Design a site like this with
Get started

Briarcliff Prep (ARC) (Review)

Welcome back! Today, we’re going to high school at an HBBS — Historically Black Boarding School! this book has major SpelHouse (Spelman + Morehouse) vibes and it’s sure to be a hit for you too.

Potentially triggering topics include: an abusive relationship, “boys will be boys”, bullying, online bullying. Please consider yourself first, Beloved.

I think I’ll tackle this story in Acts, similar to a play. That’s the way my brain saw it unfold.


Avielle is nervous but excited to start her freshman year of high school at Briarcliff Preparatory School for Girls with her sister Belle (a senior). They have a set of twin brothers across the field who attend Preston Academy for Boys. [If you got major SpellHouse vibes from that, you’re not alone.] Avi has been dreaming of this day for years and she has such bright eyes heading off to BP….but, of course, nothing’s ever that easy.

Avi discovers that high school comes with loads of homework and mean girls who have a very serious superiority complex. Nevertheless, she persists and eventually gets into the swing of things and makes friends along the way. And then there’s this super cute TA in one of her classes….


It’s now mid-fall semester and Avi is getting the hang of things! She’s starting to see her sister (and her sister’s boyfriend) around campus more, and becoming more confident in herself and her abilities. But then she sees something she wasn’t meant to: an altercation between her sister, Belle, and Belle’s boyfriend, Logan. She confronts them both separately and both give the same answer: “You don’t understand. You’re too young. It was a misunderstanding. Relationships have arguments.” Sure Jan.

Avi let’s it go trusting her sister and learns that (ooooh la la) the cute TA from her class has had his eye on her too! They begin dating, albeit secretly because umm…she’s his best friends’ baby sister. This complicates things.


Things between Belle and her boyfriend come to an ugly head like a pimple and it’s not good. Avi catches heat from her siblings for waiting so long to take action and (in my opinion), I don’t think anyone is being fair to her.

Avi lashes out at her boyfriend, effectively ending the relationship. Avi’s friends notice a change in her too and try to help but she’s resistant and won’t let anyone in.

Things do wrap quite nicely, and everyone gets what the deserve in the end (even that a-hole Logan).

Thank you so much to Brianna herself for sending me an eARC to read and to Rockstar tours for my finished copy..! Briarcliff Prep is available wherever you buy books as of November 15th!

Brianna A. Peppins was born in D.C. and raised in Upper Marlboro, Maryland by her parents. She has four siblings and has loved books for as long as she can remember. As a teen, when Brianna wasn’t obsessing over dystopian series’ like The Hunger Games or sobbing over stand-alones like The Fault in Our Stars, she could be found writing herself into B5 (an Atlanta-based R&B boy band) romance fanfiction.

Brianna attended primary and secondary school in Prince George’s County, MD and went on to attend Spelman College, in Atlanta, Ga. She graduated with a BA in Psychology (mental health concentration) in 2017 and shortly after began writing her debut novel, Briarcliff Prep.

When not writing, Brianna takes special interest in spending time with her loved ones, social justice issues (i.e. Intimate Partner Violence, Racial Injustice, Mental health), yoga, baking, embroidery, and is a self-proclaimed movie aficionado.

Song of Silver, Flame like Night

Welcome to my stop for Amèlie Wen Zhao’s newest book — Song of Silver, Flame like Night! There’s a fun giveaway for this title at the end of this blog post, so make sure to read all the way through..!


In a fallen kingdom, one girl carries the key to discovering the secrets of her nation’s past—and unleashing the demons that sleep at its heart. An epic fantasy series inspired by the mythology and folklore of ancient China. Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died. The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life. Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs. When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime. Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world. Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.

image from

Amélie Wen Zhao(赵雯)was born in Paris and grew up in Beijing, where she spent her days reenacting tales of legendary heroes, ancient kingdoms, and lost magic at her grandmother’s courtyard house. She attended college in the United States and now resides in New York City, working as a finance professional by day and fantasy author by night. In her spare time, she loves to travel with her family in China, where she’s determined to walk the rivers and lakes of old just like the practitioners in her novels do.

Amélie is the author of the Blood Heir trilogy and the upcoming Song of Silver, Flame Like Night duology.

Amélie is represented by Peter Knapp of Park Literary & Media.

