In Nightfall by Suzanne Young #bookreview #YA #paranormal #vampires

In the quaint town of Nightfall, Oregon, it isn’t the dark you should be afraid of—it’s the girls. The Lost Boys meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer in this propulsive novel from the New York Times bestselling author of The Treatment.

Theo and her brother, Marco, threw the biggest party of the year. And got caught. Their punishment? Leave Arizona to spend the summer with their grandmother in the rainy beachside town of Nightfall, Oregon—population 846 souls.

The small town is cute, when it’s not raining, but their grandmother is superstitious and strangely antisocial. Upon their arrival she lays out the one house rule: always be home before dark. But Theo and Marco are determined to make the most of their summer, and on their first day they meet the enigmatic Minnow and her friends. Beautiful and charismatic, the girls have a magnetic pull that Theo and her brother can’t resist.

But Minnow and her friends are far from what they appear. And that one rule? Theo quickly realizes she should have listened to her grandmother. Because after dark, something emerges in Nightfall. And it doesn’t plan to let her leave. 

Comp titles of The Lost Boys and Buffy the Vampire Slayer? A thousand times yes I wanted to read this book!

If you’re a fan of The Lost Boys, this is a must read. Some reviewers even classify it as a gender-swapped version. Theo and her brother, Marco, travel to Nightfall, Oregon with their newly divorced father to spend the summer. He grew up there, and they’ll be staying with his mother, the grandmother Theo and Marco have never met. Neither are happy to be spending the summer away from their friends, but it’s not long before they meet other teens their age in town.

But strange things are afoot in the town of Nightfall. Their new friends are unusually attractive and charismatic. Streets are abandoned by sundown. Disappearances are common occurences. Theo feels unsettled, but meets Parrish, a cute guy who distracts her from those feelings. Marco is immediately infatuated with Minnow and falls in with her group.

The sibling relationship between Theo and Marco feels very genuine with the way they take jabs at each other. But they’re also very close and protective of each other. With her creepy doll collection, unusual plants in the garden, and tiny, smelly stick dolls she continually places in their rooms, they think grandmother Nonna is a little weird. But don’t mess with her – she’s a badass, and I loved her. If the author wrote a prequel about Nonna, I’d totally read it.

This is an atmospheric, fun story I read in a couple sittings. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was made into a movie. My advice is to cue up The Lost Boys soundtrack, then dive into this book and enjoy.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

A Long Stretch of Bad Days by Mindy McGinnis #bookreview #YA #mystery #TuesdayBookBlog

Lydia Chass doesn’t mind living in a small town; she just doesn’t want to die in one. A lifetime of hard work has put her on track to attend a prestigious journalism program and leave Henley behind—until a school error leaves her a credit short of graduating. Undeterred, Lydia has a plan to earn that credit: transform her listener-friendly local history podcast into a truth-telling exposé. She’ll investigate the Long Stretch of Bad Days: a week when Henley was hit by a tornado and a flash flood as well as its first—and only—murder, which remains unsolved.

But Lydia needs help to bring grit to the show. Bristal Jamison has a bad reputation and a foul mouth, but she also needs a credit to graduate. The unexpected partnership brings together the Chass family—a pillar of the community—and the rough-and-tumble Jamisons, with Bristal hoping to be the first in her family to graduate. Together, they dig into the town’s worst week, determined to solve the murder.

Their investigation unearths buried secrets: a hidden town brothel, lost family treasure, and a teen girl who disappeared. But the past is never far, and some don’t want it to see the light. As threats escalate, the girls have to uncover the truth before the dark history of Henley catches up with them.

This gripping mystery from award-winning author Mindy McGinnis shows the power of a name and one lie and how two girls can use their voices to change a town forever.

Another win for McGinnis. I’m convinced she’s incapable of writing a bad book.

From childhood, Lydia had her life planned – a prestigious journalism program, preferably at an Ivy League school – and she’s been building her application for years. After learning she’s a credit short of graduating (drunken school counselor error), she’s allowed to use her local history podcast to fill the requirement. Bristal Jamison, from the other side of the tracks, is also short a credit, and Lydia invites Bristal to join her in the podcast. Lydia leads a privileged life and is profoundly unaware not everyone’s consists of sunshine and roses. Bristal’s family reputation is less than stellar, and she’s used to people assuming the worst about her (okay, some things might be true, but no, she’s not pregnant). Lydia’s blinders falling off makes for a fantastic character arc.

