Cupid's Match by Lauren Palphreyman

Image result for Cupid's Match by Lauren Palphreyman"Lila Black doesn’t believe in matchmaking, let alone soul mates.  But she continues to be hassled by the Cupid’s matchmaking service.  In an attempt to put a stop to their constant spamming she finds out that there is a little magic in the world after all. 

The Cupid’s matchmaking service is run by actual cupids from ancient mythology and she has matched with someone who shouldn’t even be in their system or have a match.  Cupid, the original bad boy of love.  Now Lila’s once-normal teenaged world has exploded into a mythological nightmare overrun by crime-lord sirens, wrathful cupid hitmen, magic arrows that cause no end of trouble, and a mischievous, and a not-so-angelic love god.  I received this book from NetGalley and all opinions are my own.  This book was released on October 1, 2019.

I was uncertain about picking this book up but all I can say is that it was an intriguing and somewhat shorter read.  Originally, I chose this book because it was based around mythology and seemed like a quick read.  I was soon wrapped up in this tale and despite my misgivings due to the original description of the story, I enjoyed it.

Well Done Congratulations GIF by America's Got Talent - Find ...The book is based around Cupid and the author managed to weave this mythological outlook into the modern world.  It was well done as cupids and other creatures from mythology managed to live in a world that no longer believed in them. Despite being focused around mythology the author managed to thread in her own creativeness not necessarily adhering to tales from Greek mythology.  Overall, the world-building was well done.

The characters were fascinating, to say the least.  The main character Lila, was just a normal teenager until she goes to a matchmaking service to stop their constant spamming. Well, there she finds out her world isn’t exactly what she thought it was.  Her perseverance in taking on this mythological world was admirable and she came to realize that she avoided love due to her mother’s death.  Sadly, I felt that more character growth could have been incorporated but the emotions that were thrown at us through Lila were phenomenal.

More Inside Amy Schumer GIF - Find & Share on GIPHYThe other characters were simply intriguing. Cupid took the world in nonchalant strides to avoid the loneliness and sadness of his existence.  I don’t know if I would agree that he was necessarily the perfect match for Lila but he offset her seriousness with his joviality.  His brother Cal is the opposite of Cupid for he is more serious but just as heartbroken and lonely.  Their relationship was interesting to read about for they were still loyal to one another despite all their disagreements and arguments. And before I stop talking about side characters I should mention how much I loved the villainess.  One normally does not associate her with how she is presented in the book and I adored it.  Her methods and reasoning were never really explained but it just added to the madness that seemed to surround her character.  I am not going to give any more away about her but she was an excellent antagonist.

In the end, I would recommend the book.  If you are looking for a modern and mythological world combination this is it. A book that will drag you through a world filled with creatures who shouldn’t even exist. It is a wonderful tale. The one thing I hated though was how forced the romance was.  The characters weren’t allowed to get together so then they did in a cliche move.  It was too forced and did lessen my enjoyment of the book.  Still, it is a wonderful three out of five stars.

The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis

Image result for the raven and the dove by kaitlyn davis"

Princess Lyana Aethionus should be focused on winning a mate but her thoughts wander to the open sky and the edge of her floating kingdom. Adventure calls and when she heeds it she finds a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon. A match that may just change the course of her future.

Rafe is reviled among his people but he will do anything for his half-brother including posing as him in the courtship trials. When they are attacked by a dragon he sacrifices himself to protect his brother. However, after a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a dove who possesses the same forbidden magic.

In the world below a king fights a forgotten war and with help from a favored spy hidden in the dove royal house, he sets into motion a plan that will change the world. I received this book from NetGalley and all opinions are my own. The Raven and the Dove will be released on March 9, 2020.

I am left with a tumult of emotions after finishing this book. My emotions vary from anger to sadness to excitement. I cannot wait for the next book in the series which will sadly not be coming out for a while. This book took me on a phenomenal journey that will have a lasting imprint for months to come.

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The characters were wonderful. Lyana, the main character was a princess fighting to leap outside the constraints of royalty. She longed for adventure and new places in a world that was set on placing her in a cage. Her character was relatable and I enjoyed how she fought to do something good with her magic despite the chance of discovery and death.

