Zombies for Everyone by Kimberly Wylie

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Zombies for Everyone

Author: Kimberly Wylie

Book Series: Jenna Sutton Supernatural Cozy Mystery Book 1

Rating: 2/5

Recommended For…: young adult, new adult, paranormal, mystery, cozy mystery

Genre: YA Paranormal Mystery

Publication Date: June 30, 2021

Publisher: Cypress Canyon Publishing

Pages: 185

Recommended Age: 14+ (violence, gore, romance)

Explanation of CWs: Lots of gore moments where blood and missing limbs are mentioned. Also mild violence for fighting.

Synopsis: Jenna Sutton is nothing like the iconic vampire slayer of TV fame.

She’s the antithesis of a cheerleader. She’s not peppy. And she sucks at gymnastics. She has nothing in common with the fictional Buffy, other than being blonde and in high school…

Oh, and occasionally she kills vampires for a living as well as other things that go bump in the night

Following an attack on an English teacher at a nearby school, it becomes clear this wasn’t an ordinary coyote bite. The gray-green Lichtenberg-like webbing of streaks making their way up Ms. Pruett’s arm can mean only one thing—zombies.

But this isn’t a normal zombie attack. The victims seem to be hand-picked.

Can Jenna complete her investigation without the school administrators figuring out she’s actually a high school student from another school? Will Jenna be able to find out who’s behind these attacks before a full-scale zombie outbreak overtakes the town? And, perhaps most importantly…

Why did her best friend kiss her after all of these years?

Review: Overall this was an ok book. I liked the premise of the book and I like how much it resembles Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The book had an intriguing plot that helped me keep going through the book.

However, I really didn’t like this one. The book was very rushed and the backstory was very confusing and hard to understand. The Buffy inspo feels a little too much like Buffy and not enough of it’s own. The romance is quickly rushed and the pacing is so rushed! I felt like I was running a marathon trying to read the book.

Verdict: It’s not for me but maybe for you!

Talking with Brett Salter About The Talisman Series

1) What is your book and what is it about?  It’s called “The Search For Synergy”.  It is book 1 of The Talisman Series.  Oh man!  This book is so freaking awesome!  That should be the tagline.  If you’ve ever been a teenage boy apprehensive about how you fit into the world, then you’ll enjoy it.  If you’ve ever been a teenage boy who, in reality, is a shapeshifting, fire-breathing dragon thrust into the role of protecting your world from an evil army intent on breaking through interdimensional gates and destroying the place, you will ABSOLUTELY dig it!  The book is not just for teenage boys though.  I wrote it to be something I would enjoy reading and that appeals to all ages and genders.  Barebones, it’s a story about finding your way while defending your home and getting swept up in an adventure grander than what you’ve always known.

2) Why did you decide for the genre to be middle grade?  Honestly, it’s what I know.  It’s what I read growing up, and now that I have kids of my own, it’s what I read to them.  Plus, I am not very good writing romance, non-fiction, or blood and guts stuff, so I like to keep my creations PG for the most part.  Maybe slip into PG-13 every now and then.  

3) What is your favorite mythological creature?  Awesome question!  Hard to nail down just one.  Kinda like, “what’s your favorite song?”  But I will give you my top three (3).  Dragons for obvious reasons.  They can fly and breathe fire (my dragons can do much more).  Dragons are just plain BA!  However, I also like the dragon’s sworn nemesis, Griffins.  I just think they are such an awesome amalgamation of two alpha predators that they just HAVE to be in the top.  Finally, the Phoenix.  I mean how cool are those?  Fire is my element, so this was a no-brainer.

4) What was your favorite middle grade book when you were in that age range?  I would say The Xanth Series by Piers Anthony.  I loved the characters and the creatures.  Plus, the puns and humor of that series definitely shaped my sense of humor today.  Great books.  Check them out if you have never read them!

5) What got you into writing?  I write for a couple reasons.  1.  I feel like there is something in me that needs to “create”.  I try EVERY day to “create” something which scratches that itch.  In my past, I’ve been a musician and a poet.  Those were great outlets for allowing that creativity bug to escape, but unfortunately, I found those to be more like fleeting diversions.  Writing a book is a project that keeps the creativity pouring out for months at a time.  Not that writing music and poetry is easy.  It most definitely isn’t!  I believe musicians and poets follow the same creative yens that authors do.  I just feel like writing a series of books, creating palpable characters, and keeping all the details juggled properly is a larger-scale project with more channels for creative output.  2.  I write to inspire others.  I remember being a kid and reading things like The Chronicles of Narnia or The Xanth Series and being awestruck and engaged to no end.  I want that!  I want to inspire others to embrace that creativity gene and nurture it.  I tell my kids all the time to practice being creative.  Take some time to draw a battle scene of dragons or a kaleidoscope of butterflies!  Construct a folded-up, 8-page comic book about a superhero you invented.  Make up a dance and share it with you friends so you don’t look like the only weirdo doing it.  Use the rainy days to read about new places and explore that part of your brain that dies a little each time you stare at your screens.  Egon Spengler famously said, “print is dead”, but it’s not.  It’s just evolved.  We have more ways to share our stories now than ever.  And I just want to be part of that amazing assembly.

