Design a site like this with
Get started

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

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.

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. 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,
image found here

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, some time 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.

High Stakes Event - New Item: Grappler, Wildcard Outfit, and more -  Fortnite INTEL
image found here

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 courtesy of

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 or find her on Instagram at tracywolffbooks!

Crave (Breakdown) (SPOILERS)

Welcome to the 1st of a series of in-depth reviews about NYT Bestseller Tracy Wolff’s Crave series. Released in 2020 by Entangled Teen Publishing, this YA paranormal fantasy has swept the world and brought back the love we all had for paranormal romance in 2008 a la Stephanie Meyer.

Image courtesy of


My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.
Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.
Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait.

synopsis from goodreads page

Our MC is Grace: recent Alaska transplant who’s parents have just passed away…truly unfortunate start for our girl. She is taken in by her uncle Finn and his daughter Macy who also serve as the principal of the school Grace is to be enrolled in and Grace’s new bestie/tour guide, respectively. As with any good YA protagonist, New Girl Grace is the talk of the school. Well her, and resident mysterious bad boy Jaxon Vega. Tall, brooding, and handsome, Jaxon Vega is not to be messed with or even thought about. He’s all bad.

SEE'S THE NEW GIRL at school* - Willy Wonka | Meme Generator
image found here

That’s fine with Grace, she just wants to survive junior year, get through senior year, and graduate so she can go back to California and be with her best friend, Heather, as they make up for lost time. But, of course, this is a book, and Grace is our MC, so there’s certain to be hijinks and hilarity between her and her goal of graduating.


Grace’s cousin, roommate, and guide to the new place that is Alaska. Always down for a good crying session ended by a splitting a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia ice cream. Honestly, 10/10 for the “best friend” / “constant anchor” character.

Ah yes, sweet Flint. The first person, aside from Macy, that takes a real liking to Grace. He is a goofy fun-loving kind of guy…but with something darker hidden too.

A witch, like Macy but M doesn’t like Lia, which should warn Grace that something hanky is going on but alas…

The man of the hour. Vampire prince. Seriously damaged, but is trying to work through his issues.

Unknown Big Bad
We later learn who this person is, but until then, they’ll be known as UBB.
Has the grand plan to take over the world and ruin all sorts of things.

The beginning of the book is full of a lot of day-to-day activity of Grace getting used to Katmere, and Katmere getting used to the presence of an (apparently) extremely attractive person. The middle is pretty filler-y too…UNTIL ITS NOT.

I guess she's pretty..." "Try SUPER MEGA-FOXY AWESOME HOT" | Very potter  musical, Starkid, Quotes

Okay, so turns out that Lia is actually working to bring the UBB back into power. This UBB is so bad and powerful that even Jaxon is afraid of them resurfacing. He now makes it his personal mission to keep Grace safe from Lia because….

The Mating Bond - Moe - Wattpad
image found here

…yes. You heard correctly. A mating bond. Destiny. An unknown but completely unavoidable something drawing these two together. As basic as breathing, and yet just as complex.

More filler, but, Grace & Jaxon are a couple now! She somehow still doesn’t know his biggest secret, and doesn’t think its weird that he never comes in her room when he drops her off after class, but oh well! Also, he seems to appear and vanish faster than HUMANLY possible, but that’s just because he’s in great shape, right?

Somebody's gotta tell her Don't you dare! - frozen gonna tell him | Meme  Generator
image found here

After receiving the most telling book from Jaxon (a copy of Meyer’s Twilight), Grace finally puts things together. Everything is out in the open now, no more secrets. Despite all of Jaxon’s careful planning and surrounding her with his cronies [The Order, as they’re called], Lia still manages to get her hooks in Grace — via Flint. The big dragon has gained her trust, and eventually lures her to her death via sacrifice. Of course, Jaxon comes swooping in to save the day, but ends up getting himself knocked out by fighting with a GIANT FREAKING DRAGON. Anyway, Lia does some magic and things, and brings the UBB back to this side of the veil between life and death. The plan was for him to be placed into Jaxon’s body, but since he’s incapacitated, and Flint suddenly grew a conscience to stop Lia’s plans, the UBB attaches himself to the only other living thing in room.