The other characters were just as excellently written. They made a diverse cast of characters with painful pasts. However, the love triangle was slightly annoying because it was in a partial state of existence and I was so angry and annoyed with Cassi. Cassi was Lyana’s best friend who spoiler alert, turned out to be a spy and willing to do anything for a savage king who wanted nothing but to fulfill a prophecy that I guarantee you has nothing to do with him. I am so angry with her because of what she did to Rafe. Also, has anyone noticed that Rafe is a popular prince name in ya novels?

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The world-building was stunning. The author created a world where islands filled with flying people lived in the sky while war and chaos raged below an impenetrable mist. Dragons soaked the sky with the fires of their rage and magic that could heal and destroy swirled around the author’s creation. I loved it despite the lack of explanation of the magic and how everything fits together. I assume with time the author will build that up and eventually everything will fit together. I loved the world-building and find that it is unique.

I would recommend reading this book. The rest of the series is planned and comes out in 2020 through 2021 and I could not be more excited. I need to know what happens to the characters and how it all shakes out. And if you love ya fantasy this book is for you.

Enchantee by Gita Trelease

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Camille Durbonne lives in Paris in 1789, a city of labyrinthine streets and upheaval where magic manifests but hides its face. When Camille’s parents die she must rely on magic to keep her sister healthy and fed. However, when her painstaking coins turn back to the metal they originally were and Camille’s brother runs off will their savings she must find a new way to make a better life.

What better way to do this than to enter the glittering court of Louis XVI? Camille uses forbidden blood magic and enters the court to gamble as a Baroness. She moves into a world of poisonous splendor and as she spends each night gambling to create a new life she begins to lose herself. As Paris starts to burn for freedom Camille loses control of her secrets and the game she has been playing turns deadly. She must choose before her world comes crashing down – love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic. I received this book from NetGalley and all opinions are my own. Enchantee was published February 5, 2019.

I have heard a lot of excellent things about this book and it did live up to many of my expectations. It was a wonderful read but I was frustrated at how hard it was for me to get into this book. The magic of Versailles and Aeronautics drew me in but the book lacked the ability to keep me up reading it. It is one of the first books in a while that has taken me more than a day to read simply because I kept putting it down since Enchantee could not keep me interested for long periods of time. This was disappointing but I still found the story interesting with its take on a girl navigating the two worlds of France during Louis XVI’s reign.

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The characters were fascinating and Camille Durbonne, the main character was filled with determination, grit, and caring for her sister. Her sorrow was deeply felt and I admired her willingness to do anything to move above the circumstances she was born with including using draining blood magic. She straddled the worlds of nobility and the common people showing the good and the bad of each. She had flaws and it was intriguing to see her choices and how this charted the path her life would take. Her ability to not be cowed by all the things life threw at her was phenomenal and I loved her character.

The side characters were intriguing. I hated Camille’s sister though. She was too naive for the world she lived in. I understood her need to be appreciated and assist her sister but I felt that both Camille and her sister neglected the other leading to easily avoided situations. Otherwise, I loved Camille’s colorful friends and her love interest was wonderful. The villain was intriguing but I hated his reason for being the evil in this tale. It was thrown together and I did not appreciate that all his plots surrounded such arbitrary reasoning. Despite this, the characters that filled Enchantee were vivacious and wonderful

I loved the setting of the book. The times before and during the French Revolution are fascinating and I enjoyed a look at both the commoners and the aristocrat’s point of view for they were bloody times and no one was completely innocent. I enjoyed how the author wrote about the beauty of Versailles yet overlayed that with how insufficient it was to cover the wrongdoings of the royalty. It was interesting to read about the two sides of the times with the splendor and lavishness of the upper classes and the struggles of the lower classes. The author quite neatly conveyed the times and the struggles between people that led to the French Revolution.

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Overall, this book was an interesting read but I cannot count it among my absolute favorites. It was less exciting and more boring than expected. However, I will read the second book in the series when it comes out and I hope it can draw me in better than Enchantee did.

