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Updated: Jan 14, 2021

Author: Tracy Wolff

Publisher: Entangled Teen


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.


Let me start off by saying this, I did not enjoy Crave, the first book in this series. I had no desire to pick up book two, but the publisher sent me a copy, and guess what? I really enjoyed it. On a technical note, the editing, sentence structure, and overall style had minor flaws. The constant switching between the use of quotations and italics confused me when Hudson and Grace were speaking to one another. But other than that, it read pretty smoothly.

The pacing in this book held my attention. Unlike Crave, Crush had a plot that continuously moved forward. I was engaged in the storyline, intrigued by the tension between characters, and genuinely wanted to keep reading.

Things I enjoyed: the witty banter between Grace and Hudson, the action-packed plot, the mystery of The Circle, Hudson’s backstory, the strong bond between Grace and Macy, and the visual descriptions of the Laudres tournament.

Things I didn’t love: several of the pop culture references felt dated for a seventeen-year-old living in 2020, the predictable plot twists, and the sudden change in both Jaxon and Grace’s character. Jaxon felt very distant in this book. I didn’t connect with him. His actions felt weak, forced. In the first book, Grace portrayed the damsel in distress, but in book two, she has a strong feminist attitude. It comes out of nowhere and is jarring to the reader. Another head-scratching moment occurred when a popular character revealed his sexual orientation to Grace. It appeared the author wanted to appeal to the LGBT community but unfortunately it felt forced and unnatural. Grace’s textbook response to her friend’s emotional reveal came off as cheesy and unauthentic.

Overall, I enjoyed Crush and look forward to continuing the series.

Readers: an easy read for those who love young adult romance, and the paranormal

Writers: a good change of pace for those who write dense fantasy

Triggers/Warnings: adult language

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

Completed Read: 11/16/2020

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Author: Claire Legrand

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire


Two queens, separated by thousands of years, connected by secrets and lies, must continue their fight amid deadly plots and unthinkable betrayals that will test their strength—and their hearts.

Rielle Dardenne has been anointed Sun Queen, but her trials are far from over. The Gate keeping the angels at bay is falling. To repair it, Rielle must collect the seven hidden castings of the saints. Meanwhile, to help her prince and love Audric protect Celdaria, Rielle must spy on the angel Corien—but his promises of freedom and power may prove too tempting to resist.

Centuries later, Eliana Ferracora grapples with her new reality: She is the Sun Queen, humanity's long-awaited savior. But fear of corruption—fear of becoming another Rielle—keeps Eliana's power dangerous and unpredictable. Hunted by all, racing against time to save her dying friend Navi, Eliana must decide how to wear a crown she never wanted—by embracing her mother's power, or rejecting it forever.


"A sequel of epic proportions." J.M. Buckler, author of the Seeker of Time series.

My, oh my, how I adored this book. Book two in the Empirium Trilogy picked up right where book one left off. Thank goodness, because Furyborn left the reader on quite the cliffhanger. The stakes are high, and the plot twists are mind-blowing in Kingsbane. Elaina’s growth and Rielle’s downfall are both eye-opening and heart-breaking. I loved reading about the relationship struggles between Rielle and Audric, and Eliana and Simon. I could literally feel their pain. Author Legrand gave each character their own voice. Like the threads of the Empirium, she wove a glittering tale of love and betrayal. I rarely tear up when reading, but Legrand tugged at my heartstrings toward the end of this amazing novel.

The pacing kept my attention; the world-building was magical; the vivid descriptions allowed me to escape reality, and the character development deserves a standing ovation. 

Readers: An excellent read for those who love stories of adventure, romance, betrayal, and mind-blowing plot twists. 

Writers: An excellent read for those wanting to elevate their craft. Author Legrand excels at romantic tension, imagery, world-building, heated discussions, realistic dialogue, inner turmoil, and beautiful storytelling.

Triggers/Warnings: adult language, adult content

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 10/29/2020

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Updated: May 26, 2021

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Publisher: Blue Box Press


Is Love Stronger Than Vengeance? A Betrayal… Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her. A Choice…. Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation. A Secret… But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.


Let me start off by saying this, I really enjoyed From Blood and Ash, the first book in Armentrout’s new series, but this next installment missed the mark. The author crammed tons of page-turning action into the beginning and end of A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire. I could feel the external conflict, such as the Craven and the Ascended, which I enjoyed, but the drawn-out conversations and steamy sex scenes overshadowed these threats. The plot dragged for over 400 pages. Literally 400 pages. 

Poppy’s internal struggle and Casteel’s constant doting left me rolling my eyes. It was too much. I love a good sex scene, but this book had so many I started skimming the pages. At times, I wondered if Armentrout abandoned her attempt at adult fantasy and switched gears to romance. 

The endless conversations and repetitive sentences bored me to pieces, and the ending, though exciting and jaw-dropping, felt rushed. Speaking of the ending, Casteel’s actions felt out of character. An overprotective prince who never lets Poppy out of his sight because he fears for her safety around his own people, suddenly lets her explore his homeland with a young wolven who lacks combat experience. Huh? Come again?

Overall, I struggled with this book because of the stark difference in the writing from the first installment. I’m always here for a new adventure, but it lacked in action and pacing. I do love Armentrout’s writing style and her witty banter. The woman knows how to tell a story. Perhaps she’s still getting her feet wet with adult fantasy. I'm definitely willing to give the next book in this series a shot because I have so many unanswered questions about Poppy’s lineage.

Readers: A fun read for those who love romance, character-driven books, internal struggles, and steamy sex scenes.

Writers: For those who need more experience writing sex scenes, witty banter, and relationship strife.

Triggers/Warnings: adult language, explicit sex scenes, violent and graphic scenes

Grading Scale:

Plot: 3/5

Pacing: 2/5

Escapism Factor: 3/5

Emotional Connection: 3/5

Character Development: 4/5

Star Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 10/26/2020

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