Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Ninth House (Alex Stern, #1) by Leigh Bardugo Review

This review contains some mild spoilers for Ninth House - no major plot or character spoilers are included. A list of trigger warnings can be found here.

You can read my reviews of other publications from Leigh Bardugo here: The Grisha Trilogy, Six of Crows, Crooked KingdomLittle KnifeThe TailorThe Witch of Duva, and The Too-Clever Fox.

When I first started reading this book, I was constantly confusing who the main characters were, since they have nicknames or go by their last names. Once I was able to orient myself into the plot after a few chapters, it was a lot easier to follow. Ninth House is very content heavy, so I found myself reading at a slower pace than I am usually reading it -- there is a lot going on all of the time, so I definitely suggest to take your time.

Reading about the trauma that Alex has gone through and comes to encounter, especially the bathroom flashback early on in the book, was heartbreaking. She constantly is trying to tell people what she is going through and what she sees, and it seems that no one will listen and those who do only use it against her or spread it like gossip. I could never imagine sending a child to one of those wilderness rehab programs for "troubled youth" like Alex's mother tried to do.

Darlington and Alex's relationship definitely starts off pretty rocky -- he expects her to do everything perfectly, and she has only been exposed to proper magic for a few weeks. He does not quite understand what she has been through and how she has lived her entire life seeing the Grays and basically being tortured by them for as long as she can remember. Alex is still discovering so much of the world that Darlington has been involved in for so long, but I appreciated the way that Bardugo is able to show the evolution of their relationship as they learn more about one another through flashbacks.

Dawes really is a mystery to Alex in a sense -- she is friendly, then turns cold, then agrees to help Alex but does a poor job of it. One third of the way into the book and I was still on the edge of deciding if I liked Dawes and if she was actually looking out for Alex. She did not let Alex know when Turner showed up at the medical examiner's office, even when Alex explicitly stated that she needed to give her a warning. She definitely grew on me as the book moves forward, and provides a lot of great back and forth with Alex.

I really enjoy seeing Darlington's past before coming to Yale and being a part of Lethe House -- watching him grow up and see his complicated relationship with his parents and his love for his grandfather put it in perspective to me of why he is the way he is. The way we see his development in flashbacks allows us to truly understand his character despite him not being actively present at Yale.

Alex may be spontaneous and make rapid decisions regarding dying and going to the underworld, but she is first and foremost a protector. We see her constantly trying to save and protect others throughout the book, whether they be dead or alive -- she fully embodies "girls protect girls" when it comes into play. Yes, she definitely does some questionable and perhaps unethical things, but she gets the job done at the end of the day. Her development as a character was fantastic, and we see her grow and expand into someone with so much more confidence than she started out with when she came to Yale.

The Bridegroom reminds me of Dorian Gray's portrait for some reason -- every time he shows up in a chapter, it has this haunting energy around him, from the way that he speaks to the way that he insists on particular things. He pops up in the most inconvenient times for Alex, yet also has a way of showing up in just the right moment.

Ninth House deals with a ton of world building and understanding the societies at Yale and what they specifically specialize in. Bardugo does an excellent job with character development and is able to clearly depict each character and the flaws they encompass. I definitely recommend this book to fans of An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson, The Wicker King by K. Ancrum, and Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor.

You can add Ninth House and Hell Bent on Goodreads now, as well as follow the author to stay up to date on releases and publications.

You can catch up with me and my current reads by friending me on Goodreads and following this blog, my Twitter, and my Instagram in order to stay up-to-date with any reviews, blog tours, and more!

Saturday, August 6, 2022

The Housemaid by Freida McFadden Review

This review does not contain spoilers for The Housemaid. Trigger warnings include domestic abuse, violence, and crime.

There are a ton of writing cliches littered throughout this book - even in the first chapter, we see a "I let out a breath I didn't even know I was holding" line from our main character, Millie.

I also Google Translated the Italian landscaper, Enzo, said to Millie, and it was obvious that our lead was in danger from the beginning. And it is clear that Millie thought just the same, and did just that as well. The second she realized that Enzo had told her "danger," she should have turned around and ran away from that family as fast as she could.

