• STAR RATING:  5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 512 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: May 2, 2023
  • PUBLISHER: Red Tower Books
  • WHAT SERIES? The Empyrean
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Death, Violence, War
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten, and The Serpent and the Wings of Night by Carissa Broadbent


Enter the brutal and elite world of a war college for dragon riders from USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Yarros

Twenty-year-old Violet Sorrengail was supposed to enter the Scribe Quadrant, living a quiet life among books and history. Now, the commanding general—also known as her tough-as-talons mother—has ordered Violet to join the hundreds of candidates striving to become the elite of Navarre: dragon riders.

But when you’re smaller than everyone else and your body is brittle, death is only a heartbeat away…because dragons don’t bond to “fragile” humans. They incinerate them.

With fewer dragons willing to bond than cadets, most would kill Violet to better their own chances of success. The rest would kill her just for being her mother’s daughter—like Xaden Riorson, the most powerful and ruthless wingleader in the Riders Quadrant.

She’ll need every edge her wits can give her just to see the next sunrise.

Yet, with every day that passes, the war outside grows more deadly, the kingdom’s protective wards are failing, and the death toll continues to rise. Even worse, Violet begins to suspect leadership is hiding a terrible secret.

Friends, enemies, lovers. Everyone at Basgiath War College has an agenda—because once you enter, there are only two ways out: graduate or die.

By now, you’ve probably seen Fourth Wing all over the internet, being praised as the next big thing in fantasy romance. If you haven’t picked up the book yet, I’m willing to bet that you’ve either been interested, but a little apprehensive, or you’ve just plain rolled your eyes at the claims surrounding this book. Well, I’m here to tell you right now, that the claims are true. Fourth Wing is a fantastic fantasy romance, and one that I am going to be shouting about for awhile. Get used to it.

Fourth Wing is set in an extremely deadly war academy, where most of the students are training to become dragon riders. It sounds brutal, but that’s because it absolutely is. There are two options for the cadets in this academy — you either survive training and graduate, or you die. You can’t leave, you can’t drop out, you can’t give up. You keep going, or you die. Period. We see many many side characters die over the course of the novel. Yarros does not shy away from this, and I appreciated actually seeing the danger on page. Despite the sheer amount of death on page, Fourth Wing is so much fun. For those of you that love YA novels, this will feel familiar, but in a much more mature way. Our characters are all in their twenties, but they’re going to what is essentially a magic school. Some will argue that this is just a YA book with sex, but I thoroughly disagree. The themes, and maturity level here are much higher than that of YA book.

Our main character, Violet, starts out absolutely not wanting to be in the dragon rider cadets. She wanted to be a scribe, but her mother had other ideas. Violet is forced into the riding cadets, and that’s that. Unfortunately, she’s got a chronic illness that is deliberately kept vague — this worked for me, but I can see why some people would be frustrated that Yarros doesn’t go into more detail here. What we do know is that Violet’s bones are brittle, she’s smaller than everyone else, and that she’s almost constantly in pain. Why this works, in my opinion, is because Yarros herself has a chronic illness. Violet is not whiny. She does what she can, and tries to push herself, but there are a few times that she is forcibly stopped from hurting herself further. I liked Violet a great deal. She was incredibly determined, and did everything she needed to in order to compete. Violet is not a mary-sue in any capacity. She was not good at everything that was thrown at her. In fact, we see her fail more than once. This grounded her as a character, and made her infinitely easier to relate to.

MILD SPOILERS GOING FORWARD for romance: Now, as for Violet’s love interests we have two, because romance triangles are so interesting. (Okay, for real though, I do not see this as a triangle, because it becomes apparent very quickly into the book that Dain does not see Violet the way that Xaden does. Don’t get your undies in a twist, triangle-haters.) We have Dain, Violet’s childhood best friend. He’s a year ahead of her in training, and he is rigid in his rule following. He doesn’t do anything to help Violet if it could be considered even as bending a rule a bit. He is constantly telling Violet she can’t do something, that she’s unable, that she’s weak, etc. He does this in the mindset of trying to keep her safe, but it comes across as extremely condescending, and Violet catches on quick. I did not like Dain.