Now for the giveaway: click this link to be redirected to enter for a chance to win one of two (2) copies of Song of Silver, Flame like Night!

Seton Girls (ARC) (Review)

The Seton Girls know what’s up!
(From the front to the back)
Yeah, we know what’s up!
(From the left to the right)
Yeah, we know what’s up!
Because we’re Seton, and the Seton Girls know what’s up!

Seton Girls cheer, pg. 198, uncorrected ARC edition

This book does contain some potentially triggering topics such as but not limited to: violence/fighting, underage drinking, nonconsensual sexual activities, and others. Please consider yourself before reading this one, Beloved. Today’s song is an older track…at least 15 years back and one I remember jamming out to frequently in high school: “Valerie” by Amy Winehouse & Mark Ronson. Bruno Mars also did a cover of this song and it’s just as good!

A smart and twisty debut YA that starts off like Friday Night Lights and ends with the power and insight of Dear White People.

Seton Academic High is a prep school obsessed with its football team and their thirteen-year conference win streak, a record that players always say they’d never have without Seton’s girls. What exactly Seton girls do to make them so valuable, though, no one ever really says. They’re just the best. But the team’s quarterback, the younger brother of the Seton star who started the streak, wants more than regular season glory. He wants a state championship before his successor, Seton’s first Black QB, has a chance to overshadow him. Bigger rewards require bigger risks, and soon the actual secrets to the team’s enduring success leak to a small group of girls who suddenly have the power to change their world forever

Synopsis, from Seton Girls goodreads page
Image from my Instagram!

Our story is told in two perspectives: “what it is” (present day) and “what it was” (the past). Aly, our MC, is a junior at Seton Prep who has always felt like an outsider even though she’s dating the current JV quarterback, who will be the next Varsity QB. Aly and her boyfriend, J, go to all the parties and they sign in, just like everyone else does….no one really knows what the sign in sheets are for, but its Seton tradition and if nothing else, Seton is all about tradition.

This story weaves a tale about classism, high school angst, and the power that one person can have to change the course of an entire school’s way of thinking. Aly (along with half the student body) overhears an argument between a group of friends — one is accusing the other of having slept with her boyfriend and the accused isn’t confirming or denying the story, so the girl gang breaks up. Being a kind soul (and a decent human overall), Aly swoops in to comfort the girl who has now been shunned by her besties.

Aly and this (accused) boyfriend banger quickly become good friends. They start to hang out and text constantly and Britt is even cool with Aly’s boyfriend, J. One day, Aly’s curiosity gets the best of her and she asks…any person would, right? “Is it true? Did you sleep with Michelle’s boyfriend?” Britt, surprisingly isn’t upset. “I did. But I didn’t have a choice.”

That sentence. Those few words catapults Aly and Britt and J down a path that they never saw coming involving all the other high schools in the area, the Seton Girls, the party sign in sheets, and tons of elusive silver flash drives full of material dating thirteen — 13! — years back. Aly & Britt formulate a plan: they’re going to expose these boys so that everyone can see the villains that they hail as heroes.

Seton Girls is a poignant tale that we can all learn from. Don’t be a trash human. Respect others. TAPING PEOPLE WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT IS ILLEGAL. The biggest lesson of all, I think, is that it only takes one. One voice against injustice, one person to be brave enough to stand up to the bad guy. It isn’t easy, but if the Seton girls can do it, I know we can too.

Charlene Thomas is the debut author of Seton Girls, set to release from Dutton Books, a division of PenguinTeen on August 30. You can read her bio below and visit her online at her website to learn more about what she’s up to!

I started writing when I was really little because I have a tendency to love telling stories just as much as (more than?) I love living them. I was sixteen when I wrote a manuscript that won the National Novel Silver Award from Scholastic Books (yay! maybe my stories are *decent*), and went on to minor in creative writing at North Carolina State University. I write books about the world we live in, inspired by my experiences (and yes, my friends – sorry friends) growing up in Montgomery County, MD. I believe a lot in people and what all of us are capable of, and maybe that’s why I love creating big characters who are steadfastly determined to change their own little parts of the world.
When I’m not writing, I’m a marketer – which means I can justify long Twitter-scrolling sessions as “research.” And I’m kind of obsessed with traveling. And funny people and food that tastes really, really good. Also Target and West Elm, for now – because I have a new house! And reality TV forever – because it’s amazing.
I also have my MBA from Emory University and a digital marketing certificate from Cornell. But none of these educational endeavors taught me how to effectively write a biography and so, for that reason, I’m gonna stop now.