Nina and Cecelia freak me out -- Nina definitely keeps information from Millie and chooses what she knows. Keeping vital information from Millie and causing rifts early on in Millie's employment can only lead her down a dark road. The way that Nina interacts with Millie when they are in front of other people astounds me. Even if you are not too found of someone, I could never imagine talking about them right in front of their face and speaking so rudely to someone that you originally said was so amazing.

I found myself constantly feeling bad for Andrew during Part I of the book -- he clearly was not happy in his marriage with Nina and it become glaringly obvious as you get further into the book. However, in the second half of the book, my pity for him turned to suspicion, especially after the countless warnings Enzo gives Millie.

We have a change in perspective as Nina's point of view takes the lead in Part II of the book, where we are able to see the early stages of Nina and Andrew's relationship and marriage. It completely changed my stance on the characters, as we are introduced to the other side of the story we had only expected. Enzo's character development and Nina's background are given top priority in these chapters, and it was very interesting to see their dynamic play out.

Part III takes us back to Millie's perspective and shows the progression of her time in Nina and Andrew's house, and we also maintain a glimpse into Nina's perspective as the conclusion fast approaches. McFadden does a pretty good job of developing all three of the main characters and their personalities as the tone of the book shifts the more you read. Millie and Nine have their ultimate "girlboss" moments that were mildly unexpected, but certainly well-received.

In all honesty, when I was a few chapters in, I wasn't too sure if I was going to enjoy this as much as I did. The writing was a little iffy for me, but with the short chapters it became a very quick read and I found myself flying through the book in no time. The plot takes a moment to heat up and I had to push myself in the beginning to keep going, but I'm very glad that I stuck with it to the end.

I would recommend this book to fans of Verity by Colleen Hoover -- you can read my review, here -- and Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage, as well as fans of psychological thrillers. If you have not read the two mentioned books and enjoyed The Housemaid, then I definitely recommend picking them up!

You can add The Housemaid on Goodreads now, and follow the author to stay up to date on publications and releases.

You can catch up with me and my current reads by friending me on Goodreads and following this blog, my Twitter, and my Instagram in order to stay up-to-date with any reviews, blog tours, and more!

Thursday, August 4, 2022

When it Raynes (Frost Industries, #1) by Montana Fyre Review

This review does not contain spoilers for When it Raynes. A list of trigger warnings is available at the beginning of this book, as well as being listed on Goodreads.

I saw this book on TikTok through a single quote someone posted, and since I am a sucker for a good mafia romance book, I knew that I needed to read it. We have our main characters, Emerson and Rayne, who find themselves drawn together when Rayne comes to volunteer at the community center Emerson and her father run.

I cannot even say that I am surprised that not even four chapters in, we get a lovely description of Emerson with a messy bun and barely any makeup on -- I can hear the "not like other girls" chant from a mile away. Rayne stares at her like she is the first woman he has ever come in contact with and constantly is thinking how she does not have a choice about being in life, which is expected going into the book, he just sounds like a stalker when he thinks.

Immediately though I am forgetting about the way he thinks because I love a good protective trope and Rayne does not disappoint in this category. However, the way that he talks to Emerson literally has me cackling, because this grown man is literally speaking like he watched Fifty Shades of Grey and turned up the notch to 200%.

Rayne is super possessive of Emerson right off the bat, and we see him start to defend her and tell her what to do all within the very early chapters of the book. Whether it is confronting her ex-boyfriend or making calls for the youth center, he is heavily involved with her life as soon as he enters it.

For a girl $70,000 in debt because of her ex-boyfriend, she certainly should be taking Rayne up on his offer of giving her money, even if it is a few hundred dollars to cover what she would typically earn for the night at the club. It is certainly much better than the alternative of being at the hands of Angelo Russo and his creepy little friends.

Rayne really reminds me of an amped up Christian Grey, because a lot of the things he tells Emerson and the things that he buys her are incredibly similar to the Fifty Shades of Grey series, across the three books. Buying her clothes, wanting to be with her at events, and have everyone know that she is with are the basics when it comes to both male leads.

The amount of assault scenes in this book definitely threw me off -- I did not expect so many to happen. Some are described in more detail and graphically than others, but I have to say they will sneak up on you and to read the trigger warnings if you know if you need to. Did not love how Rayne was suggesting to have sex with Emerson after she was almost sexually assaulted.

