Game Changer by Neal Schusterman – A Review

Hi! Happy Tuesday. It’s review time!

I usually post reviews ARC reviews on the publication date but it does make a bit more sense to post them before, to give people time to decide whether the book is for them or not, right? From now on I might try to aim to post a week in advance. So, here we are.

Game Changer by Neal Schusterman
  • Publication date: February 9th 2021
  • Publisher: Quill Tree Books
  • Genre: Sci-fi

All it takes is one hit on the football field, and suddenly Ash’s life doesn’t look quite the way he remembers it.

Impossible though it seems, he’s been hit into another dimension—and keeps on bouncing through worlds that are almost-but-not-really his own.

The changes start small, but they quickly spiral out of control as Ash slides into universes where he has everything he’s ever wanted, universes where society is stuck in the past…universes where he finds himself looking at life through entirely different eyes.

And if he isn’t careful, the world he’s learning to see more clearly could blink out of existence…

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

After reading and loving Schusterman’s Scythe trilogy, I was very excited to pick up this new release by him. Sci-fi is my jam and alternate realities a buzzword that alone makes me want to read a book, and with the pleasant previous experience with the author – I thought it was a recipe for a success.

I did like the general idea and premise for the book. Although I know nothing about football, nor do I have a clue how the game works, other than people slamming into each other, the sport part of the story didn’t put me off. I understood as much as I needed – Ash, the main character, gets slammed into an alternate reality during a game and things become quite messed up very fast. Sounds good.

The book was a breeze to get through. I liked the writing, the tone and the humour. Ashley was a fine protagonist, someone who’s point of view I enjoyed for most of the book. He wasn’t my favourite – that spot is dedicated to the Edwards, but I didn’t dislike him by any means. So why is the book a 3 star?

Now, I’m going to start by saying I think what Schusterman tried to do was valid and it’s needed in YA, but the way it was done just didn’t bring anything new to the table or have any particular merit in my eyes. The alternate realities bring up discussions about racism, sexism and homophobia, to describe it broadly. Yes, those issues are valid ones to talk about in YA literature and by all means should be discussed more and more, but maybe in a way that sounds less rehearsed and preachy. After all, Ash is a white, straight male in the first reality. His school is diverse racially and so is his friend circle, but he admits on many occasions how ignorant he’s been in the past and how his Black best friend called him out in those times. Ash admits that he has a lot to learn, yet we don’t see him learning much. I think the book misses the point completely and brings up issues and discussions without being willing to delve into all of them with the depth they deserve.

That being said, I didn’t dislike the book. I just think that it could’ve done more and done it better.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Have you read this one yet? Or is it on your radar?

Thank you for reading! Talk to you soon.

Wench by Maxine Kaplan – A Review

Hello, my dears! I hope you’re doing well. I’m here to talk about a book that came out today – Wench by Maxine Kaplan. Happy book birthday, Wench.

Wench by Maxine Kaplan
  • Publication date: January 19th 2020
  • Publisher: Abrams
  • Genre: Fantasy

A funny, fiercely feminist YA epic fantasy—following the adventures of a tavern wench

 

Tanya has worked at her tavern since she was able to see over the bar. She broke up her first fight at 11. By the time she was a teenager she knew everything about the place, and she could run it with her eyes closed. She’d never let anyone—whether it be a drunkard or a captain of the queen’s guard—take advantage of her. But when her guardian dies, she might lose it all: the bar, her home, her purpose in life. So she heads out on a quest to petition the queen to keep the tavern in her name—dodging unscrupulous guards, a band of thieves, and a powerful, enchanted feather that seems drawn to her. Fast-paced, magical, and unapologetically feminist, Wench is epic fantasy like you’ve never seen it before.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I got approved for this one a few months ago and was very excited to pick it up. A funny epic fantasy about a tavern wench that was, I quote, “unapologetically feminist”? Sign me up! What happened, you ask? The blurb lied…

There are many things I didn’t like about Wench. While the blurb promised so much, I didn’t find the book funny, nor particularly feminist. It was a fantasy, sure, but I wouldn’t call it epic… in any meaning of the word.

