Book Recommendations: Books with the “I Hate Everyone But You Trope”

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We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

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People lived because she killed. People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya–but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds–and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

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Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe—witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin… desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked Princes of Hell that she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

Crave by Tracy Wolff

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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.

House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas

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Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
View on Goodertiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

The Kiss Thief by L.J. Shen

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They say your first kiss should be earned.

Mine was stolen by a devil in a masquerade mask under the black Chicago sky.

They say the vows you take on your wedding day are sacred.

Mine were broken before we left church.

They say your heart only beats for one man.

Mine split and bled for two rivals who fought for it until the bitter end.

I was promised to Angelo Bandini, the heir to one of the most powerful families in the Chicago Outfit.

Then taken by Senator Wolfe Keaton, who held my father’s sins over his head to force me into marriage.

They say that all great love stories have a happy ending.

I, Francesca Rossi, found myself erasing and rewriting mine until the very last chapter.

One kiss.
Two men.
Three lives.
Entwined together.

And somewhere between these two men, I had to find my forever.

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

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Callypso Lillis is a siren with a very big problem, one that stretches up her arm and far into her past. For the last seven years she’s been collecting a bracelet of black beads up her wrist, magical IOUs for favors she’s received. Only death or repayment will fulfill the obligations. Only then will the beads disappear.

Everyone knows that if you need a favor, you go to the Bargainer to make it happen. He’s a man who can get you anything you want… at a price. And everyone knows that sooner or later he always collects.

But for one of his clients, he’s never asked for repayment. Not until now. When Callie finds the fae king of the night in her room, a grin on his lips and a twinkle in his eye, she knows things are about to change. At first it’s just a chaste kiss—a single bead’s worth—and a promise for more.

For the Bargainer, it’s more than just a matter of rekindling an old romance. Something is happening in the Otherworld. Fae warriors are going missing one by one. Only the women are returned, each in a glass casket, a child clutched to their breast. And then there are the whispers among the slaves, whispers of an evil that’s been awoken.

If the Bargainer has any hope to save his people, he’ll need the help of the siren he spurned long ago. Only, his foe has a taste for exotic creatures, and Callie just happens to be one.

Blog Tour: Remission by Ofelia Martinez Exclusive Excerpt

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Remission

Author: Ofelia Martinez

Series: Heartland Metro Hospital, #1

Publication date: June 30th 2021

Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

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He’s my mentor and off-limits. So why can’t I stay away from him?

As Dr. Carolina Ramirez’s career is taking off, she gets incredible news. Dr. Hector Medina, the doctor she idolized as a teenager and whose research she used to design her cutting-edge clinical trial, is joining her team. As her boss.

But they say you should never meet your heroes, and Carolina is about to get far more than she bargained for. She knows a liaison with her boss is a bad idea. But in addition to the intellectual spark they share, there’s an undeniable physical connection between them she can’t seem to ignore.

Then it all goes wrong and instead of explaining himself, he skips town, nearly destroying her—and her career—in his wake.

Seven years later, he’s back and opening up old wounds she’d thought long healed. She’s recovered her career, her reputation, and her confidence despite his devastating betrayal. She should hate him. Instead, she finds herself drawn to him once again.
Why can’t she get him out of her head? And why does her body still react to him after so many years apart?

This steamy, slow-burn, medical romance has a wonderful happily ever after and is perfect for fans of Mariana Zapata, Alexis Daria, and TL Swan.

Dr. Medina took his time in the room, reading her chart. He set it down on the counter in front of her bed, and Valentina took the opportunity to turn to me. She mouthed, oh my gawd, dropped her jaw, and fisted her hands to motion humping the air. My eyes widened with alarm, and I begged her to stop, waving her down as discreetly as I could. Dr. Medina didn’t notice a thing.

“Valentina, I look forward to being on your care team.”

“Thanks, Doctor,” she said while batting her eyelashes. She was so obviously flirting with him, and I couldn’t help but smile. I approved of anything that would bring her spirits up, and if that was Dr. Medina, then I would gladly throw him into the fire.

Dr. Medina caught me grinning like an idiot as we walked into the hallway. He rolled his eyes. “Stop,” he said sternly.

“Stop what?”

“You know what.”

“You must get that a lot, Doctor,” I said, batting my eyelashes just as Valentina had. His eyes narrowed. I only stopped when I noticed the set of his jaw, and I wondered if he was too stiff and serious for a bit of joking banter. I checked myself and schooled my face back to its professional side.

“I apologize, Doctor. I forgot myself. If it makes you feel any better, that’s the first time I’ve seen Valentina smile in weeks. Her spirits have been really low. With all due respect, if interacting with you will help her emotionally, I’m willing to sacrifice your dignity a bit to her whims. On the whole, she’s harmless.”

“I feel used, Dr. Ramirez,” he said before turning to walk away from me. He shook his head all the way down the hallway, but I could swear, even by just looking at the back of his head, that he was snickering.

Ofelia Martinez writes romance with Latinas on top. Originally from the Texas border, Ofelia now resides in Missouri with her partner and their dog, Pixel.

She loves good books, tequila, and chocolate. She proudly shares a birthday with Usagi Tsukino. When not writing, you can find Ofelia making visual art.

Visit her online at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @OMartinezAuthor

Book Blitz: A Shifter’s Sin by Debbie Cassidy + Exclusive Giveaway

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A Shifter’s Sin

Author: Debbie Cassidy

Series: Wolves of Hawthorne Cove #1

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction Fantasy

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A Lycan that can’t shift is no use to anyone.