As the girls research and investigate the week their town was hit by a tornado, flash flood, and the discovery of the first ever murder victim, inconsistencies are uncovered. Then the threats begin – comments on their podcast, a brick thrown through a window, and a fire on the front lawn. Small towns always seem to have deeply buried secrets – and the surprising twist at the end confirms it.

This is a compelling mystery, but it’s also filled with humor and snark. Bristal steals every scene she’s in, and her podcasts are hilarious. As the story unfolds, Lydia’s layers are revealed – and she may not be the perfect student everyone believes.

If you enjoy cold cases, small town secrets, and mysteries combined with snark and humor, add this one to your list.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Blood Debts by Terry J. Benton-Walker #bookreview #YA #urbanfantasy

Thirty years ago, a young woman was murdered, a family was lynched, and New Orleans saw the greatest magical massacre in its history. In the days that followed, a throne was stolen from a queen.

On the anniversary of these brutal events, Clement and Cristina Trudeau—the sixteen-year-old twin heirs to the powerful, magical, dethroned family—are mourning their father and caring for their sick mother. Until, by chance, they discover their mother isn’t sick—she’s cursed. Cursed by someone on the very magic council their family used to rule. Someone who will come for them next.

Cristina, once a talented and dedicated practitioner of Generational magic, has given up magic for good. An ancient spell is what killed their father and she was the one who cast it. For Clement, magic is his lifeline. A distraction from his anger and pain. Even better than the random guys he hooks up with.

Cristina and Clement used to be each other’s most trusted confidant and friend, now they barely speak. But if they have any hope of discovering who is coming after their family, they’ll have to find a way to trust each other and their family’s magic, all while solving the decades-old murder that sparked the still-rising tensions between the city’s magical and non-magical communities. And if they don’t succeed, New Orleans may see another massacre. Or worse.

The intriguing title and that stunning cover first caught my attention. I was completely sold with an atmospheric New Orleans setting.

Speaking of that stunning cover – from its design I expected a historical fantasy. That’s not the case. The setting is modern day New Orleans thirty years after a magical massacre. With the anniversary of that massacre coming up, tensions are on the rise again between the magical and non-magical communities, with the latter group calling for regulations.

Clem and Cris are the twin heir grandchildren of the deceased queen whose throne was stolen. Rightfully, it should still belong to their family, and they believe their grandmother was falsely accused of murder and intend to set things right. Their numerous family members – their mother, her four sisters, and several cousins – are hiding secrets and holding onto grudges. Although warned to stay out of it and leave the adults to handle things, the twins nose around (we’re talking serious invasions of privacy) until they discover the truth.

The ups and downs of family dynamics are on display here – old grievances, secrets, misunderstandings, misplaced guilt. They may dislike each other, but the love is there. You just have to dig deep for it sometimes. The guilty party behind all this isn’t really a mystery. The plot is more of the reader watching the characters find the proof that’s been there all those years. With a family this large, the character roster is extensive, and several POVs are included.

The concept of generational magic is intriguing, and the cast of characters diverse. Some plot points are wrapped up by the end, but a few threads remain to carry into the sequel. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, magic and hexes, and dysfunctional (but loving in their own way) family dynamics, this may be the novel for you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

A Door in the Dark (Waxways #1) by Scott Reintgen #YA #fantasy #survival #bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog

One of Us is Lying meets A Deadly Education in this fantasy thriller that follows six teenage wizards as they fight to make it home alive after a malfunctioning spell leaves them stranded in the wilderness.

Ren Monroe has spent four years proving she’s one of the best wizards in her generation. But top marks at Balmerick University will mean nothing if she fails to get recruited into one of the major houses. Enter Theo Brood. If being rich were a sin, he’d already be halfway to hell. After a failed and disastrous party trick, fate has the two of them crossing paths at the public waxway portal the day before holidays—Theo’s punishment is to travel home with the scholarship kids. Which doesn’t sit well with any of them.

A fight breaks out. In the chaos, the portal spell malfunctions. All six students are snatched from the safety of the school’s campus and set down in the middle of nowhere. And one of them is dead on arrival.

If anyone can get them through the punishing wilderness with limited magical reserves it’s Ren. She’s been in survival mode her entire life. But no magic could prepare her for the tangled secrets the rest of the group is harboring, or for what’s following them through the dark woods… 

I loved the way the prologue opens with the consequences of a spell gone wrong. That style of writing always makes me want to know how the characters got from point A to point B.