The biggest issue I had was the world building and magic system – two key elements that really shape any fantasy story. While the author clearly knew what her world was like, she didn’t educate the reader at all. There is no explanation of the world, kingdom name, basic geography, or politics. Things get mentioned every now and then in an offhand way, as if the reader should already know it all. I’m not sure if the author chose this method not to fall into the trap of “telling instead of showing”, but honestly I’d rather be told. I would appreciate a full scope of the world instead of having to guess things and piece them together.

I had the same issue with the magic system. Only the very basic info was given to us – nothing beyond the fact that magic is possible but creates “junkoff”. Can everyone do magic? Is it learned? Are you born with it? What can it actually do? No clue. It’s a fantasy novel – explain the main elements, please.

If those two were done better (I’m not even saying done right), it could’ve been a 3 star. But on top of all of this the cast of characters was just too big and hence they weren’t really developed at all. The relationships felt forced, I kept forgetting who was meant to be who because their personalities bled into one… I have nothing good to say about Tanya, or any other characters whose names I already forgot.

I think the efforts were definitely there, and people who care more about the plot in a vaguely fantastical setting would enjoy it a lot more than me. Ultimately Wench didn’t work for me, sadly, as I looked forward to what seemed like a new and fresh fantasy.

⭐⭐

Can anyone explain star rating is not a thing on the WordPress app while it is in the browser?

Anyway… thank you for reading. Don’t let my bad review stop you from reading the book if it sounds interesting to you.

Talk soon!

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus – A Review #TheWriteReads #UltimateBlogTour

Hi! It’s my stop on TheWriteReads tour for The Cousins by Karen M. McManus (as you can tell by the title)! This one releases in December, so keep an eye out for it – it’s a fun one!

The Cousins by Karen M. McManus
  • Publication date: December 1st 2020
  • Publisher: Random House Children’s Books
  • Genre: Mystery

Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.

Thank you to the publisher and Dave at TheWriteReads for a free e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Every Karen M. McManus book surprises me, and I think by now I should know and expect to enjoy them. I liked and flew through her other books, and The Cousins was no different.

The story follows 3 estranged cousins: Milly, Aubrey and Jonah, who are invited to spend a summer at their grandmother’s resort. The catch is, she disowned her own children 24 years ago and has not kept in contact with either of them since. So, why is she reaching out now?

I was pretty hooked on the premise from the get go. I really enjoy family mysteries, the more twisted ones, the better, so I was looking forward to reading it – although I kept my expectations low, because YA mysteries tend to be too predictable for me. The story really took off from the first few chapters (as it’s told from alternating POVs of the 3 cousins), though it didn’t capture me fully until the halfway point.
I enjoyed all three of the cousins’ perspectives and how different they and their circumstances were. Once the flashbacks were introduced, I started caring a lot more about the past events, though, and I wish the story focused more on the Story children, and not the grandkids. Truth be told, the mystery worked either way.

I think Karen M. McManus is really good at pacing her stories and giving the readers just enough info to keep them interested and engaged. Like with her other books, I didn’t once get bored and want to put the book down to take a break. I had fun reading it start to finish, although it wasn’t perfect by any means.

I could’ve done without the romance, but I say it every time. I know parts of it put things in motion when it comes to plot, but I think I’d enjoy it more if literally anything else happened.
Although I didn’t fully figure out where the story was going, I had a pretty good inkling how it’ll end, and the finale didn’t surprise me. It’s not always detrimental for me to be shocked by the reveal to enjoy a story, as long as the rest of the book makes up for it, and I’ll happily admit it did. I think as far as YA mysteries go, this one turned out pretty impressive.

Next time Karen M. McManus comes out with another book, I’ll try not to doubt her. She’s proven to write continuously fun and engaging stories.