Who is the UBB you may ask? Why does Jaxon hate the UBB so much? What makes the UBB so dangerous? Well….even paranormals have sibling rivalry.

Overall, Crave is an amazing opener to a new YA paranormal series. Tracy’s writing is fluid, lively, and full of spunk and witty humor. Grace is a likeable MC and Macy is her faithful sidekick. I have read the next 2 books in the series, and I am very much excited for the final installment!

Image courtesy of

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 or find her on Instagram at tracywolffbooks!

Fast Five: Prop Shopping

Hi , hey, hello! Today on Fast Five, we’re going to talk about props: what to use, and where to buy! I’m going to have a few higher-end items but mostly some bargain basement low prices. Buckle up and get in readers, we’re going shopping!

Get In Loser, We're Going Shopping – Harebrained
  1. Goodwill

Honestly, it doesn’t get much cheaper than the GW. I have found many a prop at local Goodwill store…you just gotta go in with an open mind, but with a basic idea of what you’re looking for.

Any Goodwill will have waaaay too many glasses, baskets, and picture frames….these can all work to your advantage! Are you wanting to do a set-up (or have theme) of renaissance excellence: the fancy glasses and delicate tea cups? Grab $10 and hit up Goodwill. Wanting something rustic and outdoorsy? There’s wreaths, picnic baskets, flower baskets, I once saw a Moses basket at a Goodwill! I should have gotten it but….regrets are for another day. You can also find random objects that will spark inspiration. I bought a lamp that I thought looked really cool, and after some physical labor from my husband, I ended up with this…

Tah-dah! A marvelous background item 🙂

Dollar Store(s)

Have a few extra bucks lying around? Time to visit the dollar store. I love flowers, but I can’t keep any alive….enter Dollar Store USA! Each store franchise carries different flowers and they’re all of differing quality. However, a good fake flower can put. in. work, if you do it right. See the photo below? Dollar storeee for the wiiin

Image courtesy of


A step up price wise, but still not digging too deeply in your fun money is Target. Known for having Starbucks in their stores and being *perfectly* priced, Target is a prop heaven! From gardening items, to lawn gnomes, Christmas ornaments, and all sorts of things in between, you gotta explore further than the clothing racks. Justlikegilmoregirls started a trend a few years back of staging photos in Target and the results are top-notch content.

Image courtesy of
Memes That Are Perfect For Those Who Love Shopping At Target

Bonus: Makers

Oh yes. Makers. People on Instagram and Etsy! There are some seriously talented humans out there making some really cool stuff that you can use as props. Whimsy Mug Topsies makes gorgeous mug toppers and cute little plaster macaroons! There are tons of shops that make pins and prints that are fandom themed, and generally bookish as well! My IRL buddyfriend and leetle seester, Whit, owns and operates The Enchanted Bookshop where she designs, produces, and sells pins, bookmarks, and the occasional coffee mug!

Image courtesy of


In my opinion, this is the most expensive of all of the in-person shopping options…but worth every penny. I have 2 wooden palates, one dark and one light, that I’ve purchased from Michael’s and their yarn aisle funded my giant knitting adventure I was on for a month or so. My dear friend thepagemistress has a string of wooden beads that can be made using materials from Michael’s.


Ahh yes. The big one. The smile company has pretty much any and everything you can imagine. You want a tarp, got ’em. Cool backdrop? Got those too. My IRL buddyfriend L, got me a super wicked awesome genie lamp from the smile corp. It was about $20, so double win!

Found at Amazon

So, how about you? Do you have any favorite places to shop for props or any favorite props? Let me know, I am in the market for some cool new stuff!

You Are Carrying Too Much

A Better Bad Idea (eARC)

Tour banner featuring the stop dates

Turn the Pages Tours has once again invited me to tell y’all about a super fresh new release, A Better Bad Idea! This thriller is a fun ride, but does contain some sensitive topics such as death of a character, guns/shootings, physical abuse of a minor, toxic relationship, underage drinking, and more. Take care of yourself first.