Opposite of him we have Xaden, who is the son of the man who tried to lead a rebellion against the empire/ruling people/whatever. What does matter is that Violet’s mom executed Xaden’s dad. Got it? Okay. There’s some angst there, obviously. Xaden is, of course, extremely powerful, extremely handsome, and extremely interesting. He’s the leader of her section of cadets, so he’s also a couple of years older than her. He sees Violet right away, and does rather a lot to help her, but in a sort of backhanded way. Xaden is fully okay with bending/twisting rules. He breaks them himself, after all. BUUUUT, the last thing I’ll say about the romance is this — if you like the way that Rhys and Feyre fell in love, than you will adore Violet and Xaden. They have the snippy, flirty, fighting sort of conversations that end with a looot sexual tension. SPEAKING OF THAT, there are at least two steamy scenes. They are well done, not extremely explicit, but there’s enough detail there that this bumps the book way out of YA range.


Now, quite obviously, Fourth Wing features dragons. We see three really up close, but there are quite a few dotting the pages. I do wish we learned more about them in this book, but what little we got definitely has me hooked. I don’t want to spoil anything that goes on here, but I really really liked the decisions that Yarros made here. There was an obvious choice that got subverted, and I am grateful for it.

In case my rambling above didn’t make it obvious enough, I really really loved Fourth Wing. It was refreshing, bright and new, and just perfect. I cannot wait to get my hands on Iron Flame, which is comes out in November. If you like fantasy romance, you will adore this book. Please pick it up soon!

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



  • STAR RATING:  3.5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 665 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: April 14, 2023
  • PUBLISHER: Self-published on KU
  • WHAT SERIES? Crowns of Nyaxia
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Serpent and the Wings of Night
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Five, I think, I saw somewhere?
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Blood, War, Slavery, Torture, Sexual content
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Love is a sacrifice at the altar of power.

In the wake of the Kejari, everything Oraya once thought to be true has been destroyed. A prisoner in her own kingdom, grieving the only family she ever had, and reeling from a gutting betrayal, she no longer even knows the truth of her own blood. She’s left only with one certainty: she cannot trust anyone, least of all Raihn.

The House of Night, too, is surrounded by enemies. Raihn’s own nobles are none too eager to accept a Turned king, especially one who was once a slave. And the House of Blood digs their claws into the kingdom, threatening to tear it apart from the inside.

When Raihn offers Oraya a secret alliance, taking the deal is her only chance at reclaiming her kingdom–and gaining her vengeance against the lover who betrayed her. But to do so, she’ll need to harness a devastating ancient power, intertwined with her father’s greatest secrets.

But with enemies closing in on all sides, nothing is as it seems. As she unravels her past and faces her future, Oraya finds herself forced to choose between the bloody reality of seizing power – and the devastating love that could be her downfall.

So one of my least favorite things about fantasy-romance books is when the main couple gets separated / fights and refuses to talk to one another. I had the avoidance, and I usually hate the plot-driven reason behind it. There are very few times that the author manages to stick the landing, and well…I guess my star rating will give you an idea how I felt about this one. Oraya and Raihn are furious with each other for like…half of this book? And when it’s supposed to be a romantasy, well…that kind of ruins the vibe. And in my personal opinion, Broadbent sort of fudges the ending on this one.

There’s a lot of vague handwaving at the end of The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King. There’s two armies coming to clash against one another — they’re fighting for the kingdom, and who wears the crown. The violence is extraordinary. It’s bloody. It’s gruesome. But man after a certain thing happens that I will not be spoiling… the fighting just…sort of…disappears? Yeah. Mid-huge battle…it just stops. I refuse to believe that was ‘accurate’, but whatever. When it comes to the very end, I can happily provide you with answer to one question — Does it end happily? I can say that yes, yes it does. But how they get there was…rough.

I really loved The Serpent and the Wings of Night but there’s a helluva lot more political crap in The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King. (Also why are the titles so LONG?!) I’m not a huge fan of political stuff unless it’s court intrigue and there’s none of that here. It’s all who is allying with who, who hates who, who wants the other one to rule. Blah. Not my thing. It got boring very quickly — even with all the fighting going on.