This story is many things – and I like that. It begins with students who are on the verge of graduation and are interviewing for jobs. Soon it turns into a kind of locked room murder, then a survival story, all set against a background of magic. Ren is a scholarship student at Balmerick University. She’s worked hard over the past four years and is now at the top of her class with exemplary grades – but she watches on the sidelines as mediocre students in her graduating class are placed in top houses while she still waits for her first interview. Ren may have the intelligence and talent, but when it comes to social interactions she tends to come across as superior – kind of a “know-it-all”.

On the last day of school before break, Ren, her best friend, two other scholarship students, and two students from wealthy houses board a travel portal. When a spell malfunctions, five of them are left stranded in the wilderness – and one of them is already dead. The remaining five distinctive characters then struggle to survive as they make their way home while trying to keep ahead of what’s chasing them. Not all of them make it. They’re not equipped with many supplies but can rely on their magic. I liked the magic system – each character has a limited amount. It’s very clear that it’s distributed unevenly between the upper and lower classes.

Ren wasn’t my favorite person throughout most of the story. She’s the kind of person you might roll your eyes at during class when she corrects other students. Throughout the story, she hints several times at a secret she carries. When the twist at the end reveals it, Ren immediately became a more intriguing character to me. I’m interested to see how this plays out in the sequel.

This is an exciting, tense read with an unusual blend of fantasy, a murder mystery, and survival story, and I’d recommend it to fans of those genres. The sequel is absolutely going on my list of anticipated reads.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Missing Clarissa by Ripley Jones #bookreview #mystery #YA

In a gripping novel perfect for fans of Sadie and A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, two best friends start a true crime podcast—only to realize they may have helped a killer in the process.

In August of 1999, dazzlingly popular cheerleader Clarissa Campbell disappears from a party in the woods outside the rural town of Oreville, Washington and is never seen again. The police question her friends, teachers, and the adults who knew her—who all have something to hide. And thanks to Clarissa’s beauty, the mystery captures the attention of the nation. But with no leads and no body, the case soon grows cold. Despite the efforts of internet sleuths and true-crime aficionados, Clarissa is never found—dead or alive.

Over twenty years later, Oreville high-school juniors and best friends Blair and Cameron start a true crime podcast, determined to unravel the story of what—or who—happened to this rural urban legend. In the process they uncover a nest of dirty small-town secrets, the sordid truth of Clarissa’s relationship with her charismatic boyfriend, and a high school art teacher turned small-town figurehead who had a very good reason for wanting Clarissa dead. Such a good reason, in fact, that they might have to make him the highlight of their next episode…

But does an ugly history with a missing girl make him guilty of murder? Or are two teenage girls about to destroy the life of an innocent man—and help the true killer walk free?

Sometimes a good whodunit novel just hits the spot. In Missing Clarissa two teens set out to solve a twenty year old cold case.

I enjoyed the true crime podcast aspect of this story. I’ve never listened to them, but I know they’re incredibly popular, and I have several friends who’ve listened to numerous ones featuring true crime. Blair and Cam decide to host a podcast of a twenty year old murder/disappearance of a teen from their high school for a journalism class assignment. Although she’s a talented writer and dreams of being an author, Blair suffers from a serious lack of self esteem. Seeing her come into her own by the end of the story is a treat. Cam is incredibly intelligent and driven, but is also headstrong and immature at times. Their friendship is strong, but it’s not without its clashes and challenges.

As Cam and Blair delve into the disappearance of Clarissa, there’s no shortage of suspects – but I guessed the culprit the second their name was mentioned. They also discover there was more to Clarissa than just the dazzlingly popular cheerleader everyone believed her to be. A bit of suspension of disbelief is required that two high school students could solve a case that perplexed authorities for two decades, but it was fun to watch.

At a little over two hundred fifty pages, this is a short read with a brisk pace and can easily be read in one to two sittings. The mystery isn’t difficult to figure out, but it’s still an entertaining read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Last Drive by John W. Howell #bookreview #thriller #history #supernatural

In the sequel to Eternal Road – The final stop, Sam and James are reunited to look for two souls, Ryan and Eddie. Ryan was killed in Afghanistan, trying to avoid a schoolyard with his crippled plane. Eddie Rickenbacker, Ryan’s hero, is to guide Ryan to his Eternal Home, and now both are missing.

