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!

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!

The Silent House by Nell Pattison – A Review

Hi! I’m back with another ARC review – this one for The Silent House by Nell Pattison – a debut mystery/thriller which released today.

The Silent House by Nell Pattison
  • Publication date: March 5th 2020
  • Publisher: Avon Books
  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller

If someone was in your house, you’d know.

Wouldn’t you?

But the Hunter family are deaf, and don’t hear a thing when a shocking crime takes place in the middle of the night. Instead, they wake up to their worst nightmare.

The police call Paige Northwood to the scene to interpret for the witnesses. They’re in shock, but Paige senses the Hunters are hiding something.

One by one, people Paige knows from the Deaf community start to fall under suspicion. But who would kill a little girl?

Was it an intruder?

Or was the murderer closer to home?

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

I’ve been getting more and more into thrillers in the last year, I seem to be in a mood for one at nearly all times, and when I saw The Silent House on NetGalley I nearly immediately requested it. It sounded amazing and thrilling and unique, a perfect combination. I’m sad to say it was none of these things.

Something I noticed from page one is how simple and juvenile the writing was. I am by no means an expert in this area, English is my second language after all, but the whole book read like a secondary school student wrote it. “I went there and did this. Afterwards, I did something else. I was very tired.” Short and to the point sentences work in a lot of thrillers, they build atmosphere, add to the tension – there’s a sense of urgency in those types of narrative. In the case of The Silent House, the simple structure made it incredibly mundane and boring. Both the plot and the writing were filled with cliches.

Yeah, about the plot… The gist of the story is – Paige is a freelance interpreter – coming from a deaf family, she’s part of the Deaf community and interprets for them on different occasions. When an 18 month baby is killed, she is called to the police station to interpret for the deaf family who just lost a child.
I was really hooked on the premise, it sounded great. Unfortunately what followed was a generic mystery/thriller plot. It read like the author followed a strict plan of when to introduce a new “clue”, or add something “emotional”, or write in a “plot twist” (I’m writing all these in quotation marks, as I don’t believe any of those ended up being what the author intended them to be). The book ended up boring, predictable and unconvincing.

I can forgive a thriller for having underdeveloped secondary characters if the main character has an actual personality, and the book is gripping and fast paced, but in The Silent House every single character felt incredibly one dimensional. I couldn’t make myself care for the child’s parents, or for Paige, because they felt so far removed from reality and not like real people at all. Even when Paige’s dark past (once again, typical mystery/thriller trope) was revealed, I only rolled my eyes. I mean, this book deals with the death of a baby – if the book was half decent, only a heartless person wouldn’t be in some way moved by it. I wasn’t, and I’m a big softie.
Paige is probably the most frustrating MC I’ve ever read from. She makes one bad decision after the other and doesn’t seem to be capable of any critical thinking. I nearly DNFed the book many times while reading, because I just couldn’t stand her. Her sister, Anna, isn’t any better, and all of the scenes with her present were infuriating. Not one character in the whole story redeemed the book for me even slightly.

I hate rating ARCs low, but unfortunately The Silent Patient was a snooze fest full of cliches and terrible characters and I can’t honestly rate it any higher than 1.5 stars, which is a shame, because I went into it expecting to like it.

Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

Thank you for reading!

P.S. Forgive the poorly edited cover on the picture. I’m still very new to this.

Refraction by Naomi Hughes – A Review

Hi! I’m here today to talk about a book that came out yesterday! It’s a YA sci-fi called Refraction, by Naomi Hughes. I received an eARC from Net Galley and read it a while ago.

Let’s get into it.

Refraction by Naomi Hughes
  • Publication date: November 5th 2019
  • Publisher: Page Street Publishing
  • Genre: YA Sci-fi

After an attack on earth, all reflective surfaces become weapons to release monsters, causing a planet-wide ban on mirrors. Despite the danger, the demand rises, and 17-year-old Marty Callahan becomes a distributor in an illegal mirror trade―until he’s caught by the mayor’s son, whose slate is far from clean. Both of them are exiled for their crimes to one of the many abandoned cities overrun by fog. But they soon realize their thoughts influence their surroundings and their deepest fears begin to manifest.

With fast pacing and riveting characters, this is a book that you’ll finish in one sitting.

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

Refraction is a book I wanted to love, after all it’s sci-fi, and lately that is enough of a reason for me to pick up a book. The synopsis tells you very little. In a world where deadly monsters are created in reflections, a teen with OCD becomes a black market mirror dealer and risks his and others’ lives to be able to find his brother. It sounds interesting and unique. It sounds like a recipe for a success… but I found it clunky.

