RMWB’s Tour Stop: A Royal Pairing in Perish

A Royal Pairing in Perish is the first official book in The Coyote and The Claw series by C.G. Coppola, although we were previously introduced to the world of Perish in the companion novel In the Moment Before.  It follows June (aka Quick Claw) and Nikolai (Black Coyote), two of Perish’s crime fighting vigilantes, as their path’s cross and they work together to bring down the city’s biggest crime boss.

Let me start this by saying I have been waiting for this book since reading In the Moment Before and I was not disappointed.  The plot feels a bit like a superhero movie, which I have a bit of a weakness for and it hooked me from the first page.  There’s lots of action and adventure to keep you engaged, and an amazing slow burn romance to keep things delightfully spicy.

Coppola’s writing is incredibly solid and makes the book an easy read to get lost in.  Her descriptions of the fight scenes paint a perfect picture in the reader’s mind that allows you to visualize it clearly in your head without slowing down the pacing of the book.  It’s a duel first person POV, and the author does an amazing job of making sure the narrators have their own distinct style and personalities.  I also loved how the steamy parts of the novel were descriptive without being gratuitous.

If I had to point out anything in this book that wasn’t my cup of tea, it would be the chapter lengths (and that’s me trying very hard to find something to complain about).  I wish that they had been a bit shorter, perhaps instead of dividing up the POVs within the chapter, split it between two chapters.  I’m a ‘just one more chapter’ kind of reader, so I prefer them to be shorter.

I adored the characters in this book.  June is smart, tough, and independent, but yet she has an amazing heart and ability to care about others.  Her backstory is heartbreaking, and makes her the kind of character you root for throughout the story.  Nikolai checked all the boxes for me (tall, dark, and broody).  He is sort of a cross between Bruce Wayne and Bucky Barnes, and, as I am a sucker for the Winter Soldier, I was pretty much in love from the first few pages.  We got to know a bit of his backstory and I can’t wait to hear more in future books.

I also loved the supporting characters.  Each was written in a wonderfully developed way, and it made them seem real and believable.  Even the villains are multifaceted, which I always appreciate, and I can’t wait to see where Coppola takes this series in the future.

This book was a 5 out 5 for me.  It has action and romance and I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of superhero movies.  It’s rated 4 out 5 for spice, but my personal scale put it at a 3.5.  I absolutely loved this book and it’s characters, and I think you will too!

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#romancereadersofinstagram #Spicybooks

Rockstar Book Tours: The Immortal Detective

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the THE IMMORTAL DETECTIVE by D.B. Woodling Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

About The Book:

Title: THE IMMORTAL DETECTIVE (The Immortal Detective Book 1)

Author: D.B. Woodling

Pub. Date: March 21, 2023

Publisher: CamCat Books

Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, Audiobook

Pages: 336

Find it: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/THE-IMMORTAL-DETECTIVE 

Sometimes being immortal makes you wish you were dead.

Celeste Crenshaw has survived her parents’ grisly murders, grueling and gender-biased police training, a battle with rogue vampires, and even her own death. While immortality might seem a dream come true, can she accept the strings attached?

Celeste spends the start of her immortal life being mentored by the Elders of the Hollow Earth. They release her once they feel certain Celeste has honed her supernatural powers. But little do they know, Celeste isn’t wholly committed to granting eternal life to those deserving. Upon a return home to her immortal lover, and the Kansas City Detective Squad, she battles mortal foes, not so unlike the demonic undead. And when a fellow detective falls victim to a murderous gang member, Celeste faces a gut-wrenching decision and the possible wrath of the Elders.


“. . . impressive vampiric worldbuilding [with] a fascinating cast.” —Publishers Weekly

Grab the prequel THE IMMORTAL TWIN now!

My Review:

The Immortal Detective by D.B. Wooding weaves a tale of murder, mystery, and vampires set against the backdrop of modern day Kansas City.  It follows newly turned vampire and detective, Celeste Crenshaw as she must find her way to reconcile her new powers (and aversion to the sun) with the life she led as a mortal.

When I first researched this book I did not realize it is actually a sequel to Wooding’s The Immortal Twin.  This installment is listed as book 1, but it picks up where the previous book left off.  Despite that, the author does a good job overall of making sure audiences understand what is happening in the plot.  I think the only thing I felt I missed out on was whatever developed between Celeste and her love interest, Tristan, on the page of the first book.