The higher-ups believe that there has been some interference in Ryan and Eddie’s journey by Lucifer, so Sam and James have the task of finding Ryan and Eddie to get them back on the road despite the evil interference. Unfortunately, the machinations designed to prevent Ryan and Eddy from completing their journey take the pair to horrifying testing grounds. The places visited represent the best work of the Devil. They are the trenches of World War I in France, gladiators at the Roman Coliseum, the sinking Titanic in 1912, Hiroshima 45 minutes before the bomb, and the Auschwitz concentration camp in 1943.

This book is for you if you like plenty of action, strong characters, time travel, and a touch of spiritual and historical fiction. So, join Sam and James as they try to find the missing souls while staying one step ahead of the Prince of Darkness, who is determined to destroy all that is good.

I was so excited when I heard the author was releasing a sequel to Eternal Road. That novel features an incredible journey with deceased characters Sam and James as they search for James’s eternal home. One of my favorite things is the historical places they visited along the way. I was anxious to see where they’d stop in this novel.

It felt like the gang was reunited when Sam and James brought out the 1956 Buick Oldsmobile. This time they’re on a quest to locate two souls, Ryan and Eddie. And it looks as if Lucifer might be involved in their disappearances. Lucifer provided some comedic moments in the last novel. Not this time. Now he’s downright mean and nasty (I mean, he is Lucifer) and makes horribly nasty comments to the characters – especially Sam. Sam endures a lot in this story, but she’s strong and also able to dish it out. She’s really the star, in my opinion.

The group visits several places over the course of the novel, but most represent Lucifer’s work – World War I, the Roman Coliseum, Hiroshima, and Flight 93 to name a few. I’ve always been fascinated by anything involving the Titanic. When the characters arrive on board, some want to warn the captain about what’s in store for them but changing history is against the rules. What they’re able to offer the passengers and crew is heartfelt and touching.

Real life historical events play out wherever these characters find themselves, and it’s clear the author did his research. The Last Drive ends perfectly, and I was happy for the glimpse at what becomes of these characters. If you enjoy a clever blend of history and supernatural genres, this is a series to add to your reading list.

Antimatter Blues (Mickey7 #2) by Edward Ashton #bookreview #scifi #geneticengineering #TuesdayBookBlog

Edward Ashton’s Antimatter Blues is the thrilling follow up to Mickey7 in which an expendable heads out to explore new terrain for human habitation.

Summer has come to Niflheim. The lichens are growing, the six-winged bat-things are chirping, and much to his own surprise, Mickey Barnes is still alive—that last part thanks almost entirely to the fact that Commander Marshall believes that the colony’s creeper neighbors are holding an antimatter bomb, and that Mickey is the only one who’s keeping them from using it. Mickey’s just another colonist now. Instead of cleaning out the reactor core, he spends his time these days cleaning out the rabbit hutches. It’s not a bad life.

It’s not going to last.

It may be sunny now, but winter is coming. The antimatter that fuels the colony is running low, and Marshall wants his bomb back. If Mickey agrees to retrieve it, he’ll be giving up the only thing that’s kept his head off of the chopping block. If he refuses, he might doom the entire colony. Meanwhile, the creepers have their own worries, and they’re not going to surrender the bomb without getting something in return. Once again, Mickey finds the fate of two species resting in his hands. If something goes wrong this time, though, he won’t be coming back. 

I really didn’t expect a sequel to Mickey7, so when the publisher sent me a NetGalley widget for this novel, I was ecstatic.

Mickey is such a likeable guy. He may not be the smartest person in the room, but he’s witty, logical, brave, and kind. Overall, a good guy to have around. A couple years have passed since the colonists arrived at Niflheim. Mickey’s days as an expendable are over, and he now spends his time working with the rabbits and cleaning their hutches. His relationship status with Commander Marshall is still combative, but Mickey never expected them to be BFFs.

The colonists and creepers coexist, but when the antimatter that fuels the colony runs low, Mickey is sent to retrieve the other antimatter bomb Commander Marshall believes the creepers possess. He’s not aware that Mickey kind of lied about the whereabouts of the bomb. Instead, he used it to leverage himself out of the expendable job and actually hid it under a pile of rocks. But there’s a problem – it’s missing. Deals and promises are made, a new species comes into play, and not everyone survives this mission. The survival of the colony depends on MIckey.