6) Where do you do most of your writing?  I write whenever I have some free time. I used to have a job that granted me a ton of downtime.  That’s when I wrote the first 3 books.  Like most of the things in my life, I am pretty clueless when it comes to making a schedule, so I just write when and where I can.  I’ll tell you though, the best ideas come to me at night juuuuust before I fall asleep.  Which makes remembering them nigh impossible unless I wake myself up and write them down.

7) What authors would you say influenced you the most?  I’d say the authors that influence my WORK the most would be authors like Piers Anthony, Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Dr. Seuss, and their ilk.  However, I’m a sucker for classic poetry, so people like Wordsworth, Poe, Bronte, Shakespeare, Shelly, Dickinson, Frost, and Keats are my jam!  I even have some poetry out there on the web if you want to give it a look.  

https://authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=214341

8) How did you research this book?  I wrote the first book on a dare from my mother, so everything was done from my memories of middle school and things I thought would be cool for middle schoolers to read (my son vets everything I write nowadays).  After I finished, I just kinda kept going with the series; adding more characters and action and settings until I decided to make the series 12 books.  And now I am promoting the heck out of the first four (4).  The other eight are in the works!  

9) If your characters were alive, would they have a tiktok?  That’s a cool question.  Hmmmm.  I could see Julian doing some silly internet challenges or attempting the newest dance craze since he’s nutty and kind of a fame seeker.  However, Rome would definitely NOT be into TikTok.  His dragon sensibility would not allow him to waste time on things like social media.  And Mr. Jones?  Well, he’s more into books than technology, so he would also be a hard pass.

10) If your book was picked up for a TV series, which streaming platform would you want it to be shown on?  One can only imagine!!!  I just want to get traditionally published first.  It would be super cool if I could get The Talisman Series on Netflix.  I know that’s pretty old school, but I feel like it has the biggest viewership range.  My dream would be for my books to be animated and released as an episodic web series on a gaming website like Roosterteeth.com

11) And finally, give me 5 reasons people should pick up your books to read.  Oh, I’m ready!  Are you?  Let’s do this!!! 

1.  The books are quick and easy reads for all ages.  

2.  The character in my world are relatable and interesting…and a bit eccentric.  

3.  You should ALWAYS support people who do what they love.  You will NEVER   be let down with their results.  

4.  The Talisman Series Fandom is growing exponentially by the day.  You WANT to get on board with the stories before we explode to Harry Potter levels (and get that Netflix deal, baby!). 

5.  One of my many credos is “”try anything once – within reason”.  So, I propose to the reader…Why not?  Why not take my book(s) for a test drive?  Why not open yourself up to a little adventure and take your self away from your job, or your schoolwork, or money, or whatever else is causing stress in your life?  It cannot hurt to give that creative part of your brain a kickstart every now and then.  I bet you’ll enjoy it!  So hold your Talisman tight and keep a wary eye out for portals.  See you at the end!

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/The-Talisman-Series-By-Brett-Salter-1529107400487070

Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Talisman-4-Book/dp/B08L82QWBJ/ref=sr_1_4?dchild=1&keywords=brett+salter&qid=1620243367&sr=8-4

FANDOM.COMhttps://the-talisman-series-by-brett-salter.fandom.com/wiki/The_Talisman_Series_by_Brett_Salter_Wiki

Authors Denhttps://authorsden.com/visit/author.asp?authorid=214341

Good Readshttps://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16878722.Brett_Salter?from_search=true&from_srp=true

Facebook page for my “Dad” Bandhttps://www.facebook.com/pinksalterpeters

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

Disclaimer: I received the e-arc from the publisher and the arc copy from a local bookstore (not bought, they had it set out to take). Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Blood Like Magic

Author: Liselle Sambury

Book Series: Blood Like Magic Book 1

Diversity: Big family, step parents and a trans cousin (male to female), Black MC and main/side characters, Trans (female to male) love interest, Not skinny MC (she has big hips and butt), Pronouns used and normalized, Hispanic love interest, LGBT+ characters, Demiromantic character

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: ya readers, LGBT+, fantasy, witchcraft, sci-fi, urban fantasy

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Publication Date: June 15, 2021

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 496

Recommended Age: 15+ (Discussion of slavery, Gore, Violence, Language, Alcohol mentioned, Discrimination, Microaggressions, Mentions of police brutality, Media protrayal of Black people as violent)

Explanation of CWs: Slavery and the trauma of it in the family is discussed. Damn is the only curse I saw used. Alcohol is mentioned in the context of the adults drink and one of the teens tries to sneak some, at a family function the MC had some shandy, and the MC drinks rum to watch a very gorey scene. Police brutality a thing of the past and officers now from convicted, but still happens. This is very brief in the book. Media protrayal of Black people as violent is still happening and is frowned upon by MC and by the tone of the book in general.

