when they fell out of their graves. Under is a place of dirt and secrets, and Key is determined to discover the truth of her past in order to escape it.

She needs help, but who can she trust? Ribbon seems content in Under, uninterested in finding answers. Doll’s silence hints at deep sorrow, which could be why she doesn’t utter a word. There’s Smoke, the boy with a fierceness that rivals even the living. And Journal, who stays apart from everyone else. Key’s instincts tell her there is something remarkable about each of them, even if she can’t remember why.

Then the murders start; bodies that are burnt to a crisp. After being burned, the dead stay dead. Key is running out of time to discover who she was—and what secret someone is willing to kill to keep hidden—before she becomes the next victim…

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Smoke and Key is a stand alone young adult historical paranormal read with a mix mystery and romance and a really morbid feel to it.

The story begins with a girl falling from her grave to a place called Under where she meets other people who have fallen like her. As soon as she falls, she meets a man called Smoke who tells her she’s dead & she has to spend the rest of her afterlife in Under. No one in Under remembers their name or their past. Everyone gets their name based off an item that was buried with them. She is called Key because that’s the only thing that was in her possession when she fell into Under. There are lots of other side characters who are also named after their possessions like Journal, Ribbon, Doll, Handkerchief, Tin type etc. All the people she meets in Under are in semi decomposed states however she’s the only one who’s only preserved. She soon makes friends but she can’t seem to give up on finding out why she’s in Under. When a series of murders takes place after her arrival & Key starts regaining her memories she’s in a race against time before she becomes the next victim.

What I Liked:

  • This was a very unique yet macabre concept that I’d not come across before.
  • The authors writing style was very easy to follow.
  • I loved the setting of the book. I liked the dark & creepy atmosphere & the fantasy aspect of this book.
  • The book was written in Key’s POV and it kept jumping from the present to the past in a series of flashbacks. I found it a lil confusing at first but eventually you seem to connect all the dots. Some might find this hard to understand but once you understand what’s happening you get the hang of it.
  • We got to meet plenty of interesting characters like Smoke, Journal, Ribbon and learned how their stories were somehow connected to Key. I enjoyed the backstory more than what was happening in the present.
  • I loved Key as a character. She is a pretty likeable main character who’s brave & stubborn. Smoke on the other hand is such a broody & mysterious character. I loved the romance between these two. They have an instant connection from the beginning some might find that weird but as we progress with the story we get to know why. And I’m a sucker for insta love.
  • From the secondary characters I liked Journal & Doll.
  • I loved how the author build a mysterious and somehow beautiful but morbid world.

What I didn’t like:

  • There’s kind of a love triangle which I don’t seem to enjoy.
  • I managed to predict who the villain was.
  • I would have liked a little bit of a backstory on one of my favorite characters Doll which we didn’t get.
  • Even though there’s a lot of mystery and tension built throughout the book but it felt like nothing much was happening especially in the present.

The book is mainly about the amount of damage jealousy can cause and how it can spiral out of control and take everyone down in its path.

I enjoyed all the characters & the story very much. This was my first read by the author and it won’t be my last.

Would I recommend it: YES!

If your looking for an odd but original plot, a fun yet macabre read you should definitely give this a go.

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Romanov by Nadine Brandes | Publication Day

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ARC provided by Thomas Nelson and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


Goodreads Synopsis:

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.


 

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I was very excited to read Romanov. I watched the Disney version of Anastasia as a child. After watching the movie I went on to do some research about Anastasia and found that she hadn’t survived the slaughter/execution of her family & that there were so many theories out there about her having survived. I always wondered what if she had survived. And thats what Nadine delivered in Romanov.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov is given a single mission by her father to smuggle a Matryoshka doll containing an ancient spell on her way to exile in Serbia. According to her father that is the only thing that would save them. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is also after the doll. Her only hope is to release the spells in time for her to save her family or take the help of Zash the handsome soldier.

This book is a historical fiction with a little bit of fantastical – magical element to it. Its split into two parts before the execution of the Romanovs and after the execution. Before the execution basically tells you about their life in exile and how they try to hope for a rescue, The family suffers so much at the hands of the Bolsheviks and yet they try to form friendships with their captors and learn to love them. The characters are what brought this story to life. The Romanovs love each other and the only thing they want is to be set free so they can live in peace. I admired Anastasia and how much she loves her family and is loyal to them & especially her love for her brother Alexi, who suffers from Hemophilia. She wants to be a spell master so that she can take care of Alexi and easy his pain. I loved Alexi who even though he’s just a thirteen year old boy and is suffering he still cares for his people and wants to help his countrymen fight the Bolsheviks so they can choose who should be their leader.