I was provided a print and digital copy of this book from PenguinTeen in exchange for an honest review. Receiving these materials in no way impacted my review of this book.

The Undead Truth of Us (ARC) (Review)

Courtesy of Turn the Page Tours

Yello’! I bring you good tidings from summer in the midwest also known as Satan’s front porch. To cool down on during this massive heat wave, I’ve been listening to some kewl jamz and reading books from the comfort of my A/C. Today’s bop is “Dangerously” by Charlie Puth. Definitely an underrated artist with amazing vocals and (actual legit) perfect pitch.

The Undead Truth of Us is an amazing, lush story about grief, love, and the power of forgiveness. There are some potentially triggering topics/subjects within such as: body horror, loss of a parent, underage alcohol consumption, smoking, and others. Please consider yourself before reading this book, beloved.

Death was everywhere. They all stared at me, bumping into one another and slowly coming forward.

Sixteen-year-old Zharie Young is absolutely certain her mother morphed into a zombie before her untimely death, but she can’t seem to figure out why. Why her mother died, why her aunt doesn’t want her around, why all her dreams seem suddenly, hopelessly out of reach. And why, ever since that day, she’s been seeing zombies everywhere.

Then Bo moves into her apartment building―tall, skateboard in hand, freckles like stars, and an undeniable charm. Z wants nothing to do with him, but when he transforms into a half zombie right before her eyes, something feels different. He contradicts everything she thought she knew about monsters, and she can’t help but wonder if getting to know him might unlock the answers to her mother’s death.

As Zharie sifts through what’s real and what’s magic, she discovers a new truth about the world: Love can literally change you―for good or for dead.

Synopsis, from Goodreads
Image from my Bookstagram!

Zharie has started to see zombies. Everywhere. At home, in school, on the streets…everywhere. Soon, a boy named Bo moves into her apartment building and he’s not like the rest. He’s not quite zombie, and not quite human. And for some reason, he’s really taken a liking to Z. Cool.

Having lived in a closed off state for nearly her whole life, Zharie isn’t used to making friends or being instantly accepted into a friend group. TBH, this fact rang waaaay to true for me because I am the same exact way. However, like Zharie, I’ve come to learn that some people are just good people. Sometimes you have to let people in to get the most out of life.

Undead Truth tells the story of a girl who’s lost her mom and is struggling to learn how to navigate the world without her. She’s shut herself off. Her closest friend is online (which is a-okay), and she constantly neglects and mistreats her friend and classmate who not only expresses interest in trying to get her back to her old self but maybe something more…

Z’s story is raw and real and vulnerable of the highest order. Having suffered a few deaths myself, I thought I was over it, but this book was…like a catharsis. I felt like watching Zharie heal helped me heal too.

The Undead Truth of Us is Britney S. Lewis’s debut novel, set to release August 9th from Disney-Hyperion Publishing. If you’d like to purchase a copy of this book for yourself, you can use my affiliate link for Bookshop or visit you favorite bookish retailer!
I received an ARC of this book from the author, via Disney Publishing. Receiving these materials in no way has altered my opinion of this work.

Britney Lewis is a Kansas native who works in Mass Communications for higher education. She graduated from MidAmerica Nazarene University with a degree in corporate communications and an emphasis in business and art. Britney has been writing Young Adult books with the hopes to be published since she was seventeen! She strongly supports We Need Diverse Books, and she’s an avid follower of #DVpit and #BVM. When Britney isn’t daydreaming about new stories, she can be found binge-watching TV shows with her fiancé and her pup or practicing West Coast Swing in one of her local dance studios. To keep up with her, visit her website

Cake Eater (ARC) (Review)

Bonjour mon amour!! Today, we’re gonna talk about Marie Antoinette but through the lens of Black Mirror. “What book is this,” you say?…why Cake Eater, of course! For this post, our song is going to be “17” by Sky Ferreira. This song is only available on Youtube and Pandora, so no link today, sadly.

Cake Eater is a fun book to read, but it does come with some content warnings: alcohol consumption, mention of vaping, death of character(s), politics/political talk, and others.

Image from my Instagram!