This novel immediately engaged me, and I finished it in a couple sittings. I recently read a Mickey7 movie is in the works (Robert Pattinson as Mickey), and it’s on my must see list. If you’re a fan of sci-fi blended with humor, don’t miss this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Jump by Brittney Morris #bookreview #YA #contemporary #adventure

From the acclaimed author of SLAY and The Cost of Knowing comes an action-driven, high-octane novel about a group of working-class teens in Seattle who join a dangerous scavenger hunt with a prize that can save their families and community.

Influence is power. Power creates change. And change is exactly what Team Jericho needs.

Jax, Yas, Spider, and Han are the four cornerstones of Team Jericho, the best scavenger hunting team in all of Seattle. Each has their own specialty: Jax, the puzzler; Yas, the parkourist; Spider, the hacker; and Han, the cartographer. But now with an oil refinery being built right in their backyard, each also has their own problems. Their families are at risk of losing their jobs, their communities, and their homes.

So when The Order, a mysterious vigilante organization, hijacks the scavenger hunting forum and concocts a puzzle of its own, promising a reward of influence, Team Jericho sees it as the chance of a lifetime. If they win this game, they could change their families’ fates and save the city they love so much. But with an opposing team hot on their heels, it’s going to take more than street smarts to outwit their rivals.

I’ve read and enjoyed two previous books by this author, so it was a no-brainer to request her newest release from NetGalley.

Team Jericho has been together for several years as a scavenger hunting team. They’re very good at what they do, and each member brings a specific skill to the table. Being a fan of puzzles, I really enjoyed that aspect of the story and watching the characters work together to figure them out. The characters are very distinct and diverse (this is only the second book I’ve read with a nonverbal character), which makes the multiple POV chapters easy to keep up with.

Each of these characters’ families are threatened in some way by the new oil refinery, so winning this competition that promises power is important to them. The plot moves along at a brisk pace as the characters race from one clue to another – try to keep up. As with all this author’s books, several important and timely issues are tackled – gentrification and racism to name a couple in this one.

While I enjoyed the scavenger hunt and challenging clues (which would be difficult to solve unless you’re very familiar with Seattle), I wasn’t feeling the strong bond of friendship between these teens. They’ve been friends for several years and have gone through a lot, but those bonds seem flimsy at some points. The ending is exciting and chaotic, but a little over the top. Reviews seem to be split on this.

If you’re a fan of cryptology and enjoy fast-paced, quick reads (with a super cool cover), The Jump checks those boxes.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Wicked Bargain by Gabe Cole Novoa #bookreview #YA #fantasy #pirates #LGBTQ #TuesdayBookBlog

El Diablo is in the details in this Latinx pirate fantasy starring a transmasculine nonbinary teen with a mission of revenge, redemption, and revolution.

On Mar León-de la Rosa’s 16th birthday, el Diablo comes calling. Mar is a transmasculine nonbinary teen pirate hiding a magical ability to manipulate fire and ice. But their magic isn’t enough to reverse a wicked bargain made by their father and now el Diablo has come to collect his payment: the soul of Mar’s father and the entire crew of their ship.

When Mar is miraculously rescued by the sole remaining pirate crew in the Caribbean, el Diablo returns to give them a choice: give up your soul to save your father by the Harvest Moon or never see him again. The task is impossible–Mar refuses to make a bargain and there’s no way their magic is any match for el Diablo. Then, Mar finds the most unlikely allies: Bas, an infuriatingly arrogant and handsome pirate — and the captain’s son; and Dami, a genderfluid demonio whose motives are never quite clear. For the first time in their life, Mar may have the courage to use their magic. It could be their only redemption — or it could mean certain death. 

I love a good pirate story. Throw in some magic, deals with the devil, adventure on the high seas and you’ve got yourself a thrilling read.

Mar is such an easy character to root for. They possess powerful magic and struggle to control it, but after accidentally hurting people several years ago, they consider themselves a monster. Despite Mar’s power, they’re unable to save their father and crew when the devil comes to collect payment for a deal Mar’s father made years ago. Subsequently, Mar loses their entire family, but when they’re rescued by the last remaining pirate ship in the Caribbean, Mar has the opportunity to join another one. Found family is my favorite trope, so the emphasis on that aspect made me happy.