🌟🌟🌟🌟

Make sure to follow TheWriteReads on Twitter and check out all the fantastic reviews from other bloggers, as this tour is a huge one.

Thank you for reading!

Fable by Adrienne Young – A Review

Hi there! I am so behind on reviews, you wouldn’t believe! But hopefully that means more content. Today I have a review for Fable by Adrienne Young, as you can guess from the title. Let’s get into it.

Fable by Adrienne Young
  • Publication date: September 1st 2020
  • Publisher: Wednesday Books
  • Genre: Fantasy

As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.

Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free eArc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I have read from Adrienne Young before. I really loved Sky in the Deep, when I read it back in 2018. So, obviously, when I got my hands on an early copy of Fable I was delighted. I’m not sure what I expected from it, but whatever I got was not it.

The premise of Fable had me hooked. It’s pitched as a pirate story about a girl who needs to get off an island full of thieves and criminals, on which she was left by her father. All checks out. Except it’s not much of a pirate story. It’s set on a ship, yes, but it’s not your conventional pirate story.

I liked Fable as a main character at the start. That’s usually a good sign, if I like a character at the start, I usually end up loving them by the end of the book. Or at least still liking them. Fable became very bland very fast. Literally everyone else had more personality than her and I definitely cared about the side characters more than her. I didn’t dislike her by the end of the book by any means, I just didn’t think she was particularly interesting. The side characters were great, though, and I do have a bit of a soft spot for West, I’m not going to lie.

Adrienne Young’s writing is beautiful. I had no qualms with the language or narration style. I think she writes beautifully and it was one of the reasons why I continued reading the book even though I could not get into it at all at the beginning.

Which brings me to the biggest downfall of this book, in my opinion. The pacing. The book didn’t get interesting to me until the 50% mark. If not the fact I’ve gotten an arc of this book and it was on my list of most anticipated releases of 2020, I might’ve DNFed it. The first half dragged. Not much happened, or at least I felt like nothing was happening… and then BAM. Everything started happening all at once. I enjoyed the second half of the book much MUCH more, but considering how slow the first half was, it didn’t blow me away. I wish the pacing was a little bit more even.

Overall, while I quite enjoyed the book come the last page, I am on the fence on how I actually feel about it. It lands somewhere around 3.5 stars for me and I might be picking up the sequel once it’s out early next year.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Like I said – I’m behind on reviews so you can already purchase a copy of Fable if the book sounds interesting to you. Thank you for reading and as always I will talk to you soon!

The Fallen Angel by Kenneth B. Andersen – A Review

Hi! Yes, I’m back with yet another review. First of all, Happy Book Birthday to the english version of The Fallen Angel by Kenneth B. Andersen! If you’ve read the first 4 volumes and are dying to know what happens next – now you can find out!

The Fallen Angel by Kenneth B. Andersen
  • Publication date: original – 2015; English – May 28th 2020
  • Publisher: Host & Son
  • Genre: Fantasy

It’s been almost two years since Philip left Hell and returned to life—this time for good. But things have changed and so has Philip. He’s haunted by terrifying nightmares and has never felt so lonely. Lonely and angry. Then one day the impossible happens and Philip is brought back to Hell. Not by the Devil, but by the Almighty himself. Although the Great Devil War ended a long time ago, the battle is far from over—and the worst is yet to come.

Thank you to the author for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Fallen Angel is the fifth installment in The Great Devil War series, and also the second last one. Like with all of the previous books in the series, I flew through it and enjoyed it a lot, yet I did found it slightly… lacking in plot.

Philip finds himself back in Hell, though he was told during his last visit he won’t be able to go back and forth anymore. This time he’s needed by Jehovah, though why, no one knows. It’s been 1.5 years since Philip’s last visit, but as we know, time passes differently in Hell. While waiting for god t let him know why he’s been summoned, Philip wanders around Hell and sees just how much has changed, especially with Satina. It takes until over halfway through the book for the reason of Philip’s summoning to become known to us.

