Book Review

Book Review: A Dawn of Onyx (The Sacred Stones #1) by Kate Golden

Rating: ★★★★☆
Audience: Fantasy Romance
Length: 456 pages
Author: Kate Golden
Publisher: The Daisy Press
Release Date: December 15th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Captured by a king of darkness. Forced to find the light within.

Arwen Valondale never expected to be the brave one, offering her life to save her brother’s. Now she’s been taken prisoner by the most dangerous kingdom on the continent, and made to use her rare magical abilities to heal the soldiers of the vicious Onyx King.

Arwen knows better than to face the ancient, wicked woods that surround the castle on her own, which means working with a fellow prisoner might be her only path to freedom. Unfortunately, he’s as infuriating as he is cunning—and seems to take twisted
pleasure in playing on Arwen’s deepest fears.

But here in Onyx Kingdom, trust is a luxury she can’t afford.

To make it out of enemy territory, she’ll have to navigate back-stabbing royals, dark magic, and dangerous beasts. But untold power lies inside Arwen, dormant and waiting for a spark. If she can harness it, she just might be able to escape with her life—and hopefully, her heart.


I did not expect to love this the way I did. I put it off for a bit because it seemed too hyped and I wanted to see more reviews. Then on a whim, HERE WE ARE. 4.5 stars of romantasy goodness.

This had a much more true slow burn that worked better for me than a few recent books. I loooove hidden identity plots so dang much. Even when I know it’s coming, still makes my day. And this kept slowly revealing Kane’s history and nature and I loved every second of it. I thought Kane and Arwen had some actual chemistry and I enjoyed the banter between them. I liked seeing them get to know each other and have some soft moments amidst the action.

And plenty of action was had! I loved that it kept a pretty fast pace with enough things going on that I rarely felt a drag. Within that though is my one small complaint. A lack of world building. More of it made sense towards the end, but I have MANY questions about the dynamics of everything.

I think the FMC could use a bit more work, but as far as character arcs go, I am very much on board with the sequence. I am soooo excited to see how book two continues the development of characters and storyline.

It was a good read y’all.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: 1 open; + some innuendo
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: war themes, physical and magical altercations, near death experiences, loss of a mother, weapons violence, kidnapping, attempted sexual assault

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Book Review

Book Review: Winterlight (Green Rider #7) by Kristen Britain

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Fantasy
Length: 848 pages
Author: Kristen Britain
Publisher: DAW Books
Release Date: September 14th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


This seventh novel of the Green Rider series follows the adventures of messenger, magic wielder, and knight Karigan G’ladheon as she fights to save king and country from dark magic and a looming war.

After her capture at the hands of Grandmother and the Second Empire, Karigan G’ladheon is making halting progress towards recovery. Karigan takes on increasingly dangerous missions, haunted by the specter of her torturer, Nyssa, and sinking ever further into the mire of her recollections of the past and the losses she’s sustained.

Meanwhile, the forces of the Second Empire are moving on Sacoridia and their primary target is a vulnerable garrison that guards a crucial mountain pass. Faced with new fatherhood and a country on the verge of war, King Zachary sends a contingent of soldiers and Green Riders to the pass–but his own recovery from the events of the north is not yet complete either.

Reunited with her fellow Riders at the pass, Karigan takes on a leadership role, but quickly finds that the Riders are not as she last left them. As tension mounts and war draws ever closer to the heart of Sacoridia, Karigan must discover what it truly means to be a Rider and a hero of the realm–and what sacrifices must be made to truly heal from her past.


Fair warning: this series does not have an end date.


There’s not even news on the next book?!

Anyways, actual book review information.

Another enjoyable installment. I liked most of the direction for the characters here and how the plot continually thickened around many aspects. My mind is pulled in so many directions while reading this series and yet, I am easily able to move through each segment and remember what’s happening and who’s doing what. I love the readability of these books and how much the audio is a game changer for them as well.

Karigan kind of at least, caught a few breaks this go around. I love seeing her continual development as a character and I am here to follow her wherever she goes. I don’t know how I feel about the romance sub plot though?! I’m more conflicted than I was after reading Mirrorsight. It’s a very tangled web that fits the nature of the book, but leaves me wanting a bit more.