Image courtesy of

Laurie Devore’s new YA novel is a searing look at a forgotten girl who has no good choices left, but one better bad idea…

Evelyn Peters is desperate. Desperate for a way out of McNair Falls, the dying southern town that’s held her captive since the day she was born. Desperate to protect her little sister from her mother’s terrifying and abusive boyfriend. And desperate to connect with anyone, even fallen golden boy Ashton Harper, longtime boyfriend of the girl Evelyn can never stop thinking about ― beautiful, volatile, tragically dead Reid Brewer.

Until a single night sends Evelyn and Ashton on a collision course that starts something neither of them can stop. With one struck match, their whole world goes up in flames. The only thing left to do is run―but leaving McNair Falls isn’t as easy as just putting distance between here and there and some secrets refuse to stay left behind.

A reckoning is coming… and not everyone is getting out alive.

Let’s start off with a bang, shall we? From the jump, we’re thrust in to Evelyn’s POV, and her life. She’s stuck in town with no prospects of getting out. Her mom’s boyfriend is abusive to her mom, her younger sister, and herself. Evelyn turns to drinking, skipping school, and hanging out Ashton to soothe her pain.

Reid has died, but Evelyn can’t stop thinking about her…after all, Evelyn’s new drinking buddy, Ashton, was Reid’s boyfriend until her death.

One day while hanging out, the two hatch a plan. It’ll be fun! A little arson never hurt anyone…neither did shooting them.

A Better Bad Idea is a twisty novel designed to make your head spin and ask “well that’s got to be the worst of it all, right?” But it’s not. Oh no. Not at all…..

Image courtesy of

Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. After four years in the balmy Midwest, she returned to her home in the south, where she now lives and works in Charleston. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV, and works a “y’all” into every conversation. She is the author of Winner Take All and How to Break a Boy.

Do you want a chance to win your own copy of the book? Following this link to enter!

Sing Me Forgotten (eARC)

Tour banner featuring Sing Me Forgotten

Welcome to the Opera House…

Today I bring you a spoiler-free review of a recent releases Sing Me Forgotten, courtesy of Turn the Pages Tours! This is a gender-bent, Phantom of the Opera retelling with a sprinkle of romance and magic.

Image courtesy of

Isda (Izzy) is our MC. She is the Phantom, but with a special power…she can view and alter memories of those who sing around her. Confined to shadows of the Opera House, she’s never talked to anyone except Cyril, her substitute father and (frankly) scam artist. That is…until Emeric.

Emeric has the voice of an angel trapped in a janitor’s body. Isda takes an interest in him because of him memories…they’re different than other people’s; they don’t affect her the same way.

But just as Isda has her own secrets to keep, Cyril does too. He wants to use Isda’s gift for something big. Bigger than making opera patrons feel good after the show. Bigger than removing a bad song from memory and replacing it with the perfect aria.

Isda wants to make Cyril happy — he’s the only person who cares for her, even after all this time. But something about this secret mission….

Courtesy of

Jessica S. Olson claims New Hampshire as her home, but has somehow found herself in Texas, where she spends most of her time singing praises to the inventor of the air conditioner. When she’s not hiding from the heat, she’s corralling her three wild—but adorable—children, dreaming up stories about kissing and murder and magic, and eating peanut butter by the spoonful straight from the jar. She earned a bachelor’s in English with minors in editing and French, which essentially means she spent all of her university time reading and eating French pastries. Sing Me Forgotten is her debut novel.

To purchase your own copy of Sing Me Forgotten, visit Bookshop or the author’s website.

Book Tours: Who is She?

Welcome back to another addition of Fast Five, my series where I pick a topic and give you a quick overview of it using 5 bullet points! Today we’re going to talk about Book Tours. As with anything I say, these are NOT hard-and-fast rules, definitions, or expeditions. I merely speak from my experience.

What is a Book Tour?

A book tour is a way to drum up publicity and internet chatter about a book/series that is being released soon. As reviewers, we aren’t required to give a positive review, but for the case of publicity… you should try to highlight the good things about a book, even if you didn’t like it.

How do I get on one?

Most blog yours are offered through companies that can be found on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. I’ve had the great fortune to work with some amazing people, such as Turn the Pages Tours, Hear Our Voices Tours, Book of Matches Media, Caffeine Book Tours, and TBR & Beyond Tours. There are obviously SO MANY more, but these are the peeps I’m most familiar with.