Sharing Saturday Sixty-Six

I promised weeks ago to start posting regularly and with the start of 2020, I am committed to this. For my first Sharing Saturday of the year, I have decided to share with you a paragraph from a short story I am currently working on. This is the beginning paragraph. I hope you enjoy!

I wish I had left a legacy.  Don’t we all wish that? To leave something to be remembered by.  I never did that and now I will never get the chance. When my death came I had hoped to have no regrets but alas that is not true.  We all have regrets but we hope maybe it was a lesson a part of life. Something to be remembered and think back on as an obstacle successfully overcome.  But all I see as the darkness closes in on me is my mistakes. I did what I had to do to survive but I could have done more and for that, I can never forgive myself.  Maybe. Maybe there will be something beyond this life. A second chance. Wishful thinking but none of us truly know what is beyond death. I glance up one last time as a hooded face appears briefly before me but all I see is darkness until it pulls away.  Looking up, I see the ancient moon which watches indifferently as inky blackness closes around me for the final time.

Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller

Image result for warrior of the wildRasmira has trained her whole life to lead her village and become a warrior. But when she fails her coming of age trial due to trickery and sabotage she is banished to the monster-filled wilderness. To regain her honor she must destroy the god who claims tribute from the villages or die trying. As she explores the wilderness she learns more about her people, herself, and the god that reigns over them all like a constant menacing shadow.

I finally got around to reading this book and it was phenomenal! Levenseller wrote another strong female character who could take care of herself. Put her in a viciously unique world and you have an excellent story on your hands. From the first lines, I was drawn into the creation of a character who learned and grew in exile eventually bringing change to a world ruled by fear.

Image result for yes i love it gifThe characters were stunning. Rasmira, the main character is the daughter of the chieftain and is a woman determined to become a warrior. At the beginning of the book, we see her as an aloof character who is unsure of how to lead people. As the book continues readers see her growth into a confident leader ready to make the change she wants. In the beginning, all she wants is to please her father but by the end, all she cares for is that she did something for herself, not for her father. Another aspect of her character is overcoming her distrust of friends for the only one she ever had before going into the wild betrayed her. Rasmira is determined to do everything by herself but in the wild, she realizes that the only way to survive is together not apart.

Rasmira’s character is complemented by the ones that surround her. The two friends she makes in the wild are each struggling with guilt and anger at each other. They have not started their tasks and are unwilling to complete them until Rasmira convinces and assists them. The evil villain of the book, the god is an interesting character in the manner that he never truly seemed like a god. Readers find out why later in the book but I won’t spoil it.

Image result for thank you gif funnyIn the end, I loved the book much like I did her other ones. It brought to life a strong female in a harsh world and demonstrated the growth she went through to become a better leader and person.

Books I want ( I actually need as much as air) in 2020

A new decade and a new year is here. Along with this comes a list of books I want to read that come out this year. I am sure that this list will just continue to grow throughout the year but here is my list so far with the release dates.

January

Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim – January 7, 2020

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna – Marie McLemore – January 14, 2020

Seven Deadly Shadows by Courtney Alameda and Valynne E. Maetani – January 28, 2020