Emerson is understandably hesitant to go along with the majority of things that Rayne asks her to do and asks of her -- she goes through so much during this book and for some reason Rayne does not seem to grasp that she has been through numerous traumatic experiences in a matter of days.

Towards the end of the book we see a lot of action and a lot of events taking place very quickly -- to no one's surprise, Emerson is in danger again and Rayne is losing his mind over it (understandably). There are a lot of twists and surprises in the last few chapters, some expected and some definitely giving shock value.

Overall, this is a decent read and kept me pretty entertained with the characters and storyline. There were times where scenarios and dialogue felt somewhat repetitive and I still feel as if we do not know much on Emerson and Rayne, especially Rayne's family. I would definitely recommend this to fans of Fifty Shades of Grey and dark mafia romance readers.

You can add When it Raynes and the rest of the series on Goodreads now, and follow the author to stay up to date on releases and publications.

You can catch up with me and my current reads by friending me on Goodreads and following this blog, my Twitter, and my Instagram in order to stay up-to-date with any reviews, blog tours, and more!

Sunday, July 31, 2022

Verity by Colleen Hoover Review

This review contains spoilers for Verity - please read with caution. Trigger warnings include graphic depictions of violence, child death and violence, and murder.

You can read my reviews for other Colleen Hoover books on my blog, here: It Ends With Us and Finding Cinderella.

I want to start off this review by saying this has to be one of Colleen Hoover's best works -- Verity is very different from her other novels, but the suspense of reading this book had me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend this book to fans of thriller and psychological genres, especially fans of Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Bunny by Mona Awad.

The first chapter of Verity does not even begin to describe the emotions and twists that you will be put through by the end of the book. Hoover starts us off by immediately having our main female character, Lowen, bear witness to a tragedy that she could have been spared from seeing if the circumstances were in her favor. This tragedy brings our main male character, Jeremy, into Lowen's life and his presence is not fleeting -- he is here to stay. If only I could yell into the pages and warn Lowen that any man with a "J" name is not to be trusted, she would not be in this mess.

Lowen, a writer whose books are being published but not hitting the charts, is brought to a meeting where she is offered the chance to finishing writing Verity Crawford's bestselling thriller series, as she has been in an accident that leaves her unable to do so. And because there are no coincidences in Hoover's books, Jeremy happens to be Verity's husband, aiding in the search for a co-author.

Jeremy and Lowen's first interaction with each other was Jeremy help clean blood off of Lowen and bond over the fact that they both had a death in the family very recently. And as soon as they have the opportunity, they leave each other's lives and are just as quickly thrown back in when Lowen decides to accept the offer of completing Verity's book series. Personally if I was Lowen, I would be running for the hills -- why does her writing sound so similar to Verity's? How did they discover this? 

Under a pen name, Lowen accepts the offer once negotiating the price, and travels to Jeremy and Verity's home in order to go through her office and notes to get herself sorted and in the mindset to complete the series. It is in her office that Lowen discovers a manuscript -- Verity's autobiography -- and begins a descent into unravelling who Verity was as a person before her accident, and what haunts this family. Lowen will read a chapter at a time, and if I was in her shoes, I would be devouring the entire manuscript instead of putting it away when she felt it became "repetitive," as this causes Lowen to only know part of Verity's side to the story as she continues to stay at the Crawford home. 

Verity's manuscript is filled with some of the most insane encounters and actions that I have read. She thinks about killing one of her daughters, Harper, because she thinks Harper will kill Chastin. The things that she did to Harper are insane, I have never read a book where a character had such a harsh reveal of their actions, and I was truly shocked.

In a home that does not feel like a home, Lowen begins to spend her time reading this manuscript rather than actually sorting through Verity's notes on her book series. We begin to Lowen judge Verity's actions and somewhat confront Verity once strange occurrences happen near Verity. I was on the edge of my seat when Crew, Jeremy and Verity's son, was found in Verity's room with a knife and bleeding from his chin -- especially when he told Lowen that his mother does not like it when he touches her knives. Like Lowen, if there was a sign to get out of that house, this would be it.