After the events of the war Philip is quite broken up. He doesn’t know who he is and what he’s supposed to do being back on Earth and he has no one he can talk to about it all. So, when he’s summoned back to Hell, while a lot of confusion still remains, he’s sure that this time he wants to stay. This may, or may not, have something to do with Satina.
Although reading about angsty teens is not my favourite past time (maybe because I’ve been that angsty teen), I did appreciate how this book focused on Philip’s internal struggles with his identity. Over the course of the series we’ve seen him turn from a angel of a human into a devil, then back human and it’s understandable, especially after all he’s been through, that he would be confused and lost… and angry.

I wish we got more clarity on Philip’s relationship with Satina. When he comes back to Hell, a lot of time has passed and Satina has moved on. She tells Philip, though not straight away, and no further conversation is had until it seems like Satina has decided to pick Philip, over her boyfriend. It also seems like she does not bother to tell her boyfriend. I feel like it could’ve been wrapped up more, seeing how there was time for it and it would feel less dishonest.

Like I said, for a good part of the story not much happened. I kept waiting for a big event – much like in the other installments, yet it didn’t come until the very end of the book. Though the events in the last couple of chapters made up for the lack of action throughout the book, it almost felt a filler to have some distance between the war and the finale. I still enjoyed it, though admittedly less than the others.

Overall, the story arc and the world building wins me over every time. I can’t wait to pick up the last book (it’s sadly not out in English yet) and find out how it all ends.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Thank you for reading!

The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts – A Review

Hi! Happy Book Birthday to The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts! I’m here with a review (as you can tell from the title, and also, you know the drill… I post ARC reviews on release date). Let’s get into it!

The Witches of Willow Cove by Josh Roberts
  • Publication Date: May 26th 2020
  • Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
  • Genre: Fantasy

It’s not easy being a teenage witch. Seventh grader Abby Shepherd is just getting the hang of it when weird stuff starts happening all around her hometown of Willow Cove. Green slime bubbling to life in science class. Giant snakes slithering around the middle school gym. Her best friend suddenly keeping secrets and telling lies.

Things only begin to make sense when a stranger named Miss Winters reveals that Abby isn’t the only young witch in town—and that Willow Cove is home to a secret past that connects them all. Miss Winters, herself a witch, even offers to teach Abby and the others everything she knows about witchcraft.

But as Abby learns more about Miss Winters’ past, she begins to suspect her new mentor is keeping secrets of her own. Can Abby trust her, or does Miss Winters have something wicked planned for the young witches of Willow Cove?

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


For some reason, going into this book, I thought it was YA… it’s not. It’s most definitely MG and at that, one of the most enjoyable MG I’ve read in a while.

If you know me, you know I’m always up for a witch story. My favourite time of the year is Halloween so any spooky, magical, witchy story is right up my alley. And while The Witches of Willow Cove was not spooky, it definitely ticked all the other boxes.

The story follows Abby and Robby (have I only copped now that their names are very similar – yes!), who are best friends, and on Halloween night they go to snoop around an abandoned mental hospital, to try and solve the mystery of Robby’s mom’s disappearance, but instead they meet the new owner of the Whispering Hill, get chased off by chimeras and find out Abby can fly (none of this is a spoiler, as it happens literally in the first chapter). Needles to say, they get in a bit of trouble, especially after two more people mysteriously disappear.

The Witches of Willow Cove was a really enjoyable, fast paced and magical story. It had everything I love in MG – exciting plot, likeable characters, great atmosphere and heaps of amazing friendships.

I really liked Abby as the main character and I kind of wish the whole book was told from her perspective, instead of alternating with Robby’s. I understand Robby’s POV was important to solving the mystery, but I didn’t much care for his relationship with Becca. I very much enjoyed seeing Abby learn magic and discover secrets from the past. I loved all of Abby’s new friends (Amethyst in particular) and Zeus! They were all fun to read about and had distinct personalities.

