Book Review – Unbound by Holly Huntress – 5 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I was super excited to read this and that feeling carried on through the book. 

Milah is given a mission by the king to infiltrate a neighbouring kingdom to learn about their weaknesses. But Milah has her own mission to find her parents’ killer. Once there, she learns not all is as it seems. 

What I liked…

Not particularly important, but I loved how the title and cover made sense from the beginning. 

I also love the time jump from Milah losing her parents to when she goes on her mission. It gives her time for the shock to wear off and lean to live with the grief but still have it meaningful in the present because of the way they died. 

I loved not knowing who to trust. Don’t worry, not spoilers on specifics, but the whole book had me wondering who was genuine and who had an agenda and who was out to get Milah for their own reasons. 

Romance was fun to read. Definitely YA romance, but on the upper end.

I love the word building with the book, the magical creatures and the magical powers. 

What I didn’t like…

I thought Milah was too forgiving to a couple of people she should have been angry at. Sure, she can forgive them eventually, but it was a little too quick for my liking. 

Final thoughts…

If you like fantasy espionage, revenge, romance, found family, and badass female MCs, then you should try this book.

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Book Review – Haunting Adeline by H.D. Carlton – 4.5 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This is very dark, with a dash of mystery, psychological thriller, and some spooky goings on. I enjoyed this book far more that I expected to since it’s not my usual genre, but I read a lot of dark fantasy so it wasn’t too much of a leap.

Trigger Warning: This book has a lot of triggering content in relation to non-consensual acts, graphic sex and graphic violence and child abuse. It was probably darker than I was prepared for.

What I liked…

Adeline isn’t some weak-minded MC who needs a man, but she’s also realistic that she wants one.

Zade is… a psychopath. Like, hardcore psycho. But that’s what makes him interesting from a literary perspective. His reasoning for what he does to Addie, effed up as it is, makes a twisted sort of sense.

Both MCs have particularly interesting inner conflict over their actions compared to what is appropriate or “normal” behaviour. I’m conflicted myself over how much I liked this book.

I listened to this on audible, and when we were in Addie’s POV, any male voices were done by the male narrator and vice versa. 

I love the snippets from Gigi’s diary and how history is repeating itself with Addie, but in a much darker and twisted way.

Random thoughts…

It did baffle me how Addie’s friend reacted to what was going on with Addie and Zade. If I found out some guy had done things like that to my friend, I’d be dragging her to as far away as possible. 

The police sucked too. I get that they can’t do everything, especially when someone’s tampering with their system, but they were just so… unbothered on Addie’s behalf.

What I didn’t like…

I can’t really complain about this since it’s a huge warning, but… some moments in this were too much and I found myself skipping. The number of times I had to remind myself it was just fiction…

Final thoughts…

I definitely wouldn’t recommend this to just anyone. If you’re into dark and twisted minds playing fucked up games with each other, with a dash of spooky and history repeating itself, then I might recommend it to you if you can handle this.

Book Review – The Awakening, as Told By the Boys by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti – 5 stars, obviously

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

We all know the Heirs are jerks to the twins in book 1 of Zodiac Academy, but why? Why did they go so far? We get our answers from Darius and Orion, with sprinklings of Seth, Caleb, and Max.

What I liked…

I already loved this book and series, but going back and seeing the Heirs’ reasoning makes me love them even more. 

What I didn’t like…

There wasn’t much of Max. I moaned about his random POVs in the later books, but I expected more in this one. 

Final thoughts…

I don’t recommend reading this unless you’re on at least book 4 or 5 of ZA. It doesn’t exactly spoil things, but there are some fun moments that make more sense. 

Reading Ranting – Don’t Have Time to Read?

Disclaimer: The product recommendations mentioned below are based on my personal experience. Also, I have no affiliation with them.

Do you have time to read? Me neither. I also find it super hard to focus on written words after a long or busy day, especially on Kindle because I only have my phone for digital books. My mind races at a million miles per hour, and I struggle to pay attention to just one thing. Ironically, I’m a slow reader, too, so it’s extra difficult for me to sit down with a book no matter how good the story is. 

However, audiobooks have changed my reading habits, and I now read/listen to a book in about a week as opposed to a month. I listen during my drive to work, when I’m washing up, when I go for a walk, or sometimes in the shower. And I definitely find it helpful to wind down at the end of the day and listen in bed. 

But audiobooks are expensive, right?

Yes. They can be, but an Amazon Audible subscription is about the same price as a book, and you get 1 credit for any book, plus a selection of books included like Kindle Unlimited. I’ve read some really good books on their subscription. If you want to buy and keep more books, they’re a lot cheaper as a member, so it really doesn’t cost that much. 