As I was reading this book, I was increasingly becoming paranoid that Verity was literally going to be standing behind me wherever I turned -- Hoover does a great job in creating her presence in the house and in Lowen's life. It felt as if Verity was haunting not only Lowen but the reader as well, almost like you could feel her presence when you were reading scenes where Lowen was sure that Verity was standing at the stairs or in the window. Every time it was mentioned that Verity was either awake or walking around, I could only picture Samara from The Ring movies.

This book had me on the edge of my seat and constantly looking over my shoulder as I devoured this in essentially one sitting. Hoover draws the reader immediately in and you are given new, wild information about Verity throughout the book at the pace of Lowen's interest in her manuscript. We see the outside view of Lowen and Jeremy's relationship through the eyes of April, Verity's nurse, and through Crew, the sole living child of Verity.

Much like how Verity's manuscript showed her obsession with Jeremy, we slowly see Lowen go deeper and deeper into a trace for Jeremy, and eventually Lowen seems to make her time at the Crawford house revolve around Verity and not completing her book series.

It was so incredibly interesting to see Verity's thought process through her manuscript pages and the constant struggles and battles she faced internally and with her family. Her husband expresses early on that he could potentially have more love for the twins than his own wife, and we see Verity's immediate struggle with the realization that the one person that was supposed to love her the most in her life has pushed her down to third place.

I personally thought it was clear that Verity's manuscript was leading to the fact that she knew that Jeremy thought that she had something to do with Harper's death -- even in the beginning of the book when it was revealed that she drowned in the lake, I had a feeling that it was very much not an accident. It is gripping to read Verity's chapters, and the final words in her manuscript only confirm what I had thought, that it was Verity who gave herself the fate she finds herself in now.

But then I read her letter.

Verity's letter to Jeremy reads so differently than her manuscript, feeling filled with more hopeful emotions and urgency to explain her side of the story and give reasoning behind what she wrote in her manuscript. To see her describe Jeremy already have read the manuscript and basically attempt to murder her had me gasping aloud. She is pleading with Jeremy to understand the manuscript and what she witnessed while being in the house as Lowen entered their home and eventually found the printed version of the manuscript Verity so desperately wanted to find.

This letter, explaining that she did not kill her child and that Jeremy was the one responsible for her car accident, makes the reader take a harsh turn into Verity's mindset -- we have only been exposed to her thoughts through a manuscript claiming that she has done a number of heinous things, and now we see her pleading to Jeremy to understand what he actually saw. When Lowen found the letter, I knew in my heart that there was no way Jeremy would ever read it or know it its existence -- he has just murdered his wife, and what would it do to him to find out that she was not the culprit? And what if Lowen is right, and Verity only wrote the letter recently, to cover her tracks or if she survived his attempt on her life? So, that leaves one final question on what to believe.

Are you team manuscript or team letter?

You can add Verity and the rest of Colleen Hoover's books on Goodreads now, and follow the author to stay up to date on releases and publications.

You can catch up with me and my current reads by friending me on Goodreads and following this blog, my Twitter, and my Instagram in order to stay up-to-date with any reviews, blog tours, and more!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The Summer I Gave Up Boys (Book 1) by Kassandra Kush Review

This is a spoiler-free review! This series also consists of Isaiah's Story (Book 2), an accompanying parallel novel to Kaliyah's story.

Kaliyah Simon and Isaiah Winters are in their third year of college when they find themselves sitting next to each other at the airport -- with quick banter and flirtatious rapport, we see a subtle enemies to lovers trope in the distance. Just as luck has it, not only do they reconnect at the airport, they are seated next to each other on the plane ride as well -- what could possibly come from this?

Scorned after her boyfriend cheats on her, Kaliyah has sworn off boys for the summer to focus on herself -- and reading five books a week. With her parents on a tour of Ohio for a month and a half, Kaliyah has the house and pool to herself and just wants to relax, but Isaiah has other plans.

Kaliyah definitely gives off very mild "not like other girls" vibes, with her neon nail polish and throwing her long hair into a messy bun before going on a run in the heat, but I tried not to hold it against her -- she did just find out that her boyfriend was cheating on her after all.