The ending definitely had me intrigued, as it’s hinting at a series… if it is, I’ll definitely be reading future books.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As always, thank you for reading! Do you enjoy Middle Grade? If yes, you should be reading this book soon!

Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis – A Review

Hi! Today is the last day of the Harrow Lake Ultimate Blog Tour hosted by Dave at TheWriteReads on Twitter and it’s my turn to share my thoughts on the book!

Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis
  • Publication date: July 9th 2020
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Genre: Thriller

Welcome to Harrow Lake. Someone’s expecting you . . .

Lola Nox is the daughter of a celebrated horror filmmaker – she thinks nothing can scare her.

But when her father is brutally attacked in their New York apartment, she’s swiftly packed off to live with a grandmother she’s never met in Harrow Lake, the eerie town where her father’s most iconic horror movie was shot.

The locals are weirdly obsessed with the film that put their town on the map – and there are strange disappearances, which the police seem determined to explain away.

And there’s someone – or something – stalking her every move.

The more Lola discovers about the town, the more terrifying it becomes. Because Lola’s got secrets of her own. And if she can’t find a way out of Harrow Lake, they might just be the death of her.

Thank you to the publisher, NetGalley and Dave for providing me with an e-arc of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thrillers have become one of my favourite genres recently, even though I’ve rated very few of them 5 stars. When this tour was announced, I was ecstatic! The blurb, though quite vague, had me hooked. I love small creepy towns, close knit communities shrouded in mysteries, and that kind of vibe.

Harrow Lake definitely delivered in that regard. From the get go, the story and the world building were very mysterious and atmospheric. The first couple of chapters set up the mood of the story brilliantly and hinted at some supernatural aspects, which is not my favourite kind of mystery, but it can work when done well. The mentions of Mister Jitters and unexplained disappearances were just the right amount of spooky for me.

Unfortunately, after a strong start, the story went downhill. For the most part of the middle the plot was nearly non existent. In trying to keep everything creepy and mysterious, and explore the superstition of Mister Jitters and making the reader believe he exists, the plot was pushed to the side and it’s when the book slowed down for me and lost the initial excitement.

I feel like the characters were somewhat sacrificed for the sake of the atmosphere, too. I wanted more development for Lola, especially to justify the choice the author made about the ending of the story. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the “twist” at the end of the book needed more to be fully believable, in my opinion. I thought she was well done, for most of it, but some parts just didn’t make sense because they were revealed too late, to justify the twist. The supporting characters needed to be more fleshed out, too, mostly Lola’s grandmother. She had a really big role in the story especially in bridging the supernatural with Lola’s mother’s disappearance, but she was reduced to the creepy old lady who wasn’t always all there.

Some of the most interesting bits of the story were never actually explained, and it’s the main reason for my rating. Like I mentioned before, the plot hinted at the supernatural, and revolved around Mister Jitters and the legend of him, just to flip towards the end and change into a psychological thriller – no doubt for the shock value – yet it just left a lot of loose threads, which I wish were addressed more and tied together. Again, not to spoil anything, I filled in the blanks myself which I think was the author’s intent, but it didn’t satisfy me in the end.

I’m torn on the rating. I think I will settle on 2.75 rounded up to 3 for the sake of Goodreads and this star business.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Check out other people’s reviews by following TheWriteReads Twitter and if this YA thriller sounds interesting to you make sure to pick it up when it comes out in July! Just because it didn’t work for me, it doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

Thank you for reading! As always, I will talk to you all soon!

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo – A Review

Hi! Happy publication day to Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo. It’s time for another review.

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Publication date: May 5th 2020
  • Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre/Hot Key Books
  • Genre: Contemporary

Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…

In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.

Separated by distance—and Papi’s secrets—the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.

And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other. 

Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with an eARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Clap When You Land is my first Elizabeth Acevedo book and one of very few stories written in verse I’ve ever read. After reading it I know I need to redeem both.