Synopsis: After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

Review: Okay so in the running for my favorite book of 2021, no other book really stands a chance against this one now I think LOL. This book absolutely blew me away and it’s so unique and phenomenal I cannot not rave about it. The book is like this weird love child of a Sci-Fi mixed with techno mixed with murder mystery elements and witchcraft. And it works! I really love all of the characters and there is so much diversity in this book. All the characters, even down at the miniscule small ones are so well developed. The world building is absolutely amazing. The plot, though a little complex, immediately draws you in and refuses to let you leave. And the pacing is very consistent throughout the book. And bonus points because the cover is in like one of my favorite colors LOL. And I also want to talk about how the main character, who is painted to be in that “not like other girls” trope in the beginning is totally not like that at the end of the book and the book does really well to show that that character comes into their own. I also want to highly commend the book for involving periods as a coming of age rituals and making the male characters also experience a version of this lol. I have to say that this was one of the most unique books I have read in a long time and I am stoked to see the other books in the series and where this author goes from here because this author is going to be someone that you want to keep on your radar.

The only little bit of criticism that I had in this book is that there was a lot going on, especially in the beginning, and it forced me to slow down in my reading. But I think that was completely intentional by the author and while my brain was rushing to memorize a lot of facts, I love how the author wrote the book.

Verdict: Absolutely amazing and I highly recommend!

Monster Child by Rahela Nayebzabah

Disclaimer: I received this ebook from the author. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Monster Child

Author: Rahela Nayebzabah

Book Series: Standalone

Diversity: Afghan, Muslim, Immigrant MC, family, and side characters

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For…: fiction, adult content

Genre: Fiction

Publication Date: May 18, 2021

Publisher: Buckrider Books

Pages: 200

Recommended Age: can’t recommend, DNFed (language, rape/sexual assault)

Explanation of CWs: Lots of cursing and explicit language. Sexual assault and rape is written in detail. Creepy language about women’s bodies.

Synopsis: In a powerful debut novel author Rahela Nayebzadah introduces three unforgettable characters, Beh, Shabnam, and Alif. In a world swirling with secrets, racism, and a touch of magic we watch through the eyes of these three children as Nayebzadah’s family of Afghan immigrants try to find their way in an often uncaring society. But as a sexual assault on thirteen-year-old Beh unleashes the past and destroys the family the reader is left wondering who is the monster child? Is it Beh, who says she is called a disease? Is it Shabnam, who cries tears of blood? Is it Alif, who in the end declares “We are a family of monsters”? Or are the monsters all around us?

Review: I had to DNF the book at pg. 61. The book is good and I think a lot of people would enjoy the writing, but there’s a lot of things in the book I felt really triggered by. There’s lots of explicit language in the book. The way women are talked about in the book is very explicit and hurtful, especially when, in reference to Muslim children who adopt western culture “look like every other girl in school waiting to pop their cherries”. There’s also rape in detail in this book with a minor involved and I wasn’t expecting that from this book. I knew it would be touched on but I didn’t know the extent of it. I think this would be a great read and I wish this would have been a good read for me, but it was just too much for me in the end. However, the story is extremely well written and the characters are well developed. I also loved the world building and the plot of the book. The pacing was also on par.

Verdict: It’s good and I’d have loved to read more, but I just can’t at the moment. Not for me but maybe for you!

The Countdown (The Deathday Chronicles, A Prequel) Book Tour

In the Grand Alliance of American States… His days are numbered.

I’m Theo, and my deathday is in ten days.

The vivid, poison-green digits burning into my left wrist won’t let me forget it.

I brave my remaining days with my best friend by my side — if only I could bring myself to finally kiss her.

But when I receive a mysterious parting gift from the Government, I’m thrown into a wild hunt for a clue that could explain deathdays. Or stop them.

With time running out, every choice I make could be my last…

The Countdown is the addictive full-length prequel to the young adult dystopian series The Deathday Chronicles. Full of action, adventure, romance and heroes in unexpected places, it’s perfect for fans of The Hunger GamesDivergent and The Maze Runner★★★★★

Grab it now! The countdown is on.