As for character development — there’s a lot of it. A lot of it works, but there’s a bunch that just sort of happens, and it feels fake. I did like where Broadbent went with Oraya (We learn way more about her origins, parents, and who she really is), but it took too long to get there. This book is chunky, but I don’t really think it needed to be. I think some things could have been avoided entirely, while others really needed to be stretched out a little. Eh personal preference, I suppose.

The romance really doesn’t come back until close to 60% of the way through the book. That was way too long for me. The relationship was the reason I loved the first book, and there’s so little of it here. There’s at least two steamy scenes. Good ones. But really the romance kind of got shoved to the side in this one, in ways that I really wasn’t a fan of.

Overall, I’m giving this one three and a half stars. It could have been so much better.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 532 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: August 30, 2022
  • PUBLISHER: Self-published on KU
  • WHAT SERIES? Crowns of Nyaxia
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? The Serpent and the Wings of Night
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? Five, I think, I saw somewhere?
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Violence, Blood, Death, Mentions of Rape, Torture, Sexual assault
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins


Human or vampire, the rules of survival are the same: never trust, never yield, and always – always – guard your heart.

The adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, Oraya carved her place in a world designed to kill her. Her only chance to become something more than prey is entering the Kejari: a legendary tournament held by the goddess of death herself.

But winning won’t be easy amongst the most vicious warriors from all three vampire houses. To survive, Oraya is forced to make an alliance with a mysterious rival.

Everything about Raihn is dangerous. He is a ruthless vampire, an efficient killer, an enemy to her father’s crown… and her greatest competition. Yet, what terrifies Oraya most of all is that she finds herself oddly drawn to him.

But there’s no room for compassion in the Kejari. War for the House of Night brews, shattering everything that Oraya thought she knew about her home. And Raihn may understand her more than anyone – but their blossoming attraction could be her downfall, in a kingdom where nothing is more deadly than love.

The Serpent and the Wings of Night is the first book in a new series of heart-wrenching romance, dark magic, and bloodthirsty intrigue, perfect for fans of From Blood and Ash and A Court of Thorns and Roses.

The Serpent and the Wings of Night is everywhere you look these days, especially if you frequent romance book friendly places. Tiktok, in particular, is all but enamored with this book. That wasn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, for me, as TikTok doesn’t exactly have a great track record with recommending books. BUT then I saw a few friends pick this book up and enjoy it. Like, thoroughly enjoy it. That was what got my attention. I had tried Carissa Broadbent’s first series and was not a fan. I was more than hesitant to give her another chance. But oh man, am I glad that I did. FORTUNATELY, Broadbent’s writing has seriously improved. Like enough that I can say, without doubt, that The Serpent and the Wings of Night is absolutely worth the read, especially if you’re into fantasy romance.

If you’re looking for what this book feels like, I can hammer it down in THREE titles. Take The Hunger Games, plus ACOTAR, and add in a little Twlight action, throw it all in a blender, and you’ll get The Serpent and the Wings of Night. Our main character, Oraya, is a human raised by a vampire king. He’s raised her to be ruthless, violent, and efficient at killing. She’s prey in a world of predators — there’s no option here for her to be soft. Every…[mumbles I don’t remember] years there’s a great competition where the winner gets to ask a boon of the vampire’s mother/goddess. Oraya’s father wants her to enter so she can be made as powerful as he is. Only problem is — she’s going to be the only human in the competition. Obviously you see the problem.

So she enters, and has to prove that she’s just as competent at killing as all the vampires. Blah, blah, blah, she ends up meeting Raihn. (Sidenote — again, Carissa, why haven’t you included a pronunciation guide? I was just calling him Rain and hoping that was right!!!!!) Raihn is a huge vampire, powerful, protective, and sarcastic. I loved him immediately, because I’m a sucker for all of those things separately, but when you combine them? WHOO BOY. Anyway, obviously they sort of circle each other romantically, and eventually fall in love. Ish. (You’ll understand when you read.) There’s one steamy sex scene, and a couple like…vaguely warm make out sessions. Not really the steam I was promised, TikTok! Like, ACOTAR is miles steamier. Oh well, still absolutely worth the read.