The plot moves at a good pace overall. It focuses mostly on Celeste’s case at work, a string of kidnappings and then murders that must be solved.  There were a few twists and turns in the case, but it has the feel of a police television series.  I truly loved that the author did not give into the temptation to make the case a dizzying series of plot twists that make the ultimate outcome predictable.  It made the ending that much better as I didn’t really see how it was going to all work out.

The main character, Celeste, is instantly likable.  She comes across as strong, independent, and you can see why she became a detective.  I loved how multidimensional she was, and the way that her heart and ability to care for those around her was never diminished by her new immortality.  There is part of me that would love to go and read the prequel book just to truly enjoy her journey from the beginning.

There are a wide array of characters in this book that float in and out of Celeste’s orbit and each has their own unique feel.  Her coworkers are all multifaceted, even if most of the men are written as sexist and somewhat unintelligent, and each has a purpose in the story.  The immortal family she is surrounded by, from her brother Nick to her gay vampire friend Fane are all interesting and left me wanting to know more about each of them.  It can be difficult to make supporting characters as multifaceted as the main character, and I truly appreciate what Wooding was able to accomplish.

Overall I would give this book a 4 out 5 stars.  I enjoyed it a great deal, but I missed out on a lot by not knowing about the prequel until after I started reading the first few pages.  There is a little spice, so I would give it a rating of 2 out 5.  If you like a paranormal mystery with vampires and a little romance thrown in, this is for you.

About D.B. Woodling:

Once the allure of impersonating celebrities began to wane, D. B. Woodling left the stage and turned her attention to writing. Credited with two historical fiction novels—Shannon’s Revenge: Broken Promises, recognized for its literary merit, and Retribution: A Lover’s Tale—she then switched genres and wrote The Detective Mike Malone series.

Needing a home for an ominous opening line, The Immortal Twin, a paranormal novel, soon began to take shape. Three-winged dragons, undead historical mentors, and police investigations abound in The Immortal Detective, the second installment in Celeste’s journey, with plenty of chilling twists and turns.

When she’s not creating harrowing fight scenes, steamy encounters, or complex police investigations, Woodling calms her soul with scenic walks, often in the company of a clowder of cats or a know-it-all golden retriever.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub

Giveaway Details: 

1 winner will receive a finished copy of THE IMMORTAL DETECTIVE, US Only.

Ends April 18th, midnight EST.

Rafflecopter Link:


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

3/13/2023#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee BlogExcerpt/IG Post
3/14/2023Mythical BooksGuest Post/IG Post
3/15/2023Jazzy Book ReviewsExcerpt/IG Post
3/16/2023Books and KatsExcerpt
3/17/2023Two Chicks on BooksGuest Post/IG Post

Week Two:

3/20/2023Read Dog ReviewsIG Post
3/21/2023The Book CountessReview/IG Post
3/22/2023Lifestyle of MeReview 
3/23/2023A Dream Within A DreamGuest Post/IG Post
3/24/2023I’m Into BooksExcerpt

Week Three:

3/27/2023Emily AshlynIG Review/FB Post
3/28/2023@traceyreadsandramblesIG Review/TikTok Post
3/29/2023OneMoreExclamationReview/IG Post
3/30/2023Kim”s Book Reviews and Writing Aha’s Review/IG Post
3/31/2023Brandi Danielle Davis IG Review/TikTok Post

Week Four:

4/3/2023Review Thick And ThinReview/IG Post
4/4/2023Country Mamas With KidsReview/IG Post
4/5/2023The Momma SpotReview/IG Post
4/6/2023Vamplit IG Review
4/7/2023GryffindorBookishNerd IG Review

Week Five:

4/10/2023Cara NorthReview/IG Post
4/11/2023The Momma SpotIG Review/LFL Drop Pic
4/12/2023Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted WriterReview
4/13/2023@froggyreadteachIG Review 
4/14/2023@enjoyingbooksagain IG Review

RMWB’s Tour Stop: Learning to Love

Learning to Love is a debut novel from Karen Raymond and the first novel in the Learning Series.  It follows a woman named Sara as she navigates difficult and sometimes abusive relationships with both her mother and the men she allows into her life.  She finds herself on a journey to discovering how to love and live for herself, instead of those who would seek to control her life.