February

Deathless Divide by Justina Ireland – February 4, 2020

All the Stars and Teeth by Adalyn Grace – February 4, 2020

The Queen’s Assassin by Melissa De Cruze – February 4, 2020

Ink in the Blood by Kim Smejkal – February 11, 2020

Night Spinner by Addie Thorley – February 11, 2020

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller – February 25, 2020

March

The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu – March 3, 2020

The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski – March 3, 2020

Bone Crier’s Moon by Kathryn Purdie – March 10, 2020

All Your Twisted Secrets by Diana Urban – March 17, 2020

Thorn by Intisar Khanani – March 24, 2020

April

Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey – April 14, 2020

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova – April 28, 2020

Don’t Call the Wolf by Aleksandra Ross – April 28, 2020

May

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust – May 12, 2020

House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess – May 12, 2020

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins  – May 19, 2020

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – May 26, 2020

June

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles – June 2, 2020

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown – June 2, 2020

The Circus Rose by Betsy Cornwell – June 16, 2020

The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae – June 16, 2020

Forest of Souls by Lori M. Lee – June 23, 2020

Sisters of Sword and Song by Rebecca Ross – June 23, 2020

Hood by Jenny Elder Moke – June 2020

July

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim – July 7, 2020

We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal – July 7, 2020

The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning – July 7, 2020

Shielded by KayLynn Flanders – July 21, 2020

August

Set Fire to the Gods by Sara Raasch and Kristen Simmons – August 4, 2020

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar – August 11, 2020

Reign by Cora Carmack – August 25, 2020

September

Fable by Adrienne Young – September 1, 2020

The Other Side of the Sky by Annie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner – September 8, 2020

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco – September 15, 2020

A Curse of Gold by Annie Sullivan – September 22, 2020

more…

Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

Image result for sherwood by meagan spoonerRobin of Locksley is dead and Maid Marian doesn’t know how to continue but the people need a savior. Guy of Gisbourne wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as the Lord of Locksley and Marian’s fiance but he is the horrible right-hand man of the Sherriff of Nottingham. 

Marian never meant to take Robin’s place, to tread in his footsteps but with a sweep of her green cloak and the flash of her sword she becomes her own hero. The hero that fills the storybooks of old: Robin Hood. 

This book was a new and interesting take on the tale of Robin Hood and his band of merry men. I was drawn immediately into this story but argued with myself over putting the book down without finishing it. The basis for this solely was that the characters were too similar to a favorite book series of mine. This series, Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen had characters whose names were the same as they were in Sherwood despite differing roles. I could have looked beyond most of them except for the villain of the tales, Gisbourne. In Scarlet he was a vile man who I abhorred and yet in Sherwood he was an intriguing man struggling to find justice in an unjust world. I just could not compromise these two images of the character in my mind while reading Sherwood making me irrationally angry about where Gisbourne ended up in the tale. Overall it degraded my enjoyment of the story since I was struggling with previous conceptions of what the characters should or should not be. Despite all this internal struggle I still loved the story for Spooner brought to life the struggles of a girl dealing with grief and the need to create a better world for those less fortunate.

Image result for lucifer gifThe characters are what created the tale for we all know the setting of Robin Hood and the world-building is practically set in stone. The main character, Marian was a noblewoman who could fight and shoot better than almost anybody including Robin. After Robin’s death, she sees a need in her world that she decides to fill by becoming the masked legend of Robin Hood. We see her struggle to decide what is right and what her path and purpose should be. Her anguish and yet internal strength called to the reader and I deeply felt her emotions and admired the raw determination of character it took to do what she did.

The other characters added to the tale in wondrous ways especially Gisbourne. As I have discussed I had issues with his character and yet it was still phenomenal to see him finally break loose of the bonds of society all for the woman he loves. In bringing up love I must complain a little bit about the building of the romance. It just abruptly happened and I felt like there was no lead up to Gisbourne being in love with Marian. They spent three-fourths of the story being enemies and yet they are desperately in love by the end. Definitely not the most developed part of this story. However, this can be overlooked for the special wonder of the tale as a whole.

Image result for read it gifI would recommend reading the story. Don’t read it though if you still have another retelling of Robin Hood in your head because it will mess with you. But overall this was a phenomenal read that lives up to Spooner’s adept storytelling of bringing old characters and stories to life in a different and unique manner.

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Image result for sea witch by sarah henningEveryone knows what happens in the end. True love and a kiss but before that, there were three friends. One feared, one royal, and one already dead.

Evie has been reviled since the death of her best friend, Anna. But when a girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend survived. Maybe her magic isn’t useless after all. As the girls catch the eyes of two handsome princes Evie believes that maybe a happily ever after is possible.

But Evie’s friend has secrets of her own and she can’t stay on land without Evie’s help. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain and the gravity of hidden secrets.

Recently backstories for the villains of popular fairy tales have surfaced and Sea Witch was a prime example of this and it was wonderfully done. The tale explores the backstory of the Sea Witch in the little mermaid. Sweeping its way through the mind it brought to life a girl whose ultimate sacrifice led to her becoming a famed monster. I could not put this book down as the story leaped before my eyes.