Biography

Kasia Lasinska writes series of fast-paced young adult fantasy and dystopian novels filled with daring quests, action, adventure, magic hidden in unexpected places and a splash of romance.

Kasia likes to tell people she’s actually a vampire, given she’s a night owl, is usually quite pale and can’t eat garlic. She loves books, travel, a good cup of coffee and dogs.

If you’d like to stay in touch, join Kasia’s Corner, the exclusive reader’s club where you’ll receive free books (including The Countdown, the prequel to The Deathday Chronicles) and be the first to hear about news and updates from Kasia’s life, giveaways and new releases. Join today at: https://kasialasinska.com/free-book

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwame Mbalia ((Reread))

Disclaimer: I bought my own copy. Support your authors!

Book: Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Author: Kwame Mbalia

Book Series: Tristan Strong Book 1

Diversity: Black MC and family and a focus on African mythology and lore

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: Middle grade, fantasy, African mythology and lore

Genre: MG Fantasy

Publication Date: October 15, 2019

Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents

Pages: 482

Recommended Age: 10+ (slavery mentioned and alluded to)

Explanation of CWs: Slavery is mentioned and is alluded to in the story.

Synopsis: Seventh-grader Tristan Strong feels anything but strong ever since he failed to save his best friend when they were in a bus accident together. All he has left of Eddie is the journal his friend wrote stories in. Tristan is dreading the month he’s going to spend on his grandparents’ farm in Alabama, where he’s being sent to heal from the tragedy. But on his first night there, a sticky creature shows up in his bedroom and steals Eddie’s journal. Tristan chases after it — is that a doll? — and a tug-of-war ensues between them underneath a Bottle Tree. In a last attempt to wrestle the journal out of the creature’s hands, Tristan punches the tree, accidentally ripping open a chasm into the MidPass, a volatile place with a burning sea, haunted bone ships, and iron monsters that are hunting the inhabitants of this world. Tristan finds himself in the middle of a battle that has left black American gods John Henry and Brer Rabbit exhausted. In order to get back home, Tristan and these new allies will need to entice the god Anansi, the Weaver, to come out of hiding and seal the hole in the sky. But bartering with the trickster Anansi always comes at a price. Can Tristan save this world before he loses more of the things he loves?

Review: This was my first reread of the year and I absolutely enjoyed it just like the first time I read it. I really like the character development and the World building and the book overall is very well written. The African mythology that is used in the book is rich and amazing. I loved looking up the stories as I read along in the book and I thought that the book did very well condensing the stories in a snapshot format for younger readers to understand. I also like that the book didn’t shy away from the forced enslavement that much of the African population faced. The book has a lot of mentions of that time period and also has a lot of references to it, but it does not take that part of the history lightly. Another thing that really fascinates me about this book is that the author makes the protagonist a boxer, but also gives him a very unique ability of storytelling. I think that the combination of the two is perfect for a middle grade aged boy to show that not all battles can be won with weapons. I also love the plot of the book and it had me hooked from the first page.

The only thing that really bothered me about the book is that the book is really fast paced in the beginning and then it slows down tremendously towards the middle. The pacing is pretty wonky throughout the book and in the beginning you have a lot of questions about what’s going on because you’re throwing into the middle of Tristan’s story, but I still think that this is one of the best middle grade books that I’ve read.

Verdict: a must read!

Kind of Sort of Fine by Spencer Hall

Disclaimer: I received the arc for this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Kind of Sort of Fine

Author: Spencer Hall

Book Series: Standalone

Diversity: One Black side character, Main Character with Anxiety, Main Character that is overweight and dieting

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: ya readers, soon to be high school graduates, contemporary

Genre: YA Contemporary

Publication Date: June 22, 2021

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Pages: 283

Recommended Age: 14+ (Dieting/Food, Weight, and Exercise related content, Bullying, Alcohol consumption, Language, Anxiety and Panic Attack)

Explanation of CWs: Dieting, exercise, and weight are heavily discussed as apart of Lewis’ story. Alcohol is consumed and one character gets drunk. There’s a few curse words in the book. There’s also heavy bullying by a side character on the main characters. There is also a main character and her mental health is discussed as well as a panic attack shown in the book.

Synopsis: Senior year of high school is full of changes.

For Hayley Mills, these changes aren’t exactly welcome. All she wants is for everyone to forget about her very public breakdown and remember her as the overachiever she once was—and who she’s determined to be again. But it’s difficult to be seen as a go-getter when she’s forced into TV Production class with all the slackers like Lewis Holbrook.

For Lewis, though, this is going to be his year. After a summer spent binging 80s movies, he’s ready to upgrade from the role of self-described fat, funny sidekick to leading man of his own life—including getting the girl. The only thing standing in his way is, well, himself.

