Title: Cast in Firelight

Author: Dana Swift

Publisher: Delacorte Press


Synopsis: Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people. Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who's mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child. Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery's most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet. Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross...and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead. Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery's fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it's complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.


Review: Author Dana Swift’s debut novel, Cast in Firelight, is a fun and easy read for fans of young adult fantasy. The rival to lovers troupe is engaging and sweet. Both characters kept me laughing with their witty banter. The author’s decision to switch between Adraa and Jatin’s POVs added a pleasant twist. I really enjoyed the magic system, especially the color-coded fortes. It helped me visualize the combat scenes without confusion.


The pacing flowed nicely as well as the dialogue. I never found myself bored or uninterested in the plot, nor did I find the conversations unrealistic. Readers who prefer “slow burn” romances will love Adraa’s and Jatin’s relationship, but if you’re looking for steam, this isn’t the book for you. It’s a safe read for middle schoolers.


The only thing that irked me while reading was the author’s overuse of the word “blood”. I believe she substituted it for a common curse word. My adult mind kept replacing it with f*ck or sh*t. LOL


Overall, I enjoyed the plot and characters. The cliffhanger was well-rounded but left me wanting more.


Triggers/Warnings: none

Plot: 4/5

Pacing: 5/5

Escapism Factor: 4/5

Emotional Connection: 4/5

Character Development: 4/5


Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: March 2021

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Updated: Apr 12


Title: Obsidio

Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers


Synopsis: Kady, Ezra, Hanna, and Nik narrowly escaped with their lives from the attacks on Heimdall station and now find themselves crammed with 2,000 refugees on the container ship, Mao. With the jump station destroyed and their resources scarce, the only option is to return to Kerenza--but who knows what they'll find seven months after the invasion? Meanwhile, Kady's cousin, Asha, survived the initial BeiTech assault and has joined Kerenza's ragtag underground resistance. When Rhys--an old flame from Asha's past--reappears on Kerenza, the two find themselves on opposite sides of the conflict. With time running out, a final battle will be waged on land and in space, heros will fall, and hearts will be broken.


Review: ERROR> ERROR> ERROR>


It’s time for another standing ovation. Authors Kaufman and Kristoff did it again! This book. This series. The characters will stay with me forever. The formatting of the physical books is a feast for the eyes, and the audiobooks are a symphony to the ears. I adored every second of Obsidio, the last installment of the Illuminae Files.


I loved how the authors brought the cast of books one and two together for the finale. Kady and Ezra, Hannah and Nik, and Asha and Rhys finally kicked some serious ass. And boy, oh boy, it was fun to read. I didn’t want the story to end.


Obsidio showed the ugly side of war, allowing the reader to see both sides of the coin. The authors made me feel compassionate for the morally grey characters. Cue AIDEN.


So, let’s talk about the star of the show, the artificial intelligence who has the power to tip the scales. Every story needs a hero and a villain, right? But which role did AIDEN choose? That’s the beauty of Obsidio. The reader gets to decide.


Kaufman and Kristoff’s writing was superb. The pacing was fantastic. The emotional connection was off the charts, and the ending left the reader both satisfied and intrigued. I can’t say enough positive things about this book.


I AM AIDEN


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Triggers/Warnings: graphic violence, implied language


Plot: 5/5

Pacing: 5/5

Escapism Factor: 5/5

Emotional Connection: 5/5

Character Development: 5/5


Star Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Completed Read: March 2021

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Updated: Apr 13


Title: Rage & Ruin

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publisher: Inkyard Press


Synopsis: Half-angel Trinity and her bonded gargoyle protector, Zayne, have been working with demons to stop the apocalypse while avoiding falling in love. The Harbinger is coming…but who or what is it? All of humankind may fall if Trinity and Zayne can’t win the race against time as dark forces gather. As tensions rise, they must stay close together and patrol the DC streets at night, seeking signs of the Harbinger, an entity that is killing Wardens and demons with no seeming rhyme or reason. Forbidden to be with each other, Zayne and Trinity fight their feelings and turn to unusual sources for help—the demon Roth and his cohorts. But as deaths pile up and they uncover a sinister plot involving the local high school and endangering someone dear to Zayne, Trin realizes she is being led…herded…played for some unknown end. As anger builds and feelings spiral out of control, it becomes clear that rage may be the ruin of them all.



Review: SPOILER WARNINGS

I thought Rage & Ruin deserved a solid four star until the last fifty pages. I adore Jennifer L. Armentrout’s writing but this book was overly predictable, lacked the mystery of book one, Storm & Fury, and twisted classic biblical teachings. Here’s the thing, I’m not a religious person, but I believe in God. Viewing him as a man, sitting in heaven, making human-like decisions was laughable if not ridiculous. Painting arch angels as villains was equally silly. I can’t count the number of times my eyes rolled at the end of this book. Lucifer will save the day. Um…no thank you. I literally cackled when the author unveiled that twist.

The other thing that bothered me was the sudden obsession Zayne and Trinity had for each other after having sex. I get it, they’re young and in love but their vow to sacrifice anything and everything to find one another after death was cringe worthy. The Twilight vibes came on strong toward the ending—too strong. Considering they had just met with the Senator and witnessed what happened when harbored grief turns into desperation, their obsessive devotion to each other felt out of character.

And what about their bond? I thought if one died, the other went too. Perhaps I misunderstood. I was so confused when Zayne passed. I expected Trinity to meet him in the afterlife.

I enjoyed the sexual tension and banter between Zayne and Trinity at the beginning of the book. Armentrout’s writing is easy reading. Her books are good pallet cleansers after finishing a dense fantasy novel. I just didn’t love this one.

I’m not sure if I want to continue the series. The twisted view on God really bothered me. I enjoy books with valuable life lessons, and this one left me with zero takeaways.


Triggers/Warnings: violence, some language, adult content

Plot: 3/5

Pacing: 4/5

Escapism Factor: 3/5

Emotional Connection: 3/5

Character Development: 3/5


Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️


Completed Read: March 2021

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