The Witch Haven (ARC) Review

Spooky season is coming, and for me that means reading books that will drag a long hag’s nail down my spine, insight fear, and shiver my timbers. Today, I bring you a new release, courtesy of Turn the Pages Tour! Click here to see the rest of the creators on the tour! CW for this read include, but are not limited to: death of a character (on page and off), gore/blood, partaking in alcoholic beverages, harassment, and perceived sexual misconduct. Please be sure you are in the proper headspace before reading this one, beloved.

The Witch Haven is set in olden times — before mass produced cars, cellphones, and decent electricity. Picture it, readers, a time where there is no WalMart. No Target. No TJ Maxx. If you want a new outfit, say a dress, you’d go to a seamstress or clothier’s. That’s where we meet Frances. She works in Mrs. Carrey’s shop, owned by Mr. Hues. Everything is going along just fine, a normal day, when Mr. Hues decides to drop by and pay a visit to his shop. Mr. Hues is the worst kind of manager/owner: the underlings do all the work, he collects all the money, and the circle goes on.

Mr. Hues gets a bit fresh with our girl Frances and winds up on the receiving end of a pair of sewing scissors to the neck and her holding the bill. Only Frances didn’t stab Mr. Hues, never lifted a finger, it just happened. Magic, some would say.

Frances tries to keep her head down and not talk too much for fear of ending up in prison or on the gallows. Her plan to keep quiet, however, doesn’t go well because two people claiming to be from the Haxahaven Sanatorium come calling to collect Frannie due to her recent (phony) diagnosis of tuberculosis. (If you know anything about Ye Olde Days, TB, also called consumption, was a fairly common diagnosis. Those found to have it were usually committed to hospitals or confined to their homes for fear of spreading it to others.) Only problem is…Haxahaven isn’t an infirmary or a mental institution at all…it’s a school. For girls with supernatural abilities. A school, in short, for witches.

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/stacialovestoread

The Witch Haven is a wonderful story about a girl who discovers she has magic and immediately makes friends with everyone at her new school and all the teachers love her and she gets the boy/girl/theyperson of her dreams.

Just kidding.

Frances has become the latest student at Haxahaven and while she’s there, she’ll uncover more secrets than you can shake a stick at and (hopefully) make a few friends that will help her parse together the truth of her brother’s mysterious disappearance and death, figure out who the strange man in her dreams is, and help her find out who she is too.

Sound intriguing? Enter the tour-wide giveaway to win one of (2) copies of THE WITCH HAVEN using this Rafflecopter link! You can also purchase a copy using my Bookshop link, or by visiting your favorite bookstore or bookseller!


Sasha Peyton Smith grew up in the mountains of Utah surrounded by siblings, books, and one very old cat. She attended the University of Utah and the George Washington University where she studied biology and public health. She is not a witch, though she does own a lot of crystals and always knows what phase the moon is in. She currently lives in Washington D.C. with her partner and collection of porcelain hands. The Witch Haven is her debut novel, released August 31st from Simon & Schuster.

You can keep up with Sasha online at her website sashapsmith.com or on Instagram where she is @sashapeytonsmith.

The Sisters of Reckoning (Review)

Greetings and salutations! Today I bring you another tour, and another book to add to your roster! I am so thrilled to be on the JeanBookNerd tour for The Sisters of Reckoning, released August 10th from TorTeen. This book is the follow up to 2019’s The Good Luck Girls, a book set in an alternate version of the Old West featuring a cast of runaway girls. I would highly recommend that you read Girls before you read this one as Sisters is the sequel to that book.

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The Sisters of Reckoning is the blockbuster sequel to Charlotte Nicole Davis’s alternate Old West-set fantasy adventure.

The Good Luck Girls are free. Aster’s sister and friends have new lives across the border in Ferron, while Aster remains in Arketta, helping more girls escape. But news of a new welcome house opening fills Aster with a need to do more than just help individual girls. And an unexpected reunion gives her an idea of how to do it. From there, grows a wildly ambitious plan to free all dustbloods, who live as prisoners to Arketta’s landmasters and debt slavery.

When Clementine and the others return from Ferron, they become the heart of a vibrant group of fearless fighters, working to unite the various underclasses and convince them to join in the fight. Along the way, friendships will be forged, lives will be lost, and love will take root even in the harshest of circumstances, between the most unexpected of lovers.

But will Arketta’s dustbloods finally come into power and freedom, or will the resistance just open them up to a new sort of danger?

Synopsis from bookshop.org
Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

Sisters picks up about a year after the close of Girls. Aster (also known as her given name Dawn) lives with the Lady Ghosts, a band of women across the border who smuggle girls from welcome houses across Arketta to safety.