I’ve made it my mission to be useful to my pack. As pack enforcer, I’m fast and strong, but when the time comes to bond with my mate, it isn’t enough.

Rejection means lone wolf status and isolation from the pack. But when a package arrives with an unexpected inheritance, the pack that wants to shun me, suddenly has a new use for me.

Turns out, I’m the proud owner of a house in mysterious territory, rumoured to be home to a pack of beautifully twisted shifters. Hawthorne Cove is Impregnable to Lycans, but not to a half human like me.

Now I have a second chance to be accepted by my pack.

All I have to do is infiltrate the Hawthorne pack, find the source of their power and steal it.

Easier said than done.

Debbie Cassidy lives in England, Bedfordshire, with her three kids and very supportive husband. Coffee and chocolate biscuits are her writing fuels of choice, and she is still working on getting that perfect tower of solitude built in her back garden. Obsessed with building new worlds and reading about them, she spends her spare time daydreaming and conversing with the characters in her head – in a totally non psychotic way of course. She writes Urban Fantasy, Fantasy and Reverse Harem Fantasy. All her books contain plenty of action, romance and twisty plots.

Top 12 Best Special Abilities/Super Powers in Young Adult Books

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Super abilities are one of the most effective ways to spice up characters, stories, and world-building. This is a list of my top 12 most favorite superpowers from young adult books. That could be because of either the strength, potential, uniqueness or general appeal-ness of the power.

#12:

Katsa – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Ability: Survival

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Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

At the beginning of the book, Katsa’s grace was recognized as “death”. This is due to her apparent ability to be able to kill anyone with anything in any situation. Because of this “grace”, she was used and manipulated by his uncle, the king, to be his own personal weapon to terrify his subjects and finish off his dirty desires.

The reason Katsa is on this list is because of the unique nature of her abilities. The ability to basically beat anyone in physical combat and kill anyone in any situation is never unusual in fictional works, but I remember being really impressed by the twist of how the nature of her power not being dead, but actually survival. It was one of the most creative and well-done twists to such a simple and commonly used idea that I have ever seen, which is why she is on this list.

#11:

Meghan – The Iron King by Julie Kaawa

Ability: Manipulation of iron

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Meghan Chase has a secret destiny; one she could never have imagined.

Something has always felt slightly off in Meghan’s life, ever since her father disappeared before her eyes when she was six. She has never quite fit in at school or at home.

When a dark stranger begins watching her from afar, and her prankster best friend becomes strangely protective of her, Meghan senses that everything she’s known is about to change.

But she could never have guessed the truth – that she is the daughter of a mythical faery king and is a pawn in a deadly war. Now Meghan will learn just how far she’ll go to save someone she cares about, to stop a mysterious evil, no faery creature dare face; and to find love with a young prince who might rather see her dead than let her touch his icy heart.

Meghan’s ability is very simple, but that’s exactly why it’s so powerful. The power itself has the disadvantage of having a very obvious weakness, but despite that, in a world where iron is literally everywhere, this ability has extremely dangerous potential.

“Simple is the most beautiful”, isn’t it? The simplest things are often the most powerful because that also meant how it has a broader range with fewer limitations – perfect for a superpower.

If enjoyed The Iron King, I highly recommend you to read Winter by Audrey Grey! Both books had enemies to lovers romance with fae princes (with both female protagonists ended up being more than just simple mortals).

#10:

Reyna Ramírez-Arellano – The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

Ability: Manipulation of large crowds

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PERCY IS CONFUSED. When he awoke from his long sleep, he didn’t know much more than his name. His brain fuzz is lingering, even after the wolf Lupa told him he is a demigod and trained him to fight with the pen/sword in his pocket. Somehow Percy manages to make it to a camp for half-bloods, despite the fact that he has to keep killing monsters along the way. But the camp doesn’t ring any bells with him. The only thing he can recall from his past is another name: Annabeth.

HAZEL IS SUPPOSED TO BE DEAD. When she lived before, she didn’t do a very good job of it. Sure, she was an obedient daughter, even when her mother was possessed by greed. But that was the problem—when the Voice took over her mother and commanded Hazel to use her “gift” for an evil purpose, Hazel couldn’t say no. Now because of her mistake, the future of the world is at risk. Hazel wishes she could ride away from it all on the stallion that appears in her dreams.

FRANK IS A KLUTZ. His grandmother says he is descended from heroes and can be anything he wants to be, but he doesn’t see it. He doesn’t even know who his father is. He keeps hoping Apollo will claim him, because the only thing he is good at is archery—although not good enough to win camp war games. His bulky physique makes him feel like an ox, especially in front of Hazel, his closest friend at camp. He trusts her completely—enough to share the secret he holds close to his heart.

Beginning at the “other” camp for half-bloods and extending as far as the land beyond the gods, this breathtaking second installment of the Heroes of Olympus series introduces new demigods, revives fearsome monsters, and features other remarkable creatures, all destined to play a part in the Prophesy of Seven.

Especially when compared to the vast variety of superpower abilities we’ve seen throughout fictional works, Reyna’s is not…very physically useful. However, her abilities as the daughter of Bellona is extremely unique and useful especially in her position as a leader. Her ability to manipulate large groups of people allows her to be an excellent commander and chief and definitely contributed to her high-level of bad-ass-ness. In states of panic and disarray, her ability to calm, unite, and even motivate crowds is extremely useful.