Overall I liked this book.  There were a lot of moments in the plot that were extremely relatable, especially as someone who also escaped the verbal and emotional abuse Sarah experienced in her first marriage.  I also really liked the relationship with her mother and how that developed.  At the onset of the book Sara’s mother is just as bad as the men in her life, controlling and manipulative.  Yet, as the story develops and her mother begins to see Sara as an adult, they both begin to heal and develop an amazing mother-daughter bond.  It was truly a beautiful and heartbreaking story of forgiveness and growth.

The writing in Learning to Love is solid for the most part.  It is written in the first person and Sara serves as the only narrator for the book.  Sara is a very sympathetic narrator, and one can’t help but feel sorry for her as she stumbles through a romantic minefield.  However, at times the stream of consciousness narration slows the plot down quite a bit, making the pacing inconsistent.  The length of the book and the chapters is perfect though, making for a quick and emotionally packed read.

As I read the book I truly felt Sara’s character.  I have been through the same sort of relationships she found herself in, and had to find a way to break the cycle and find something better.  My favorite relationship in the book though was that of Sara and her mother.  I went through a rough period with my own mother where I had to have difficult conversations about how her treatment of me shaped who I am, and we made it to the otherside of that with a much healthier relationship.  To see that represented in a book was both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

The one thing I did not enjoy about the characters was how the overall message about men was that they all turn into abusers.  There was one relationship in particular (I’m going to leave the name of the character out of this review to avoid spoilers) where the shift in their character was so dramatic it felt very unrealistic and frankly unbelievable.  It almost felt like the choice was made simply so Sara would have to continue her journey of trying to find a healthy, loving relationship in the next book.  So, while I did truly like Sara and her journey, I did not enjoy the way all of the men were portrayed in this book as it made men seem flat and there just to serve the needs of the main character while never being developed themselves.

I am giving this book 3.5 stars out of 5 for an overall rating and 3 out of five for the spice level.  It’s a solid first installment of a series, and I would read the next to see how Sara continues to develop as a character.  It does not have a happy ending, but there is certainly the promise of more in the next book and is a series that is worth giving a try if you love contemporary romance.

Hazel’s Tour Stop & Review: All I Never Wanted

Courtney Coty’s All I Never Wanted tells the tale of Charlotte Abbott, a 1950s housewife who is suddenly given the chance to pursue a long lost dream when she is offered a last minute spot dancing in the Christmas show her hometown hosts each year just as her marriage seemingly begins to unravel.  Along the way she reconnects with old friends, discovers new ones, and must decide between going back to the life she knew or building something new.

Let me start by saying, I could not put this book down.  The plot gripped me from the very first few pages and kept me engaged as Charlotte navigates a time in her life that is both exciting and heartbreaking.  Coty tells the story in such a beautiful way and builds it around people you actually come to care about in the small town of Rockland.  At no time does the story drag and the pacing of the story is impeccable.  I think my only complaint was that it wrapped up so fast at the end because I was hoping for more.

There are several unexpected twists and turns in this book surrounding Charlotte’s past and the things she discovers about her parents.  There is also a rather gripping love triangle as she finds herself having to choose between her husband and a man who just might be the love of her life.  I was so completely invested in Charlotte’s story and loved every moment.

Coty’s writing is solid.  Her descriptions paint the scene and the reader can truly feel like they are experiencing the small town of Rockland right along with the characters.  In the early pages of the book it is noticeable that Charlotte retells the story of what drove her to feel from her husband without saying goodbye before leaving her home for Rockland several times, but as the book continues Coty finds a better flow for dealing with these sorts of situations.  The chapters are also very short, sometimes dividing a scene into two instead of making it one longer chapter, but it doesn’t really interrupt the overall flow.

My favorite thing about Coty’s writing was that her dialogue felt time period appropriate without being awkward.  So many times we see authors get so caught up in trying to make the dialogue authentic that it loses the natural flow or the emotion behind the words.  This is not a problem in this book, and I loved so many of the conversations the characters engaged in throughout the course of the story.