I have truly enjoyed reading this hidden nook series in the fantasy genre. I highly recommend if you’re looking for something off the beaten path with multi-POV, high action and intense situations.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: PTSD (for torture), loss of life, war themes and battles, poisoning, near death experiences, emotional infidelity

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Book Review

Book Review: To Swoon and to Spar (The Regency Vows #4) by Martha Waters

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Historical Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Martha Waters
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: April 11th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The Regency Vows series returns with this story about a viscount and his irascible new wife who hopes to chase her husband from their shared home so that she can finally get some peace and quiet—only to find that his company is not as onerous as she thought.

Viscount Penvale has been working for years to buy back his ancestral home, Trethwick Abbey, from his estranged uncle. And so he’s thrilled when his uncle announces that he is ready to sell but with one major caveat—Penvale must marry his uncle’s ward, Jane Spencer.

When the two meet in London, neither is terribly impressed. Penvale finds Jane headstrong and sharp-tongued. Jane finds him cold and aloof. Nevertheless, they agree to a marriage in name only and return to the estate. There, Jane enlists her housekeeper for a scheme: to stage a haunting so that Penvale will return to London, leaving her to do as she pleases at Trethwick Abbey. But Penvale is not as easily scared as his uncle and as their time together increases, Jane realizes that she might not mind her husband’s company all that much.

Thank you to Book Club Favorites and Simon and Schuster for the gifted copy!


This was my first book in this series that I’ve read and I enjoyed it! I am a sucker for marriage of convenience tropes and I thought this was a slightly different take on the start of their relationship.

I thought Penvale and Jane had some good chemistry and really did have that nice slow burn as they realized how much they truly connected with each other. I loved the forced proximity and one bed moments and watching their passions ignite.

The only thing I didn’t quite get was the ghost-based plot? I don’t know, it seemed kind of silly when the story came out at the end. Without that, I think it’s a great historical romance and it was easy to read as a standalone! I noticed the mentions of the other couples but that doesn’t bother me! There were a good group of friends and I’m thinking about now going back and reading the others.

Overall audienc notes:

  • Historical Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: brief/vague open door
  • Violence: low
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: grief/loss depiction, loss of parents recounted

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Book Review

Book Review: The Sunken City (The Sunken City #1) by Emma V.R. Noyes

Rating: ★★★
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 376 pages
Author: Emma V.R. Noyes
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: January 29th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Amare Bellamy is not a witch. Orphaned as a child and raised on a ship by the most dangerous men in the Caribbean, Amare is one thing and one thing alone: a pirate. And pirates hate magic.

After a fateful storm plunges her to the depths of the ocean, Amare wakes to find herself in a strange new world: an underwater kingdom, where magic exists, but is strictly outlawed by the King—a man who claims to be her true father.

As Amare struggles to fit into her new role as Princess of the Sunken City, she finds herself tangled in a web of love between two brothers—one good, one not so good. And as strange powers manifest within her, she must question everything she was raised to believe—especially if she has any hope of stopping the evil brewing at the bottom of the ocean.


Don’t let the hype fool you, this is only alright (says me so you could feel different of course).

I think the concept is really interesting. I liked the underwater/Atlantis vibes but wish everything was set in a full fantasy world. I found myself confused by the “historical fiction”ish aspects? Like what year was this set in? Were certain plot aspects correct? I don’t know, I got lost in that nonsense.

Amare, our MC, was full of sarcasm. And while it was charming for a bit, things began to fall flat when it kept happening. Quip after quip gets old fast. Her new friend group was fine, I was once again confused by some of the dynamics *shrugs*.

Now, the love story plot. It’s a love triangle, between brothers. If I’m going to read a love triangle, I gotta say, that’s my least favorite version. It was utterly predictable and I felt no connection to any of the romantic aspects. Much of the plot is stuffed with tropes that don’t have any new spins on them.

I found it to be a really quick read at least. And I didn’t have trouble moving through it. I’m kind of curious to read book two? I think I’ll wait it out a bit though.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: physical altercations, explosions, loss of loved ones, near death experiences

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