Occasionally, a publisher (or more specifically) a publicist, will reach out directly via email and extend the offer for coverage on my social media in exchange for a free copy of the book.

So I Got Picked!

Yay, congratulations! At this point, you gotta do a smidge of waiting. The tour company had a contact at the publisher that will be distributing the book to hosts to read. If it’s an ebook, cool. Download it and start reading. If it’s a physical book, go sleep in your mailbox and wait for the package 📦! In the meantime, share to your followers that you’ve been chosen as host, and your tour date! Add that date to your calendar so you don’t forget.

When the book arrives, via mail or internet, based upon your own personal reading speed, and what day you’ve been assigned to post, start reading. Some tours book a few weeks in advance, and some book months out (I’m on a tour for March that I was accepted for back in December).

They Didn’t Pick Me….

Bummer! It happens. A lot more often than any of us would like. Considering that most tours only have space for about 20 hosts, and there are (on average) at least 50 people that apply, the odds are about 2 in 5 that I’ll be chosen. If not, don’t give up! There will be other tours, other companies, and other opportunities. I’ve even had the rare occasion where someone who was chosen has to withdraw, and I was on the shortlist to take their place.

It’s upsetting not to be chosen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still promote the book! If you happen to have (or buy) a copy of the book, still read it and give it a good review (not “good” meaning positive, “good” meaning thoughtful. Reviewers are supposed to be honest here!). Trust me, tour companies see these posts, and mentally bookmark people they’d like to work with in the future.

Bonus: The Double Booked Book

Also, there are multiple companies that will sometimes have tours going for the same book either at the same time, or maybe a couple weeks apart. Apply for both…hedge your bets. If you book one and not the other: success! If you book both, reach out to both companies and let them know you’re on the tour list for the other. Some companies will ask you to chose which one you want to do, but most (a fair 90%) will be fine with both, as long as you follow the rules/regulations for them while also doing the same for the other. They may even accommodate you as much to put allow your date to match the other so you can do one post. I have done this a couple times, and it’s a lot of red tape in making sure you have all the right hashtags and tags on the photos, but overall, not impossible.

What Do I Do When It’s My Turn?

Just tell your peeps about the book! Even if you didn’t enjoy the book, highlight some positives, or maybe some comparisons to books that people may like. I have had many a book I didn’t particularly care for, but I still made sure to take a bomb photo, talk about the good parts, and do a little comparison.

I know the publicity aspect can seem a bit dishonest, especially since we are promising an honest review…but think about it this way: if someone told you that X book was absolutely terrible, are you going to buy it for yourself? Nope. But. If that same person who didn’t enjoy the book compared it to a series you do like, or highlighted the descriptions the author gives…you may pick it up. That’s all the goal is for tours: they want the book on people’s radars.

Bonusbonus: Double Booked Date

Sometimes, in signing up for multiple tours at once, you’ll end up getting accepted for more than one where you’re assigned the same date to post. Reach out to both companies and let them know you have a second (or third!) post that day. Most will be okay with sharing the day (post one in the morning, one in the evening), or will move you to another date so the other company can have the spotlight that day.

Your companies are ran by regular schmegular people, and people sometimes overextend themselves. Transparency and honesty are the big words here, folks.

So what did we learn today?

1. Getting accepted for a tour depends on the amount hosts allowed, and people that sign up.

2. If chosen, put in work! Read the book, snap a pic, and post on your date.

3. Sometimes you aren’t chosen, and that’s okay.

4. Sometimes you are double (or even triple) chosen. And that’s okay! Be honest and open with all parties, and 8 times out of 10, things will be a-okay.

That’s all I got for you today folks! Leave any questions, comments, or concerns below, and I’ll get back to you!

Wings of Ebony (eARC)

Hiiii! Welcome to my stop for Wings of Ebony, courtesy of Caffeine Book Tours! I have been itching to get my hands on a copy of this book, so when I heard I was selected for the tour, I went bananas! Read along for my thoughts about this powerhouse debut, and info on where to get your own copy! TW: Representations of gun violence (not graphic), reference to drugs, reference to murder, reference to genocide, on-page racism, violence. Please consider yourself and take care before reading this one, beloved.