There’s a lot of death, blood, and violence in here, but I mean…it’s a book about vampires. You shouldn’t really be surprised by those being included. I wouldn’t really call this a dark romance, either, but I think some might call it that? (They’re in a competition where death is all but certain, and they fall in love.) Either way, I really enjoyed this, and the ending knocked me on my butt it was so good. Headed right into the second book now, wish me luck!!!

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



  • STAR RATING:  5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 323 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: December 16, 2013
  • PUBLISHER: Smashwords
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Sexual content, Animal death, Body horror, Confinement
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  Beauty by Robin McKinley, Bryony and Roses by T. Kingfisher


Afflicted by a centuries-old curse, a warlord slowly surrenders his humanity and descends toward madness. Ballard of Ketach Tor holds no hope of escaping his fate until his son returns home one day, accompanied by a woman of incomparable beauty. His family believes her arrival may herald Ballard’s salvation.

…until they confront her elder sister.

Determined to rescue her sibling from ruin, Louvaen Duenda pursues her to a decrepit castle and discovers a household imprisoned in time. Dark magic, threatening sorcerers, and a malevolent climbing rose with a thirst for blood won’t deter her, but a proud man disfigured by an undying hatred might. Louvaen must decide if loving him will ultimately save him or destroy him.

A tale of vengeance and devotion.

Yes, to no one’s surprise, I read another Beauty and the Beast retelling. Unfortunately, this one doesn’t really feel like the Beauty and the Beast story to me. Yes, there’s a curse, and yes there are roses, but other than that, there is very little that calls back to the original tale. However, that does not mean I didn’t enjoy this book. On the contrary, I absolutely adored it. This is my new favorite Grace Draven, an author who previously I didn’t think worked for me. Maybe I just like her older work? I was granted access to an ARC of her latest last year, and unfortunately ended up DNFing it. BUT WE’RE NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT THAT BOOK.

Entreat Me hit many of my favorite tropes when it comes to romance. Older man who never thought he would love again? Check. Curses? Check. Stubborn, sassy female lead? Check. I cannot tell you how much I loved watching Ballard and Louvaen dual each other with their words. She was ready to take on an entire army to protect her sister, and Ballard knew it. He also was very much in love with her, pretty much on sight. I would have happily read about eight hundred more words of these two! The chemistry between them practically melted my kindle, and very easily blew right off the (metaphorical) pages. Yes, this is the only retelling that I’ve read where there are actual sex scenes! (Ballard’s curse does not render him a beast all the time, for those of you that were curious.) I repeat, I loved getting to watch Louvaen and Ballard together, and I extra enjoyed watching them circle around each other at the beginning of the book.

Basically, if you’re looking for a fantasy romance with older characters, I recommend Entreat Me. (Their ages aren’t really given in the book, but it’s clear they are older — Ballard has a son in his mid-twenties, and Louvaen is widowed.) It’s got some familiar tropes inside, and the writing is just top notch. The peril that comes towards the end of the book feels genuinely real here, something that I really appreciated. Most of the time that sort of thing is washed over in the other retellings I’ve read. The epilogue was perfect, a nice little cherry on top of a beautiful book sundae. Five stars.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



  • STAR RATING:  3.5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 705 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: June 18, 2022
  • PUBLISHER: Self-published on Kindle Unlimited
  • WHAT SERIES? The Plated Prisoner
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Sexual content, Torture, Emotional abuse, Addiction, Murder
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: I’m going to say From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout, even though I hated that book


“I was nothing but a road to Midas. A means to get to where he wanted to go, and I paved that path in gold.”

My life has been made up of gilded lies. But death has been shaped from rot.

Like a phoenix caught fire, I will need to rise from the ashes and learn to wield my own power. Because my wings may have been clipped, but I am not in a cage, and I’m finally free to fly from the frozen kingdoms I’ve been kept in.

Yet the world doesn’t want to let me.