One a trip to town for information collection, Aster hears that the McClennon family is up to no good: they’re planning to build a new welcome house, and lower the age for a girl’s first Lucky Night from 16 to 13. Outraged, Aster knows she has to do something…she has to topple the system, and she’ll need help to do it.

We do get a wonderful reunion scene and some old time harebrained plan hatching from all the Green Creek girls, Zee, and a few new allies too.


Kids. I had nothing but high hopes for this sequel. I was absolutely sucked in to the land of Arketta with their social castes of Dust- and Fairbloods, and Aster quest for herself and her freinds for freedom….but the sequel didn’t hold up. It took me quite a while just to get in to the book and it felt a bit like a chore moreso than a fun reprieve from the trash fire that is 2021. I personally think the book felt flat to me just because there was so much time between the two books (nearly 2 years).

Nonetheless, I am quite thankful to have received a free copy of this book from TorTeen in exchange for my participation on this promotional tour. To enter to receive your own copy, click here to visit the Rafflecopter link! Must be 13+ to enter with parental permission. Giveaway ends on August 30, 2021 and is open internationally!


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image courtesy of author’s website

Charlotte Nicole Davis is the author of The Good Luck Girls, available via Bookshop or any other retailer, a young adult fantasy novel released in 2019 by TorTeen. A graduate of The New School’s Writing for Children MFA program, Charlotte loves comic books, movies, and books with maps in the front. She currently lives in Brooklyn with a cat with a crooked tail. You can keep up with Charlotte and what they are up to by checking out their website http://www.charlottenicoledavis.com, or checking their Instagram.
The Sisters of Reckoning is Charlotte’s sophomore release from TorTeen and can be purchased using my Bookshop link, or by checking any of your favorite booksellers.

The Taking of Jake Livingston (ARC) (Review)

Tour banner courtesy of TBR and Beyond Tours

Boo! Did I scare you? No. Darn. I’ll have to leave the frights to the professionals…like Ryan Douglass and his debut!

This book deals with some heavy topics in addition to the scaries, so please take care of yourself first beloved. TW include but are not limited to: repeated visualizations of death, a school shooting, mass murder, sociopathy, stabbing, and blood.

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/stacialovestoread

The Taking of Jake Livingston stars Jake, a Black boy at a predominantly white high school. He can see ghosts and that usually (read: always) interferes with his daily life. The ghosts are stuck in their death loops, so they’re completely harmless, it’s just hard to focus on math when an old school car slams through the wall and a student from yesteryear dies because of it. Repeatedly.


Let me start by saying that I wanted to like this book. I was unbelievably hype when from the moment I saw the cover reveal to the day that I was gifted a copy by PenguinTeen…but for me, that’s where the fun ended.

We spent an awful lot of time in the mind, er journal, of Sawyer Doon. Spoilers: he’s not our MC, and (in my opinion) he shouldn’t have had as big a part as he did. I only got 67 pages in to the book, so it’s completely possible that things were going to start picking up but I wasn’t willing to wait around.

Jake Livingston was highly atmospheric and spooky and plenty creepy, but I think it wasn’t creepy in the way I wanted it to be. I am very thankful to PenguinTeen for sending me an ARC to read and review. Receiving this material in no way affected my opinion of this novel.


Image courtesy of ryandouglasswriter.com

Ryan Douglass is an author, poet, and freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia. His work on race, literacy, sexuality, and media representation has appeared in The Huffington Post, Atlanta Black Star, Everyday Feminism, Nerdy POC, Age of Awareness, LGBTQNation, and Medium, among others. The Taking of Jake Livingston is his debut novel and was released July 13th from Putnam, an imprint of Penguin.

To keep up with Ryan online, visit them at ryandouglasswriter.com! To purchase your own copy of Jake Livingston, you can use my Bookshop affiliate link, or shop your favorite book retailer!

A Chorus Rises (ARC) (Review)

Tour banner courtesy of JeanBookNerd

Hey hi hello! It is I, your friendly neighborhood Stacia back with another book review! Today I’m honored to be on JeanBookNerd‘s tour for A Chorus Rises by Bethany C. Morrow! This book released just a few weeks ago, so go grab a copy from your local bookstore. Read past the review for a cool giveaway!

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/stacialovestoread

Guys. These two books are so amazing. There’s magic, social issues, and fantasy all wrapped in these beautiful bows! Book 1 (ASBW) is split between the perspective of two sisters: one is a Siren, and the other doesn’t know what she is. The main character in Chorus is featured in Song, but not much.

Book 2 (ACR) does contain some spoilers for the first book, so I’d definitely recommend reading these two books in published order to make sure you get the full story. Naema is an Eloko: a supernatural being, but the kind that is cool and doesn’t have to hide what they are.