She has a million followers on social media.
She uses her fashion-forward eye to pick the perfect angle and filter on every photo.
She’s iconic.
She’s a trend-setter.

She’s Marie Antoinette, the year is 3070, and she’s arrived in the Franc Kingdom to marry the prince, secure an alliance, and rake in likes from her fans.

Versailles is not the perfect palace Marie’s seen on The Apps. Her life is a maze of pointless rules, and the court watches her every move for mistakes. Her shy husband Louis is more interested in horses and computer-hacking than producing heirs. Versailles seems like a dream full of neon-lit statues, handsome android soldiers, and parties till dawn. Under the surface, it’s a creepy den of secrets: surveillance in Marie’s bedroom, censored news feeds, disappearing courtiers.

When Marie and Louis become king and queen long before they’re ready to rule, any efforts to aid their suffering subjects are stamped out by the mega-corporations of the First Estate. Between riots in Paris and image-wrecking social media firestorms, Marie can’t afford to lose her head. Using her social media savvy and Louis’ hacking knowledge, they try to fix their reputations and change their kingdom for the better, but the royals may find it’s already too late. They’re ruling over the end of an era.

Synopsis from Goodreads

So, first things first, a little history lesson. Marie Antoinette was a real person…she lived in the mid-century 1700’s. Marie Antoinette was born in Austria as Maria Antonia to Empress Maria Theresa and Emperor Francis I.

Marie (her name is great, but its long) was the next-to-last child of the pair and their youngest daughter. At the age of 14, Marie was shipped off to France to marry her husband the Dauphin (prince) Louis-Auguste. He was 15 at the time. Their reign was quite tumultuous and ended in their decapitation.

If you, like me, are a budding Francophile and want to learn more about Marie Antoinette, Sofia Coppola (yes, her dad is F.F. Coppola) directed an amazing film starring Kirsten Dunst & Jason Schwartzmann called (ha ha) Marie Antoinette! The costuming in this film won an Academy Award in 2006.

Now that we’re all a bit more familiar with who Marie was, lets talk about who she is, at least in this book. Our Marie is an influencer. She has thousands of followers on the Apps and in her home country of The Austrolands is looked at as a fashion maven. The people love her and the clothes she wears. But then things change.

Upon her arrival to her new home, Marie learns that everything is not what it seems on the Apps. The Franc people don’t like her. Her fashions aren’t well received. The citizens think she’s being frivolous with their money. Her and Louis-Auguste haven’t yet consummated their marriage so there’s no guarantee for a future monarch.

In the world of Cake Eater, the online masses really are ruling the population. Androids are starting to pop up everywhere, including the palace as personal security to the crown…and rumors are flying that Marie is having an affair with one!

Allyson Dahlin grew up on a farm in central New York, where she had little to do but read loads of library books and make up magical and slightly creepy stories about the woods and farm animals while pretending to be a witch/homesteader. She studied psychology in college while working as a housekeeper at a motel in Cooperstown. That job involved a lot of boring hours to think up backstories for the guests whose rooms she cleaned. A shawl left on a chair by an aging opera soprano, a stack of old baseball cards left by a Hall of Fame inductee, and the legend of a monster in the lake were all fodder for stories. It was during that time she transformed from a reader and a daydreamer to a writer.

With some writing courses and a psychology certification in hand, Allyson worked in school counseling and then at a boarding school for girls with complex trauma. Writing kept her spirits up during her intensely emotional work. Eventually, she fell into internet marketing, which meant writing for her day job as well as focusing on her novels. Her first novel, Cake Eater, was inspired by a trip to Versailles and the realization that the circumstances of Marie Antoinette’s life could just as easily happen today.
To keep up with Allyson and her writing, visit her website at

Cake Eater releases August 9th from HarperTeen, a division of HarperCollins Publishing I was graciously provided my ARC from the author, Allyson herself (!!) in exchange for an honest review. Having received these materials in no way has altered my opinion of this work. To purchase a copy of Cake Eater for yourself, you can use my Bookshop affiliate link, or visit your preferred retailer.

Blood like Fate (ARC) (Review)

Hi! Today brings the second installment in my reviews of the Blood Like Magic duology. I’d definitely recommend reading my first post, which you can find here. Today’s hot jam is “Boyfriend” by Dove Cameron. I heard this song randomly while flipping through stations on my radio and I really liked it!