It’s a beautiful and heart-breaking story about family, grief and how a tragedy can bring people together. It follows two sisters who don’t know about each other’s existence until a plane crash claims the life of their father.
Camino finds out at the airport, waiting to pick him up. She lives with her aunt in the Dominican Republic and he visits every summer around her birthday. It’s her favourite time of the year.
Yahaira is in school when she’s called into the office and told what happened. Her dad lives with her and her mother in America and leaves “for business” at the same time every year. And this year, when he leaves things between them aren’t the greatest.

I loved reading from both girls’ perspectives. Their lives differ completely, yet before they even know about each other’s existence, what unites them is grief. Both loved their father dearly, but as they find out about each other and discover his second life, they have to deal with disappointment and realise their father was not a saint.


I don’t read many contemporaries, it’s definitely not my preferred genre, but I do enjoy ones that focus on family dynamics. Clap When You Land has so much of it, from the two different father-daughter relationships we see, through how different Yahaira is with her mother compared to how Camino views her aunt who raised her, and so many more. It also explores identity and the hardships of being raised poor. It talks about dreams and opportunities, and how one event can change the course of your whole life.


The writing is absolutely beautiful and harrowing, and the narration style makes the story very unique. I don’t read poetry often, nor do I find myself an expert in analising or reviewing it, but I appreciated the tone the free flowing verse set on the entire book. It made the narrative more raw and honest, and that kind of emotion is what made this book excellent.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I feel like this is a must-read for any contemporary lovers out there.

Thank you for reading, as always. I’ll talk to you soon.

Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova – A Review

Hi! Happy release date to Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova. I was lucky enough to read an early copy, so here’s my review.

Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova
  • Publication date: April 28th 2020
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Fantasy

I am Renata Convida.

I have lived a hundred stolen lives.

Now I live my own.

Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King’s Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata’s ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.

Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred–or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned “hollow” during her time in the palace.

When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez’s top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.

But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom–and end the war that has cost her everything.

Thank you to NetGalley for providing an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Incendiary is an introduction to Zoraida Córdova’s writing for me, even though I’ve had a few of her other books on my TBR for a while. This book has been hyped up for months and I requested it without really thinking I’ll get approved. Surprisingly, I did!

The plot had me intrigued, being loosely based on the Spanish Inquisition, with the main character having magic powers to steal people’s memories. It sounded right up my alley. Rebels, spies, magic – overall, my reading experience was positive.

The book throws you in the deep end from the start, giving very little explanation as to what is going on, which left me quite confused. I don’t usually like that in books, as I find it slows down the pace, because I’m constantly trying to figure out what’s happening. I needed a good while to get my bearings and be able to follow the story. But once I was in, I was hooked.

Renata, the main character, is a Robari, which means she can steal memories with a simple touch. It makes her a really powerful weapon. Kidnapped as a child by the king’s people and used for her magic, plagued by other people’s memories and not being able to remember her own, she finds it difficult to find her place in the world and it doesn’t change when she joins the Whispers, a group of rebel spies.

Though there are plenty of YA fantasies out there with a similar plot line, Incendiary was and enjoyable read and a solid first book to a series I’m sure I’ll love. The world building was rich, and I really loved the magic system, though I would definitely like to see how it works a bit better. I find YA books often lack the political intrigue (even if the plot centers around it, i.e. someone wants to take back the throne) and I’m glad that wasn’t the case with Incendiary.

Renata was not my favourite protagonist. On the contrary, I kind of disliked her, but it didn’t take away from my engagement with the story. Her story arc was interesting enough for me to keep reading, even though her decisions annoyed me. None of the Whispers were particularly great, either, but I loved Leo and to my absolute surprise… Castian. It’s been a while since I’ve read a book where I was openly rooting for the antagonist.

The ending was really what warranted the rating, though I’ve called it to a T. It transformed from a solid book to a fast paced page-turner I love in fantasy. I don’t mind when stories are predictable (unless they’re mystery/thrillers) and the fact I knew the twist before it was revealed didn’t diminish my enjoyment in any way, it made me more excited to know what happens next.