When the two are partnered up in class, neither is particularly thrilled. But then they start making mini documentaries about their classmates’ hidden talents, and suddenly Hayley is getting attention for something other than her breakdown, and Lewis isn’t just a background character anymore. It seems like they’re both finally getting what they want—except what happens when who you’ve become isn’t who you really are?

Review: I really liked this book. It’s your classic “it’s my last year of high school and I gotta make it memorable” book but the characters are what makes this book. I really loved Hayley and I loved her story. I especially loved seeing her development and growth as a person and I think, especially if you have had stress or anxiety, you’ll see yourself in her character. I also thought the plot was well done and the world building was great. I also really loved all of the 80s references.

The only things that I didn’t entirely love is that I didn’t really connect with Lewis or Cal that much. While I think they’re well written for high school boys, the immature jokes about Hayley and about women’s bodies in general made me uncomfortable. I also felt that the book needed trigger warnings for the dieting and exercise Lewis does. It’s very present in the novel and there’s a lot of comments about his weight as well that I feel might trigger some readers, especially those who suffer from eating disorders.

Verdict: It was a great book and if you like the trope definitely give it a go.

Bleeding Misery Cover Reveal

Blurb for book 2:

A world of light overpowers a world of darkness.

Following the loss of Roseway, the infamous immortal warlock Henri Anderson has retreated to his castle in Greenwich, England. On the surface, it appears the mortals have won, but Henri has other ideas. After all, he didn’t need Roseway anymore, not when he has Holly’s parents held hostage and kidnapped the new mortal prince, Jeffery Speirs.

Rebekah Jensen is done. After the incident in Roseway where she almost died, she wants nothing to do with the supernatural world, and she especially wants nothing to do with the immortal warlock who caused her ten months of torment. However, Holly is convinced the war is not over, and when it becomes apparent Rebekah is going to be competing in the ICW with Eternal Division, Holly is adamant that she and Mandy take part as well.

Things soon take a turn for the worst when the year’s ICW host and new mortal king Jason Speirs demands there be chaperones, and soon, the ICW facility becomes a hotbed of mortal magic and an even bigger target for Henri. It doesn’t take long until clique participants start turning up dead in the hallways. When Mandy admits she dreamt of those deaths years ago, which inspired her novel Bleeding Misery, everyone’s attention turns to the Foreseer for guidance. But Mandy can’t help them, not in the way they want her to, and especially not while she is under Henri’s influence.

People can also use the blurb for book one if they want to avoid spoilery stuff:

The sacrifices, the drama, the horror within.

In the year of 1860, a curse was performed over the suburb of Roseway, Washington, which rests about twenty miles south of Seattle, that killed nearly every living resident. After coming back to Earth as spirits, they form a twisted plan that not only provides them with bodies of their own but also kills off all who venture into Roseway in the future.

Thirteen-year-old Rebekah Jensen has lived a fine life in Marywood, Florida with two best friends, a clique that strives to make her one of them, and a boyfriend who happened to be one of the most popular guys in her school. But all that is about to change when the date of her arrival nears, when she starts to see things that she presumes are spirits—and she is sure that she has gone insane.

After moving to Roseway, she gets sucked into an illusion of the dead, coming to regard Roseway as some sort of cult in which they worship a mysterious being that is introduced to her as the Master. Within the months of enduring Roseway, she finds out more about herself and her purpose in the suburb. Teaming up with a friend, who has a dark secret, Rebekah must put an end to the curse before she ends up like the rest of the victims.

Author bio:

N. M. Lambert is a part-time writer, editor, avid reader and gamer, and a heavy metal enthusiast. She graduated from Northern Arizona University with a bachelor’s in both criminology and anthropology and with minors in both French and psychology. When not writing, she can be seen surfing the web, singing and sometimes trying to perfect her metal growls, and spending way too much time on Animal Crossing. She currently lives in Show Low, Arizona with her family and a menagerie of dogs and birds.

Summer Required Reading

Hey bookies! Summer is a time of fun, but it’s also a time that we can work on ourselves. There are some ya books that I think you should make time to read this summer. Also remember to buy from your local indie shops!

Ace of Spades
An incendiary and utterly compelling thriller with a shocking twist that delves deep into the heart of institutionalized racism, from an exceptional new YA voice. Welcome to Niveus Private Academy, where money paves the hallways, and the students are never less than perfect. Until now. Because anonymous texter, Aces, is bringing two students’ dark secrets to light. Talented musician Devon buries himself in rehearsals, but he can’t escape the spotlight when his private photos go public. Head girl Chiamaka isn’t afraid to get what she wants, but soon everyone will know the price she has paid for power. Someone is out to get them both. Someone who holds all the aces. And they’re planning much more than a high-school game… 
Gearbreakers
The shadow of Godolia’s tyrannical rule is spreading, aided by their giant mechanized weapons known as Windups. War and oppression are everyday constants for the people of the Badlands, who live under the thumb of their cruel Godolia overlords.