Marty is an interesting protagonist. I’ve never read about anyone with OCD and I appreciate books with underrepresented topics and characters. There was nothing about Marty, or the OCD itself, I didn’t like. He’s a morally grey character, who often sees himself as the bad guy, and it definitely adds to his depth.
The second main character, Elliot, is also well developed and multidimensional. I especially enjoyed his relationship with his mother. I believe characters are the main strength of this book. I loved the dynamic between the two boys and I would like to see it develop a bit more, as I thought there was a lot of chemistry between the two.

The monsters spawning from mirror reflections sounded like the coolest idea ever. Just the right amount of spooky. Unfortunately, somewhere between the writing and pacing of the plot, the spookiness disappeared, and I was left with… chaos. I expected my heart to race every time there was even a possibility of one of those Beings popping up, but it just didn’t. Something about the writing made it not scary. The Beings kept appearing every few chapters and not once did I fear for the main characters, not once did I think that maybe this time something will happen to them. And when it finally did – I didn’t much care.

In many parts the book lacked atmosphere. I wanted to feel spooked. I wanted to be able to imagine the world. I wanted to find out about everything gradually. Unfortunately, the main mystery of the book and the plot was all handed to me on a silver platter in a form of a long info dumpy monologue. I feel like all the good ideas were there – the execution just lacked… It left me feeling meh. I speed read the last 3 chapters because I knew exactly where the story was going and how it was going to end.

The whole alien part didn’t suit the story. I stand by it being an amazing idea – it really was, alien part included – but with the way it was executed, it felt nearly like a different story. I wish it was all connected better, described better and… just executed better.

In the end, I think Refraction had heaps of potential which wasn’t reached, hence my 3 star rating. I think many people will still enjoy this book, I did, too, just not nearly as much as I wanted to.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

You can get the book here.

Thanks for reading!

Until the next time.

Like, Follow, Kill by Carissa Ann Lynch – A Review

Hi. We’ve established by now that I have failed Blogtober, I think. To my defense, I had family stuff the past week, and keeping up with that, work and reading was difficult enough. I come back today with a review!

Like, Follow, Kill by Carissa Ann Lynch
  • Publication Date: October 25th 2019
  • Publisher: One More Chapter
  • Genre: Mystery thriller

Badly scarred after the accident that killed her husband, Camilla Brown locks herself away from the world.  Her only friendships are online, where everyone lives picture-perfect lives. 
In private Camilla can follow anyone she likes. And Camilla likes a lot.

Especially her old school friend Valerie Hutchens.  Camilla is obsessed with Valerie’s posts, her sickening joy for life, her horribly beautiful face.  But then Camilla spots something strange in one of Valerie’s posts – a man’s face looking through her window, watching, waiting…
And then Valerie goes missing…

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

Like, Follow, Kill is a book I thought I’d love. It’s about this woman, Camilla, who was in a car accident with her husband, Chris, while drunk driving. She came out of the accident scarred, her face quite disfigured, yet still somehow, she got the better end of the stick than her husband, who died in the accident. Camilla locks herself up in her house and turns to social media for any kind of entertainment. She follows her school acquaintance, Valerie, very closely, developing an obsession for her perfect, glamorous life. And then Valerie goes missing…

I think anyone who enjoys thrillers would be hooked after that synopsis. Unfortunately, the story didn’t turn out to what I wanted it to be. The bones of it were great, the ideas solid. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll be very vague about my thoughts. I thought the main character was well done, but apart from one mention at the start, there is nothing that explains the person she is and why she is like that. She’s not very likeable (not that she’s meant to), none of the characters really are, and I feel like most of them lack depth – or at least the depth I’d like them to have.

The book was suspenseful and fast paced. The first person narrative was a good choice of a narrative – it gave a glimpse into the main character’s mind. I think I would rate this book 3.75 stars if not the ending. I like being shocked, but what I like more is when I can go back and trace all the signs back to the big reveal. The ending was full of plot twists, but the bad kind. The ones that are there clearly for the shock value, and don’t add up. I think, maybe, I would’ve enjoyed the book even with those if not the last 2 pages, but sadly, those completely ruined the book for me.

Saying all that, I do think that if you like plot twisty thrillers, you might want to give it a go. Unfortunately, it just didn’t do anything for me, hence the 2.75 stars rating,

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Preorder the book here

I’ll talk to you soon! Hopefully tomorrow.