Alexa will read Kindle books aloud and is quite natural. I sometimes switch from UK to US or Australian English, so each book sounds different. I needed a better speaker to connect to my phone because my Wi-Fi doesn’t reach my kitchen where I like to listen to music or my ebooks. When I saw how cheap the basic Alexa Echo was, I bought that instead, and it connects to my Wi-Fi just outside my kitchen. I just tell it to read my book, and it does. It’s also fun for music, information, and connecting to my smart plugs, so it has infinite uses beyond a speaker.

I also get a few ebooks as ARCs or beta copies and I use Google Books for those. Google uses its own voice to read those aloud or I can use FB reader’s premium version with Google voices. Personally, I prefer FB reader because it shows the play and pause options in my phone’s notification section, so it’s easier to control. 

Thanks to these fun apps and devices, my reading has become so much easier and more enjoyable.

Also, not long after I bought my Alexa, my internet service provider gave me a media assistant and a shiny new Samsung A6 tablet. Thank you, Movistar. Now I have a bigger device to read ebooks and the assistant acts like another speaker that I put in my bathroom, which is the opposite end of my flat to my Echo and I can connect the two. So many connections to make life easier 😍😍😍

My new media assistant and my new tablet.

Book Review – The Never King by Nikki St. Crowe – 4 stars

Warning: May contain spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Firstly, TikTok made me buy it and I’m glad. 

Secondly, this has adult content, including graphic sex scenes and violence.

Thirdly, this is a fun but way-too-short story. 

Winnie has spent her whole life being dragged around by her mentally unstable mother to escape a family curse. Every time a Darling girl turns 18, Pan takes them away, and they return traumatized and unable to remember much, hence her mother’s instability.

When Pan comes for Winnie, she’s lonely, unsatisfied with life, and wants to find out what broke her mother’s mind. The answers lie in Neverland where Winnie meets the lost boys and finds herself the key to saving Pan’s dying lands.

What I liked…

I really love how Winnie’s character, background, and personal needs are established very early on, so we understand why she reacts the way she does ongoing.

I don’t know how I end up reading polyamorous books, but I really like them as long as the characters have fun too. This one is particularly fun since Winnie has been unsatisfied previously. 

I loved the plot and why Pan keeps taking the Darling women. 

I loved the POVs. We don’t just get Winnie and Pan. We get some lost boys too. And a sneak peak into another character. 

What I didn’t like…

This is where it loses a star – Character relationships were too rushed for my liking. I prefer to see a gradual progression to make the relationships feel more natural and more meaningful. 

Final thoughts…

If you like shorter novels with extreme spice, polyamory, exciting reveals, and magical lands, then this is for you. It’s also a great story of found family and belonging. 

Book Review – The Book of Azrael by Amber Nicole – 5 stars

Warning: May contain spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I don’t know where to start because there were so many amazing things about this book. Let’s just skip to what I liked.

What I liked…

I love how we get straight into Diana’s situation with the deal she made with her maker to save her sister. It makes everything she does make sense from the start.

Also, I love this trope. Diana does bad things to protect the one she loves. It’s perfect and justifies so many things from Diana’s perspective. 

I love how Liam has a complicated background too and that he needs Diana to teach him about the modern world.

I love the idea of two people saving each other from their difficult or lonely lives rather than one saving the other.

What I didn’t like…

Nothing. 

Final thoughts…

Another TikTok recommendation success. Vampires, gods, spicy romance and betrayal. Love it. 

Monthly TBR Update – July 2022

I’ve done well on my TBR this month. I swapped 1 long book on my list for 2 shorter ones, which I was glad for. I needed a break from the Zodiac world. 

Books I read this month…
  • Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac book 1 – Dark Fae by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti 
  • Book 2 Savage Fae
  • Book 3 Vicious Fae
  • Book 4 Broken Fae
  • Searching for Sadie
  • Shadow of the Shapeshifter
Mini non-spoiler reviews…

I still have one book left in the Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac series but decided to tackle some other books on my TBR. So far, I loved the series. Book 4 ends on a cliffhanger, so I’m excited to get back to it. 

Searching for Sadie is a tame romance where a woman ventures to Alaska to escape her grief and shock over a recent tragedy. I really enjoyed it considering I haven’t read a non-fantasy book in a good while. This was a great choice.

Shadow of the Shapeshifter is super fun, and I read it in 2 days. This fantasy mystery has some quirkiness of the Terry Pratchett Discworld books. Definitely a great choice for anyone who prefers shorter fantasy novels or wants a quick palette cleanser between longer novels or series. 