#9:

Carter and Sadie – Kane Chronicles

by Rick Riordan

Ability: Egyptian magic

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Since his mother’s death six years ago, Carter Kane has been living out of a suitcase, traveling the globe with his father, the brilliant Egyptologist, Dr. Julius Kane. But while Carter’s been homeschooled, his younger sister, Sadie, has been living with their grandparents in London. Sadie has just what Carter wants—school friends and a chance at a “normal” life. But Carter has just what Sadie longs for—time with their father. After six years of living apart, the siblings have almost nothing in common. Until now.

On Christmas Eve, Sadie and Carter are reunited when their father brings them to the British Museum, with a promise that he’s going to “make things right.” But all does not go according to plan: Carter and Sadie watch as Julius summons a mysterious figure, who quickly banishes their father and causes a fiery explosion.

Soon Carter and Sadie discover that the gods of Ancient Egypt are waking, and the worst of them—Set—has a frightening scheme. To save their father, they must embark on a dangerous journey—a quest that brings them ever closer to the truth about their family and its links to the House of Life, a secret order that has existed since the time of the pharaohs.

Carter and Sadie – being the main characters of the world of Kane Chronicles – are “special” thanks to the special combination of their “royal bloodlines” from both their parents (I can’t elaborate because it’s falling under spoilers territory).

What makes Carter and Sadie’s unique is the fact that they are the physical hosts of gods. This means that they get access to the gods’ powers (while cooperating with them), allowing them to do some pretty amazing things. Combine that with the cool magic “spells” from Egyptian hieroglyphics? Total badassery.

#8:

Nico di Angelo – Percy Jackson and

the Olympians by Rick Riordan

Ability: Summon and manipulation of the dead

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Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

Nico di Angelo is one of the few children alive right now that is a child of the “big three” – Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades – meant that is also one of the most powerful demigods alive. Nico can summon the dead anywhere at any time and he can command the dead to do whatever he wants. However, he’s not completely overpowered, and this power does take a great toll on him after extensive use. He’s seen to just go to sleep after using his powers, leaving him completely vulnerable. But it can’t be denied how much potential he has, which is why he’s on this list.

#7:

Percy Jackson – Percy Jackson and the

Olympians by Rick Riordan

Ability: water control

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In my personal opinion, one of the most powerful types of supernatural ability is the ability to manipulate the earth’s elements. This is due to how easily accessible it is and how the generalized nature of these kinds of abilities gave it a wider range of use and fewer limitations. Anyone who knows anything about the PJ series knows that Percy is arguably the most powerful demigod in the entire series. To give you an idea – just use your imagination. From hurricanes to manipulating the water in our bodies’ system, this guy can do it all.

#6:

Juliette – Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Ability: Lethal touch, super strength, invulnerability

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One touch is all it takes. One touch, and Juliette Ferrars can leave a fully grown man gasping for air. One touch, and she can kill.

No one knows why Juliette has such incredible power. It feels like a curse, a burden that one person alone could never bear. But The Reestablishment sees it as a gift, sees her as an opportunity. An opportunity for a deadly weapon.

Juliette has never fought for herself before. But when she’s reunited with the one person who ever cared about her, she finds a strength she never knew she had.

Juliette is literally overpowered – full anime style. Like, her superpower started off as lethal touch and then somehow managed to spiral into superstrength…like, are you kidding me. She is so broken – she’s completely invulnerable and overpowered with practically no weakness, that’s not good writing.

But at the end of the day, overpowered still means damn right powerful, so here Juliette is, on this list, despite how broken she is.

I also would also recommended this book to people who like

#5:

Bella Swan – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Ability: Mental shield

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Okay, I fricking love this power. This power is so useful and actually pretty unique. Its concept is simple – immunity to other powers, the ultimate defense power. But the fact that it’s actually like an imaginated “shield” and how that can be manipulated based on the user’s imaginations made it EXTREMELY powerful because of how now that can be used to shield other people

#4:

Renesmee Cullen – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Ability: Tactile through projection and shield penetration

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What is really interesting about Renesmee’s powers is that her powers are both kind of “opposites” of her parents’ powers. She can penetrate people’s mental shields (opposite of her mother’s) and she needs to do it by touching someone (opposite of her father’s because Edward doesn’t need to touch anyone to read minds).

#3.

Rhysand – A Court of Thorns and Roses

by Sarah J. Maas

Ability: Darkness manipulation, winnowing, Daemati powers, glamouring, flight via wings, misting, and (so many) more.

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The difference between Rhysand’s “overpowered-ness” and Juliette’s “overpowered-ness” is that Juliette’s is really illogical and feels like it came out of nowhere. But Rhysand’s actually make sense (which I would not elaborate due to spoilers). All I would say is no one (and I mean no one) can compete with Rhysand when it comes to power and strength in the ACoTaR universe. That’s how powerful he is.

#2.

Chelsea – Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Ability: Relationship manipulation

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It was such a shame that this ability wasn’t included in the movie. It was a really important ability to the story too – it was thanks to Chelsea’s ability that the Volturi is able to stay so united. There’s a whole manipulation cycle going on (which if you want to know it’s summarized really well in the Twilight Saga Wiki website) that is pretty impressive and complicated. Chelse’s “relationship manipulation” gave her the ability to mess with people’s relationship and bonds.