Naema starts off where we left her in the previous book: acting a spoilt brat who refuses to see that maybe she is the reason people don’t like her. A strange twist of fate has found her without her Eloko song anymore, Chorus is about her journey to get her song back (or not) and her learning who she is and who she wants to be.


Want a chance to win one of (3) copies of A Chorus Rises? Click here to enter the tour wide giveaway!

You can also purchase a copy of this book or it’s sister novel A Song Below Water using my Bookshop affiliate links, or by visiting your favorite bookseller!


Bethany C. Morrow is an Indie Bestselling author who writes for adult and young adult audiences, in genres ranging from speculative literary to contemporary fantasy to historical. She is author of the novels and Mem and A Song Below Water, which is an Audie, Ignyte and Locus finalist. She is editor/contributor to the young adult anthology Take the Mic, the 2020 ILA Social Justice in Literature award winner. Her work has been chosen as Indies Introduce and Indie Next picks, and featured in The LA Times, Forbes, Bustle, Buzzfeed, and more. She is included on USA TODAY’s list of 100 Black novelists and fiction writers you should read.

The Box in the Woods (Review)

Omg, back at it again with the blog posts!
Hi guys, so today’s post is for a YA mystery. I am a big fan of a good whodunnit, and The Box in the Woods certainly filled the itch I was having for a truly devious crime.

Tour banner courtesy of Turn the Pages Tours

Stephanie “Stevie” Bell is an amateur sleuth with one of the longest running and well known cold cases under her belt with a “solved” checkmark next to it. In the summer between her junior and senior year, Stevie is plucked from relative obscurity and boredom working at her local deli to solve another case long ran cold.

The Box in the Woods take place over two timelines: the present and the past with secrets, truths, and hidden lies in both. Stevie enlists two of her best friends from school and the trio set off to Sunny Pines, formerly Camp Wonder Falls, to dig in and try to solve a 20-something year old case that left 4 teens dead and no one to blame.

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/stacialovestoread

The Box in the Woods is the 4th book in the Truly Devious series by Maureen Johnson, but you don’t have to read the first 3 books to understand this book. There are some slight spoilers, but again, it’s nothing too big, and nothing that the back cover of this book didn’t already tell you.

I really enjoyed this book, not just with the content, but how it was written. The kids (because they are kids) act and think like kids do. Janelle, one of Stevie’s friends she brings along to camp, is in a relationship with a non-binary character (*pockets* for LGBT+ rep!)

Overall, I really enjoyed Box. Johnson’s writing is snappy, funny, and keeps the novel moving at a nice pace. I’d definitely recommend her to fans of Karen M. McManus, Kara, Thomas, or people who enjoyed the films Knives Out or Murder on the Orient Express.


To purchase your own copy of Box, click here for my Bookshop affiliate link, or check out your favorite retailer. There is a tour-wide giveaway for a copy of the book, which you can enter here.


image courtesy of the author

Maureen Johnson is the #1 New York Times and USA Today bestselling author several YA novels, including 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, The Name of the Star, and Truly Devious. She has also done collaborative works, such as Let it Snow with John Green and Lauren Myracle (now on Netflix), and several works in the Shadowhunter universe with Cassandra Clare. Her work has appeared in publications such as The New York Times, Buzzfeed, and The Guardian, and she has also served as a scriptwriter for EA Games. Maureen has a MFA in Writing from Columbia University and lives in New York City. To see what Maureen is up to, follow her on the web at her website, Instagram, or Twitter.

Simone Breaks All the Rules (ARC) (Review)

Hey, hi, hello! Today I’m featuring a recent release as a part of HearOurVoices’ tour for Simone Breaks All the Rules! This review is going to be super different from normal in that I will be sharing my opinions through the internet’s greatest form of art: the gif. I will also use words at the end to wrap up my final thoughts, so no need to fear.

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/stacialovestoread

So just opening the book up…I was like:

Meme Drop - Meme
Found here

But then Simone started talking about the struggles of being Haitian/having very traditional Haitian parents and, while I am not Haitian nor 1st gen-American, I was like:

episode 6, bachelor, the bachelor, same, season 23, thebachelorabc, caelynn  – GIF
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So Brave GIFs | Tenor
Found here



When the HomeGirls decided to devise the Playlist so they could tick some things off their bucket lists before graduation I felt:

…because if you’re like me, Simone, and the rest of the squad and are the child of strict parents, you know exactly how this is all gonna end:

giphy (3) | Diary of A Mad, Interesting Woman
Found here
Raven Chewing Gum GIFs | Tenor
Found here

But. The HomeGirls persisted. And at some point, Kira Airdrops the Playlist to the rest of the girl so they can all have a record of it and I was just:

…because Murphy’s Law is very real, and strikes at the least oprotune times…

However, as the story progressed, I found myself celebrating with the HomeGirls with each tick off the list. Simone Breaks All the Rules is truly a book for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider, or like they just don’t quite fit in.