Maybe there could have been more world building, maybe we could have got a little more insight into why the Tsar abdicated because lets face it not everyones familiar with that part of history but I truly loved this tale of the Romanovs. I was a little hesitant going into this because i know how the family met its end but Nadine made this really sad story a hopeful one. At the end, Romanov was a poignant and insightful story about a girl learning what it truly means to forgive and move on, even in the darkest situations.

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Book Review: An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson

Title: An Enchantment of Ravens

Author: Margaret Rogerson

Genre: Young Adult – Romance Fantasy

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Format: Hardcover

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.


“Why do we desire, above all other things, that which has the greatest power to destroy us?”

The story’s set in a town called Whimsy where it’s always Summer and humans are aware of fairies existence. The fae don’t interact with mortals much but they do crave something that mortals seem to possess which is Craft. The Fae only visit Whimsy whenever they need craft services and in exchange for their services they provide payment in the form of enchantments however one has to be very careful while dealing with a fae because the enchantments might turn bad if you don’t word what you want very carefully because these Fae are nasty and cruel creatures. Isobel is a seventeen year old gifted portrait artist and well known for her skills in all the fae courts. That is how she meets the Autum Prince Rook who wants his portrait made. However, she makes a huge mistake and paints human sorror in his eyes. Any kind of human emotion is a sign of weakness to the Fae and so when the portrait is unveiled at the Autumn court the Fae think that Rook has become weak . Rook is so furious about this that he confronts Isobel about her treachery and drags her against her will to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime, believing that the other courts have put her up to this so they can take away his title from him. In midst of their journey, they face many dangers but their greatest obstacle is the developing feelings between them because a relationship between a fae and a mortal is forbidden by the Good law and the consequence of breaking this law is death or drink from the green well. Now Isobel needs to use her craft to survive the fae folk and also the alder king, who rules them all.

“But isn’t absurdity part of being human? We aren’t ageless creatures who watch centuries pass from afar. Our worlds are small, our lives are short, and we can only bleed a little before we fall.”

I’d been wanting to read this for such a long time but was so hesitant because of all the mixed reviews out there. Overall I enjoyed it even though it wasn’t what I’d expected it to be. It reads like a fairytale but not your traditional fairytale. It’s a twisted fairytale and so different from all the books I’ve read about Fae folk. Her writing is so descriptive it’s almost lyrical and she really paints a picture of the Fae world that she’s tried to create. I really loved all the characters especially Isobel & Rook.

Initially I left like their relationship was going to be Insta lovey but the laws of the Fae forbid this from happening even though they have a deep attraction towards each other which grows to so much more over the course of the book. This story was so different and yet I seemed to fall in love with it.

The only issue I had was there were certain times where the story slowed down and I couldn’t keep my attention. I would have to re-read certain parts to understand what was happening, like I missed out something major and couldn’t understand how. I have no idea if this makes sense. Another thing is I would have loved for the book to be a little longer or have maybe more to that epilogue cuz it certainly wasn’t enough for me.

I would definitely love to return to this world that Margaret Rogerson has created and to Isobel & Rook’s story.

“The ability to feel is a strength not weakness.”

Have you read the book? If so what are your thoughts? Let’s chat.


Margaret writes fantasy for young adult readers. She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when she’s not reading or writing she enjoys drawing, watching documentaries, making pudding, gaming, and exploring the outdoors in search of toads and mushrooms.

Book Review: Shadow Play (The Fae Games #1) by Jill Ramsower

img_5408Title: Shadow Play

Author: Jill Ramsower

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Self published

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Format: E-book


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They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger—if that’s the case, I better be badass by the time this is over.

After two years at a dead-end job, Rebecca Peterson finally walks away from everything she knows to follow her dreams in Ireland. Instead of dreams, the dreary streets of Belfast rekindle her terrifying nightmares, and this time they aren’t confined to her imagination. Twisted and vicious, Faeries are being unleashed on Earth to prey upon humans, who are unaware of the vile creatures walking among them. Becca must stay alive long enough to learn why she can see what others can’t, and even more importantly, discover how to keep the Fae from destroying life on Earth.