However, her powers do have weaknesses. It cannot as easily influence the ties of people that are stronger, such as love or truly deep friendships.

By influencing emotional ties between individuals, she can enforce loyalty, break ties to get people to betray, which is extremely dangerous but also impressively unique. I personally found her powers fascinating.

#1.

Alina and the Darkling – The Grisha Trilogy

by Leigh Bardugo

Alina’s Ability: Sun Summoner

The Darkling’s Ability: Shadow Summoner

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Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Alina and the Darkling – two sides of the same coin. The true beauty of their powers is not just the powerful nature of it, it’s the symbolic meanings behind their power that made these abilities so beautiful. IThe way these powers – and their characters in the story respectively – reflect off each other so perfectly through these powers is so satisfying.

Aside from that, another reason why I love their powers is because of how the ability to control light and darkness in the world of Shadow and Bone is just really cool.

If you liked this post, you might enjoy other similar posts such as the me listing out the most stunning heroines in YA/NA books, as well as the list of characters I hate so much I would want to feed to the pigs.

Book Blitz: The Hidden Princess by Mira Crest with Exclusive Excerpts!

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The Hidden Princess

Author: Mira Crest

Series: Princess League #1

Genre: retelling, fantasy

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A human princess with the power to read minds. A dragon prince who seeks the chosen one to save his kingdom. A dark mist that corrupts the mind.

Penny is an ugly princess born to a family known for its beautiful offspring. To protect the royal bloodline’s reputation, the king proclaims her dead since birth and locks her away in the castle cellar. But unbeknown to most, including herself, Penny has a gift: she can see the darkness within one’s mind through touch.

Everett is a dragon prince whose land is plagued by a deadly sickness in the form of black mist, capable of turning any fairy being it touches into stone. He comes to Penny’s kingdom seeking the one princess foretold to end the darkness.

The choice is clear, it’s either Penny’s cynical eldest sister, Tatiana, or her kind elder sister, Sarah, because Penny does not exist, not officially. But a twist of fate and Penny’s gift bring her to Everett’s attention, and she takes on a secret identity to aid him to trace the origin of the black mist.

What follows is a journey into a dark magical world within the minds of the corrupt, ruled by demons that plague on the dark aspects of the human psyche.

With the clock fast ticking, the prince must discover who the chosen one is in order to defeat the black mist before the mist turns him to stone and spreads to the rest of the world. But there are those who will do anything to keep Penny’s identity hidden. With the odds stacked against Penny, will her true identity be revealed or forever remain hidden?

exclusive excerpts

Excerpt 1

The shopkeeper grabbed the doll from among the top shelves. “Here you go.” He handed it to her. Just then, her fingers met his, and she heard the shopkeeper’s voice. “Where did this hideous and filthy-looking girl come from? Good thing I noticed her fast, lest she would get my dolls tainted with her hands. Let’s hope she leaves soon.”

She gazed at the shopkeeper, whose mouth remained closed. Those words stung. Even though the shopkeeper never said them, Penny knew they held more truth than those he said. These were his thoughts, and she was reading them when she accidentally touched him.

Then she felt dizzy, and a gloom fell over the store as if something had suddenly blocked out the sunlight from the windows. But it wasn’t the windows. It was the shopkeeper. His form emitted an ominous light and right above his head, she saw black mist rising, forming the shape of a face with eerie glowing eyes. It stared straight at Penny. “Penny…Penny….” Penny heard an insidious voice calling her.

Stop! Stop! She willed her mind to look away.

“Penny…Penny!” A force pulled her back and she almost crumpled to the floor if Thomas had not held her firmly. “Are you alright?” he asked.

“There’s someone–!” Penny pointed toward the shopkeeper, who was frowning at her. The eerie face and black mist were gone.

“What is it?” Thomas asked.

It took her a while before she spoke again. “I don’t know. It was there a while ago.” As she looked down, she saw the doll lying on the floor. She picked it up and slowly stroked any dust off it as if it were a real girl.

“How much is it?” he asked the beleaguered keeper.

“Four silver pieces.” Thomas handed the silver to the shopkeeper. A look of relief appeared on his face as he took the money. The horror of the black mist weighed heavy on Penny’s mind as she made her way out. She recalled the mean thoughts of the shopkeeper. For a moment, she had believed the outside world was different and she finally found a place she belonged. Penny blinked hard as her eyes began to water.

Suddenly, the streets seemed less joyful than before, and the sounds of the people and activities seemed drowned out by the memory of the black mist.

That voice. It called her name.

She knew for certain it was no hallucination. It was the first time such a vision had occurred. She never saw it when she touched others before, although there weren’t really that many, to begin with. There were only a few who could tolerate standing within inches of her.

She must have drifted off in her thoughts because the next thing she knew, she had fallen behind Thomas and someone bumped into her from the side.

“Watch where you are going, you–!” A rough-looking man said. “Hey, little girl, are you lost?”

“No.”

“Don’t be afraid, I just want to help. Let me take you home.” He grabbed her by the arm.

“Stop it, let me go!” Penny tried to pry his fingers free.

“This must be my lucky day. I wonder how much this girl would fetch.” She heard the man’s voice, yet his mouth remained closed.

She stared at the man, who stood there, frozen in time. Not just him. The entire town had come to a standstill. A ball was floating in the air, as the boy who threw it waited an eternity for it to fall back down.