She is a little too relatable on the book-buying front -- my TBR pile also seems to be never-ending and yet I keep buying books to add right to the top. At some points, it is hard to tell what Kaliyah is actually like as a person, because we see her either in stolen basketball shorts belonging to her ex-boyfriend, sitting in the house by herself, or throwing a hug 21st birthday party where everyone who is everyone seems to be there. Her character just seems a little inconsistent in who she is and who her friends are.

A quick and fun read, this novella is great to set the mood for summer for some light beach reading or a palette cleanser between books. There are references to modern day music from the early 2000s/2010s that date when the story is taking place, but they aren't in an abundance that would drive you crazy. The story is fast-paced and we come to a definitive conclusion by the end, open to the possibilities of what the summer has created for Kaliyah and Isaiah.

This book is available for FREE on iBooks and other e-reader platforms. You can add The Summer I Gave Up Boys and Isaiah's Story on Goodreads now, and follow the author to stay up to date on releases and publications.

You can catch up with me and my current reads by friending me on Goodreads and following this blog, my Twitter, and my Instagram in order to stay up-to-date with any reviews, blog tours, and more!

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Finding Cinderella (Hopeless, #2.5) by Colleen Hoover Review

This review does not contain spoilers for Finding Cinderella. This novella accompanies the Hopeless series by Colleen Hoover, which includes Hopeless, Losing Hope, and Finding Perfect. You do not need to read Loosing Hope in order to reading Finding Cinderella - it is essentially Hopeless from Holder's perspective, with some additional information.

You can read my reviews of Colleen Hoover publications on my blog here: It Ends With Us.

I absolutely loved Hopeless, so I was so excited to see that Finding Cinderella was available to download for free! It has been some time since I read Hopeless, but I can vividly remember where I was when I read it - I definitely recommend looking at trigger warnings if needed for this series, as it may be difficult to read if you are not aware of particular plot devices.

In Finding Cinderella, we see Daniel and Six's early moments - how they met, what he thinks of her, and what is currently going on in his life when she quite literally falls into his lap. We are able to see his perspective on his current relationship and the hardships that he is going through when he finds this Cinderella that goes as quicks as she came in, then comes back rushing in.

It is great to see Daniel's thoughts during these encounters with Six, and watching him also begin to value his own being as he realizes that he shouldn't have to change into a different person in order to please anyone. We see the comparisons between Val and Six that he makes as he spends more time with Six and gets to know her, and are able to have a better understanding of who he is as an individual and as someone in a relationship.

Daniel and Six are complex characters, and it was great to dive into his perspective during these key moments. Hoover is able to show his internal battles while actively trying to do what is best for him as he learns more about Six and their budding relationship. It is a fantastic addition to the series and furthers the depth of Daniel's character.

This is a quick read, and adds to the story of Hopeless and Losing Hope. Colleen Hoover is able to build upon the characters and world that she has created in a way that doesn't seem overzealous or dragging out their story.

Finding Cinderella is available to download for FREE on iBooks and Amazon kindle devices/applications. You can add Finding Cinderella and the rest of the series on Goodreads now, and follow the author to stay up to date on releases and publications.

You can catch up with me and my current reads by friending me on Goodreads and following this blog in order to stay up-to-date with any reviews, blog tours, and more!

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Myracles in the Void (Myraverse, #1) by Wes Dyson Review + BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY


I would first like to thank Rockstar Book Tours for providing me with a copy of Myracles in the Void and having me be a part of the tour! I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the MYRACLES IN THE VOID by Wes Dyson Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway! 

"He used to say, 'a broken heart breaks all around it. Heal you, heal the world.'"

There once were two children,
a girl and a boy.
One could create,
the other, destroy.

Within every heart lies the power to bond or break.

On an isolated port of floating garbage called Hop, Gaiel Izz and his sister, Lynd, never imagined they’d be able to change anything…

Not their nasty neighbors, not their hungry bellies, and especially not their missing father.
That will change when they discover the power of myracles — magic that either creates or destroys.

As the brother and sister set across Esa to bring their family back together, this power will either unite them or shatter their entire world to pieces.

It will all come down to what truly lies within their hearts…

Create or destroy? 