Image result for lucifer gif"The characters of the tale were vivid, to say the least. Evie, the central character is a witch who hides her powers from everyone. She is friends with a prince and she is reviled for this along with her being the survivor of a tragedy in which her friend lost her life. The strength of her character showed for she moved beyond the pain of the past and was willing to do anything for a friend. She denied the truth in some areas of her life and by the end we empathize with the sea witch and we feel the pain of being a lonely oddity. It was heartrending to watch her on her journey and the ending of the book left me sorrowful and unable to ever read the little mermaid without feeling for the sea witch.

The other characters added to the tale in their own unique ways creating a wonderful revenge basis for the story. The particular villain for this tale sought revenge for a life unlived and chances lost due to the people closest to her. I will be honest in the fact that I always suspected her character of evil despite the facade she put up for most of the book. However, I did not truly understand the depth or reasoning behind her acts until it was all explained during the grand climax. The two princes created a contrast that had me loving Nik and hating Iker. I adored Nik for his sweetness and obvious jealousy over Evie while I abhorred Iker knowing Evie was just a passing fancy, one in many.

Image result for sherlock gif love it"I loved how the author truly built a world for the tale of the little mermaid. We see little of the sea but we grow to understand the kingdom and their worship of the sea. In a world built for nobles, a poor witch rises and eventually becomes one of the most feared villains of all time.

I would highly recommend this book. I have read some backstories for the villains of fairy tales but I would have to say that this is one of my favorites. All lovers of the little mermaid should read this and examine the backstory of a woman who lost much and gained little despite the power she holds.

Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell

Moira Alexander is fascinated by the deadly sirens in the waters surrounding her home. She plays her violin for them dancing on the edge of thrilling danger for a single note from a siren can send her to a watery grave.

But when a boy is murdered and the sirens are blamed Moira sets out to find the true killer for she knows deep down a human was responsible for the death. Certain that sirens were framed for the death she enlists the help of an old friend rekindling a friendship that died in secrets years ago. As the townspeople decry the sirens and prepare to hunt them down Moira must race against time to find the true murderer and reveal that monsters lie in wait on land not just in the sea. 

Songs from the Deep was an interesting murder mystery novel that told the compelling story of a girl attempting to prove that monsters lurk beyond the sea. Its premise was fascinating but at times the story was boring and the author did not take a chance at compelling plot points. It was tough to get into the story and continue it and the characters were not well developed. They were more etchings of an idea with moments of growth and insight that shone through on occasion. Having said this I liked the idea of the book and it was good enough to finish but I would not prioritize this book before other novels.

Related imageThe world-building was a good idea in theory with an island of tough people used to the dangers of sirens constantly lurking beneath the waves. However, it was not well written. I could not figure out what time period the author was trying to emulate. At first, the world seemed set in a time where they did not have well-developed technology and the people were just trying to live but as the story went on the time period changed with the introduction of telephones. It was just blatantly confusing. The author furthermore did not take chances to expand on the sirens and the constant balancing scale between the islanders and the sirens. The places within the story seemed to just be there though I did enjoy the few moments the author expanded on the history and the feeling of the inhospitable land. The world-building could have been ultimately better.

The world-building was mediocre and the characters were only slightly better. They had the opportunity to grow and sometimes they did but oftentimes they just remained the same. Moira, the main character was intriguing but her character growth was stunted throughout the book. Furthermore, I could not stand the predictable romance which seemed so last minute. The characters were just there but I did like Moria’s voice. It was one of the only redeeming factors in any of the cast.

Related imageAnd I could not stand the progression of the book. It was questions after questions with no answers or leads. It was boring because the suspects never made sense and the evidence Moira had to go off of was minimal. When the murderer was finally revealed it all seemed so mundane and somewhat predictable but then again we never even had any true suspects or well-thought-out characters to suspect. The villain of the tale seemed cobbled together which was not fun to read and it lessened my enjoyment of the tale even more.

This story is not worth reading in the end. It was hard to get through and boring filled with questions and unsatisfactory answers that did not develop the tale.  I would have to give this book 2.5 stars and I usually love everything I read so this is very disappointing.