This book contains some potentially triggering topics such as but not limited to: bloodletting (for the purpose of casting magic), mention of disordered eating, murder, and others. Take care of yourself first, Beloved.

Voya Thomas may have passed her Calling to become a full-fledged witch, but the cost was higher than she’d ever imagined.

Her grandmother is gone.
Her cousin hates her.
And her family doesn’t believe that she has what it takes to lead them.

What’s more, Voya can’t let go of her feelings for Luc, sponsor son of the genius billionaire Justin Tremblay—the man that Luc believes Voya killed. Consequently, Luc wants nothing to do with her. Even her own ancestors seem to have lost faith in her. Every day Voya begs for their guidance, but her calls go unanswered.

As Voya struggles to convince everyone—herself included—that she can be a good Matriarch, she has a vision of a terrifying, deadly future. A vision that would spell the end of the Toronto witches. With a newfound sense of purpose, Voya must do whatever it takes to bring her shattered community together and stop what’s coming for them before it’s too late.

Even if it means taking down the boy she loves—who might be the mastermind behind the coming devastation

Synopsis from publishers website
Image from my Instagram!

Blood like Fate picks up right where Magic leaves off. Voya’s the new Matriarch and she’s struggling to figure out how to use her gift and how to get the adults to see her as more than just a child. She’s their leader.

Initially, V tries ruling with an iron fist. I. The process of trying to force her family to see things her way, she lashes out at them all and seems to have more enemies than allies both at home and outside.

But then Voya has an amazing idea: what if there was a council of witches? The Matriarch of each family: Bailey, Huang, Davis, Thomas, and James would keep the various families close and share pain and help each other when needed. This plan seems perfect. Foolproof. Except it’s been done before and did NOT end well, as everyone seems pressed to continuously bring up.

Suddenly, witches in different families are all coming down with some sort of mystery sickness and Voya’s gotta get to the bottom of things before she loses her family or someone else she cares about. this mystery illness leads her to Luc & NuGune and he’s not being kind about talking to V.

Blood Like Fate sees Voya really come into her own as a person and as a leader. She has to make difficult decisions and sometimes bite her tongue even when it’s hard.

The actual villain in this book came completely out of left field for me but was also so well set up that I’m kicking myself for not seeing it sooner! Eli becomes a new ally (or something else…?) and friends turn tail on each other. Is V strong enough and smart enough to heed the warnings if her ancestors or will the entire Toronto with community be just another footnote in history?

There is a giveaway for this book from the publisher! Go to this rafflecopter link to enter!

Blood Like Fate is the closing book in a duology by Trinidadian-Canadian author Liselle Sambury and is set for release in August 9th from McElderry Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Publishing. Any and all quotes I have given are from the uncorrected ARC edition of the book. For more information about upcoming works from Liselle, including a really cool spooky book she just announced, visit her website at

The Honeys (ARC) (Review)

Buzz buzz! Welcome to another (very sporadic) post from yours truly! Today we’re looking at Ryan La Sala’s third novel The Honeys! This beautiful flowered cover gives big Midsommar vibes, and the fact that all the scaries happen in the daytime matches that feeling as well. A fun yet sinister song for todays read is “Tip Toe Thru’ the Tulips With Me” by Tiny Tim. It’s creepy…yet beautiful, just like this book.

This book does contain some potentially triggering topics such as but not limited to: blood, gore, recounted death of family member, suicide of a character, gaslighting, homophobia and others. Please take care of yourself before reading this or any other novel, beloved.

Image courtesy of

Isn’t the stylized photo I did for this book pretty? I wanted to keep the beauty of the flowers and show that there’s also something sinister hidden within. Y’all see the bones? 🚩🚩🚩

Our novel stars Marshall “Mars” Matthias. They’re a gender fluid person who is trying to get to the bottom of their sister’s bizarre behavior that ultimately lead to her ending her own life. It seems that all roads lead to Aspen, a summer camp for children of the wealthy. Mars tells his parents he wants to go back and finish out the summer in his sister’s place to feel closer to her (and investigate). Mars was a camper at Aspen as a child, but ended up getting sent home for…something.

Mars knows that Caroline, his twin sister, was a member of the exclusive elusive girls’ club at Aspen known as the Honeys. The Honeys stay in cabin H, which is super far from the rest of the camp and they all learn apiculture (taking care of bees) over the summer.

