Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh


I’ve been looking forward to this book from the moment I saw it on my Netgalley email, and though sadly the publisher didn’t approve my request for an ARC (making me wait MONTHS until it came out) I finally got the chance to read it.

First of all, and I know I’m a broken record when it comes to reviews for this book, but the cover is amazing. Seriously, this is a book that deserves a forward-facing spot on the shelf.

Now for the story. I came into this book expecting death magic, dealing with addiction, and f/f romance. I got all three, in that order, 1/3 of the book each. I can’t ask for anything more. Expectations: fulfilled.

As someone who’s written a zombie book, I understand the logistics behind what it means to die and come back a monster. This book was definitely an interesting and unique take on the genre, seamlessly blending fantasy into it, and while it wasn’t how I would have done it (I’m a ‘better safe than sorry’ kind of person over this world’s ‘trust everyone to keep each other safe’ mindset) I do see how it could work.

I also loved the Deadlands, it reminded me of Los Lagos from Labyrinth Lost, and I hope we get to see more of it in the future. The twists of this book were pretty predictable, but I think the next one won’t be since we don’t have a bunch of imminent events from the description looming over our heads anymore.

I thought the addiction storyline was done amazing. I truly felt for Odessa, and it was the part of the book I thought was the best. I really liked Valoria, and for the longest time I thought that they’d get together. I liked Evander, but I didn’t understand why he went through the trouble of becoming a necromancer and have his mother hate him for doing it when he really wanted to be an explorer. And with Meredy, I couldn’t help seeing Merida from Brave,  because she looked like her, acted like her (with the archery), and had a bear. I think Jax was my favorite character. I’d love a book just about him.

Overall, I’m glad to have read it and I hope publishers pick up more books like this (*cough cough hint hint*). We need more queer fantasy out there! Oh, and look at this amazing gift I got from Sarah for pre-ordering!


Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones


I have…a lot of feelings about this book. I finished it yesterday and I still can’t figure out how to put it all into words.

Ok, I’ll try.

First of, the writing is WOW (I know, I’m a true wordsmith). This is the kind of lyrical, gorgeous prose that transports you into its world and characters. It reminded me a lot of Sara J. Maas’s ACOTAR, except with music instead of painting, and it was magical and beautiful and passionate. I loved absorbing every word of this book, wishing that I could write like that (while knowing that even 10,000 hours or 1,000,000 words of practice wouldn’t be enough). And the German feel of this book was so perfect, I couldn’t get enough of it. And the music – oh the music. I could relate so much to how music affects your soul. I sang opera as a child, shown off in Russian theaters and exhibitions, and music was my life for a long time. This brought back so many memories, and I loved it.

That brings us to the fact that it’s…pretty much ACOTAR (which I liked), but it ends before the grand finale. I’ve never seen Labyrinth, the movie the book is based on, but to me it screamed of Little Red Riding Hood (which I’m sure was intended). Here we get an incredible beginning, and haunting and heartbreaking follow up, and then it kind of just ends. Not even on a cliffhanger. I know there’s a book 2 that’s supposed to be the sequel, and I get where it’s going, but I really wanted there to be something to get me excited for book 2, and the ending of book 1 wasn’t it. However, the book 2 preview? Got me hooked like a fish on a reel.

Now there was one thing that bothered me: the word plain used to describe the MC’s looks. And it was used over, and over, and over. WTF is that even supposed to mean? No one is ‘just plain’. You know what’s plain? A white wall. You know what’s not plain? Literally any person ever. Go to Google images and search ‘plain girl’ and you’ll get what I mean. This is how I began picturing Liesl because I kept getting a word that made no sense to describe her:


Plain -could- mean a lot of things. Plain could mean not wearing makeup or adornments, sure. Plain could be ordinary, sure. But here, plain was something only Liesl had. Something she thought made her worthless. Apparently, every other girl in her village was something else, while she was plain. Any teenage girl reading this book could think it’s her, and this is the worst kind of image to portray (especially since NOT every girl is a music savant). I get that the message is ‘beauty is on the inside’ but it didn’t have to be so critical of anyone who is not absolutely gorgeous. Ok, rant done.

Overall, I did enjoy this story and I LOVED the prose. I’ll be picking up book 2 eventually, mostly to see what happens to Liesl’s brother. He was the best character in the book and I can’t wait to find out what happened with him. I would recommend it to readers who love the edgy upper-YA fairy tales like ACOTAR with a slight twist.