The crew from Mar’s ship are gone, but el Diablo holds Mar’s father in a kind of limbo. He gives Mar two moons to save their father – if Mar accepts a bargain from el Diablo. They refuse, but Mar is still determined to find a way to save Papa. Demonio Dami offers to help Mar, but also has an agenda of their own. Throughout the story, there’s a brewing romance between Mar and Bas, the captain’s son. It’s a sweet relationship, but I felt more vibes between Mar and Dami. It would have been interesting to explore.

The settings are so vivid and descriptive I felt like I was there on the ship and nearly needed to wipe salt water from my face. Pacing was a little slow for my taste at the beginning, but around 60% it took off, and I didn’t want to put down the book. The author’s note mentioned that while none of the pirates are real, they were loosely inspired by real-life Latinx pirates, a detail I thought added a degree of authenticity.

Pirates, a narcissistic demon, el Diablo, magic – they all form a perfect storm of an adventurous read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#BookTour: Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken #YA #fantasy #TBRBeyondTours

Book Info:

Silver in the Bone by Alexandra Bracken

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publishing Date: April 4, 2023


#1 New York Times bestselling author Alexandra Bracken cements her status as one of the top fantasy authors writing today in this stunning series opener inspired by Arthurian legend and fueled by love, revenge, and pure adrenaline!

Tamsin Lark didn’t ask to be a Hollower. As a mortal with no magical talent, she was never meant to break into ancient crypts, or compete with sorceresses and Cunningfolk for the treasures inside. But after her thieving foster father disappeared without so much as a goodbye, it was the only way to keep herself—and her brother, Cabell—alive.

Ten years later, rumors are swirling that her guardian vanished with a powerful ring from Arthurian legend. A run-in with her rival Emrys ignites Tamsin’s hope that the ring could free Cabell from a curse that threatens both of them. But they aren’t the only ones who covet the ring.

As word spreads, greedy Hollowers start circling, and many would kill to have it for themselves. While Emrys is the last person Tamsin would choose to partner with, she needs all the help she can get to edge out her competitors in the race for the ring. Together, they dive headfirst into a vipers’ nest of dark magic, exposing a deadly secret with the power to awaken ghosts of the past and shatter her last hope of saving her brother. . . .

Content Warning: foster family dynamic, childhood abuse, mention of suicidal thoughts, self-harm, and gore/blood

My Review: 4 stars

I’m intrigued by anything related to Camelot, and when I saw this book was inspired by Arthurian legend and written by Bracken (I’ve read several of her other books) I knew I wanted to read it.

Tamsin didn’t start out as a likeable character. I wasn’t even sure we were going to get along. Yes, she’s suffered losses in her life, is overprotective of her brother, and understandably has strong abandonment issues considering her history. I think it came down to the way she puts up a barrier between herself and everyone else that rubbed me the wrong way. She says hurtful things to others before they can wound her first – which stems from everything she’s experienced in her life. Along the course of the story she undergoes changes which make her more palatable and a little less prickly, but I still preferred a couple of supporting characters over her.

The description hints at an enemies to lovers trope between Tamsin and Emrys. He loves a good game, puts up with Tamsin’s moodiness, and is brave, kind, and knowledgeable about plants – but he’s also dealing with more than it seems on the surface. Tamsin’s brother Cabell (there’s a lot to unpack there) and sorceress Neve are also strong supporting characters.

It took me a few chapters to get into this book, but once the characters arrive at Avalon pacing really picks up. The world-building is complex and a little overwhelming at first, but the author does a good job at weaving explanations into the plot as reminders. And that ending – wow. So. Much. Happens. Twists, betrayals, heavy guilt – readers will be clamoring for the next book. I know I am.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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About the Author:

Alexandra Bracken was born in Phoenix, Arizona. The daughter of a Star Wars collector, she grew up going to an endless string of Star Wars conventions and toy fairs, which helped spark her imagination and a deep love of reading. After graduating high school, she attended The College of William & Mary in Virginia, where she double majored in English and History. She sold her first book, Brightly Woven, as a senior in college, and later moved to New York City to work in children’s book publishing, first as an editorial assistant, then in marketing. After six years, she took the plunge and decided to write full time. She now lives in Arizona with her tiny pup, Tennyson, in a house that’s constantly overflowing with books. 

Alex is a #1 New York Times bestselling and USA TODAY bestselling author. Her work is available across the world in over 15 languages. 

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