I’m definitely going to continue with the series.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Will you be picking up this book?

Thank you for reading!

Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy – A Review

Hi! Happy publication day to Sword in the Stars? I’m not sure how to begin because I can’t think of any reasons to celebrate that. Harsh, I know.

Sword in the Stars by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
  • Publication date: April 7th 2020
  • Publisher: Rock the Boat
  • Genre: Sci-fi

In this epic sequel to Once & Future, to save the future, Ari and her Rainbow knights pull off a heist… thousands of years in the past.

Ari Helix may have won her battle against the tyrannical Mercer corporation, but the larger war has just begun. Ari and her cursed wizard Merlin must travel back in time to the unenlightened Middle Ages and steal the King Arthur’s Grail—the very definition of impossible.

It’s imperative that the time travelers not skew the timeline and alter the course of history. Coming face-to-face with the original Arthurian legend could produce a ripple effect that changes everything. Somehow Merlin forgot that the past can be even more dangerous than the future…

Thank you to NetGalley for providing and eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


I’m going to try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but this is the second (and final book) in this series, so if you haven’t read the first – why are you even here?


In Sword in the Stars we’re transported to Medieval Camelot. Ari and the knights, and Merlin, obviously, need to retrieve Arthur’s chalice and bring it back into the future. I love me some heist stories, so I was hopeful. I got got once again.

While I’ve noticed some improvement in the overall story telling from the first book, it wasn’t enough to warrant a higher rating. The action got more structured, sure, but the time travel aspect was too convoluted and didn’t make sense.
Time travel stories are my absolute favourite, so this was a big let down. It’s a really difficult thing to get right – there are certain laws that need to be followed. My biggest issue was a certain character appearing in one timeline 3 times and all 3 of them interacting. Now, since there are different ways of viewing time travel, that could be possible and not destroy the universe, but if you want to do that, you set down your laws. Sword in the Stars had none, it just did what it pleased and when it pleased, and well… it did not please me. But it’s time to move on.

I thought, since we’re in Medieval Camelot, we’d get to see some of it and get a feel for how life was back then. Nope. The world building is minimal, and all we’re really told is how terrible those times were because people didn’t understand sexuality and assumed your gender. I get it, you’re really trying to drive the point across on every page and in every sentence, and identity is SUPER important, but it’s too much. One of the characters even tries to teach those medieval folk about the importance of pronouns etc. All while probably messing up with the future BIG TIME.

Speaking of characters. I honestly liked the story of Nin and how she became the big evil enchantress. Merlin was alright for most of the book, too. Everyone else stayed as much of a caricature of themselves as possible. What bothered me the most was how Kay was addressed. While reminiscing (though very rarely) about him, everyone treated him like a clown (Kay was annoying, awkward, got drunk and did embarrassing things etc. and not in an endearing way) and Kay from the past was a wannabe villain. What was that about? He deserved a better story arc.

I’m going to end this review on two things. Sometimes authors try to convey info by telling the readers, instead of showing, because it’s the only way to do it. The main message of this book (as far as I can tell) was identity. The amount of times we were told about it all really made me think the authors think their readers are idiots. It gets to a point where when a new character is introduced, the dialogue goes something like this:
“Introductions?”
“This is Yazmeen, everyone.”
“Mostly Yaz. She/Her. I’m a good ole lesbian.”
And only a paragraph or two later we find out she’s Ari’s cousin.
People are so much more than that…
And secondly… the slight shade thrown at Merlin the TV show at the end of the book? Excuse me, but… no. Just no.

Rant over. I tried to be eloquent but the dumb comes out when I’m frustrated.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

After my March wrap up this review should come as no surprise. Let’s all learn from this experience, though, and swear not to request sequels to books we haven’t yet read, okay?

Thanks so much for reading. I’ll chat to you very soon!