The characters in this book were impeccable.  All of the characters, including the supporting and minor characters, felt real and multi dimensional, which can be such a challenge.  Charlotte is an incredibly sympathetic leading lady and someone I found myself not only rooting for, but identifying with throughout the book.  Her journey and experience with a marriage that has lost its magic was so real and refreshing, and I loved how she was able to find her way to what she needed in life which was not necessarily the same as what she thought she wanted.

There are so many wonderful supporting characters as well and there is part of me that hopes that perhaps Coty will expand the world of Rockland so we can find out what happens to those Charlotte meets along the way like Judy, Billy, and Walt.  These characters are already so well developed that I couldn’t help but want to know more about them and many of the other residents of this charming small town.

Overall this book is a solid 5 out 5 for me, and I gave it a 2 out of 5 for spice because there is some but it is incredibly mild.  If you like historical romance this would be a fantastic option for you!  Thank you Hazel’s Book Tours and Courtney Coty for this amazing read!

ARC Review: Odox

Odox is the debut novel by Ken C. Kennedy that follows the journey of a high ranking yet young and cocky military officer and those around him as they overcome being invaded by enemies from the north who incur the wrath of their world of Mabbalor.  The book weaves a tale of magic and adventure with ogres, witches, and crocodiles who can take on a more human form that brings to life a new and exciting world.

Overall, I really liked the plot of this book and it moves along at a steady pace from the very beginning.  The world building was fascinating, and Mabbalor comes to life throughout the book.  At no time does the world building take away from the plot, but instead is incorporated into it so that the reader never feels like information is simply being dumped upon them.  You can quickly get sucked into the story of the overconfident Odox who must lose everything to find his true purpose in life.

The descriptive writing in this book is solid overall.  The sentence structure of the story grows more complex as the book progresses, and by the end I loved the growth shown by the author in his writing.  You can easily envision the world Kennedy is trying to create, and the characters within that world.  Mabbalor is a diverse universe that offers all sorts of terrains and creatures, and a reader can easily get lost in the images the author paints with his words.

If I had any complaints with the writing and plot it would be in the dialogue.  The story is set in a medieval world, yet the characters rely heavily on modern slang which I felt was out of place within the context of the story.  There were also moments I felt the dialogue ended a bit abruptly where there could have been more description in between or even additional dialogue between two characters.  This was most notable between characters who were related to each other, especially when wrapping up a scene.

One of the main things I truly appreciated in Odox was the journey each of the main characters went on.  When the book started I did not like the title character.  I felt he was selfish, pigheaded, and cocky, but as the story progressed I realized he was written that way on purpose.  The character development Odox experiences was spectacular and sets up his future in any additional books in the series nicely.  I also really enjoyed watching Odox’s best friend, Lanx, grow from someone who was unsure of himself to being a warrior in his own right.

While reading I couldn’t help but notice most of the minor supporting characters were written as being incredibly unintelligent or simply unlikable.  From Lanx’s vain ex-fiance to the bumbling guards, it was difficult not to notice that these minor characters all shared the trait of being loathsome.  My hope is that as the story continues to develop these minor characters might be given more depth and variety.

Overall I truly enjoyed the story of Odox and I gave it 3.5 stars out of 5 (rounded up to 4 for review sites).  Kennedy set up a fascinating world with a solid plot and intriguing characters, and I would definitely recommend giving Odox a read!

ARC Review: The Foxglove King

It is not often that a book has a choke hold on me from start to finish, but Hannah Whitten’s The Foxglove King managed to do just that.  The book follows a young woman named Lore who can channel Mortem (or death) and finds herself forced to spy on a prince whose father seeks to brand him a traitor and remove him from the line of succession.  

I loved the way Whitten tied the magic and world building seamlessly into her story telling.  At no point did the plot drag, allowing me as the reader to get lost in a world of intrigue, danger in romance.  Also, as the main story progresses the reader is never completely sure who Lore should trust.  She is  thrust into a world of old alliances and unsure whether to believe in the church or the crown.  While reading Lore’s experience of trying to navigate this well established court, the reader can only hope that the friendships she builds are those that will last throughout the series.