Books I’m going to read next month…
  • Ruin and Roses by Deanna Ortega – I already started.
  • Glow by Raven Kennedy – I was too wrapped up in the Zodiac books that I delayed starting this one. 
  • The Never King by Nikki St. Crowe
  • Halven Rising book 3, Fates Fulfilled

Book Review – Searching for Sadie by Grace – 5 stars

Warning: May contain spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I loved this book as a mix of serious and light reading. Sadie’s had a rough year and needs to escape, so she heads out to Alaska not far from where her dad lives. She has to adjust to life in her secluded cabin with no electricity or hot water. Sounds insane, right? Trust me, she has her reasons.

What I liked…

I liked how Sadie starts off a little prickly partly because she’s nervous over her decision to go off the grid but mostly because of the shock she had not long ago. I think it really works to see her struggling at first.

I love how Sadie is honest about being attracted to a couple of men, but not being interested beyond that. She needs time alone, but she’s also a woman with eyes so…

I especially love how she’s realistic about what she’s capable of living on her own. She took survival training to help, which she mentions, so it’s not like she just went out to a random island with no preparation. My only question is, how did she access her money? 🤣

What I didn’t like…

While I liked Flip, he came across as a little bland at times. I’m putting this down to personal taste rather than an issue with the book. But if you’re like me, and you prefer male characters with a little (emphasis on little) bite to them, then you’ll probably feel the same.

Final thoughts…

Definitely a self-discovery novel as the title suggests. It’s both light and serious and inspiring.

Book Review – Viscous Fae – Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac book 3 – By Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti – 5 stars

Warning: May contain spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Oh, wow. I didn’t think this series could get steamier. I was wrong. Also, Elise makes strides in getting closer to Gareth’s killer. Big changes for Elise and her kings in this book which are both fun and surprising. 

I keep flipping back to ZA to work out who Elise is mated to or married to. A few of the spouses aren’t given names, so I’m trying to figure it out.

What I liked…

LANCE ORION – If you haven’t read Zodiac Academy yet, then he won’t mean anything. But OMFG I loved him in this. There were a few things that made me laugh about him like the fact that he refuses alcohol. Also, I’m impressed that Elise held her own against him since ZA readers will know how powerful he is.

The Heirs from ZA – This was really funny to read. They’re not so different from in ZA but it was fun to see Darius meet Dante for the first time. As for Celeb… purely a thought, but I wonder if he’s Elise’s half brother. Elise mentions in book 1 that her father was important and left her mother. I know Caleb’s mother is the councilor, but his father might have grown up in similar circles so… 

Eugine Dipper – Poor guy. I feel so bad for him and his constant bad luck. I hope Elise helps boost his confidence a bit.

Elise and her kings – They just get steamier with each book. And this has a very unexpected scene.

I love how we’re moving closer to finding Gareth’s killer. I have my suspicions over who it is, but I don’t want to risk spoiling it.

What I didn’t like…

Nothing stuck out in this book.

Final thoughts…

Things are moving along nicely, and by the end of this book, things go off the rails in so many senses. Love it. 

Book Review – Savage Fae – Ruthless Boys of the Zodiac book 2 – By Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti – 5 stars

Warning: Contains very minor and vague spoilers and for Zodiac Academy, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The twisted sisters were probably due a 4 star from me just so it doesn’t look like I’m completely obsessed. But I’m still obsessed with the Zodiac books. 

I didn’t get as lost in this book and book 1, but I still really enjoyed it. 

What I liked…

Elise – I like how she doesn’t get away with everything in this book, and somebody actually finds out some of her secrets. 

Gabriel – He’s a lot more interesting in this book, and I keep jumping to Zodiac Academy to work out if his wife is Elise or not. I wondered why they never actually said her name, and it would spoil this series if we knew for a fact if she married Gabriel. 🤷 I still don’t know but I have my suspicions.

Dante and Leon – Woah. Just… Spice is too mild a word for what these boys do for pleasure. 

Ryder – I like his softer side around Elise. 

Leon – I love his Mindys. I wonder if it’s a play on minions since that’s basically what they are. 

Gareth – I completely forgot this in my previous review but I love the flashbacks. They hi t at things that Elise is about to find or clarify something she already suspected without spoiling things. 

Profesor King – Interesting. I’m sure she had something to do with Gareth’s death, and that’s my suspicion based in this book so not a spoiler.

What I didn’t like…

Elise doesn’t make much progress in finding her brother’s killer in this book. She’s a little easily distracted for my liking sometimes, and it weakens her a bit as a character.

Final thoughts…

If you love curious characters, mysteries, fun magic, and top tier spice, and reverse harems then this is definitely a good read.