Eris Shindanai is a Gearbreaker, a brash young rebel who specializes in taking down Windups from the inside. When one of her missions goes awry and she finds herself in a Godolia prison, Eris meets Sona Steelcrest, a cybernetically enhanced Windup pilot. At first Eris sees Sona as her mortal enemy, but Sona has a secret: She has intentionally infiltrated the Windup program to destroy Godolia from within.

As the clock ticks down to their deadliest mission yet, a direct attack to end Godolia’s reign once and for all, Eris and Sona grow closer–as comrades, friends, and perhaps something more…
Broken Web (Shamanborn, #2)
The Soulless has woken from his centuries-long imprisonment. Now, he lurks in the Dead Wood recovering his strength, while Sirscha and her allies journey east to the shaman empire of Nuvalyn. Everyone believes she is a soulguide—a savior—but Sirscha knows the truth. She’s a monster, a soulrender like the Soulless, and if anyone discovers the truth, she’ll be executed.

But there’s nothing Sirscha won’t risk to stop the shaman responsible for the rot that’s killing her best friend. While the Soulless is formidable, like all shamans, his magic must be channeled through a familiar. If Sirscha can discover what—or who—that is, she might be able to cut him off from his power.

With Queen Meilyr bent on destroying the magical kingdoms, Sirscha finds herself caught between a war brewing in the east and the Soulless waiting in the west. She should be trying to unite what peoples she can to face their common enemies, but instead, her hunt for clues about the Soulless leads to a grim discovery, forcing Sirscha to question who her enemies really are.
The Darkness Outside Us
Two boys, alone in space.

After the first settler on Titan trips her distress signal, neither remaining country on Earth can afford to scramble a rescue of its own, and so two sworn enemies are installed in the same spaceship.

Ambrose wakes up on the Coordinated Endeavor, with no memory of a launch. There’s more that doesn’t add up: Evidence indicates strangers have been on board, the ship’s operating system is voiced by his mother, and his handsome, brooding shipmate has barricaded himself away. But nothing will stop Ambrose from making his mission succeed—not when he’s rescuing is his own sister.

In order to survive the ship’s secrets, Ambrose and Kodiak will need to work together and learn to trust one another… especially once they discover what they are truly up against. Love might be the only way to survive.
Jay's Gay Agenda (Jay's Gay Agenda, #1)
There’s one thing Jay Collier knows for sure—he’s a statistical anomaly as the only out gay kid in his small rural Washington town. While all this friends can’t stop talking about their heterosexual hookups and relationships, Jay can only dream of his own firsts, compiling a romance to-do list of all the things he hopes to one day experience—his Gay Agenda.

Then, against all odds, Jay’s family moves to Seattle and he starts his senior year at a new high school with a thriving LGBTQIA+ community. For the first time ever, Jay feels like he’s found where he truly belongs, where he can flirt with Very Sexy Boys and search for love. But as Jay begins crossing items off his list, he’ll soon be torn between his heart and his hormones, his old friends and his new ones…because after all, life and love don’t always go according to plan.

From debut novelist Jason June comes a moving and hilarious sex-positive story about the complexities of first loves, first hookups, and first heartbreaks—and how to stay true to yourself while embracing what you never saw coming.
Blackout
A summer heatwave blankets New York City in darkness. But as the city is thrown into confusion, a different kind of electricity sparks…

A first meeting. 

Long-time friends. 

Bitter exes. 

And maybe the beginning of something new.

When the lights go out, people reveal hidden truths. Love blossoms, friendship transforms, and new possibilities take flight.
This Poison Heart (The Poison Heart, #1)
Darkness blooms in bestselling author Kalynn Bayron’s new contemporary fantasy about a girl with a unique and deadly power.

Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.

When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.

When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.
Sisters of the Snake
A lost princess. A dark puppet master. And a race against time—before all is lost.

Princess Rani longs for a chance to escape her gilded cage and prove herself. Ria is a street urchin, stealing just to keep herself alive.

When these two lives collide, everything turns on its head: because Ria and Rani, orphan and royal, are unmistakably identical.

A deal is struck to switch places—but danger lurks in both worlds, and to save their home, thief and princess must work together. Or watch it all fall into ruin.