Wrapped into the plot was a perfectly written love triangle.  Lore finds herself stuck between Gabriel, a Duke who became a monk after his father’s act of treason, and Bastien, the prince she is tasked with spying on and possibly framing for treason.  These two men have a complicated and heart wrenching history that they try to overcome as they work with Lore to discover the truth that has brought them all together.

I found the characters in this book to be extremely well written and developed.  Lore is someone who has been constantly betrayed and abandoned by those who care for her, and yet she is still a kind and sympathetic character.  She is not a perfect heroine, but she is a relatable and likable one, which is much more important to me as a reader.  She has flaws, but those flaws are what make her seem all the more real.

Most of Lore’s interactions include Gabriel or Bastien, and both are also intriguing characters.  Gabe has spent his life feeling as if he needed to pay for the sins of his treasonous father, having left behind court life to become a monk.  He is charged with protecting Lore and finds his long held vows tested by his feelings for her as the story progresses.  Bastien is not what he appears to be when the audience first meets him, and it was fun trying to unravel the truth about him right along with Lore.

I have to say I am excited to see where this trio ends up at the end of the next book, as this one leaves you with a cliffhanger.  I am also firmly on team Gabe who, for this former member of the Catholic Church, fits the phrase “Father what a waste,” but the possibilities for Bastien’s future have me interested in seeing how he progresses as a character.

This book was a solid 5 out of 5 for me.  There is very little spicy, but the possibilities for book 2 are endless.  If you liked Belladonna, Throne of Glass, or Untainted this would be a perfect series for you.

Review: Holding on to Day

Holding on to Day is the latest release from author Lilly K. Cee.  It’s a rewrite of her earlier publication Alive Day and focuses on the story of two extremely broken souls, Cassidy and Mac. It comes with trigger warnings for depression, violence, miscarriage, and PTSD as well as other topics.  As with her other works, this one is incredibly well written.  She never shies away from the ugly parts of life, the heartbreak and the tragedies, and she writes it all beautifully.

The plot is a bit of an enemies to lovers story.  When Mac first moves into town, Cassidy can’t stand him.  He’s egotistical, gruff, and clearly uninterested in connecting with people.  Yet, during the course of the story Cassidy slowly starts to see the man behind all the walls and boundaries.  Their relationship is helped along by Cassidy’s German Shepherd, Fred, who is absolutely my favorite character in the story.  I think it says a great deal about a writer who can write a dog in such a way that he becomes an active participant in the plot.

As I pondered what to say about this book’s characters, I kept coming back to how real they felt.  Life has ups and downs, people are complicated and multifaceted.  Trauma affects everyone differently, and it also affects those around us.  You can find all of that in this book, and it made it all so incredibly authentic.  Cassidy and Mac absolutely sizzle on the page together, and their story will certainly stick with me for a while.

While Cassidy’s trauma and personal tragedy is heartbreak, Mac’s story left me gutted.  He is a veteran suffering from PTSD and other service related traumas, and truly brings to light an excruciating fact.  So many of our service men and women suffer when they return home.  No two experience it in the same way.  What stuck with me the most through was a quote from the author’s note at the end of the book:

“Everyday, 22 veterans lose their battle to post-traumatic stress on American soil.  That is 1 veteran every 65 minutes.”

I had to sit with that for a bit.  I had heard it before, but I think seeing it in print after reading this story, it hit home just how much our veterans suffer.

I gave Holding on to Day 5 stars.  It is, in my opinion, Lilly K. Cee’s best work to date (and I’ve been lucky enough to read everything she has published so far).  I would give it a 4 out of 5 for spice.  There is a lot of sexy, and it, like everything else in the book, is very well written.  It helps drive the story and never feels gratuitous.  This is definitely for audiences who are over the age of 18 though.  I would recommend this book to anyone who loves to read a romance that is real, that will make you think, and will make you feel a wide range of emotions.

Tour Stop & Review: Fate’s Rebellion

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the FATE’S REBELLION by Whitney Morsillo Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!


About The Book:

Title: FATE’S REBELLION (Sixth Sense #1)

Author: Whitney Morsillo

Pub. Date: October 7, 2022

Publisher: Whitney Morsillo

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 317

Find it: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/FATES-REBELLION 

Controlling the wolf inside is never guaranteed… I know that now.