Delving into the underbelly of the city, Becca discovers that she is not entirely alone in her abilities; however, centuries of secrecy makes gathering information a challenge. When Becca crosses paths with two mysterious strangers, her life is only complicated further. The gorgeous but brooding Lochlan demands complete honesty but refuses to provide any answers of his own. On the other hand, Ronan is enigmatic and charming, and with his sights set on making Becca his, he offers more help than most. But Becca quickly learns that trusting others is difficult when you have secrets of your own. Sometimes, the enemy is within….

Warning: This is not a young adult book, it is also not erotica but does contain scenes with mature content so if you don’t mind some steamy bad boy goodness, then buckle up and prepare for the ride.


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This is an urban fae fantasy. The premise and the fact that the story is set in Ireland really intrigued me. Rebecca is an ordinary girl who comes to Ireland to work in a museum and from day one she starts encountering fantastical creatures. She has a necklace around her neck that she has been wearing since she was 3 and suddenly in Ireland this necklace seems to give her the ability to see the Fae. I love Rebecca’s character and the fact that she didn’t wait for anyone to rescue her but started looking for answers herself even though it got her into trouble most of the time. I loved her friendship dynamic with Ashley and how they support each other through everything. I loved Ash and the fact that she’s such a book nerd. There are also two love interests. It’s not so much a romance but more of Rebecca trying to find out how she has these abilities and why the Fae are after her. I also liked how the author integrated Arthurian legend into this story. This being the authors debut novel I really enjoyed the book and liked her writing style. I’m looking forward to reading the Twilight Seige very soon.

Disclaimer: I requested this book through Netgalley and all the thoughts and opinions are my own.


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Jill’s a Texan, born and raised. She manages the hectic social calendars for her three active children and occasionally spends an evening with her dashing husband. Aside from being an author and a mom, she’s an attorney, travel junkie, and voracious reader.

Find her on FB: Jill Ramsower Author

Twitter: @jramsower

Instagram:@jillramsowerauthor

Website: http://www.jillramsower.com

TAG: BOOKISH A-Z SURVEY

I’m new to the blogging scene  and I wanted to do a tag but I wasn’t sure which one to start with .  I came across this tag on Sara – The Bibliophagist’s blog and it looked like so much fun for my first tag post and I’m so appreciate that she kept it open for anyone to do it. So, thank you Sara.

This tag was originally created by Jamie at The Perpetual Page Turner.


AUTHOR YOU’VE READ THE MOST BOOKS FROM:

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According to my Goodreads that would have to be Christina Lauren. I’ve read 15 of their books so far. I’ve yet to pick up Autoboyography and Love and other words.

BEST SEQUEL EVER:

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo.

CURRENTLY READING:

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Nine while Nine by Stacia Morineaux.

DRINK OF CHOICE WHILE READING:

Coffee or Hot-Chocolate

E-READER OR PHYSICAL BOOK?:

Both! I have physical copies of the books I read and I always have ebooks on my phone or e-reader just in case I forget to carry my physical copy when I’m travelling.

FICTIONAL CHARACTER YOU PROBABLY WOULD HAVE ACTUALLY DATED IN HIGH SCHOOL:

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I didn’t date in high-school. But if I would have then it would be someone like Daemon Black from the Lux Series by Jennifer L Armentrout.

GLAD YOU GAVE THIS BOOK A CHANCE:

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Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata.

HIDDEN GEM BOOK:

Chris Cannon’s Boyfriend Chronicles : They are cute, fluffy reads.

Any of R.S. Grey’s books.

IMPORTANT MOMENT IN YOUR READING LIFE:

I think it would be this year in June when I decided to give this blog everything I have and take time every week to put something up here even if no one reads it.

JUST FINISHED:

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Always and Forever Laura Jean by Jenny Han

KINDS OF BOOKS YOU WON’T READ:

Non- Fiction – I’ve tried but i jus can’t.

LONGEST BOOK YOU’VE READ:

512 pages long. I don’t think I’ve read anything longer than that.

MAJOR BOOK HANGOVER BECAUSE OF:

I don’t think I’ve had a major book hangover yet. Not that I can think of one.