Deadly magic, hidden temples, and dark prophecies: Sisters of the Snake is an action-packed, immersive fantasy that will thrill fans of The Crown’s Game and The Tiger at Midnight.
A Chorus Rises (A Song Below Water, #2)
Teen influencer Naema Bradshaw has it all: she’s famous, privileged, has “the good hair”— and she’s an Eloko, a person who’s gifted with a song that woos anyone who hears it. Everyone loves her — well, until she’s cast as the awful person who exposed Tavia’s secret siren powers.

Now, she’s being dragged by the media. No one understands her side: not her boyfriend, not her friends, nor her Eloko community. But Naema knows the truth and is determined to build herself back up — no matter what.

When a new, flourishing segment of Naema’s online supporters start targeting black girls, however, Naema must discover the true purpose of her magical voice.
Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes, #1)
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
Wings of Shadow (Crown of Feathers, #3)
I had a sister, once…

Veronyka is no longer an orphaned stable boy or a nameless Phoenix Rider apprentice: she is the daughter of Pheronia Ashfire, the last queen of the Golden Empire…and the niece of Avalkyra Ashfire, the resurrected rebel queen who tore the empire apart.

We shone brightly, burned fiercely.

Now that the secret is out, everyone at the Eyrie treats Veronyka differently, and with Tristan still a hostage of the scheming Lord Rolan—and Sev with him as a spy—Veronyka feels very much alone. Except for her beloved phoenix, Xephyra, of course, and her new friend, Kade, who has his own reasons for wanting to save Tristan.

Was it always going to come down to this? Sister against sister? Darkness against light?

Veronyka is determined to do whatever it takes to get Tristan back, even if that means revealing her identity to the world and inheriting a throne she’s not sure she wants. But when she discovers that Avalkyra has bonded with a strix—a legendary creature of darkness that feeds off the life force of others—Veronyka realizes she has more to deal with than an encroaching war with the empire. Val is willing to destroy everything to get her revenge on a world that rejected her, and if Veronyka wants to bring peace to the empire and Pyra alike, she must face down her sister once and for all.
Rise to the Sun

Olivia is an expert at falling in love . . . and at being dumped. But after the fallout from her last breakup has left her an outcast at school and at home, she’s determined to turn over a new leaf. A crush-free weekend at Farmland Music and Arts Festival with her best friend is just what she needs to get her mind off the senior year that awaits her.

Toni is one week away from starting college, and it’s the last place she wants to be. Unsure about who she wants to become and still reeling in the wake of the loss of her musician-turned-roadie father, she’s heading back to the music festival that changed his life in hopes that following in his footsteps will help her find her own way forward.

When the two arrive at Farmland, the last thing they expect is to realize that they’ll need to join forces in order to get what they’re searching for out of the weekend. As they work together, the festival becomes so much more complicated than they bargained for, and Olivia and Toni will find that they need each other, and music, more than they ever could have imagined.

Packed with irresistible romance and irrepressible heart, bestselling author Leah Johnson delivers a stunning and cinematic story about grief, love, and the remarkable power of music to heal and connect us all.

XOXO
Cello prodigy Jenny has one goal: to get into a prestigious music conservatory. When she meets mysterious, handsome Jaewoo in her uncle’s Los Angeles karaoke bar, it’s clear he’s the kind of boy who would uproot her careful plans. But in a moment of spontaneity, she allows him to pull her out of her comfort zone for one unforgettable night of adventure…before he disappears without a word.

Three months later, when Jenny and her mother arrive in South Korea to take care of her ailing grandmother, she’s shocked to discover that Jaewoo is a student at the same elite arts academy where she’s enrolled for the semester. And he’s not just any student. He’s a member of one of the biggest K-pop bands in the world—and he’s strictly forbidden from dating.

When a relationship means throwing Jenny’s life off the path she’s spent years mapping out, she’ll have to decide once and for all just how much she’s willing to risk for love
The Taking of Jake Livingston
Jake Livingston is one of the only Black kids at St. Clair Prep, one of the others being his infinitely more popular older brother. It’s hard enough fitting in but to make matters worse and definitely more complicated, Jake can see the dead. In fact he sees the dead around him all the time. Most are harmless. Stuck in their death loops as they relive their deaths over and over again, they don’t interact often with people. But then Jake meets Sawyer. A troubled teen who shot and killed six kids at a local high school last year before taking his own life. Now a powerful, vengeful ghost, he has plans for his afterlife–plans that include Jake. Suddenly, everything Jake knows about ghosts and the rules to life itself go out the window as Sawyer begins haunting him and bodies turn up in his neighborhood. High school soon becomes a survival game–one Jake is not sure he’s going to win.
Radha & Jai's Recipe for Romance
Radha is on the verge of becoming one of the greatest Kathak dancers in the world . . . until a family betrayal costs her the biggest competition of her life. Now, she has left her Chicago home behind to follow her stage mom to New Jersey. At the Princeton Academy of the Arts, Radha is determined to leave performing in her past, and reinvent herself from scratch.