My whole life I thought my biggest obstacle was dating the son of the sheriff—the one person in town my parents hate more than anyone. But I never imagined that my eighteenth birthday would bring something bigger—something dangerous. At eighteen, I finally know the family secret… I’m a werewolf. And my boyfriend? He’s our rival pack’s next alpha… and my fated mate.

But it’s too late. Connor broke up with me “to keep me safe,” but from what? Now that I’m a wolf shifter too, he’s changed his mind and wants me back. But can I really trust the boy who broke my heart just weeks ago?

And if I do, can our forbidden love actually be enough to conquer the family feud between our rival packs and finally bring peace to our town?

Facing betrayals from close friends, rescuing loved ones who’ve been taken, and fighting against the family feud of a lifetime, Connor and Tala must decide: family or fate?

Fate’s Rebellion is the first book of a young adult paranormal romance trilogy with fated mates, forbidden love, and second chance romance tropes. It is inspired by Twilight and Romeo and Juliet and is told in first person, present tense with dual point of view (alternating chapters between male and female characters). Each book of the trilogy follows a new couple of the same friend group, with books one and two being male/female relationships and book three being female/female. Beware that certain scenes may be triggering to some readers for some violence.

Fate’s Rebellion
, the first installment of the Sixth Sense Series by Whitney Morsillo is a tale of star crossed lovers from feuding packs of wolf shifters.  It is a tale that clearly draws its inspiration from Romeo and Juliet and Twilight to weave the story of Tala and Connor as they try to stop a war from breaking out between their packs.

There was a lot to like in this book.  The plot is action driven, making it an exciting read and the characters’ journey is well paced.  The descriptions of the action and setting are also extremely well done.  I was able to read the book in a day, so it is also a relatively quick read that will suck you into the story and drama the characters experience.

While I found the plot interesting, I had a difficult time believing in Tala and Connor’s relationship.  When the reader begins the story they have already been together in secret for three years.  We don’t get to see their love blossom and grow, and I think in some ways that held me back from truly getting lost in the book.

I liked the characters in this book, but I didn’t love any of them, which for me makes it really difficult to truly love a story.  Tala, Connor, and their friends seem to be the only truly sane people in the town.  Their parents and enemies are so caught up in hate and revenge that it takes it to a place that is somewhat melodramatic.

Rue and Seth, the two characters who will serve as the narrators for book two of the series, did grab my interest though.  They truly get to know each other during this book, and I’m excited to see how their relationship blossoms in book two.  The way the author begins to build up to a potential love story for the second installment is very well done.

Overall I gave this book 3 stars.  It’s a solid first installment and builds the world and introduces us to all the characters who will continue to tell the story as it unfolds in future books.  As a YA book there is no real spice, but there is the potential for more in book two.  This book does end with a cliffhanger, but nicely sets up the future of the series.

About Whitney Morsillo:

Whitney Morsillo is a New England transplant living in the
Tennessee mountains and writes YA paranormal romance. She has a Master’s in
Creative Writing and believes books are crucial to survival in this wild world
because “whether life is good or shit-tastic, you deserve an escape to
beautiful men and to run with the wind in your fur… or hair.” When she
isn’t writing swoon worthy, morally grey men who find their sassy fated mates
to be their greatest strength—and infuriating weakness or beautiful villains with
tragic pasts, she looks forward to the changing leaves of autumn, drinks way
too much Earl Grey tea, and reads her children Harry Potter while sneaking in
some steamy reads after bedtime.

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Giveaway Details:

1 winner
will receive a finished copy of FATE’S REBELLION & a bookmark, US Only.

1 winner
will receive an eBook FATE’S REBELLION, International.

Ends March
21st, midnight EST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule:

Week One:


Books Central

Guest Post/IG Post



IG Spotlight



Review/IG Post



Review/IG Post



IG Review



IG Review/FB Post


One More

Review & Guest Post/IG Post

Week Two:


Books With a Chance

Review/IG Post



IG Review


The Momma Spot

Review & Guest Post


Country Mamas
With Kids

Review/IG Post



IG Spotlight/FB Post


Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review.LFL Drop Pic



IG Review



Review/IG Post

Review: Beyond the Horizon

Beyond the Horizon is the debut novel for author KJ Cloutier and tells a swashbuckling tale of adventure, intrigue, and romance set on the high seas.  When a group of strangers come to the hidden island of Orabel which is home to a group of elemists, or those who can wield magic,  Emery and her twin brother find themselves agreeing to help the leader of the group, Tavor on his quest to have peace between magical and non-magical beings.