Take My Heart GIFs | Tenor
Found here

Debbie Riguad is the author of Simone Breaks All the Rules. A Jersey-girl at heart, Debbie now lives in Columbus, OH with her husband and their two children and family doggo. To learn more about Ms. Rigaud and what she’s up to, visit her online at debbieriguad.com. To purchase your own copy of Simone Breaks All the Rules, you can use my Bookshop affiliate link, or any other bookseller. Simone was released on June 1 from Scholastic Publishing.

The Ivies (eARC) (Review)

In addition to my obsession with Greek mythology and a good fantasy, I love love LOVE a good thriller/murder mystery/whodunnit. Alexa Donne’s forthcoming novel The Ivies filled the bill for a good murder mystery with plenty of plot twists, red herrings, and a rather large frying pan cast iron skillet.

Tour banner, courtesy of Turn the Pages Tours

I am so happy that Turn the Page Tours selected me to join them for a review stop on the tour they’re hosting for this amazing thriller. Put on your school uniform and submit your college essays, we’re going to the ultra exclusive Clafin Academy!

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

Avery — The Queen Bee. Assigned school: Harvard University
What Avery wants, Avery gets. Avery is a triple legacy to Harvard via her maternal side of the family. There is a substantial donation made to the University yearly by her mother. Things are perfect, right? WRONG. On Early Decision Day, Avery gets a rejection email. From Harvard. Not a deferment. A rejection. Heads will roll.

Off with their heads | Alice in Wonderland | Know Your Meme
Google really has all the gifs one could ever want/need.

Just like we will see later, Avery appears in the last few chapters of the book during the trial of the deceased. Her cold icey persona has changed COMPLETELY, and she’s softened up a bit, even drops a BOMBSHELL revelation on Olivia about her time at college. We love a nice round character and growth arc!

Sierra — The Hacker. Assigned school: Yale University.
The Ivies were always pulling “harmless” pranks under the direction of leader Avery. Sierra’s specialty was hacking into the school computer systems to get the girls in to the best class times, and with the best teacher each semester. She also hacked the security cameras once or twice but….that part isn’t important (surprise, it is very important).
A time or two, we do get to see a feisty side to Sierra that I personally am THE BIGGEST FAN of. Another character accuses Sierra of getting into Yale because of Affirmative Action (which is a whole other conversation we do not have time for today) and the college in question wanting to meet their quota of Black/non-white students admitted. Sierra promptly gathers that character to inform that yes, she is Black, however, she scored an astronomically high score on her SATs, and got in on her academics and rowing team abilities, not her skin color. Loved that moment.

We also get to see Sierra for a bit at the end of the novel when she testifies at the trial for the murder of [redacted]. She’s a stone cold ice queen, despite having been best friends with the other girls for their high school careers….my how the turns have tabled.

Oh how the tables have turned | Reaction Images | Know Your Meme
gif courtesy of the almighty Google-bot

Margot — The Locked Vault. Assigned school: Princeton University.
Margot is the Ivy who you go to with your secrets; even when she’s drunk, she’s got her poker face on, and won’t crack under pressure. This works wonderfully for her as she is an aspiring actress and didn’t exactly get all her role through her auditions…
I was sad we didn’t see more of Margot, but I understand why. As an author, it’s hard to plot a murder, plan the plot twists, and juggle so many characters without a few of them becoming background noise.
Margot does appear in the closing chapter as well, and she’s even colder than Sierra. It’s moments like these that make it clear that the Ivies were never friends as much as they were people who associated with each other out of convenience. That is a very difficult realization to come to, but….in their case, that how it bees. Margot actually ends up going to the University of Michigan, a very prestigious school, but (obviously) not an Ivy League.

Second Place GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY
Google coming in clutch again.

Emma — The Good Girl. Assigned school: Brown University
As described in the early pages of the book, Emma has a “finger in every pie” at Clafin. She’s charming enough to be believed by teachers about tip-offs regarding other students breaking curfew, musically inclined as first-chair flute, butterfly stroke champ on the swim team, and smart enough to (with the help of some plotting from her beloved Ivies) be captain of the school’s FIRST Robotics team. NOTE: the caps make it confusing. This is not the first team the school has had, the FIRST is a designation…like Junior Varsity or Varsity, or something similar. I know, it confused me too at first.
Emma actually gets into [redacted], kicking off the story and causing some drama among the girls. Perhaps she should have stayed in her lane…? Doing too much, my friend. Too much.

Thanks again Google.