Without giving away too much of the story, Mars finds himself in some situations that honestly had me looking to the camera, Jim from the Office style like…

Mars eventually gets wrapped up in the sticky web that’s been being weaved by [redacted] and has to figure out how to survive what turns out to be the deadliest summer in their life.

The Honeys is Ryan La Sala’s third novel and is set for release on August 2nd from Push, a division of Scholastic Publishing. If you’d like to purchase your own copy to read, you can use my affiliate link to Bookshop or visit any of your favorite retailers.

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion and participation in this promotional tour. Receiving these materials in no way impacted my review of this book.

Blood like Magic (Review)

Hello! Today I bring you the first review in a pair for Blood like Magic! As the name implies, there is indeed blood and also magic. Some potential TWs include but are not limited to: bloodletting (used to cast spells and such), talk of a drug addicted relative, death/murder, and others. Please consider yourself before reading this book. Today’s jam is “Let Me” by Zayn. Calm. Peaceful. Perfect.

Blood like Magic features Black Girl Magic, actual magic, and BIG SNAPS for LGBTQ+ rep! Liselle Sambury is a Trinidadian-Canadian writer, and she’s infused her Trini culture, foods, and traditions all throughout this story.

Image can be found on my Instagram

Our story opens with Voya Thomas. She’s 16 and the most recent in her family to experience her Calling and thus receive her gift from the ancestors. The Calling is traditional among the witch community in the part of Canada that the Thomases call home and no one has failed in the Thomas family in 100 years. Voya’s about to change that record due to her inability to make decisions that aren’t about something trivial like dinner or what dress to wear.

Gifts from the ancestors can range from the exceptionally ludicrous (Voya’s cousin Keisha can sense the emotion of the people in the room), to the invasive (Keis, another cousin, can read minds), to the cool (Cousin Alex’s sewing skills/speed are boosted by 500%), to the exceptionally useful (Voya’s mom has a knack for finding lost people…she’s a PI of sorts). What gift will the ancestors give you? No one knows until after their Calling.

Voya’s Calling assignment and her helpful nature lead her to NuGene: the company that supplies the country with any and all technology such as cell phones, body mods, and robot AI. The task she’s been given from her ancestor could change the course of her family and her love life forever, depending on what she chooses.

Luc, Voya’s genetic perfect love match, works at NuGene and is a tough nut to crack. He’s off-putting, unkind, and a little rude. But if Voya wants to pass her Calling and receive her magic gift from the ancestors, she’s got to destroy him. But how? Well, Reader, that’ll be for YOU to discover by reading this book for yourself!

A few super cool things I want to point out, for the record:

– There are 2 TRANS characters in this book. Both characters trans-ness is treated as normal and chill and honestly, love to see it.
– There is a character who comes to realize that she is demiromantic. I really loved the way the character explained how she feels about dating and attraction and such because I felt like it was very informative and respectful. No one treats her any differently after this is revealed and again, we have to stan for supportive family/friends.
– The Caribbean rep in this book is amazing! There’s mention of the foods that Voya’s family eats and makes and buys at the market. The description of Caribana was so VIVID! The colors and the music and the food stands — I wanna go.
– The Thomas family makes hair care and beauty products and I also want some because I need to get my curls in order.

I will also being reviewing the sequel/closer to the duology soon, so stay tuned to see how things close up!

Blood Like Magic is the first book in a duology by Trinidadian-Canadian author Liselle Sambury and was released in June of 2021 from McElderry Books, a division of Simon & Schuster Publishing. Any and all quotes I have given are from the uncorrected ARC edition of the book. For more information about upcoming works from Liselle, including a really cool spooky book she just announced, visit her website at

Never Coming Home (eARC) (Review)

Hi, hey, hello! You want a review, you say? Well. Fine. But first, my fave song of the moment: King by Florence + the Machine. Tbh, the whole Dance Fever album is amazing, but I guess you can start with this track first.

Okay. So. Today’s post is about a exotic remote island getaway! An all-expense paid trip to a tropical beach, an exclusive resort, a spa! Oh wait…that’s a different book —

Banner courtesy of Turn the Page Tours

Though this book was super fun to read, and does come complete with its own list of trigger and content warnings…please practice caution. Trigger warnings include but are not limited to: death, gore, drug usage/reference, alcohol use/reference, body horror, mentions of suicide/suicidal idealization.