For a debut novel, Cloutier does a relatively good job weaving together a gripping and fascinating tale.  It’s well paced and the story is easy to follow with enough action to keep you engaged from the very beginning until the final pages.  I also really liked the originality of the magic system and the use of the elements to drive the magic in a more natural way.  It made it part of the world around the characters instead of being a system of spells or potions.

There were several moments though where the characters’ motivations or actions left me a bit perplexed.  For example, the main character, Emery, is described as knowing how to fight and shows her skill on several occasions, often sat out the larger fight scenes.  The villain’s true motivations are also a bit muddled, something I hope might be clarified further if there is a sequel to this novel.

I truly loved the characters in this book.  Emery has so many interesting facets.  At times she is a bit like a naive child as she experiences the outside world for the first time, and other times she is a fighter capable of handling any situation.  She is the heart of the story, and her love for her family and friends shines through over and over as the plot progresses.

The supporting characters were also quite interesting.  Liam, Emery’s twin brother, is a bit of a lovable troublemaker who, like his sister, also sets out to help his people.  Tavor and his adversary, Sean, are not entirely what they seem from the first impression the reader is given of these two characters.  Emery’s choice of who to trust drove much of the second half of the novel and truly kept me turning the pages till the very end.

I very much look forward to a possible sequel to this novel to see how these characters continue to grow and develop.

Overall I gave this book 4 stars out of 5.  There is very little spice, although there is some romance with the potential for that to grow into more in book two.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves an adventure fantasy novel, and look forward to the story continuing in the future.

Review: Anastasia by Sophie Lark

As part of my 2023 Reading Recommendation Challenge, I read Sophie Lark’s Anastasia for my February book.  It is a reimagining of the story of the lost Russian princess, Anastasia, and deviates away from history to place her in a world of magic.

As someone who was a 90s kid and had the 1997 movie practically memorized from start to finish, this book had piqued my interest long before I ever turned on my Kindle and began reading the first pages.  Aside from some of the major events in history happening in the correct phases of Anastasia’s childhood and teenage years, this is truly a fictional work and is not historically accurate.  At times, that honestly distracted me a bit.  For example, if you are familiar with the Romanovs at all, you are well aware of their fate and how the events of that night in July of 1918 played out.  That whole event is completely different in this telling and I had to do a lot of letting go of what I know to enjoy what was on the page during the first seventy percent of the book.

However, the later part of the book brings together Anastasia and her love interest, Damien.  They had shared moments throughout the book, but once they were reunited I found myself truly drawn into the story.  From that moment until the closing pages, I was hooked and I loved every single second of what I was reading.  It made me truly wish that they had shared more time together on the earlier pages.

The characters in this version of Anastasia’s story are incredibly well written.  I adored all of the Romanov children and getting to experience each of their personalities throughout the story.  Anastasia is a force of nature, and her journey from a somewhat spoiled princess to someone who truly loves her people above all else was incredible.

Damien, Anastasia’s main love interest and the other half of this book’s duel POV, was for me the heart of this story.  There were moments in the later thirty percent of the book that brought me to tears, and I found myself truly wishing he had been more prominent earlier on.  His story and journey is incredible, and truly made me love this book.

If I had any complaints with the characters it was how different Rasputin seems from the image we all have of the real man.  There were elements of events that actually happened during his time with the Romanovs and the book blends reality and fiction when it comes to this villainous figure.  It was just difficult to imagine him as anything other than the self proclaimed holy man with a scraggly beard and hair.

I liked the first seventy percent of this book, but loved the last thirty percent and for that alone I gave it 4.5 out of 5 stars (rounded up to 5 for review sites).  There are also some spicy moments in the later part of the book, but the descriptions are relatively mild and so I would give it a 2.5 out 5 for spice.  This is a fantastic option for lovers of fantasy with a tiny bit of history thrown in.