…and then there’s the narrator who’s perspective we are in: Olivia — The Journalist . Assigned school: University of Pennsylvania. Olivia isn’t like the rest of the Ivies, and its not just because of her interests…its her zip code. Olivia is at Clafin on a scholarship that covers nearly all of her education. She doesn’t have the newest clothes, or an unlimited bank account like the rest. So for Olivia, getting into college isn’t just about getting into a good school, the school in question has to come through with some amazing financial aid/scholarship award.


Our book kicks off with some background information about our characters and the high school. And then *dun dun dun* someone ends up very much dead. Olivia’s suspicions about the volatile nature that competing for a few spots at hard-to-get-into-schools can bring immediately flare, and she puts her journalistic skills to work.

Investigating your best friends for murder is very much a job for more than one person, so Olivia enlists the help of her co-editor of the school newspaper, Ethan “Canadian Ken Doll” Kendall. Together they piece together holes in the various alibis that have been given, and dig up some dirt from years before to finally corner the culprit at Avery’s annual New Years Eve party. The culprit (who’s identity will remain secret) tries to talk their way out of being suspected by throwing the blame any and every where possible, mostly toward Olivia, the poor, small town girl in the big city with all the rich kids.

There is a trial held, and we get to catch up with our girls: Sierra is the only one who ended up going to her “assigned” school; Olivia ended up having to apply to colleges a year late to work and save money. Margot is colder than cold and doesn’t hesitate to throw shade. The book closes with the murder being taken down, Avery and Olivia being (seemingly) decent friends, and the recording of a documentary special about the whole thing.

Overall, I’d give this book a very strong, very loud 5 stars! I loved all of the plot twists and turns, and the clues that are thrown in to confuse and dissuade Olivia had me reeling too. If you’re a fan of the movie Knives Out, the tv show Pretty Little Liars, or anything by Kara Thomas, or Karen M. McManus, then you’ll definitely love this twisty YA mystery!
Though this is Donne’s first foray into mystery, by no means is she a novice. This book has strong characters, a good amount of *sus* thrown around, and plenty of people to suspect.


Image courtesy of the author’s website.

Alexa Donne is the author of Brightly Burning and The Stars We Steal. The Ivies is her first foray into mystery novel writing as both of her previous releases have been retellings set in space! The Ivies was published by Crown, a division of Random House Children’s Publishing and has just released May 25th! In her free time, Alexa mentors with WriteGirl, runs the Author Mentor Match program, and manages one of the most popular writing advice channels on YouTube. She lives in Los Angeles with two fluffy ginger cats named after YA literature characters. You can find her online in most places @/alexadonne! You can purchase a copy of The Ivies using my Bookshop affiliate link, or by visiting your favorite bookseller!

Ariadne (ARC) (Review)

Hello, hello, hello.

Today I bring you a review and some comparative titles for the latest book I’ve read Ariadne (ARE-ree-AHD-nee or AIR-ree-AHD-nee, I’ve heard it both ways)! This is Jennifer Saint’s debut novel and is a look at a popular Greek myth: Theseus and the Minotaur. There is, however, another very important player to the story that is often mentioned, but then brushed away quickly: Ariadne. Half-sister to the Minotaur, daughter of Minos, King of Crete; she is often added as an afterthought to this great epic adventure…but what if we gave her the proper treatment? A forethought, if you will. After all, if not for Ariadne helping Prince Theseus, he would have never had the tools to slay the Minotaur and free Athens from the terrible game forced on them by the Island of Crete.

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne is a look at the house of Minos with the lens of his oldest daughter in place. Ariadne is always added to the story as a few sentences, or sometimes as a minor character, but honestly, this whole tale is her’s to tell, and she’s the reason we know the name of the Minotaur. Would you like some comparative titles? Cool, cool.

Mythology Fix

Lifestyles of Gods and Monsters by Emily Roberson
This YA novel tells the story of Theseus and the Minotaur but with a twist: social media and a Big Brother-like reality show. I read and reviewed this book previously on my blog, so check out that post if you want more info!
You can grab a copy of this 2019 release using my Bookshop link, or by going through any of your favorite book retailers!

Circe & The Song of Achilles, both by Madeline Miller
Obviously these ones have to be included in any sort of conversation about Greek mythology retellings. They are the most popular and mainstream Greek myth retellings, and for good reason.
Circe follows Circe, a daughter of Helios who isn’t anything like what was expected. She didn’t take after her god of a father, nor her mortal mother. Instead, she’s something completely different altogether.
The Song of Achilles is about the Trojan War and the power that love, friendship, and duty can have to shape a war and an entire civilization’s history.
You can purchase Circe or The Song of Achilles using my Bookshop affiliate links, or any bookseller you choose!