That’s the thing when you turn against a king—everyone else turns against you.

Good thing I have a different king in my corner.

But even with the dark threat of Slade Ravinger, the other monarchs are coming for me.

So I will fight for him and he will kill for me, and if we need to become the villains, then so be it.

Because so long as I live in this world, I won’t be used again.

Well, that book was much longer than it needed to be. That’s really my only real complaint here — there was a lot of nothing happening towards the beginning. Of course, some of it was actual character growth, but a good chunk of it was just unnecessary. I guess I also wasn’t a huge fan of the additional POVs we get in Glow, either. There’s something like 3 or 4 new POVs, that just bulk out the book. I’m not sure they were strictly necessary in getting the main story across.

Other than that, though, I’m still really enjoying The Plated Prisoner series. Auren has grown into a powerful fae, and while I love seeing her and Slade together, I also love watching her come into her own power. It’s a lot of fun seeing that growth from what we knew of her in the first book. Slade’s backstory was INFINITELY needed, and I’m so glad we get so much of it in this book. I hope we see more of Auren’s in the last book, but if we don’t, we do get a good chunk of it in Glow. (Mostly I’m hoping we somehow learn more about her parents? Please!)

I really want to see our girl have a girl day — I want to see her surrounded by other women, having fun without a man present. Has that ever happened to her? Has she ever solid female companionship? No? Please give that to her? She deserves it.

Oops, one more complaint, mostly about the end of the book. No real spoilers — hasn’t Auren suffered enough!?

I am now desperately waiting for the last book, because this one ends on a DOOZY of a reveal. Docking a couple stars due to the length of this book, and the other complaints I mentioned previously. Still definitely going to continue the series, though.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 613 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: May 31, 2021
  • PUBLISHER: Self-published on Kindle Unlimited
  • WHAT SERIES? The Plated Prisoner
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Sexual content, Emotional abuse, Physical abuse, Drug abuse, Violence
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: I’m going to say From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout, even though I hated that book


King Midas made me the woman I am today. Notorious. Unattainable. His.

The thing about being confined is that you believe it’s to keep the bad out… Until you realize it’s about keeping you in.

I’m now in a strange kingdom surrounded by liars, with no allies of my own, but I won’t sit idly by and let myself wither. No, there’s something that’s bloomed from the pit of my repression. Something dark. Something angry.

But the last thing I expected was for my anger to call out to him. King Ravinger.

He’s sinister and powerful and entirely too seductive. I’ve learned my lesson with trusting manipulative kings, so why does my chest constrict every time he’s near? I need to tread carefully, or I’m at risk of losing much more than just my freedom.

Regret and revenge war inside of me, and I need to figure out a plan fast before I get tangled up in the schemes of kings and queens.

Because I won’t be caught in a cage again. No, this time, It’ll be me setting the trap… I just hope my heart comes out of this unscathed.

For a series I really thought was going to be mostly steamy sex scenes, and mediocre-to-crappy writing, The Plated Prisoner series is really impressing me. Like, I’m gobbling these down at a book-a-day rate, and the writing is only getting better. Raven Kennedy clearly learned a lot while writing this series, and it really shows through the story. Everything I liked about the first two books is still present, but we’re also getting gobs of character growth!

Auren is really starting to break through her cage, so to speak, and be her own person. She learns a lot about herself in this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. There were a few times in this book where I wanted to grab her and shake her out of her misery, but she does end up doing it mostly on her own. She reaches her breaking point in this book, and once she hits it, ooooo what a fantastic show. We learn a little bit more about Rip in this book, but I’m still waiting on more backstory from him. He’s endlessly fascinating, and I hope we get more about him in the next book because I am desperate for more knowledge! I also want more from the Wrath, but I have a feeling that’s coming.

And yes, before any of you ask, there are a few steamy scenes in this one. Finally, we’re hitting the fantasy romance part of the series. For all that this is advertised as fantasy romance, we don’t really get anything more than a couple of kisses from the main couple in the books prior to this. I will hope for more romantic involvement in the next entry, too.