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma – A Review

Hi! Happy book birthday to Shadow Frost by Coco Ma, a new YA fantasy!

Shadow Frost by Coco Ma
  • Publication date: October 1st 2019
  • Publisher: Blackstone Publishing
  • Genre: YA Fantasy

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes.
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm.
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned.

When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed.

To kill it.

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known.

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

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

Shadow Frost is a book I have mixed feelings about. On one hand, it is an interesting new fantasy story, written by a 15 year old (!!!), with a lot of potential, on the other hand, it is quite inconsistent and full of clichés.
I going to try not to spoil anything, as the book comes out in a couple of months, so my thoughts might not be explained fully.

The book starts off amazing. It really captured my attention from page 1. The writing is beautiful, too, and it makes it hard to believe a 15 year old wrote it, which is even more impressive. Yet, with every chapter the book becomes more clunky and all over the place.
Shadow Frost is a high fantasy, with kingdoms, magic and a princess as a main character – Asterin.

She’s not your typical princess (although very typical nowadays in YA), she enjoys fighting and all of the non girly things. She also has quite powerful magic. As we find out about halfway through the book, she is often sent on secret missions around her kingdom, to protect her people.

There are other main characters whose perspective we get to read from.

Orion is Asterin’s friend and her royal guard. He’s sworn to protect the princess. The story sets up as there could possibly be some romance between the two, but it dissolves along the way, when Orion becomes interested in someone else. I’m not sure if it’s a spoiler, or not, but I felt like the character was written as a possible love interest for Asterin, then Rose, and ended up being edited in the later revisions for more representation.

Luna, the lady in waiting, and Asterin’s best friend (or is she?) was one of my favourite characters. She doesn’t have any magic and no real skills other than she’s a great sculptor. She really develops throughout the book and her journey is definitely the most interesting of all, although at the start, she’s not particularly important.

Rose, or Orozalia, is a queen of the neighbouring kingdom. She joins Asterin’s guard in disguise. She’s a great fighter, and altogether badass, and we definitely don’t get enough of her in the book.

Quinlan, Rose’s cousin, is my least favourite character. He is a pain in the backside – arrogant, in love with himself, and all in all annoying. I’m sure many girls are going to swoon over him, and maybe as a teen I would, too, but now that I’m old and a bit smarter, I know better.

Eadric and Harry are characters I can’t say anything about because there really isn’t much to say. They don’t really develop, and one serves nearly no purpose at all.

As characters go, I see some of them appealing to the target audience (I understand I’m not part of it).

As I said earlier, the writing is beautiful at the start. It doesn’t deteriorate much as the story progresses, not much, anyway, but it definitely changes and becomes more clumsy. The dialogues especially. I didn’t like that the tone changes so frequently between the flowery language to a colloquial one, and it made it difficult to be fully immersed in the world. Another thing were the names of characters… we got Asterin, Eadric… and then Hayley, Nicole, Harry. It’s just incredibly jarring to read these in one book.

One of the things I enjoyed the most about this book was the magic system. If you like Avatar The Last Airbender, then you definitely will enjoy it, too, as it is quite similar. I wish the author didn’t try so hard to make it very complicated, and stopped adding rules to it. It became too complicated in the end, which is a shame, because it gives plenty of space for errors, inconsistencies and loop holes. I understand it’s to make the world richer and more developed, but that could’ve been done in a different way. I mean, being able to control different elements is cool, using stones for it is cool, too. Depending on what family you are from to what’s your affinity is okay, too, I guess. But also using spells? It just gets too much.

What I flat out didn’t enjoy is, surprise, surprise… the romance! Saying that, I’m sure many people will. Romance is just not my thing, and the story could really do without it. Especially without the nearly love triangle, and the main couple teasing each other and calling each other names, but in an “endearing” way. It’s such a kindergarten way of describing a brewing romance.

I think Shadow Frost is a solid YA fantasy with a lot of potential, that many readers will love. It gets 3.75/4 stars from me, because I definitely enjoyed it – I just didn’t love it, as I feel I’m a bit too old for these kind of stories.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I don’t have an aesthetic board for this one, oops. I read it a couple of months ago, and didn’t prepare one.

Buy the book here: BookDepository (as I mentioned in my last post, this is an affiliate link and I would be eternally grateful if you decided to use it while purchasing books).

I’ll be back this evening with my September wrap up! Thanks for reading!

Jackpot by Nic Stone – A Review

Hi, everyone. I’m back today with another review. Let’s get into it.