Then, the surroundings turned black, and the black mist appeared around the man’s frame. The eyes of the black misty face shone a pale white.

“Penny…Penny…” spoke the insidious voice.

“NO!” Penny screamed and forced her eyes shut. At once, the darkness lifted, and the sounds of reality replaced the heavy silence. “Get away from me!” she screamed with her real voice audible.

“Hey!” A familiar voice said, and the rough-looking man turned around, his face meeting head-on with a big fist. The man fell to the ground before Penny. “Touch her again, and you will never touch anything for the rest of your life!”

The man crawled to his feet and bolted. “Penny, didn’t I tell you not to—Penny? Penny!” Penny ran off before Thomas could finish his sentence.

Penny kept running. All she wanted then was to get as far away as possible from this place, from the prejudice, the black mist.

She didn’t know how long she ran before Thomas finally caught up with her. “Penny, it’s alright now.” He wrapped his hands around her head, and she tucked her head in his tummy. “What happened, Penny? Please tell me.”

Penny told Thomas about all that had happened. The black mist, the eerie face. Although Thomas understood little of it, he listened, for he knew there was always much truth in what she said. The world wasn’t as great as Penny thought out to be. It broke his heart she had to learn this fact on her first outing.

The outing had come to an end, and they returned to the castle. The one happy thing the outing brought her was the doll she bought. She gave her a name. Cinder. And she became Penny’s companion ever since.

She thought of the boy named Canyon, and how he was the only person without disdain for her, though, she wondered if it would be the same way if she touched him and read his mind.

But most of all, she wondered about the black mist. What was it? And that eerie face. Who, or rather, what was it? What disturbed her most was the fact that it called her name like it was reaching into her mind.

Excerpt 2

The noises of the tavern drained away, and a gloom fell over the place. It reminded her of what happened at Marvin’s store. She was back in the Eternal, though, this time, she was at the tavern. All the people around her had frozen. She walked across the still crowd and saw Everett protecting Sarah from several Brutes. The other dragon warriors were busy keeping any hostiles from getting near Tatiana, who was lying on the ground. She had one eye slightly open to peek at her surroundings. It was pretty obvious she was faking unconsciousness.

When all seemed still and quiet, she caught sight of something stirring in the darkness of the tavern’s interior. Black mist! It was dripping from the ceiling, rising from the floor. Mist from different spots rushed to the center of the tavern and merged. Something grotesque was forming from it. Penny quickly hid behind the tavern counter and observed the transformation. A wolf took shape, only this time it was nearly thrice as large as the previous one.

Was this new mist form a manifestation of the head Brute’s anger? If it was, it was a clear indication of how much it had grown. Could this huge wolf be the cause of the mist, and defeating it would destroy the mist altogether? There was only one way to find out.

Penny readied herself. She checked her feet and saw the shiny red shoes were back. She peered out from the side of the counter, but the wolf was no longer at where it had stood. Carefully, she emerged and took cover under a table. Bit by bit, she advanced closer and closer. She needed to be close enough to open the portal and bring it to reality.

“Penny, you can do this!” As she moved to the next table, the wolf turned wildly with its eyes fixed on Penny.

She put out her hand and a fireball shot out, hitting the back of the wolf. Its bellow shook the tavern. More fireballs hit the body of the wolf, but they only made the demon angrier. It leaped and crashed down on the tables before Penny.

It sank its terrifying misty black fangs into the table, concealing Penny and crushing it into debris. Penny ducked away in time. She was then lying on the floor as the wolf turned toward its attacker. Penny willed her mind and conjured as much power as she could, igniting blast after blast. The wolf roared as the fiery magic engulfed its front body.

She got back on her feet and backed away, but the wolf clawed at her, slashing her shoulder. Penny suddenly felt drained, wincing at the searing pain in her shoulder. That voice, she heard it before. It was the most familiar voice; it was hers. Immense rage came flooding through her all of a sudden. Thoughts of her staring into the mirror at her ugly reflection and trapped inside a cell rushed into her mind.

The wolf closed in as she crawled away and hid beneath another table. The wolf clawed under the table, barely missing her as she moved out of range. She tried to conjure magic, but every blow she delivered hit the wrong places and missed its target.

“What’s going on?” It was like her magic was malfunctioning. It must have something to do with her getting slashed by the wolf’s claw. She was going to die if she didn’t find a way out.

The wolf smashed the table to pieces. She had nowhere to go, nowhere to hide. The wolf’s snout was before her. Anytime now it’s going to devour her.

She struggled and gathered her thoughts, focusing instead on the happiest memory buried within her. She closed her eyes. The wolf’s mouth closed in, ready to consume its helpless prey.

exclusive giveaway

Since young, Mira loves fantasy romance with strong female protagonists and perilous adventures to magical realms and parallel universes to visit dragons, witches, shifters, and fairy tale creatures, bringing heroes and heroines together and aiding their epic fantasy battles against dark enemies so they can have the happily-ever-afters they deserve.

When she grew up, she takes a liking to young adult stories, which explains her passion writing in the young adult fantasy romance genre. Her books are clean romance with character development as the prime focus. Even now, she still journeys to fantasy realms whenever she’s not writing.

Book Review: A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair – One Word: S M U T

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A Touch of Darkness

Author: Scarlett St. Clair

Series: A Touch of Darkness #1

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Mythology, Retellings, NA

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A Modern Hades and Persephone Retelling.

Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

Um…I’m a bit conflicted about what I think about this book.

Because depending on what you are looking for, this can determine whether you rate this book a 4 – 5 stars or 1 – 3 stars.

The book started off really well for me. I am a reader who always gets bored in the first few chapters of the books, but this one interested me immediately from the very first chapter, which is uncommon for me when reading other series. I also adore the immaculate chemistry between Persephone and Hades alongside these two character’s characteristics. Although Hades has the more stereotypical misunderstood villain blueprint, I love Persephone’s youthful yet ambitious attitudes toward her career and her desire to keep her way of life, no matter how “unusual” it is for someone like her and her mother’s disapproval. I especially appreciate her character development throughout the book and how she grew to stand up for herself, growing out of “her prison” (you’ll know what I’m referencing when you read the book).

As a Greek Mythology geek myself, it’s enjoyable for me to recognize all the mythological references I already know and see how the authors interpret all these already present legends into her own story. This book did a phenomenal job at “retelling” in my opinion because of how well she incorporated the original mythological aspects with her twists. Both the author’s own story and the mythology fit together almost perfectly and it was very satisfying to read.

However, where my problem began was the deterioration of the quality of the story. First off, I came here for the enemies to lovers’ angst. I did get this in the first half of the book, but they got together…pretty quickly, especially by my standards. This initially shouldn’t be a problem because I remember how pissed I got when Hades’s assistant interrupted them (I tried to flip my table in a rage and ended up chipping my fingernail, ignore my stupidity). So obviously I wanted them to get together. But my problem is that marked as the point where the story just went completely downhill. There was…the storyline is still there, but it almost all turned into…smut. Like it used to be 60% story 40% smut, it flipped to become like 70-85% smut to 40% and below storyline. That was very disappointing because a) I want my slow-burn. But also b) it felt like Wattpad at that point, to be honest. It was really sad. I remember reading the first half of the book in the book store and I loved it so much I bought it to continue reading. But once I finished the second half…my interest completely depleted.

Would I continue the series? Most likely not. It lost my interest after it turned into Wattpad. Would I recommend it? Um…if you want smut oh yeah you would enjoy it alright. But if you want an enemy to love slow-burn with an enticing storyline…you may want to try another book.

Rating: 2.5/5

Scarlett St. Clair lives in Oklahoma with her husband. She has a Master’s degree in Library Science and Information Studies. She is obsessed with Greek Mythology, murder mysteries, love, and the afterlife. If you are obsessed with these things, then you’ll like her books.

Book Recommendation: Specified Enemies to Lovers Trope – Fantasy Edition

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Hi everyone!

Hope everyone has been doing well. Sorry that I had been away for a while, I was super caught up with college. But now I’m back and more than ready to read (I am very book deprived).

I have been digging around book recommendations lately for my beloved enemies to lovers trope, and I am very happy to say I have found an abundance of these new recommendations to give to you all. I hope you guys can appreciate it since I know that often book recommendations can become repetitive, making them unhelpful. So I tried to pull out the more underrated book recommendations/books that are not so overly used in book recommendations alongside the more common recommendations (just in case you haven’t read them yet).

I’m supposed to kill you

The Bridge Kingdom

Author: Danielle L. Jensen

Series: The Bridge Kingdom #1

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A warrior princess trained in isolation, Lara is driven by two certainties. The first is that King Aren of the Bridge Kingdom is her enemy. And the second is that she’ll be the one to bring him to his knees.

The only route through a storm-ravaged world, the Bridge Kingdom enriches itself and deprives its rivals, including Lara’s homeland. So when she’s sent as a bride under the guise of peace, Lara is prepared to do whatever it takes to fracture its impenetrable defenses. And the defenses of its king.

Yet as she infiltrates her new home and gains a deeper understanding of the war to possess the bridge, Lara begins to question whether she’s the hero or the villain. And as her feelings for Aren transform from frosty hostility to fierce passion, Lara must choose which kingdom she’ll save… and which kingdom she’ll destroy.

Passionate and violent, The Bridge Kingdom is a seductive fantasy perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Thorns and Roses.

The Shadow Between us

Author: Tricia Levenseller

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Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

To Kill a Kingdom

Author: Alexandra Christo

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Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever.

The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of sirenkind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?

Bring Me Their Hearts

Author: Sara Wolf

Series: Bring Me Their Hearts #1

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Zera is a Heartless – the immortal, unageing soldier of a witch. Bound to the witch Nightsinger ever since she saved her from the bandits who murdered her family, Zera longs for freedom from the woods they hide in. With her heart in a jar under Nightsinger’s control, she serves the witch unquestioningly.

Until Nightsinger asks Zera for a Prince’s heart in exchange for her own, with one addendum; if she’s discovered infiltrating the court, Nightsinger will destroy her heart rather than see her tortured by the witch-hating nobles.

Crown Prince Lucien d’Malvane hates the royal court as much as it loves him – every tutor too afraid to correct him and every girl jockeying for a place at his darkly handsome side. No one can challenge him – until the arrival of Lady Zera. She’s inelegant, smart-mouthed, carefree, and out for his blood. The Prince’s honor has him quickly aiming for her throat.

So begins a game of cat and mouse between a girl with nothing to lose and a boy who has it all.

Winner takes the loser’s heart.

Literally

I’m supposed to hate your kind

Sorcery of Thorns

Author: Margaret Rogerson

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All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

Serpant and Dove

Author: Shelby Mahurin

Series: Serpent & Dove #1

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Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

Forced Marriage

Deal with the Elf King

Author: Elise Kova

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The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.

That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.

Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.

The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.

Ended up with the second guy

A court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Series: A court of Thorns and Roses #1

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Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

You are supposed to be evil

Kingdom of the Wicked

Author: Kerri Maniscalo

Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #1

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Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe—witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin… desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost—even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked Princes of Hell that she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

White Hot Kiss

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: The Dark Elements #1

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Layla just wants to fit in at school and go on a date with Zayne, whom she’s crushed on since forever. Trouble is, Zayne treats Layla like a sister–and Layla is a half demon, half gargoyle with abilities no one else possesses. And even though Zayne is a Warden, part of the race of gargoyles tasked with keeping humanity safe, Layla’s kiss will kill anything with a soul–including him.

Then she meets Roth–a demon who claims to know her secrets. Though Layla knows she should stay away, it’s tough when that whole no-kissing thing isn’t an issue. Trusting Roth could ruin her chances with Zayne, but as Layla discovers she’s the reason for a violent demon uprising, kissing the enemy suddenly pales in comparison to the looming end of the world.

We are engaged but we had no idea

Shielded

Author: KayLynn Flanders

Series: Shielded #1

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For fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Furyborn comes a thrilling new fantasy about a kingdom ravaged by war, and the princess who might be the key to saving not only those closest to her, but the kingdom itself, if she reveals the very secret that could destroy her.

The kingdom of Hálendi is in trouble. It’s losing the war at its borders, and rumors of a new, deadlier threat on the horizon have surfaced. Princess Jennesara knows her skills on the battlefield would make her an asset and wants to help, but her father has other plans.

As the second-born heir to the throne, Jenna lacks the firstborn’s–her brother’s–magical abilities, so the king promises her hand in marriage to the prince of neighboring Turia in exchange for resources Hálendi needs. Jenna must leave behind everything she has ever known if she is to give her people a chance at peace.

Only, on the journey to reach her betrothed and new home, the royal caravan is ambushed, and Jenna realizes the rumors were wrong–the new threat is worse than anyone imagined. Now Jenna must decide if revealing a dangerous secret is worth the cost before it’s too late–for her and for her entire kingdom.

Kiss of Deception

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Series: The Remnant Chronicles #1

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In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.

On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.

Secret Identity

From Blood and Ash

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: From Blood and Ash #1

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A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

Friends to enemies to lovers

These Violent Delights

Author: Chloe Gong

Series: These Violent Delights #1

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The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Forced to work together

Dance of Thieves

Author: Mary E. Pearson

Series: Dance of the Thieves #1

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When the patriarch of the Ballenger empire dies, his son, Jase, becomes its new leader. Even nearby kingdoms bow to the strength of this outlaw family, who have always governed by their own rules. But a new era looms on the horizon, set in motion by a young queen, which makes her the target of the dynasty’s resentment and anger.

At the same time, Kazi, a legendary former street thief, is sent by the queen to investigate transgressions against the new settlements. When Kazi arrives in the forbidding land of the Ballengers, she learns that there is more to Jase than she thought. As unexpected events spiral out of their control, bringing them intimately together, they continue to play a cat and mouse game of false moves and motives in order to fulfill their own secret missions.

If you enjoyed this post, you might want to also check out my other post where I recommended books with the very popular “who did this to you” trope, something that mixes very well with the enemies and lovers trope too might I add.

Book Review: From Blood and Ash “Just Make it Through the Beginning Parts”

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From Blood and Ash

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Blood and Ash #1

Genre: Romance, NA, fantasy

Publisher: Blue Box Press

View on Goodreads

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…
The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…
Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

Normally I would just include spoilers in this book (since it’s been released for a while now), but for specific reasons (I will elaborate below) I am making this review spoiler-free so you dear reader who hasn’t read it can go read it.

Why am I making the effort to do this?

Well here’s the things. I actually dropped it myself around almost halfway to this book. It was just…I don’t know, it was a bit confusing? It didn’t capture my attention as well as I hoped in the beginning. Poppy’s first…interactions with Hawke also caused me to mistakenly think of this book as instant love for a while, until I decided to give this book a second chance (and I’m kind of glad I did). Because I ended up enjoying the book quite a lot and binged the rest of it a single sitting.

This is why I’m making this review spoiler-free. JLA did not fail. This book is pretty good. I know that when you first read it you may feel inclined to drop it like I did (if you didn’t already do so). But just trust the process. Finish the entire book. If you still don’t like it? Then it’s probably not for you. But if you gave up halfway you may be missing out on something here. Don’t do that to yourself.

If you like initial attraction to belligerent sexual tension to betrayal then to hate-love? Then I think you would enjoy this book. Obviously, if you ended up not liking this book it’s perfectly understandable because this book didn’t really follow the typical enemies to lover blueprint in my opinon. They had a lot of attraction in the beginning and Hawke never tried to hide his attraction for her either. But there is a pretty pleasant twist at the end and I just really had fun reading this book.

So give it a chance. If you don’t like it, that’s perfectly fine. I ended up enjoying it (very much to my own surprise), that’s why I’m recommending it to you.

Hope you enjoy it!

Rating: 4/5

# 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Charles Town, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. In early 2015, Jennifer was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a group of rare genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and death of cells in the retina, eventually resulting in loss of vision, among other complications. Due to this diagnosis, educating people on the varying degrees of blindness has become of passion of hers, right alongside writing, which she plans to do as long as she can.

Book Review: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

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Kingdom of the Wicked

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series: Kingdom of the Wicked #1

Genre: YA, fantasy, paranormal, romance

View on Goodreads

————————————————-

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

my review

I’m a student. I was suffering through exams.

But then, this book came into my life.

To start off, even though the concept of demon princes and the magical paranormal is not original, this book did not feel unoriginal at all.

The medieval feel of “the Wicked” and the world-building was so easy to be become immersed in. It was easy to understand yet felt complicated enough for it to make sense to be a world of its own. I love the more traditional feel of magic and witches that includes herbs, drawing protective circles, etc instead of the more modern witches we have seen in more typical paranormal YA novels.

Emilia is a protagonist that you can TELL how smart she is without the author needing to constantly state how smart she is throughout the entire book.

Authors often would constantly re-emphasize the intelligence of the protagonist over and over again. This is very…unintelligent because not only does this get annoying as time passes, it’s counter-intuitive because the reader would start to notice the lack of evidence to support that description. However, Emilia is one of the few protagonists I’ve come across in YA novels where the author never ONCE stated “she was smart”, but you can tell just by reading the book. By reading the book mostly through Emilia’s narration, we can see her flow of logic as she connects the dots. This was so satisfying to read and truly impressed me regarding her intelligence and capabilities as a character. Not only that, she actually listened to the advices. You know how a lot of times in books like this, there’s always an “old saying” from their culture regarding with warnings such as “you can never trust this group of people”, “you should never make certain bonds/promises with this group of people”, “this group of people can never be trusted”, and the protagonist almost always breaks these warnings?

Emilia doesn’t.

This caught me off completely. I was fully expecting her to break all of these warnings from the old tales. Yet she rejected the blood bound offer, she was EXTREMELY cautious with dealing with the demons such as Greed and Envy, she did’t give up information easily and didn’t trust anyone easily, and she was actually careful not to give internal authorization to things related to her until absolutely necessary (you’ll know what I’m taking about when you read the book).

The fact that she actually LISTENED to these warning was…it was…

The story itself is amazing too.

The mystery build-up and the revelations at the end of the book all made sense and clicked together perfectly (thank god). There were a few ones that I saw coming, but overall it made sense and made the book spicier than it already is. The book also achieved the one thing I am ALWAYS looking for in YA books: a perfect balance between romance and plot. The plot was significant enough to drive the story along alongside the progressing relationship between Emilia and Wrath. As someone who enjoys romance but also still want an actual story to hold up the series (not just pure romance), I cannot express how much I appreciate this. It is one of the biggest reasons why I enjoyed this book so much.

Overall, HIGHLY RECOMMEND. One of the best books I read in 2020. Kind of saved after the disaster known as 2020 exam season *cries in Econ*.

Rating: 5/5

about the author

I’m mostly on instagram–where I’m always ready to talk fictional crushes and nerd out over books. (Okay, okay. And I’ve also been known to share snippets and teasers from my upcoming novels, if you’re into that sort of thing…) Please feel free to chat with me there @KerriManiscalco. I love talking with fellow readers!

Kerri Maniscalco grew up in a semi-haunted house outside NYC where her fascination with gothic settings began. In her spare time she reads everything she can get her hands on, cooks all kinds of food with her family and friends, and drinks entirely too much tea while discussing life’s finer points with her cats.

She is the #1 NYT and USA Today bestselling author of the STALKING JACK THE RIPPER quartet. The final installment, CAPTURING THE DEVIL, will be released on 9/10/19. KINGDOM OF THE WICKED, the first in a new YA fantasy series, is slated for fall 2020.

Blog Tour: Empire of Storms by Olivia Cornwell

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Empire of Blood (Rebel Empire, #1)

Author: Olivia Cornwell
Release Date: November 10th 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

View on Goodreads

Lilly Faine is tired of classmates dissing her family, and doesn’t care when she receives suspension for nearly punching the lights out of a classmate. Her father isn’t crazy, even if he does spout stories about a world full of magic, a cruel king who hunted him, and has a shattered amulet that tingles when Lilly touches it.

When an old enemy appears under Chicago’s beloved Bean, Lilly and her brother Gabriel are shoved into the impossible world their father believed in. Alone on opposite ends of a war, they race to rescue each other. Lilly finds aid and friendship in a band of rebels, but she is also hunted by the emperor’s personal assassin. Gabriel gains the help of the emperor, but Gabriel’s choices to do good may lead him into dark shadows he can’t find his way out of.

Magic thrums within their reach, promising aid, and Lilly and Gabriel both must decide if the magic they seek – and the causes for which they now fight – is worth the risk of their souls.

about the author

Olivia Cornwell is a storyteller with a love of dragons and magical worlds. She writes stories of hope and redemption and familial relationships, and far too many sarcastic characters. She writes to entertain her readers (and may or may not collect their tears along the way) and share the truth of her Creator. At least when she isn’t struggling to control her characters, drinking a lot of coffee, or hoarding chocolate.

She hides out in Ohio, and in her spare time Olivia cuddles her niece and nephews, and yowls back at her cat (who is most likely her familiar). She also enjoys adopting the characters from her friends’ novels and keeping them safe from their own dangers.

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