But I’m docking a star yet again because I thought the whole Midas reveal was slightly contrived (it just felt too implausible to me), and I’m still missing out on more world-building. Everything is very vague, and I’m DESPERATELY wishing for a map. We’ve got six/seven kingdoms messing around with one another here, and I don’t know where any of them are in relation to one another! Give me a map!

Anyway, still loving this series. Onto the next!

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 441 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: January 11, 2021
  • PUBLISHER: Self-published on Kindle Unlimited
  • WHAT SERIES? The Plated Prisoner
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Toxic relationship, Emotional abuse, Sexual assault
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: I’m going to say From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout, even though I hated that book


For ten years, I’ve lived in a gilded cage inside King Midas’s golden castle. But one night changed everything.

Now I’m here, a prisoner of Fourth Kingdom’s army, and I’m not sure if I’m going to make it out of this in one piece. They’re marching to battle, and I’m the bargaining chip that will either douse the fire or spark a war.

At the heart of my fear, my worry, there’s him—Commander Rip.

Known for his brutality on the battlefield, his viciousness is unsurpassed. But I know the truth about what he is.


The betrayers. The murderers. The ones who nearly destroyed Orea, wiping out Seventh Kingdom in the process. Rip has power sizzling beneath this skin and glinting spikes down his spine. But his eyes—his eyes are the most compelling of all.

When he turns those black eyes on me, I feel captive for an entirely different reason.

I may be out of my cage, but I’m not free, not even close. In the game of kings and armies, I’m the gilded pawn. The question is, can I out maneuver them?

This is the captivating second book of The Plated Prisoner series. It’s an adult epic fantasy story blending romance, intrigue, and beautiful imagery. Return to the seductive story of magic inspired by the myth of King Midas, and get caught up in the world of Orea.

This is going to be a short review, because there’s not much to say that I didn’t already say in the review for Gild. However, Kennedy’s writing is vastly improved in this book, which made reading it that much more enjoyable. (And these books are already like popcorn! I’m going through one a day, people!) The characterization of the characters is much more complex, and feels more like an actual adult book, rather than a dark YA one. Though I still am wishing for more world building — actual world building meaning learning more about where we are set, and what sort of leaders and people live there. We get crumbs in Glint, but they were delicious crumbs.

So yes, it goes without saying that I did enjoy Glint more than Gild! I especially loved learning more about Auren’s backstory, and more about her as a person in general. The twists in this book were phenomenal! The side characters definitely added more to the story — Auren gets more friends, sort of, and we do see her with another friendly woman! YAY. I do hope this trend continues, but we’ll see. I wasn’t a super fan of the Queen’s chapters, but they did add more depth to the story, so I can’t complain about that. I’m sort of rooting for her? We’ll see how things continue.

But of course the newest and most interesting character that gets properly introduced in Glint is Commander Rip. He reminded me a lot of a darker Rhys from ACOTAR, but he’s definitely not an exact copy. I loved watching him coax Auren out of her cage, so to speak, and I hope that he’ll continue to push her. The romance is still not quite there, but I can definitely see where we’re going!!! The twist at the end was chef’s kiss — Kennedy grabbed my attention, and now I’m basically rushing to find out more about this reveal and what it means going forward.

Four stars, and just picture me hurrying to open the next book on my kindle.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



  • STAR RATING:  3 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 393 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: October 16, 2020
  • PUBLISHER: Self-published on Kindle Unlimited
  • WHAT SERIES? The Plated Prisoner
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Rape, Sexual assault, Sexual violence (There is rape on page.)
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY: I’m going to say From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout, even though I hated that book


The fae abandoned this world to us. And the ones with power rule.


Gold floors, gold walls, gold furniture, gold clothes. In Highbell, in the castle built into the frozen mountains, everything is made of gold.

Even me.

King Midas rescued me. Dug me out of the slums and placed me on a pedestal. I’m called his precious. His favored. I’m the woman he Gold-Touched to show everyone that I belong to him. To show how powerful he is. He gave me protection, and I gave him my heart. And even though I don’t leave the confines of the palace, I’m safe.

Until war comes to the kingdom and a deal is struck.