Jai is captain of the Bollywood Beats dance team, ranked first in his class, and an overachiever with no college plans. Tight family funds means medical school is a pipe dream, which is why he wants to make the most out of high school. When Radha enters his life, he realizes she’s the exact ingredient he needs for a show-stopping senior year.

With careful choreography, both Radha and Jai will need to face their fears (and their families) if they want a taste of a happily ever after.
How We Fall Apart (How We Fall Apart, #1)
Nancy Luo is shocked when her former best friend, Jamie Ruan, top ranked junior at Sinclair Prep, goes missing, and then is found dead. Nancy is even more shocked when word starts to spread that she and her friends–Krystal, Akil, and Alexander–are the prime suspects, thanks to “The Proctor,” someone anonymously incriminating them via the school’s social media app.

They all used to be Jamie’s closest friends, and she knew each of their deepest, darkest secrets. Now, somehow The Proctor knows them, too. The four must uncover the true killer before The Proctor exposes more than they can bear and costs them more than they can afford, like Nancy’s full scholarship. Soon, Nancy suspects that her friends may be keeping secrets from her, too.
Cazadora (Wolves of No World, #2)
In Cazadora, the follow-up to Lobizona, Romina Garber continues to weave Argentine folklore and real-world issues into a haunting, fantastical, and romantic story that will reunite readers with Manu and her friends as they continue to fight for a better future.
Redemptor (Raybearer, #2)
For the first time, an Empress Redemptor sits on Aritsar’s throne. To appease the sinister spirits of the dead, Tarisai must now anoint a council of her own, coming into her full power as a Raybearer. She must then descend into the Underworld, a sacrifice to end all future atrocities.

Tarisai is determined to survive. Or at least, that’s what she tells her increasingly distant circle of friends. Months into her shaky reign as empress, child spirits haunt her, demanding that she pay for past sins of the empire.

With the lives of her loved ones on the line, assassination attempts from unknown quarters, and a handsome new stranger she can’t quite trust . . . Tarisai fears the pressure may consume her. But in this finale to the Raybearer duology, Tarisai must learn whether to die for justice . . . or to live for it.

Wings of Fury by Emily R. King

Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Wings of Fury

Author: Emily R. King

Book Series: Wings of Fury Book 1

Rating: 3/5

Recommended For…: Greek mythology, fantasy

Genre: Fantasy

Publication Date: March 1, 2021

Publisher: 47North

Pages: 283

Recommended Age: 16+ (Sexual assault/Rape, Forced marriage, Kidnapping, Slavery, Sexual content, Romance, Language)

Explanation of CWs: Rape mentioned but not shown in book. Creepy age gaps, especially between the MC and a man who wants to have her sexually when she’s a minor. Slavery mentioned in book a couple of times.

Synopsis: Cronus, God of Gods, whose inheritance is the world. Among his possessions: women, imprisoned and fated to serve. The strong-minded Althea Lambros controls her own fate and lives to honor her dying mother’s plea to protect her two sisters at all costs. Althea’s journey toward crushing the tyranny has begun. It is a destiny foretold by the Fates. And she is following their visions.

On the southern isle of Crete, hidden among mortal women who have fled the Titans, is the Boy God, son of Cronus and believed dead. He shares Althea’s destiny to vanquish the Almighty—fate willing. Because Cronus has caught wind of the plot. He’s amassing his own forces against Althea’s righteous rebellion and all those who will no longer surrender or run. There will be war. If she’s to survive to write their history, the indomitable Althea must soar higher than any god.

Review: For the most part I thought that this was a pretty well done book. I really like the storyline and I loved how fierce Althea was. I also loved how the author incorporated classic Greek mythology and I thought that the book was very well paced. The author also did well with the world building of the book.

However, I do have some issues with the book. The first thing that really jumps out at me is that the book starts when our main character is 11 and an adult male takes interest in her and marks her to be his when she is quote on quote ripened. That’s really disgusting and then later on in the book another central character of the story is a 15-year-old boy (who is a God but is referred to as a boy God and is humanly 15) who is being sent maidens to have sex with and is at least shown in one part of the book to be having sexual relations with what I can assume is an older female. Age is really aren’t specified, but the impression I got is that these women are adults while he is a minor. That might not be what the author intended, but that is how I interpreted it. So for those two facts alone the book really creeped me out, and the main character does have a relationship with a man who is at least 15 years older than her and while she is 18 throughout the majority of the book it’s still really creepy. I also thought that the characters weren’t that well developed and the twist at the end of the book wasn’t very well explained. It really felt like the book was very rushed towards the end.

Verdict: It was good, but I got creeped out.