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Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Author: Holly Black

Publisher: Little Brown

Synopsis: Before he was a cruel prince or a wicked king, he was a faerie child with a heart of stone. #1 New York Times bestselling author, Holly Black reveals a deeper look into the dramatic life of Elfhame's enigmatic high king, Cardan. This tale includes delicious details of life before The Cruel Prince, an adventure beyond The Queen of Nothing, and familiar moments from The Folk of the Air trilogy, told wholly from Cardan's perspective. This new installment in the Folk of the Air series is a return to the heart-racing romance, danger, humor, and drama that enchanted readers everywhere. Each chapter is paired with lavish and luminous full-color art, making this the perfect collector's item to be enjoyed by both new audiences and old.

Review: Well, damn. I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. I’ll be honest. I stopped reading The Cruel Prince because the writing style drove me mad. The choppy sentence structure combined with Jude’s lack of maturity made me wonder if I had stumbled upon a twelve-year-old’s diary. I wanted to love the characters, but I didn’t. I couldn’t connect with anyone on an emotional level.

But wait…this review isn’t about the first book in the series, is it? No. It’s about Black’s newest installment, How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories. So why, one might ask. Why did I pick up this book if I closed the first book halfway through? Easy. Curiosity. Why was Cardan such a jerk to Jude in the first book? How did he become such a cruel young man? These burning questions sent me running to the nearest bookstore. I needed answers.

It only took me a few hours to devour the tiny masterpiece, and boy, oh boy, I'm thrilled I gave it a shot. The illustrations that accompany the short stories are glorious. The lessons Cardan learned as he grew into a man opened my eyes. Once the book ended, I wanted to read more about his life prior to Jude.

Yes, I broke the rules and read this book before the series, but honestly, it gave me an appreciation for a world I never planned to revisit. It gave me compassion for a young man I once hated.

Readers: a fun read for those who love short stories, companion novels, nostalgia, and fans of Jude and Cardan

Writers: an excellent case study for those writing short stories and researching love to hate villains

Warnings/Triggers: excessive drinking and drug use

Star Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 12/4/20

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Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Authors: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Publisher: Ember

Synopsis: Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed. The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault. Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion. When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands. But relax. They've totally got this. They hope. Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.

Review: Wow. Wow. Wow. Did I just listen to an audiobook or watch a movie with my eyes closed? The auditory experience blew me away. A full cast and sound effects, (let’s not forget about the lollipop song), made it impossible to remove my earbuds. I couldn’t stop listening to the damn book.

Gemina, the second installment in the Illuminae Files blew me away. I loved Kady and Ezra in book one, but Nik and Hanna stole the show in book two. The overall tone of the story matured, and I loved every second. The authors’ ability to suck the reader into the drama on Heimdall shifted into overdrive. I was there. Running, hiding, laughing, and crying with Hanna, Nik, and his cousin. The chilling parts raised the hairs on the back of my neck, the sweet moments warmed my heart. The pacing never slowed, the twists made my jaw hit the floor, and Aiden…oh, how I love that wicked little AI.

I won’t fill this review with spoilers, so do yourself a favor and pick up the Illuminae Files. The formatting in the physical books are a feast for the eyes, the audiobooks are an experience like no other. Kaufman and Kristoff are magicians. They deserve high praise for co-authoring this phenomenal book.

Readers: excellent read for those who love sci-fi, adventure, mystery, and romance.

Writers: an excellent case study for those learning about world-building, high-tension scenes, and engaging dialogue

Triggers/Warnings: suggestive language, violence, and graphic imagery

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 11/29/2020

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Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Author: Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Publisher: Del Rey


After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. Noemí is also an unlikely rescuer: She’s a glamorous debutante, and her chic gowns and perfect red lipstick are more suited for cocktail parties than amateur sleuthing. But she’s also tough and smart, with an indomitable will, and she is not afraid: Not of her cousin’s new husband, who is both menacing and alluring; not of his father, the ancient patriarch who seems to be fascinated by Noemí; and not even of the house itself, which begins to invade Noemi’s dreams with visions of blood and doom. Her only ally in this inhospitable abode is the family’s youngest son. Shy and gentle, he seems to want to help Noemí, but might also be hiding dark knowledge of his family’s past. For there are many secrets behind the walls of High Place. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.


Mexican Gothic started out STRONG. The first chapter hooked me, the building tension kept me turning the pages, and the horror aspect gave me nightmares—literally, two nights in a row. Unfortunately, the sci-fi fantasy twist that occurred in the middle of the book sent the plot on a downward spiral. The creepy factor turned freaky, and not in a good way. Noemi’s struggle to decipher reality from the dream world left me confused. Characters that I once feared, switched to silly and predictable. The author’s visual descriptions, though beautifully written, became grotesque and over the top. I don’t mind gore or disturbing scenes in books if they have a purpose. The majority of them felt inserted for shock value, and the author dragged out so many in the second half of the book I found myself skimming.

When I finished the book, I thought, “Well, on to my next read.” The first half of Mexican Gothic left an impression, the ending, not so much.

Though the plot wasn’t my cup of tea, the author deserves high praise for her eloquent writing style and ability to create atrocious characters who make your skin crawl.

Readers: a chilling read for those who love horror mixed with sci-fi/fantasy, wicked villains, and disturbing scenes

Writers: an excellent read for those researching horror, paranormal, third-person POV, and imagery/atmospheric narrative

Triggers/Warnings: adult language, adult content, suicide, gore, graphic & disturbing imagery, violence

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 11/22/2020

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