Thanks to NetGalley for giving me a chance to read and review this book.

Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh


The amount of research that must have gone into this book is insane. If I thought researching 18th century Austria was a chore, the reclusive Isle of Man, with its own language, dialect, traditions, and every day life seems impossible.

The story itself was a haunting fairy-tale style book. I loved that the characters acted their age and had parents to keep them that way. Most YA books forgo the parents (of which I’m guilty as a YA author as well) to give their characters more freedom, but this book broke that trope and did it very well.

The book kept the tension really high throughout the whole thing. Yes, there’s insta-love and a love triangle and deus ex machina, but the story flowed so well it wasn’t dominated by it. You never know who is safe.

This author’s way of bringing me into another world seriously shocked me. I can’t wait to read her next book, Reign of the Fallen, that comes out in a few weeks (can we say pre-ordered?). It has an f/f romance as well, so YES PLEASE. The world needs more f/f YA fantasy!

Overall, I enjoyed reading it and was lost in how real the world was, even with its monsters and eerie happenings. I do think it was aimed at the younger YA audience, but it did a perfect job at portraying a dark fairy tale.

Midnight Jewel by Richelle Mead


I really enjoyed the Glittering Court, and I thought the idea of a parallel story that takes place at the same time but with a different girl (especially Mira!) sounded really interesting.

I was not disappointed.

While it flew through everything prior to their arrival in Aldoria, once she was there I loved how her character developed. I loved the moral dilemmas and the pirates and the spying. Honestly, I loved it all!

And what a beautiful cover! WAY better than book one, where the girl looks really creepy. I can’t wait for book 3! Tamsin’s story is now even more fascinating. The release can’t come soon enough.

Royal Replicas by Michael Pierce


The Selection gets a sci-fi makeover in Royal Replicas. Basically, a dying princess is cloned and the clones are sent to each section of the country to be raised by a high standing family. Once of marrying age, they are brought back to the palace to complete for a neighboring prince’s heart. The one he picks becomes his wife, and the rest…well, it’s not hard to figure out where this is going.

This type of book is 100% a guilty pleasure. I can’t help but enjoy them, just like arranged marriage turned love scenarios. I didn’t go into this book expecting anything mind blowing, and I wasn’t disappointed. It was pretty much what I expected, aside from a few hick-ups that bothered me (like for the second half of the book, the MC totally forgets she has a second sister…).

Overall, I enjoyed it, but I won’t be picking up more of the series. Too many books on my to-read shelf. That cover though – so pretty! Though book two’s cover is a bit more…ahem…adult.


It looks like a BDSM romance (or porn). o_0

A Million Times Goodnight by Kristina McBride


So I really don’t read contemporary, but I met Kristina at a bookstore event where we were doing an author panel together, and her description of this book hooked me. Unfortunately she didn’t have any there so I didn’t get a signed copy, but I got the Kindle version the moment I got home.

Here’s what happens: Hadley steals her boyfriend’s car to go for a drive, only to find out he’s so pissed, he put a nude picture of her up on Facebook. Hadley has two choices: go back to the party she left him at and face everyone, or keep the car and leave as payback.

So what does she do?

The answer is both.

This book goes, chapter by chapter, into two different timelines. The first one is the story of her returning the car, and the second is her driving away and not looking back.

And it’s so freaking cool.

I seriously loved how we find out little details from each storyline that coincide with the big picture. Pieces of information that pull everything together, even though the characters don’t realize it. And I loved the ending. It couldn’t have been more perfect for this story.

I’m so glad I picked this up, and I think anyone reading YA who’s looking for a totally cool experience would enjoy this book.

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney


Huh. So apparently this is an old book (1991) that was recently reprinted. I saw it on Bookbub and the description made me curious. A girl finds out she may have been kidnapped from a milk carton photo? Sounds like a horror movie in the making.

Except it wasn’t. Every time the story could have taken a very dark turn, it went the opposite direction. Every time I thought I knew what was about to happen, I didn’t. Aside from the allusions to teen sex, it was very innocuous. Which was both a relief and a letdown.

I’m happy it was a short book, an in-between read that you can finish in a matter or hours. A safe but interesting plot. Worth the time and the wondering of what-ifs afterwards. I enjoyed it, but I’m ready for something a bit more heavy. Maybe it’s time for some real horror.