Jackpot by Nic Stone
  • Publication date: October 15th 2019
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster UK
  • Genre: YA Contemporary

Meet Rico: high school senior and afternoon-shift cashier at the Gas ‘n’ Go, who after school and work races home to take care of her younger brother. Every. Single. Day. When Rico sells a jackpot-winning lotto ticket, she thinks maybe her luck will finally change, but only if she–with some assistance from her popular and wildly rich classmate Zan–can find the ticket holder who hasn’t claimed the prize. But what happens when have and have-nots collide? Will this investigative duo unite…or divide?

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

Jackpot is my second Nic Stone book. I have read Dear Martin early this year and loved it, so I was over the moon when I received the ARC for this book. I thought, if it was in any way like the other book I’ve read, it would be a poignant story with a lot of commentary on some important subjects. I wasn’t wrong.

Jackpot’s main character, Rico Danger, doesn’t come from much. Raised by a single mother, with a younger brother to support, she needs to work full time on top of her studies, to help her parent keep the family afloat. With a constantly busy schedule, she has no time for herself. No time for friends. While working at a petrol station on Christmas Eve, she sells 2 lotto tickets to an old lady. The woman lets her keep one. Later, she finds a winning ticket has been sold at her petrol station on Christmas Eve, and convinced the old lady still has it and has forgotten about it, she decides to do anything she can to find her. But to do that, she needs help… help from the most popular guy in school, Alexander Macklin.

I enjoyed Rico’s character for most of the book. She is fierce and flawed. Her relationship with her family is perfect – unconditional and nearly motherly love for Jax, and lots of love but also resentment towards her mother. She is very guarded, and because of that she plays to a lot of stereotypes and views a lot of people as stereotypes of themselves. She is human and very much a teenager, which I enjoyed – finally a character that feels authentic in YA contemporary. I expected more of a development by the end of the book, but I’m not sure I fully got what I wanted – I don’t know if she finally stops judging people based on what her assumptions about them are. I wish the development was a bit more clear.


This book is a breath of fresh air when it comes to romance. I feel like I say it in every single review I write – I’m not big on romance, it’s usually what makes me enjoy the book I’m reading less. Jackpot has a lot of build up, a lot of back and forth “will they, won’t they” and an unconventional conclusion, which made the book really enjoyable. Rico and Zan have a lot of chemistry, that’s for sure, but they also work extremely well as friends.


I’m not sure about the structure and pacing of the plot. It keeps changing direction – from being purely about the ticket, to being about Rico and Zan’s relationship, to, what I thought came too late – the big conflict. In my opinion it happens too late, and the resolve of it gives the book a really abrupt ending. A lot of people say they don’t know how they feel about the ending and I second that – I’m just not sold on the money part of the ending (I’m trying hard not to spoil anything).


Jackpot provides a great commentary on socio-economic status, privilege that comes from money and appearances. It shows many different points of view and really makes you think about how money affects people and their lives. After all, not everyone who comes from a wealthy family is well off themselves and not everyone who looks rich is actually rich. I think the discussion this book brings up to the table is an important one.

Overall, I really enjoyed Jackpot and will definitely be picking up future Nic Stone books. I’m docking 1 star for some minor things, like the development and the ending not being to my liking, but those things are personal preference and not necessarily the book’s fault. Do yourself a favour and pick it up when it’s out. It’s definitely worth a read. 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Preorder the book here:

Book Depository*

*I am a Book Depository Affiliate which means if you buy the book through my link, while it doesn’t cost you any extra, I receive a small commission. Help a girl out!

I hope you enjoyed this review.

I’ll talk to you soon!

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh – A Review

Hi, everyone!

It is time for another review! I have recently finished The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh, and since the book is coming out in less than a month, I thought it would be a good idea to post a review of it, and let you know what I thought.


The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
  • Publication date: October 8th 2019
  • Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
  • Genre: Paranormal Historical Fiction (I guess?)

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

First and foremost:

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

Oh, boy… I don’t know how to sum up my feelings about this book. I guess let me start with my expectations…
I have read Reneé Ahdieh’s The Wrath and The Dawn duology and I loved every second of it. The writing was beautiful, the story intricate and magical, and I even liked the romance, which is almost unheard of from me. I thought that will be the case with The Beautiful. I hoped to love it. I didn’t. I guess I set the bar too high.

The first couple of chapters were intriguing, but soon I realised that the writing didn’t mesh with me whatsoever. It felt forced and quite pretentious. The amount of French in this book is ridiculous. Now, I understand New Orleans was a French colony. I understand Celine is French. I don’t think the amount of French was needed in it, though. It took me out of the story, having to constantly look up what certain phrases mean. It got very annoying very fast.