The beach read you have been dying for! When ten of America’s hottest teenage influencers are invited to an exclusive island resort, things are sure to get wild. But murder isn’t what anyone expected. Will anyone survive?

Everyone knows Unknown Island—it’s the world’s most exclusive destination. Think white sand beaches, turquoise seas, and luxury accommodations. Plus, it’s invite only, no one over twenty-one allowed, and it’s absolutely free. Who wouldn’t want to go?

After launching with a showstopping viral marketing campaign, the whole world is watching as the mysterious resort opens its doors to the First Ten, the ten elite influencers specifically chosen to be the first to experience everything Unknown Island has to offer. You know them. There’s the gamer, the beauty blogger, the rich girl, the superstar, the junior politician, the environmentalist, the DJ, the CEO, the chef, and the athlete.

What they don’t know is that they weren’t invited to Unknown Island for their following—they were invited for their secrets. Everyone is hiding a deadly one, and it looks like someone’s decided it’s payback time. Unknown Island isn’t a vacation, it’s a trap. And it’s beginning to look like the First Ten—no matter how influential—are never coming home.

Synopsis from Goodreads entry

As you can gather from the synopsis, there are a ton of people to keep up with here. 10 to be exact. And though they all have their faults…one of them is worse than the others. In order of mention in the synopsis:

The Gamer
Celia Young. The youngest member of our cast. Celia’s made her name as girl playing games on a streaming platform, like Twitch. She’s got an amazing kill ratio and a couple of cards she’s holding on to…

The Beauty Blogger
Chelsea Quinn. Tbh, we don’t know much about her or how she made her 12.8 million followers. And that’s suspicion enough for me.

The Rich Girl
Emma Jane Ohana. She truly doesn’t seem to belong here. Everyone else has made their name via social media followings…and EJ is just a rich kid. She does, however, have access to the kind of money needed to pull something like this off.

The Superstar
Frankie Russh. VERY good at playing both sides of the middle and gaining info without giving much. She is “us” in this book. However, like everyone else, Frankie is a bit of an unreliable narrator so take her words with a grain of salt…

The Junior Politician
Graham Hoffman. Here’s the thing…he wasn’t technically invited. He’s supposed to be a liasion between the Island staff and the Kids but umm the staff is sorta MIA.

The Environmentalist
Justice Wilson. We also don’t know too much about her either. Beware of things that could get you back, Justice.

The DJ
Manuel “Manny” De La Cruz. Manny hails from Miami and was told by the Staff to “bring the party”…so he did. While he does make music, that’s not really what got him becoming a popular name with celebs….its the items he can procure that’s made him a hit.

Margot Bryant. Margot is instantly as the villain. She’s annoying and uppity and only sees people as what value they can bring to her (failing) company. While the secret that is revealed about her isn’t technically her fault…she is sorta responsible, at least a little.

The Chef
Robby Wade. His secret is definitely his fault. Jealousy is a monster, kids. Hot mess express.

The Athlete
Xander Lee. He’s got a couple secrets. But the biggest one involves an illicit affair with a past lover.

So. One of these people is guilty to the highest degree. This person is the mastermind behind it all….the deserted island, the people that were picked being picked. All of it. And then there’s someone who’s money that funded this whole thing….

This book takes place over the course of legit like 3 days. There are deaths aplenty and no one is going to be the same. Never Coming Home is a multi-POV book where we jump into each of the Elite Ten’s perspective of the events. For the most part, everyone is afraid, which is the only logical response, but there are couple people who aren’t even fazed by all the death until more than 2 people have dropped. Those are the ones you need to watch out for.

I was graciously provided an eARC of this book by the publisher for review as a participant in the Turn the Page blog tour! Receiving this material in no way has affected my opinion.