Title: MYRACLES IN THE VOID (Myraverse #1)
Author: Wes Dyson
Pub. Date: April 22, 2022
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 334


This book immediately reminds me of the movie Waterworld (1995) in the opening chapter. Following Gaiel's quest to have his family to be together again, we are thrust into a world where there is nothing much left. Their homes are made of whatever can be used and transformed into useful items, and those around them are not as trustworthy as you would hope. 

Myracles in the Void is a relatively easy read, with world building that is not hard to follow once you have gotten in a few chapters. I do have to say that it does read more middle grade rather than young adult, which I was not expecting but it does not take away from the story if that was the mindset you were in when beginning to read. The sibling dynamic between Gaiel and Lynd is well-established and we are able to see their bond and how they interact with each other just how siblings argue and tease one another.

This is definitely a quick and easy read - you are able to read at a fast pace due to the dialogue that allows the characters to be in constant motion, and I did not find that the writing dragged on, but rather had a solid flow to the plot. You get to see both Lynd and Gaiel's point of views as they are separated from each other and experience their own journeys as they try to find their way back to each other and discover themselves.

It was interesting to see the world development between these characters, as they are on completely different journeys throughout the book. On one hand, we have Gaiel, who is searching for his sister, while continuing the search for his father, and on the other hand we have Lynd, whose memory of her life and family are gone and she learns about her abilities. With magic and adventure, these siblings must first discover something about themselves and make new acquaintances before they can find their way back to each other.

I would recommend this book to fans of Elora the Unknown - you can read my review here - and to those you enjoy more of an adventure genre, as well as books by Rick Riordan. It is definitely suitable for a younger audience as well, where readers as young as twelve should not have any trouble following along.

You can catch up with me and my current reads by friending me on Goodreads and following this blog, my Twitter, and my Instagram in order to stay up-to-date with any reviews, blog tours, and more!


Wes Dyson is a creative marketer and dog-daddy of four Pomskies living in Western MA. He loves classical music and earthy, grass-tasting tea.


1 winner will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card, International.

3 winners will receive an eBook of MYRACLES IN THE VOID, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Week One:
7/1/2022 BookHounds YA                                      Excerpt/IG Post
7/2/2022 @creepylilbookworm                               IG Spotlight

Week Two:
7/3/2022 Better_0ff_Read                                       IG & TikTok Spotlight
7/4/2022 Ya Books Central                                      Excerpt/IG Post
7/5/2022 @allyluvsbooksalatte                               IG Spotlight
7/6/2022 Pick A Good Book                                     Excerpt/IG Post
7/7/2022 #BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog    Excerpt
7/8/2022 For the Love of KidLit                               Excerpt
7/9/2022 thepaperworlds                                         Review/IG Post

Week Three:
7/10/2022    Lady Hawkeye                                         Excerpt/IG Post
7/11/2022    Two Chicks on Books                               Excerpt 
7/12/2022    Emmiepooh2                                           Review/IG Post
7/13/2022    Rajiv's Reviews                                       Review/IG Post
7/14/2022    Nagma | TakeALookAtMyBookshelf       IG Review
7/15/2022    Fire and Ice                                             Review
7/16/2022    @jaimerockstarbooktours                       IG Post

Week Four:
7/17/2022    Books a Plenty Book Reviews                 Review
7/18/2022    brittreadsalattebooks                               IG Spotlight
7/19/2022    The Page Ladies @jacleomik33              Review/IG Post
7/20/2022    Nerdophiles                                              Review/IG Post
7/21/2022    More Books Please blog                          Review/IG Post
7/22/2022    GryffindorBookishNerd                             Review/IG Post
7/23/2022    Lifestyle of Me                                           Review/IG Post

Week Five:
7/24/2022    @wraithreads                                           TikTok Review/IG Post
7/25/2022    rose.colored.books                                   Review/IG Post
7/26/2022    Books and Zebras                                     IG Review
7/27/2022    modefii                                                      Review/IG Post
7/28/2022    A Bookish Dream                                      Review/IG Post
7/29/2022    @enjoyingbooksagain                              Review/IG Post
7/30/2022    The Momma Spot                                     Review/IG Post

Week Six:
7/31/2022    Two Points of Interest                              Review