Banner of tour, courtesy of Caffeine Book Tours


In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry and must save both the human and god worlds — think Black Panther-meets-Cassandra Clare!

“Make a way out of no way” is just the way of life for Rue. But when her mother is shot dead on her doorstep, life for her and her younger sister changes forever. Rue’s taken from her neighborhood by the father she never knew, forced to leave her little sister behind, and whisked away to Ghizon—a hidden island of magic wielders.

Rue is the only half-god, half-human there, where leaders protect their magical powers at all costs and thrive on human suffering. Miserable and desperate to see her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death, Rue breaks Ghizon’s sacred Do Not Leave Law and returns to Houston, only to discover that Black kids are being forced into crime and violence. And her sister, Tasha, is in danger of falling sway to the very forces that claimed their mother’s life.

The Good

The characters. The writing. Everything is so fleshed out. I’ve never been to Houston, TX, let alone the East Row, but reading J. Elle’s words, I felt as though it was somewhere familiar. I loved how Rue’s character explained the family atmosphere of the block, because it really is like that for so many, myself included. My parents’ closest friends are my aunties and uncles, and their kids call me cuz…family ain’t always blood: it’s shared experiences and love and care.

I love that (eventually) Rue comes around to the idea of having a dad. I have a very strong relationship with both my father, and my father-in-law, so I’m always happy for a good daddy/daughter scene.

There is a bit of romance in this book, but not so much that the plot is distracted by it. Rue has two equally attractive, 100% down-for-the-cause guys interested in her, that she’s also interested in too…I’m interested to see who see chooses in the sequel (YES, there has to be one).

The Bad

For the Chancellor to be the mastermind behind the stealing of the magic…he’s not seen much. I understand that our big bad ends up being [redacted] but I felt like we should have seen the head honcho more too?

Tasha’s character wasn’t very…there. She serves her purpose as the DiD (Damsel in Destress) and not much else. She isn’t the main focus of the book, so I understand why she didn’t get much backstory or motivation. Hopefully, she gets a bit more development in the sequel.

The Ugly

[REDACTED] WAS THE ONE WHO KILLED RUE’S MOM?! Omg. I was so angry when that came out. But, what a reveal! I loved how J. was able to string us along, just like Rue and then drop this bombshell at just the right time.


I absolutely loved. Loved. LOVED. Wings of Ebony. I can’t believe that this is J. Elle’s first book! The world building is amazing, the characters are fleshed out and believable. J. will definitely be on my roster of authors to watch, and you need to put her on yours too!

About the author

Image courtesy of

J. Elle was born in Houston, Texas, and is a first-generation college student with a bachelor’s in journalism and MA in educational administration and human development. An advocate for marginalized voices in both publishing and her community, J. Elle’s passion for empowering youth dates back to her first career in education. She’s worked as a preschool director, middle school teacher, and high school creative writing mentor. In her spare time, she volunteers at an alternative school, provides feedback for aspiring writers, loves on her three littles, and cooks up dishes true to her Texas and Louisiana roots. For more on what J. Elle is up to, visit her online at

Wing of Ebony is the debut novel of J. Elle released on January 26 from Simon & Schuster. For info on the book as well as links to purchase your own copy, please visit the book’s page on the publisher’s website.

Looking Ahead!

Hello friends! Welcome to my new home! I have some fun content coming soon, here’s what you can look forward to:

  • Blog tours I’ve booked! (in order of appearance)
    • Wings of Ebony (Feb.)
    • Crave/Crush/Covet (March)
    • Sing me Forgotten (March)
    • A Better Bad Idea (March)

I’m also going to be posting new content to my Fast Five series!

  • Props!
    • Good places to shop
    • Ways to use things you already have!
    • Finding your “look”
  • Blog Tours
    • How to apply
    • When to apply
    • What to apply for
    • What to do once you’ve been selected
    • What to do if you aren’t selected

….and much more! What post (or posts) are you most excited for? Personally, I’m S U P E R pumped to read and review Covet but…that’s just me 😉

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna (ARC)

Hi, hey, hello! Welcome back to another review! Today, I’m featuring The Gilded Ones, a beautiful story inspired by West-African mythology featuring a cast of amazing women.