NUMBER OF BOOKCASES YOU OWN:

Sadly, I own none. At the moment, my place is too small so all of my books are in boxes. Hopefully when we move into a bigger space I can have one then. I do have one big bookcase at my moms place if that counts.

ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. The Lux series by Jennifer L Armentrout.  Wallbanger by Alice Clayton.

PREFERRED PLACE TO READ:

Anyplace comfortable. Mostly it’s my bed.

QUOTE THAT INSPIRES YOU/GIVES YOU THE FEELS FROM A BOOK YOU’VE READ:

“Love is scary: it changes; it can go away. That’s the part of the risk. I don’t want to be scared anymore.” 

“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race-that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.” 
― Markus ZusakThe Book Thief

READING REGRET:

Don’t really have any reading regrets.

SERIES YOU STARTED AND NEED TO FINISH (ALL BOOKS ARE OUT IN THE SERIES):

I started the Mara Dyer trilogy but only read the 1st book. Plan to finish it this year though.

THREE OF YOUR ALL TIME FAVOUIRITE BOOKS: 

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang and  Six of Crows duology by Leigh Bardugo.

UNAPOLOGETIC FANGIRL FOR: 

I love love love Enemies to lovers tropes.

VERY EXCITED FOR THIS RELEASE MORE THAN ALL THE OTHERS: 

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Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson

X MARKS THE SPOT: START AT THE TOP OF YOUR SHELF AND PICK THE 27TH BOOK:

No Book Shelf. But the 27th book on my goodreads tbr shelf is Song of the Current by Sarah Tolcser.

YOUR LATEST BOOK PURCHASE: 

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Pre-ordered Six of Crows Collectors edition

ZZZ-SNATCHER BOOK (LAST BOOK THAT KEPT YOU UP WAY TOO LATE): 

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Bring me their Hearts by Sara Wolf. I couldn’t put it down.


So that’s it!

I’d like to tag Ally and Anna .  Not sure if you girls have done this tag but no worries if you have or don’t want to do it.

I’d like to thank Sara once again for keeping this tag open so I could do it. I really enjoyed this. I’m doing the same so if any of you think this is fun and would like to do it feel free to give this a go and link back to me so I can see your answers.

Book Review: To Kill A Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

34499221To Kill A Kingdom

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

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

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


My Thoughts

“I’ve made a mistake. It started with a prince, as most stories do. Once I felt the thrum of his heart beneath my fingers, I couldn’t forget it.” Lira

If you loved The Little Mermaid like I did then this book is for you. It’s a dark retelling of the little mermaid with lots of creative twists. 

Princess Lira aka The Princes’ Bane is siren royalty & the most lethal of them all. She has hearts of 17 princes to prove it. Lira is unashamedly brutal and hunts with a vicious intent. Until the day she makes a fatal mistake and her mother, the Sea queen punishes her by turning her into a human. If she wants to be a siren again she needs to get the heart of Prince Elian before the Winter Solstice or suffer her fate and remain a human, the thing she loathes the most. Prince Elian is a siren hunter, an adventurer and the heir to the most powerful kingdom. When he rescues a drowning woman (Lira) she promises to help him find the crystal to destroy the Sea queen and her sirens forever. These two enemies who hate each other & want to kill each other set out on a perilous journey to uncover this crystal but only Lira is aware of both their identities. I really loved the relationship between these two badass characters that grew through sarcasm laced banter. They definitely don’t trust each other and there’s no insta love here. The romance is a slow burn. You see Lira learn so much about the humans and how that changes her view about them. She comes to admires the crew of the Saad who would do anything for their captain. The secondary characters (the crew of the Saad) are just so loveable and funny. There’s so much to love about this book: sirens, princes, anti heroines, strong friendships, slow burn romance, fun banter, insults, betrayal, lies, deception, fairytale prophecies and lots of adventure. This book has it all.

Alexandra is a master at storytelling. This is mesmerizing story of freedom, power and love. I honestly loved every bit of this book, and you can bet I’ll be shoving it at everyone I know. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

If you haven’t guessed yet, I absolutely loved The Little Mermaid & Ariel was my favourite Disney princess.

What was your favourite fairytale growing up? And is there a fairytale retelling you love?

“How strange that instead of taking his heart, I’m hoping he takes mine.”