Photo cred: Ivy Williams

I am the author of the YA novel The Babysitters Coven Series.
I also write for magazines, including Cosmopolitan, NYLON, Elle, Women’s Health, Shape, Time Out New York, Monster Children, Russh, Oyster, The Fader, NME, H&M, Smith Journal, Gather Journal, KnitWit, Popular, and more.
I have ghostwritten New York Times bestsellers, celebrity tell-alls, memoirs, how-tos, and beauty bibles (Shh…. I was never here, and you haven’t seen me.)
And, just ‘cause we’re still talking about me, I’ve also written windows, billboards, emails and captions, captions, captions for brands such as Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal, Vans, Calvin Klein, Nike, Lively, BAGGU and more.
I love to write about witches, teenagers, girls behaving badly, palm trees, and other forms of magic. Teenage girl witches behaving badly under the palm trees is my penultimate subject.

The Witchery (ARC) (Review)

Welcome to another sporadic review from yours truly! Today we are looking at a POWERHOUSE debut by S. Isabelle. The Witchery is set to release July 26th, so be sure to add this title to your carts and watchlists! I gave you guys a song I’ve loved forever is “off the table” by Ariana Grande & The Weeknd. You can listen to it here!

TW for this upcoming title include: self-harm, blood, violence, gore, death of a parent, and body horror. Please consider yourself and your mental status before reading this book.

Image from me!

If you’re ready to rock, I’m ready to talk! Lets introduce our players, shall we?

The Players

Logan — the Proxy
Logan hails from across the border in Canadaland and her Pull (specialty) has manifested itself as the ability to proxy. She’s a freshman at Mesmortes Coven Academy and secretly (and sometimes outwardly) hates being a witch. Her family are all all-star witches and she can’t even seem to do the spell to sweep a floor properly. Logan loves strawberry fraps.

Thalia — the Greenwitch
You have a green thumb? Try having a connection so deep with the earth you can make trees literally spring from the ground in a protective formation. Thalia has a secret to hide, one that could change the way that her friends see her if it ever were to get out. Maverick, her familiar, lives with her in a secluded cabin on the edge of the woods.

Jailah — the Archery Queen Extraordinaire
Jailah is an exemplary witch. Her witchery is powerful beyond her years, she’s got unmatched skills with a bow, and she’s helpful to underclassmen struggling with their spells. In the past, Jai’s ex-girlfriend got drunk with power, and it seems that the same craving for power that cause Vero to be banned from witchdom has found a home in Jailah too.

Iris — the Deathwitch
Commonly referred to as a necromancer, Iris prefers to be called a Deathwitch. She can hear the laments of souls longing to be rested. A powerful witchery user in her own right, Iris is always stronger with her girls nearby.

A boy from the mundane school across the hill. He’s got a strangeness about him that ties him, Trent, and the girls together.

Mathew’s roommate at Hammersmitt School. He likes to play with fire, and Thalia is hot hot hot.

The Game

Every year, there’s a two to three month time period of death in the town of Haelsford where mystical wolves descend upon the town and kill any who dare to wander close to the Swamp where they live. Thalia, Jailah, and Iris are tired of seeing their fellow witches and the town’s mundane citizens killed. This year will be different. This year will be the last year of the Haunting. Others have tried in years past, but they can never seem to pull it off. Because they’ve all been missing something or rather, someone.

Logan. She is the anchor. She is proxy, a rare magical gift, even among witchery standards. As a proxy, she can stand in place of any needed item for witchery’s sake: a missing ingredient, a missing magical power, a missing person, even….

But we need more power. Even with Logan in place of the missing ingredients, the girls aren’t strong enough. Wouldn’t it be great if the boys had a magic item that amplified one’s power.

The Review

Two thumbs waaaaay up from me! The magic system is unique and the main characters are beyond likable…I saw myself in Logan’s feeling of not belonging, Thalia’s religious upbringing, Jai’s willingness to help those in need and Iris’s ambition. Of course, this is a story, and there is always an evil force that wants to stop the good guys. But who will win?

Photo credits: Amanda Smith Photography.

Sophie Isabelle is a reader, writer, and hoarder of books.
After earning a Master’s degree in library science, she took that love of reading to youth librarianship. Her short story “Break” was featured in the anthology Foreshadow: Stories to Celebrate the Magic of Reading & Writing YA.
The Witchery is her debut young adult novel. When she isn’t throwing books at teenagers, you can find her binge-watching TV shows, drinking heavily-sweetened coffee, or stressing over baseball.

Big huge thanks to Scholastic for sending me an ARC to read and review! Receiving these materials in no way impacted my review. If you’d like to purchase a copy for yourself, please visit where the author has links to various book selling outlets!