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Norse Mythology explores a pantheon that is unfamiliar to most of us: the Norse! There are many more gods to learn about beside just the popular Thor and Loki…ever heard of Freya? Or Tyr? Gaiman breathes his own special storytelling life into these stories and many more. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new favorite god or goddess after reading this one…
Grab yourself a copy of this book using Bookshop or your favorite retailer.

Strong Women

Wings of Ebony by J. Elle
Wings follows Rue, a girl from Houston’s East Row. Her mother has been killed, and she’s been whisked away to live with her estranged father in a land brimming with magic and power and secrets. Rue is a selfless heroine, always seeking to do the best for others, even if that means she has to get hurt to do so.
Slide a copy of Wings of Ebony onto your shelf via Bookshop, or any other retailer.

The Belles & The Everlasting Rose by Dhonielle Clayton
Camilla is a Belle, born beautiful and able to give color and life to a world devoid of it. She’s always hoped to be deemed the Favorite of the royal family, but once she is, Camilla learns that there are nefarious forces at work and that maybe the life she has always wanted and aspired to isn’t as sweet as she thought it was…
Purchase a copy of The Belles here, and The Everlasting Rose here.

Meddling gods/authority figures

Scythe by Neal Shusterman
What if people never died? You could live for a hundred year, maybe more. No more disease. No cancer. No sickness at all, actually. The only thing one has to fear is gleaning by a Scythe: a permanent end to life and a means of population control. Everyone knows that their gleaning could be just around the corner, but no one fears it: its a part of life. Everything is going smoothly until Scythe Goddard, a radical, wants to see the ways of the scythe changed.
He faces opposition, of course, but what’s one opponent to a (seemingly) all-power person?
Pick up a copy of book 1: Scythe from Bookshop, or from any other retailer.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Honestly, at this point, who has read or seen The Huger Games? Futuristic society where the world has gone to shambles and is left in 12 districts ruled by a cruel and heartless President. Katniss Everdeen dares to threaten the way things have always been and upset the fine oiled machine that has been running for years before she was even thought of. But can she do it and bring peace to the land?
This link will take you to the 1st book in the series on Bookshop.

Bonus: Podcast
Ms. Saint and Ariadne were actually featured on an episode of Let’s Talk About Myths, Baby! LTAMB is hosted by Liv Albert, who just released a book herself just a few months ago. I haven’t listened to the episode yet, but I just know that Liv brought her normal snark and feminist lens to look at this story with. If you buy her book, be sure to tag Liv on social so she can see her paper child in the world!

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It made me feel like I was back in college, studying for my Classical Cultures final. If you’re expecting a magical, fantastical retelling, this isn’t the book for you. However, if you’re searching for a (fairly) accurate retelling where Ariadne finally has a voice to tell her side of the story, tuck in and meet me on the Isle of Naxos.


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image courtesy of jennifersaint.com

Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint studied Classical Studies at King’s College, London. She spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. Ariadne is her first novel, and she is working on another retelling of an ancient myth for her second, revolving around Clytemnestra and her daughter Electra.
Ariadne was released on May 4th (US) by Flatiron Publishing, a division of Macmillan. For more info on Ms. Saint and what she’s up to, check out her website.
I’d like to thank Flatiron Publishing for providing me with my ARC to read and review. If you to purchase your own copy of Ariadne, you can use my affiliate link for Bookshop, or any of the other links here:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Books-a-Million

Covet (Review) (Spoiler-Free)

Welcome back to another review! Today I’m reviewing the third installment in Tracy Wolff’s Crave series. I also did a decent break down of the first two books Crave and Crush, so be sure to read those reviews before you read this one! Seeing as this book has just released within the past month or so, this will be a SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/stacialovestoread

Synopsis
I may have reached my breaking point.
As if trying to graduate from a school for supernaturals isn’t stressful enough, my relationship status has gone from complicated to a straight-up dumpster fire.
Oh, and the Bloodletter has decided to drop a bomb of epic proportions on us all..
Then again, when has anything at Katmere Academy not been intense?
And the hits just keep coming. Jaxon’s turned colder than an Alaskan winter. The Circle is splintered over my upcoming coronation. As if things couldn’t get worse, now there’s an arrest warrant for Hudson’s and my supposed crimes—which apparently means a lifetime prison sentence with a deadly unbreakable curse.
Choices will have to be made…and I fear not everyone will survive.

synopsis from goodreads page

We pick up with our squad at Katmere Academy. Grace has missed so much school (saving the world is a task) that she’s gotta jump through hoops while on fire just to have a chance of passing senior year and graduating. The last words we remember hearing from Crush were from Hudson “I’d appreciate it if you’d take your hands off my mate.” So Grace has to navigate being in a relationship with Jaxon while simultaneously being mated to Hudson. Its all very Vampire Diaries, season 2 where the v v British Hudson is Damon (obviously) and Jaxon’s constant angst casts him as Stefan.