About the Author

14684499Alexandra Christo decided to write books when she was four and her teacher told her she couldn’t be a fairy. She has a BA in Creative Writing and works as a copywriter in London, both of which make her sound more grown up than she feels. When she’s not busy making up stories, she can be found buying far too many cushions and organizing food crawls all over the city. 
Alexandra currently lives in Hertfordshire with an abundance of cacti (because they’re the only plants she can keep alive).

Have you read To Kill a Kingdom? Did you enjoy it? Lets chat…

Book Review: Bring Me Their Hearts by Sara Wolf

35144326Bring Me Their Hearts

Genre : Young Adult, Fantasy

Ratings:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Synopsis: Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally.


My Thoughts

Truthfully what attracted me to this book was the cover and then I read the premise and just knew that I was going to love it.

“I simply want your heart, my prince.”

Zera is a Heartless. When her family was attacked and murdered by bandits, the witch Nightsinger saved her making her a heartless which literally means that she takes out her heart and sticks it in a jar. The second Heartless to witch Nightsinger, she’s a soldier/bodyguard meant to obey her master’s commands while her heart remains locked in a magical jar. She is overcome with an insatiable hunger for flesh, a hunger that whispers of her terrible deeds and beckons her to give in to the darkness. Unlike the other witches, Nightsinger seems to be a kind witch who has only ever turned children who were dying into heartless and has never commanded obedience from her heartless.

Every day, Zera begs Nightsinger to give her back her heart. One day Nightsinger finally relents, on a condition that Zera must infiltrate the court of the kingdom of Cavanos as a potential bride to Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane and literally steal his heart. There is a war brewing between the worshippers of the Old God and the New, and the witches believe that Lucien is the key to avoid it. With a fallen noble Lady Y’shennria as her guide, Zera learns the ways of nobility and finds herself among backstabbings, feuds and hidden agendas. Between trying to stay inconspicuous and seducing the prince in order to achieve her purposes, Zera discovers a connection with the humanity she thought was lost, and comes to care about people that should only be means to an end. But the dangerous game she plays can only have one outcome: either Lucien loses his heart, or she does.

Bring Me Their Hearts is a luscious tale of court intrigue, magic and bloodshed, with a dash of sass and a sprinkle of darkness. This isn’t one of those stories where the prince saves the damsel from monsters but the damsel is the monster with claws, sharp teeth and an insatiable hunger for blood. Zera is the villain in this story but there is goodness in her. You see that in her need to help the people around her and the way she protects the two younger heartless who belong to Nightsinger. She is constantly battling the monster within her. I loved how her relationship with Lady Y’shennria developed throughout the book even though they didn’t have a real good start.

I love strong and sassy heroines and Zera is so so sassy. It’s her coping mechanism, she honestly just can’t help herself. If someone opens their mouth — BOOM  Zera has a witty comeback. I loved Prince Lucien. The romance is a slow burn and the banter between those two is just off the charts. And that ending it leaves you dangling from Ms Wolf’s cliff waiting for book 2.

This is a delightfully savage, spellbinding tale of deceit, sass and magic and I can’t wait for the next book to be out.


About the Author
6862831Sara Wolf is a twenty-something author who adores baking, screaming at her cats, and screaming at herself while she types hilarious things. When she was a kid, she was too busy eating dirt to write her first terrible book. Twenty years later, she picked up a keyboard and started mashing her fists on it and created the monster known as the Lovely Vicious series. She lives in San Diego with two cats, a crippling-yet-refreshing sense of self-doubt, and not enough fruit tarts ever.

Have you read Bring me their hearts yet? Did you like it? Lets Chat…

Girl in the Blue Coat

581610A8-9CE1-4586-A516-5CF24494D1C1Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse.

Series: Standalone

Ratings:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Publisher: Little Brown Books for young readers

Synopsis: Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

On a routine delivery, a client asks Hanneke for help. Expecting to hear that Mrs. Janssen wants meat or kerosene, Hanneke is shocked by the older woman’s frantic plea to find a person – a Jewish teenager Mrs. Janssen had been hiding, who has vanished without a trace from a secret room. Hanneke initially wants nothing to do with such dangerous work, but is ultimately drawn into a web of mysteries and stunning revelations that lead her into the heart of the resistance, open her eyes to the horrors of the Nazi war machine, and compel her to take desperate action. 