The banner for the tour, courtesy of Terminal Tours

I’m going to be doing my traditional Good, Bad, and Ugly for this review (how I’ve missed this format!) with closing remarks after! There are a few trigger warnings (described sexual abuse of character, killing of various characters, repeated torture and assault of character), so please take care of yourself and make sure you’re in the right headspace before diving in to this amazing read.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs. But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death. Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki — near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat. Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be — not even Deka herself.

Synopsis of book

The Good

Everything. Literally everything. The plot moves along just fast enough to be believable and interesting, but slow enough to make sure the reader is still on track with everything.

The characters are so fully fleshed out — I’d want to be friends with these girls. Britta’s accent and way of pronouncing words made me think of my own family with roots in the South…some letters are never pronounced, just implied. It’s like it’s own language to decode. Forna does a great job with incorporating this quirk into the character of Britta.

I also liked how we were almost an all-seeing person in the world of The Gilded Ones. We learned information at the same time Deka did. It was quite a smart move to put the reader in Deka’s perspective and keep us there. It really helped us to discover the secrets this world has hidden and genuinely be shocked.

The Bad/The Ugly

Honestly. Not much of anything. If I had one request it’s just that I want Book 2 (OH YES) right n o w!


The Gilded Ones was an amazing read, and quick too. I cannot express the joy seeing so many beautiful Black characters having their stories told. I can only wait with bated breath for more from Ms. Forna and her contemporaries.

Image courtesy of

Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the upcoming epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina loves telling stories with fierce female leads and works as a screenwriter in LA.

The Gilded Ones is Namina Forna’s debut book being released on February 9th from Delacorte Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House. Visit for more info on the book, and find Namina online on Twitter, Instagram, or her website to see what she’s up to!

I received an ebook review copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my participation on this blog tour and an honest review. Receiving these materials in no way affected my review.

All That Glitters / Everything That Burns by Gita Trelease (ARC)

Image courtesy of

Hope you guys have your seat belts fastened because for the first time ever in STLR history, I am reviewing TWO books at once! All That Glitters was released in 2019, originally under the title of Enchantee‘, and the follow up book Everything That Burns (announced under the title of Liberte’) just released! This is going to be a first-time-ever double review adventure, so hold on tight!

All That Glitters (Enchantee’)

I originally read an ARC of this book back in 2019 when it published. I did a reread to prepare me for the sequel and help familiarized myself with the world or pre-revolution France.

Camille is the middle of 3 children who have lost their parents and are struggling to make it by. The oldest sibling, a brother, is in the army, but he’s got two addictions that are hard to kick, and keep the family on the verge of being evicted: gambling and alcohol. Camille takes it upon herself to try and make extra money for the household by scamming sellers using fake coins and getting real coins as change with purchases. It’s all fine and dandy..unless someone finds out.

Filled with magic and history and gorgeous imagery, Everything That Glitters toes the line between fantasy and historical fiction. It tends to get a bit wordy at times, so be prepared to really hunker down with this one.

Everything That Burns (Liberte’)

Camille is back and her magic is even stronger. She’s risen above her situation and now lives a comfortable life in Paris. The only thing holding Camille back from feeling fulfilled is the injustices that women face in society.

Poor women, beggar women, the girls who sell flowers, and the girls who sell themselves for company for the highest bidder are living in conditions even more destitute than before as (unknown to them, of course) the French Revolution looms on the horizon. Taxes are going up, wages are going down, and the royals don’t seem to care that their people are dying. Something’s gotta give.

Everything That Burns definitely has less of the magical fantastical elements that All That Glitters introduced. The second installment to the duology is focused more on society, social justice, and fighting to find one’s voice in the midst of strife.

Gita Trelease is the author of All That Glitters & Everything That Burns. Both books were published and release by Flatiron Publishing, a division of Macmillan. For more information about Ms. Trelease and what’s she is currently working on, visit her website at

Both of these ebooks were provided to me by Flatiron Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Receiving these materials has in no way affected my review.