Suddenly, my trust is broken. My love is challenged. And I realize that everything I thought I knew about Midas might be wrong.

Because these bars I’m kept in, no matter how gilded, are still just a cage. But the monsters on the other side might make me wish I’d never left.

The myth of King Midas reimagined. This compelling adult fantasy series is as addictive as it is unexpected. With romance, intrigue, and danger, the gilded world of Orea will grip you from the very first page.

I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to read this series or not, to be totally honest with you. It had been recommended to me a few times simply because it is eventually fantasy romance, even if it doesn’t start out that way. (In case you didn’t know, I am on a quest to read the best fantasy romance books out there so I can write a nice big recommendation post for you all. So far, I have only a handful of winners, and a lot of really mediocre books.) My hesitancy was simply because there is on page sexual assault, rape, and violence. I’m not one to promote that sort of thing, and well, dark romance isn’t my jam. You all should know how I feel about that sort of thing by now. But my friends kept telling me to read The Plated Prisoner series. It’s free on Kindle Unlimited, so it’s not like I’m wasting my money on this or anything. Might be worth a shot, right?

Well, I read it in one day. A matter of hours, really. It’s excessively readable, even if it’s really dark. I enjoyed what I read today, even if I really could have done without the on page rape. Gild is about Auren, King Midas’s favorite whore. She is his favorite of all the others, so much so that he turned her into living gold. That’s right, she’s entirely gold, except for her teeth, eyes, and tongue. Needless to say, she’s living something of a pampered, but hellish life. I liked Auren — you’re supposed to — but damn did I want her to stand up for herself even more than she already does. I wanted her to try harder with the other women, but I understand why they hate her. I hope eventually we’ll see Auren with a female friend.

So why am I rating this one as low as I did, if I enjoyed it? Well, the world building was mediocre at best — I really wanted a map, or just more about the world where this is set. It’s clearly not earth, but I have no idea other than that. The lack of female companionship bothered me a lot too — I know Auren was kept on a gilded pedestal, but I hate it when main female characters are the ONLY female character around. Especially in fantasy books. Give me more women!

So, yeah, I’ll keep reading this series, because I do want to see where the romance comes from. I actually have no idea who the love interest will be, but I’m really hoping it’s not Midas.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



  • STAR RATING:  5 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 192 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: January 17, 2023
  • PUBLISHER: Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing, Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • WHAT SERIES? Sorcery of Thorns
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? Sorcery of Thorns
  • HOW MANY BOOKS IN THE SERIES? 1.5 at the moment
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Child death (in the past, and not shown), Death of parent (in the past, and not shown)
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  Literally any of Margaret Rogerson’s books, they’re all fantastic

Thank you to Netgalley and Margaret K. McElderry Books for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


In this sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas must unravel the magical trap keeping them inside Thorn Manor in time for their Midwinter Ball!

Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…

With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right.

I got approved for an ARC of this one yesterday around 3:00 pm. It is now 2:00 pm the next day, and I’m already done with this. Whoops. Destiny and I were supposed to buddy read it, but honestly, Mysteries of Thorn Manner just FLIES by as you read it. Those not even 200 pages barely feel like anything at all by the time you’re done. And I don’t mean that in a bad way at all — this was a delightful novella, and I’m so, so glad that I got the chance to read it a little early.

For those you that don’t know, I am a huge fan of Margaret Rogerson’s books (though i still need to read Vespertine!). She’s primarily a YA author, and her books tend to have fairly low stakes, with sweet romances in them. It’s hard to discuss this book without mentioning anything from Sorcery of Thorns, which is the first book in the series. You can read my review of that one here. ANYWAY, Mysteries of Thorn Manner picks up pretty much where Sorcery of Thorns left off, and does not bother to explain to you anything about that novel. It’s just assumed that you’ve read it, and honestly that works 1000% here. No time to waste on that when we have such a short (but delicious) page count!