The Greatest TV And Movie Love Triangles Of All Time - Zimbio
image found here

Macy is a shell of her former sunshiney self, but who wouldn’t be: the boy she was dating and was very much into, Xavier, was killed and that’s not something one gets over easily. The school is holding a memorial service in his honor, and Macy has to drag herself through the motions of pretending everything is okay.

After having spent at least a month with Hudson in her head, and a bit longer with Jaxon, she’s decided that she wants to break her mating bond (again) so she can be with Jaxon again. But, to do this, we have to make a trip to the Bloodletter: J’s pseudo/foster mother and a scary af vampire.

Keep Calm - Dracula by AngusMcTavish on DeviantArt
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Pause. I feel like now is the time to state that I am very firmly #TeamHudson for reasons. I can’t go into the specifics of why I am president, founder, CEO, and sole member of the Humans for Hudson Vega Fan Club, but after you read the book, perhaps you’ll enlist too!


Covet has our crew, sans Macy — a junior, in their senior year of high school. Hudson is wanted by his father, Cyrus, the Vampire King, for crimes he’s committed and lives he’s ended. Hudson claims to have turned over a new leaf, but Cyrus isn’t hearing it: he wants blood, and he will get it. Hudson is untouchable for the time being as he is enrolled at Katmere as a student…but graduation is in just a few months, and then its open season.

Adventure, death, the bonds of love and friendship are tested in this high-stakes installment. Who will Grace choose, Jaxon or Hudson? Will everyone live? Does Cyrus get his wish and have Hudson arrested?

Overall, I enjoyed Covet. I liked the way the story gave Grace more of a voice, and made her more powerful as a person. Hudson works through some trauma with Grace’s help, and new alliances are formed.


The closing book to this series Court is set for release in September 2021 from Entangled Teen Publishing. I can’t wait to see Grace (hopefully) be crowned Gargoyle Queen, set up her court, and stick it to Cyrus!

Image - 4.5stars.PNG - ClipArt Best - ClipArt Best

Image courtesy of tracywolffauthor.com

New York Times Best Selling author Tracy Wolff is a lover of vampires, dragons, and all things that go bump in the night. A onetime English professor, she now devoted all her time to writing dark and romantic stories with tortured heroes and kick-butt heroines. She has written all of her sixty-plus novels from her home in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her family. For more about Tracy’s books and to see what she’s up to, visit tracywolffauthor.com or find her on Instagram at tracywolffbooks!

Crush (Breakdown) (SPOILERS)

….and we’re back for Round 2! This review will contain spoilers for Crave (book 1) and definitely spoilers for itself. Please read the first review, then come back here

Image courtesy of Instagram.com/Stacialovestoread

Synopsis:
Everything feels off—especially me. I’ve returned to Katmere Academy, but I’m haunted by fragments of days I have no recollection of living and struggling to understand who, or what, I really am.
Just when I start to feel safe again, Hudson is back with a vengeance. He insists there are secrets I don’t know about, threatening to drive a wedge between Jaxon and me forever. But far worse enemies are at our doorstep.
The Circle is caught in a power play and the Vampire Court is trying to drag me out of my world and into theirs. The only thing Hudson and Jaxon agree on is that leaving Katmere would mean my certain death.
And not only am I fighting for my life, but now everyone else’s is at stake—unless we can defeat an unspeakable evil. All I know is that saving the people I love is going to require sacrifice.
Maybe more than I’m able to give.

Recap:
After the death of her parents in a car accident, Grace is sent to Alaska to live with her only remaining family: an uncle and his daughter, Macy. Grace is now tasked with finishing her last two years of his school at the exclusive and elusive Katmere Academy. While enrolled at Katmere Academy, Grace (somehow) ends up in the path of resident bad boy and untouchable, Jaxon Vega. The two start to talk and spend time together, exchanging terrible dad-jokes and movie references. Eventually, after receiving a very telling gift (a copy of Twilight) from Jaxon, Grace puts the pieces together….

Pin by Twilight Saga on Edward Cullen | Vampire twilight, Twilight, Twilight  pictures
Imagine found here

…and deduces that Jaxon is a vampire. Since the cat is out of the bag, everyone else that Grace has befriended begins to comes clean too: Macy’s a witch, her boyfriend, Cole, is a shifter that takes the form of a wolf (not a werewolf, no full moon required). Flint is a dragon, Uncle Finn is a warlock, and Lia is a witch too.
A botched attempted sacrifice renders Lia dead (good riddance), Jaxon incapacitated, Flint begging for forgiveness, and Grace…encapsulated in stone.


All caught up? Good good. So back to Lia and Flint for a second. Lia was trying to use Grace as a human sacrifice to bring back her smarmy British onetime boyfriend, the UBB (Unknown Big Bad). We’ll eventually learn that the UBB is indeed Hudson Vega — older brother to Jaxon and guy who’s soul has somehow latched on to Grace. Originally, Hudson was supposed to possess Jaxon, but seeing as Grace was the only person awake and retaining most of her mental faculties at the time, Hudson jumped into the wrong body.

Amazon.com: Invasion of the Body Snatchers: Kevin McCarthy, Dana Wynter,  Larry Gates, King Donovan, Carolyn Jones, Jean Willes, Ralph Dumke,  Virginia Christine, Tom Fadden, Kenneth Patterson, Guy Way, Eileen Stevens,  Ellsworth Fredericks,
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Instead of outing Hudson to the masses immediately, Grace listens to the Hudson in her head and keeps him as her little secret. Things are going fine — witty banter between the two of them fills out the bulk of this tome. Jaxon notices something is off about his girlfriend, but he just can’t put his finger on it…

Jaxon and Grace go to see the Bloodletter* and she tells them that the Unkillable Beast is the key to solving all of their current problems. Yay. Time for a road trip. Turns out the Unkillable Beast is a gargoyle, like Grace. She can hear him in her head when she nearby and in danger.

Now, friends, sometime nearish to this point, Grace reveals that Hudson has been co-opting her body since she came out of rock form. Obviously everyone is upset, but Jaxon most of all. He finally understands why Grace has been acting so weird around him, but he’s upset because (in his opinion) Hudson is still a bad guy who needs to be eliminated.

Flint brings word to the friends that this year’s Ludares Tournament is approaching, and hey, there’s enough of us to make a team, so we should totally do that! And so the crew does. The prize this year (offered by Cyrus, the Vampire King) is a seat on the Council of the Paranormals. Since Grace is the first gargoyle born in over 100 years, suddenly the Gargoyle Court can have a seat at the table.

Cyrus is actually the Ultimate Mega Big Huge Bad Guy™. The reason that Hudson killed people in the past was because it was (in his mind) the only way to protect those people and the rest of paranormal-kind from Cyrus’s plans. Not being one to be on-upped or taken advantage of, Cyrus has gathered his own team of Katmere students to play the game of Ludares but with the highest stakes there can be: Grace’s life. Also, Grace has to go against Cyrus’ team alone. By herself. With no help.

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Grace, Hudson, and the crew find out a way to extract Hudson from Grace’s body and give him one of his own. Its become too risky for the two to remain entwined in one body. Grace and Hudson know each other so well that they often don’t even have to talk to convey their thoughts, even after Hudson gains a corporeal (flesh and blood) body. They have inside jokes. Cute little friend memories. Jaxon does not approve, especially seeing as Grace is his mate and Hudson should be dead, or at least arrested and brought to the Vampire Court to stand trial for crimes against humanity err…paranormal kind…?

30 Great "High School Musical" Lyrics

Remember that asterisk that was by the Bloodletter? Well, she gave Jaxon a spell to break his and Grace’s mating bond. He was planning to use it, at one point, but after getting to know Grace better, he decided against it and threw the paper with the spell on it in the trash where it was recovered by Cole, Macy’s boyfriend and player for Cyrus’s team.

Long story short, Grace and Jaxon’s mating bond is broken like 2 seconds before she’s set to enter the Ludares arena to go against Cyrus’ cronies. I won’t bore you with details of every single attack that Grace trades with the other team, but (eventually) Main Character Plot Armor™ comes to the rescue and saves Grace from dying. The crew embraces her and Hudson and Jaxon square up over the girl they’ve both come to care for. The book ends with a spectacular cliffhanger line from one of the brothers:

Could you please take your hands off my mate?


Overall, book 2 was just as good as the first! I really enjoy Wolff’s style of writing — there were definitely times I had read over 100 pages in one sitting, and didn’t even notice because the writing is so fluid and smooth. I am a huge fan of the series, and I am waiting with bated breath for the closing installment: Court, set for release in September 2021.

Image - 4.5stars.PNG - ClipArt Best - ClipArt Best

Image courtesy of tracywolffauthor.com

New York Times Best Selling author Tracy Wolff is a lover of vampires, dragons, and all things that go bump in the night. A onetime English professor, she now devoted all her time to writing dark and romantic stories with tortured heroes and kick-butt heroines. She has written all of her sixty-plus novels from her home in Austin, Texas, which she shares with her family. For more about Tracy’s books and to see what she’s up to, visit tracywolffauthor.com or find her on Instagram at tracywolffbooks!

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