Celine herself wasn’t my favourite character, though she grew on me eventually. Pippa, on the other hand, while very likeable at the start, turned out quite bland. Bastien was every single brooding bad boy love interest I’ve ever read about, he had no personality of his own. I’m sure many will love him. I didn’t. Michael was better, in my opinion, though the whole not quite love triangle got on my nerves quickly.

Only about 70% did the book take a turn for the better. The plot was stagnant for most of the book. Although things happened, it really felt like it didn’t have much impact on the overall story, it was a waiting game. I was really invested in the story in the end, though, once the plot stopped dillydallying and had actual structure instead of a lot of filler. Once we started getting answers, I definitely enjoyed it more.

As you can see, I’m conflicted. I am also disappointed. I wanted the vampire revival to be grand and amazing. It flopped.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I feel this is a very generous rating and it’s mostly prompted by the ending of the book. To be honest with you, I still think a lot of people are going to love it.

Once again, an aesthetic board.

For fans of: romance, supernatural and historical fiction

Preorder the book here:

Amazon / Book Depository


Until the next time!

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – A Review

Hi everyone! It’s review time!

But first, a bit of a disclaimer before I get into the review. I review every single book I read (fully, I don’t bother with reviewing DNFs, for an obvious reason – I can’t have fully fledged opinions if I haven’t read the book) and I try to be critical with each and every single one. In negative reviews, I make sure not to bash the book but give constructive reasons as to why I disliked a book I am reviewing. All of the opinions are 100% my own, regardless of how I obtained a book, whether it is a copy I have bought myself, a book I’ve received in a subscription box, or an ARC provided by a publisher/author.

Okay, now that everything is clear, let’s get into the review!


Thank you to Net Galley for providing an eARC of this book in an exchange for an honest review.

  • Publication date: Sept 12th 2019
  • Publisher: Orion
  • Genre: Historical fantasy

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Normally, I would give a little bit of a synopsis before I go into a review and my thoughts on a book, but in this case I believe it is the best to go into the book knowing the very minimum, so I will leave you with the Goodreads synopsis.

I must admit, what attracted me to the book first and foremost was the cover – it is S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G! It’s definitely one of the prettiest books I’ve ever seen. It definitely pushed me to read the synopsis and request it on NetGalley. Let’s just say, I wasn’t disappointed.

PLOT

Once again, I’ll be very vague here. As you know, the book revolves around January and a book full of stories about magical doors leading to different worlds. Comparisons between Ten Thousand Doors and The Wayward Children series were made by many already, and although I’ve only read the first book in the latter – I definitely agree.

The pacing of this book is fantastic. The plot moves smoothly and steadily, alternating between January’s story and the one she is reading in her book, making it very easy to get immersed in it. It’s exciting, magical and extremely atmospheric. The different perspectives really add to the narrative and let you figure some things out yourself (or at least it helped me figure them out), but it is definitely not predictable.

WORLD BUILDING/SETTING

Harrow created very vivid, yet somehow subtle, worlds within our own world, without paragraphs upon paragraphs of info dump. I think she’s a very skilled writer. Her settings are full of imagery – I could see clearly each and every one of them while reading – the ones set in our world, through those close enough, to the completely imaginary ones.

CHARACTERS

Multidimensional, with so many layers and personality traits and development throughout the story! Ten Thousand Doors is a real gem in this regard. I especially loved the main character, January, and how interesting, strong willed and determined she was. She encounters many struggles throughout the book as a POC and a woman in the 1900s, yet she doesn’t let them break her.

The relationships between the characters, the friendly, romantic and familial, were beautiful. Some of them heart warming, some gut wrenching, all absolutely perfect, I cannot stop raving about them, and it’s just a lot of blabber, so I’ll stop.

OVERALL

If I were to sum it up in a few sentences, I would say The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a magical and whimsical story of trying to find a place and people to belong with. It has great characters, beautiful writing and an interesting concept.

Now, for the rating:

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow gets:

Rating: 4 out of 5.

and a half. Docking half a star for a slow and somehow confusing start, which was entirely a fault of mine and my engagement with the book, and not the books’ itself.

A little aesthetic board I made, inspired by the book.

For fans of: Seanan McGuire and Laini Taylor

You can preorder the book here:

Amazon / Book Depository


Thanks for sticking around. I hope you found this review helpful or interesting (although I know it is rather vague and rambly). Until next time!