Elizabeth and Nathaniel are dancing around the edges of what their relationship means, and very quickly it becomes apparently that Thorn Manner wants them to decide what they are and what they mean to each other. There’s barely any plot to this, but I was a-okay with it, because overall, this is a silly, cozy fantasy book. I (like Destiny) was giggling through the whole novella. There’s almost zero stakes really felt, but again, it doesn’t matter. This book exists purely to bring a smile to your face, especially if you are a fan of Rogerson’s past work.

I loved this, and wish it was about 5000 more pages, personally.


Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links:



the book cover for A Restless Truth by Freya Marske
  • STAR RATING:  4 stars
  • PAGE LENGTH: 400 pages
  • DATE PUBLISHED: November 1st 2022 
  • PUBLISHER: Tordotcom Publishing
  • WHAT SERIES? The Last Binding Series
  • WHAT BOOK DO I START WITH? A Marvellous Light
  • CONTENT WARNINGS: Sexual content, death, torture, Misogyny, racism
  • IF YOU LIKED THIS, TRY:  A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows

Thank you to Netgalley and Tordotcom Publishing for providing an ARC copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.


Magic! Murder! Shipboard romance! The second entry in Freya Marske’s beloved The Last Binding trilogy, the queer historical fantasy series that began with A Marvellous Light

The most interesting things in Maud Blyth’s life have happened to her brother Robin, but she’s ready to join any cause, especially if it involves magical secrets that may threaten the whole of the British Isles. Bound for New York on the R.M.S. Lyric, she’s ready for an adventure.

What she actually finds is a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and a beautiful stranger in Violet Debenham, who is everything—a magician, an actress, a scandal—Maud has been trained to fear and has learned to desire. Surrounded by the open sea and a ship full of loathsome, aristocratic suspects, they must solve a murder and untangle a conspiracy that began generations before them.

One of my absolute favorite books I read last year was the first book in The Last Binding series — A Marvellous Light. It took everything that I adore — historical romance, mysteries, meaningful gay relationships, magic, and steamy sex scenes — and pushed it all together in an absolutely fantastic mashup. When A Restless Truth showed up on Netgalley, I daren’t hope that I would be given access to an ARC. I loved A Marvellous Light too much, obviously, to be impartial to the sequel. Well, I was wrong — Tordotcom rather lovingly bestowed me access to an e-arc of one of my most anticipated books of the year. I think I squealed out loud when I got the approval email, actually.

So, drumroll — did A Restless Truth stand up to A Marvellous Light in my eyes?

Yes, and a tiny bit of no.

Yes…mostly, I suppose?

The entire book takes place on a massive ship heading across the Atlantic back to England. It’s possible that this hampered the book in my eyes — perhaps I missed the mad dash hurry travel scenes to get some other neatly magical location? Or was it the characters themselves that just didn’t stand up to Robin and Edwin? (This is what I’m leaning towards.) I love them both so much, that it would be very hard for anyone else to match them, honestly. While I did like Maud, and Violet, they just weren’t Robin and Edwin. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course. It might also be the ending of the book that just didn’t shine quite as much as A Marvellous Light‘s. (I won’t spoil anything but repeating something happening to the characters three times is a bit much, in my eyes.) Whatever the reason may be — I’m still not entirely sure — I still did enjoy A Restless Truth very much.

More about the characters, now. Violet Debenham is an absolute marvel of a character — she is a magnificent scandal and she does not care who notices. She spends the majority of the book pretending to be behind a version of herself that she’s created in order to hide who she really is. She’s a lot of fun, but she does ring false for a lot of the book — on purpose. Maud Blythe is Robin’s sister who is determined with all her might to be a good person, in spite of her parents being absolutely awful people. Lord Hawthorne, I’m hoping will be one of the leads in the next book. He’s so very stoic, noble, and straight-backed I really want to see someone just totally tear him apart emotionally.

The mystery at the center of the plot was fantastic, though I do wish there had been a little more foreshadowing as to who was actually involved in the theft and murder. It feels like the twist comes out of absolutely nowhere, unfortunately.

Overall, I did enjoy A Restless Truth, just not quite as much as I loved A Marvellous Light.

A RESTLESS TRUTH comes out NOVEMBER 1, 2022.

Add to your Goodreads, or preorder at at the following links: