ARC Review: To Kill A Kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom


I read this book months ago and have been struggling with the review because it is so damn good. Me writing glowing and positive reviews is tough because I feel I won’t properly express how much I enjoyed what I read. But if it is a negative review, buckle up because you’d be in for a heck of a ride. In this case, it will be nothing but a glowing review because this book was STUNNING.

This is not the little mermaid story you think it is. This is one made for nightmare fuel. Yes, there are mermaids, sirens, princes, quests, and other magical elements, but by no means is this anything Disney will be releasing to theaters anytime in the near future.

The protagonist of this story happens to be Lira, the daughter of the queen of the ocean. Lira was raised in a horrific environment where she is punished if she does not do every cruel thing her mother ordered her to, which happened to be stealing the hearts from people that she lured into the ocean. Lira continued to do everything her mother asked in hopes of becoming the Prince’s Bane, a very prestigious position. These mermaids/sirens are savage, vicious killing machines that have been taught to never trust humans so killing people was never given a second though. Lira found that she had a taste for only the hearts of princes… and she was only allowed to do this on her birthday.  But Lira’s world is forever changed when she disobeys her unforgiving mother, and people never disobey the Queen. Lira was caught stealing a prince’s heart two weeks before she was supposed to and the Queen unleashed a horrid punishment: her fin is torn off and Lira is forced to live as a human.

Enter Elian. Elian is amazing and I want to claim him now for my book boyfriend. You are reading it here! He’s on my list 4EVA. Sorry, what was I saying? *heart eye emoji* Elian is the prince but his heart always belongs to the seas. He is a pirate and a siren hunter. He knows his responsibility is to his kingdom and making his father proud, but he will always be a pirate and always be a siren killer. He and his (amazing) crew set out time and time again to kill every siren they come into contact with, and man are they good at it. I loved, loved, loved this crew. Their banter, their wit, their interactions where what I lived for in this story. I wanted to be a part of this crew just so I could hang out with these awesome people.

I promise these two story lines come together in the best way possible. Remember how I said Lira is forced to live as a human and Elian is a siren hunter? BAM! Instant story that will knock your socks off. But this is not an instalove story – THANK GOODNESS. This is a “Lira wants to kill Elian and tear his heart out while Elian wants to figure out who this girl is” story. There is no swooning, there is no birds singing in the distance while someone starts singing. This is “I’m going to kill you given the chance so sleep with one eye open” kind of story – and it’s brilliant. That’s not to say there isn’t any romance because there is a wee bit and thankfully it is minimal. I won’t go into any more detail than that.

Have I sold you yet? Still not sure? How about I mention how the writing is stunning and full of magic. The pacing is perfect and the ending is enough to make you smile with the brightness of the sun. If that doesn’t get you to want this book, you’re a tough cookie to crack. You need this book and I will continue to push it on everyone. I want to shout from the rooftops how much I loved this book and want more from this author. I need more from this author. I am now a lifetime reader of whatever this author publishes. You need to add this to your TBR, borrow from a friend (if your friends are that cool), or borrow from the library. You need to read this and come back to give me your thoughts. Maybe we’ll gush together but remember – Elian has been claimed by me.




Books Left Unread #116


Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

The Last Time We Say Goodbye


I met Cynthia Hand at a book festival a couple of years ago and bought it on the stop so I could get an autographed copy. I see it on my shelf every time I go into my library but I have yet to read this. I have no idea why. Have you read it? What did you think?


Review: Truly Devious

Truly Devious (Truly Devious, #1)


This was the mystery/thriller book I didn’t know I needed. I had a rocky start with Johnson books so I was hesitant going into this but she blew me away and I am thankful for that.

Short recap: Stevie Bell has been accepted to a very prestigious school and is secretly hell-bent on solving the murder/crime that took place there in the ’30s. She has been obsessed with the story for as long as she can remember. As she continues at school and moves forward with her investigation, she quickly finds that the person involved in the original crime may be after her as well….

Spooky, right?! This story was brilliantly written and had me hooked. I must point out that this is a duel time-line story. Part of the story is written in present day while the rest is told from the past. It is not as confusing as you would think. It gives just the right amount of detail from the original crime to keep you guessing, and still feels relevant to what happening present day. The scenes from the ’30s do not ever overtake or over shadow the the rest of the story and that was refreshing. I wish more stories could be written like this because it is a vacant genre right now.

The characters felt really well developed. The main character, Stevie (a female, btw), was very well flushed out and vetted. I liked how head strong, confident, and just a tad bit odd she was. It all made her feel more real and believable. There is a slew of characters that are with Stevie throughout her journey and most of them are just as good. Her good friend, Janelle, seemed like such a solid girl to have on your side. Nate was odd at times but he certainly managed to make me not despise him. But then there is David…. I’m still not sure about him. I never know what he is up to or what his true motives are so for now I’ll say he is on the fence… neither like nor dislike. We’ll see what he does in book 2.

The pacing of the book was spot on for me. I never once thought it was dragging or slow. I thought it was the perfect amount of suspense and story telling, both of which Johnson seems to excel at. And that ending… WHOA. I still have absolutely no idea who is behind everything! It’s killing me! Normally I’m quick to figure out who the bad guy is (the butler in the kitchen with the lead pipe) but I could not do it with this story. This is the start of a trilogy so don’t go into it expecting everything to be explained and solved by the end, that is not going to happen. But do prepare yourself for intrigue and a lot of ‘whodunit?’ questions. I don’t know about you but I need book 2 last week. I have to know what happens.

ARC Review: Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone (Legacy of Orïsha, #1)


This is one of those books that comes along once in a blue moon. A story so well developed, written, and executed that it makes you want to buy every copy just so you can give them out to everyone you know. This is one of those books that, when you finish, makes you sit back and digest what you just read. Then you play the entire thing over in your head just so you can commit it to long term memory so you can always remember the exact order of events. This is one of those books that makes you wonder where the author has been hiding all of these years and why she hasn’t written anything before.

Forgive the pun but everything about this story was just magical. The tale Adeyemi was able to weave was masterfully done. I could have sworn I was reading a book by a heavily seasoned writer, not her debut. It was a wonderfully complex story about family, history, staying true to oneself, following your destiny, being strong, and so much more. This is going to be another review I struggle to write because this story was just so damn good. The arc was 600 pages and slightly intimidating but once I started I found I couldn’t stop. I had to know what was going to happen.

No doubt you already know the premise of this story – a magical West-African inspired adventure sent in a land called Orisha. A small group of people are born known as Diviners. Everyone knows who they are as they are born with stark-white hair. Back in the day Diviners used to belong to one of twelve tribes of magic, but that all changed the day magic disappeared. The tide starts to turn for the Diviners and they will no longer be treated like lower class people because there is a way for them to get their magic back thanks to the Zelie. She is tasked by the Gods to bring magic back to everyone. Can she do it?

While this was a purely fiction YA fantasy story, it did feel like Adeyemi pulled themes from modern day into her story: racism, prejudice,  injustice, and more. The Diviners were able to live in freedom but were certainly hunted and treated worse than those not born with the mark of the Gods (white hair). Every Diviner that was living had lived through the genocide ordered by the current King, Zel will never forget that as she lost her mother at that time. To read how oppressed the Diviners were and how unfairly they were treated turned my stomach. It also gave me pause to reflect on our current times and how we might think that type of treatment has gone away, it has not.

There are four POVs in this story: Zel, her brother Tzain, Princess Amara, and Amara’s brother, the Crowned Prince Inan. These were wonderfully complex characters that were painfully flawed. They all had their own monstrous demons to battle while trying to figure out how they fit into the world. They developed so well as the story continued and were different people by the time the book ended. I feel honored to have been a part of their journey. I am excited to continue their adventures in book 2 (which I need yesterday).

I really cannot say it enough – there was not a dull moment in this story. It was non-stop adventure. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time simply wanting…. nah, needing to know what happened. I had to know if Zel was able to bring magic back to the Diviners and she recognize her true place in the people. I am always hesitant to read books with this much hype because I often find myself not seeing what everyone else saw. That isn’t true for this one, again, the hype is real and very much deserved. There are so, so many powerful and necessary topics covered in the best way possible. Adeyemi deserves all of the celebration that comes with this story because she earned it. I do not know how I am going to make it until next year to find out what happens but I’ll have to find a way.

If you have read this, let me know your thoughts. Did you enjoy it? Do you recommend it to everyone? I know I certainly do.




Review: Obsidio (Illuminae Files #3)

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)




“It was amazing, epic (I never use that word), brilliant, marvelous, and it destroyed my feels beyond the point where they can be saved!” Nah. Too generic for me.

Who doesn’t already feel that way about this series or about the last book in the series that changed the game in YA sci-fi??  I know I was over the moon to find a store that was selling finished copies almost two weeks before release date, yet at the same time I was hella nervous to finish this series. It is such a perfectly flawed series that I felt like I may never be the same again.

You already know the back story. It started with Kady and Ezra fighting for their lives against a corrupt AI (AIDAN). Then it was Hanna and Nik trying to survive against damning odds. Now you are going to read about Asha and Rhys. Ex-lovers who thought they lost each other forever (though never stopped caring) and now have to learn to trust each other again in order to make it off of the planet Kerenza before all hell breaks loose. Can Asha trust her ex, who happens to work for BeiTech? Can Rhys prove to Asha he is the same person who is just trying to do what is right?

I’m going to tell you right now, whatever you think you know about this story, whatever you think might happen, you are not prepared. Kaufman and Kristoff will not hold anything back and they will not shy away. These two badass mfers will make you scream, cause you to cry, give you goose flesh, you will slam the book shut and walk away because you just “literally cannot even”, and they will do with while sipping on the tears of their readers grinning like the cat that ate the canary. They know exactly how to drive that knife in a little deeper to make you feel more. These two are a force to be reckoned with and there is a reason for that. This series is printed proof how masterful they are at their craft.

I’m not sure how much I can say about this book without giving anything away. I read the printed version so that is what I will try to review. I feel to get the true grasp of the story, the printed is the way to read it the first time through simply for the artwork and boatload of extras thrown in. The second time through (because of course you read this series multiple times) you listen to the audio because the full cast will blow your mind. The characters were perfectly flawed and beautifully complex. I loved Asha and Rhys, but my heart always stays with Kady, Ezra, and of course, AIDAN. They way every character tied into this story showed just how much Kaufman and Kristoff worked to create the total package. Every single thing had its place and every single person played a role. Yes, even AIDAN. I have to admit, AIDAN is the one character (is he considered a “character”?) that took my breath away. I read his voice with so much more depth than I have before and he now has a special place in my heart.

There is no world building here.. there is universe building and it was done right. I often felt as if I was on Kerenza with Asha and Rhys. I could have sworn I could smell the building debris in the air and wipe the dust off of my jacket. The pacing was top notch stuff, never a dull moment. Even when there was no fighting going on, there was something going on. Someone was revealing their cards, or a subtle event took place that would change the course of everyone’s outcome. Brilliant. Personally I thought it was over too soon, but that is because of how much I loved this book/series/universe.

I have zero doubts you already have this book or it is on your wish list/TBR or that you borrowed it from someone. I wish I could buy everyone a copy to have because 1) it is a stunning cover and 2) everyone needs this story in their life. They need these characters, this world, this struggle of good vs evil. This felt like a story to remind everyone that the good guys will always fight no matter what. If you have read this story, let me know your thoughts. I’d love someone to gush with.



Waiting on Wednesday: Defy The Worlds

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:


Defy The Worlds by Claudia Gray

Defy the Worlds (Constellation, #2)



From Goodreads:

An outcast from her home — Shunned after a trip through the galaxy with Abel, the most advanced cybernetic man ever created, Noemi Vidal dreams of traveling through the stars one more time. And when a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi gets her chance. As the only soldier to have ever left the planet, it will be up to her to save its people…if only she wasn’t flying straight into a trap.

A fugitive from his fate — On the run to avoid his depraved creator’s clutches, Abel believes he’s said good-bye to Noemi for the last time. After all, the entire universe stands between them…or so he thinks. When word reaches him of Noemi’s capture by the very person he’s trying to escape, Abel knows he must go to her, no matter the cost.

But capturing Noemi was only part of Burton Mansfield’s master plan. In a race against time, Abel and Noemi will come together once more to discover a secret that could save the known worlds, or destroy them all.

In this thrilling and romantic sequel to Defy the Stars, bestselling author Claudia Gray asks us all to consider where–and with whom–we truly belong.


I am in-love with this story and world so I cannot wait to see what happens next!


Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me (in a good way)

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing…

Books That Surprised Me (in a good way)



I Am Princess X

I Am Princess X



Girl Mans Up

Girl Mans Up




Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)



Blood and Sand

Blood and Sand




Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, #1)







This Mortal Coil

This Mortal Coil (This Mortal Coil #1)



All Rights Reserved

All Rights Reserved (Word$, #1)



They Both Die At The End

They Both Die at the End



My Best Friend’s Exorcism

My Best Friend's Exorcism



Again, another tough topic. What books have you read that surprised you? Good or bad?