My Review

When I started this book three months ago I just couldn’t push myself to read it. I picked it up again for the booksnbeyond readathon for the 3rd prompt: read a book you abandoned. I still found it difficult to get into it in the beginning and yet I pushed myself and it was worth it.

“Girl in the Blue Coat” by Monica Hess is a YA WWII historical novel that will appeal to a wide scope of readers.

Set in the German occupied Holland in WWII, the story is told through the eyes of Hanneke Bakker, an eighteen year old who is involved in finding and selling black market goods to the wealthier people in town to support herself and her family. 

This war has taken its share of victims, including Bas, Hanneke’s boyfriend and the boy she planned to marry. Hanneke is left with guilt and sorrow after Bas’s loss as she encouraged him to join the Dutch army in what turned out to be a suicide mission. 

She decides to help one of her customers by looking for the Jewish girl who has disappeared without a trace. In doing so she crosses paths with Bas’s brother, Ollie and his friends who are involved in the resistance and she sees for herself what is happening in her own town and the horrors of the occupation.

The author did a great job in setting the scene of what it would be like for a group of normal teenagers living in an occupied country.

The story is about bravery, and about friendship and about love and a lot about guilt. I love how most things were resolved, and I’m glad that they were, but that there wasn’t an overly tidy resolution for everyone and everything.

In the Note on Historical Accuracy at the end of the book, Monica Hesse writes that she “wanted to tell a story of small betrayals in the middle of a big war, the split-second decisions we make of moral courage and cowardice and how we are all heroes and villains”. In this novel, she has certainly achieved that goal.

I would highly recommend this for anyone who’s has read The diary of a young girl by Anne Frank and The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak.


About the Author

Hesse-300x300Monica Hesse is the national bestselling author of the true crime love story American Fire, and the historical mystery novel Girl in the Blue Coat, which has been translated into a dozen languages and won the 2017 Edgar award in the Young Adult category. She is a feature writer for the Washington Post, where she has been a winner of the Society for Feature Journalism’s Narrative Storytelling award, and a finalist for a Livingston Award and a James Beard Award. Monica lives in Maryland. with her husband and a brainiac dog.

May Book Haul & June TBR

Hello bookworms! How’s the weather in your part of the world? It’s stifling here in Mumbai. Waiting for the rain gods to shower us with some much needed rain. Apart from the heat, May was a really great reading month for me and book buying month as well. I purchased 18 books this month. Yes you heard that right, EIGHTEEN!

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The ones above are just a few I could manage to get a picture of.

Here’s my May Book Haul:

  1. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.
  2. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.
  3. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo.
  4. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller.
  5. Dance upon the Air by Nora Roberts.
  6. The Earth, My Butt and other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.
  7. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.
  8. Geekerella by Ashley Poston.
  9. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
  10. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden.
  11. Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch.
  12. The Mara Dyer Trilogy box set by Michelle Hodkin.
  13. A Girl like that by Tanaz Bhathena.
  14. The Woman in the window by A.J. Finch.
  15. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.
  16. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen.

Phew! That’s a long haul.

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The pile of books you see in front of you is my June tbr. I’ve never tried doing a tbr because I’ve never managed to stick to it. I’ll always end up picking something that intrigues me and there goes my tbr. However, this month is going to be different. I;ve decided to give this a go since my tbr just seems to be growing each day and I need to read the ones that I already have before piling more on to it.

My June TBR:

  1. Currently, I’m in the middle of reading A Gathering of Shadows on my kindle, which seems to be taking ages even though I’m loving every moment of the book.
  2. The Earth, My Butt and other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler.
  3. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff.
  4. Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
  5. Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller.
  6. Geekerella by Ashley Poston.
  7. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy.
  8. The Unexpected Everyting by Morgan Matson.
  9. To Kill aKingdom by Alexandra Christo.
  10. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson.
  11. Wolfgang by F.D. Gross. I received an ebook from the author to review.

That’s 11 books this month which I’m sure I’ll manage to knock off my ever growing tbr. Will post reviews as and when i’m done. So keep a look out for that.

What’s on your tbr this month? Have you read any of these or are you planning to read them this month? Any thoughts about them (no spoilers please). Lets chat.

Hope you have a great reading month.

Take care Booknerds.

Happy Reading!