Book Review

Book Review: House of Pounding Hearts (The Kingdom of Crows #2) by Olivia Wildenstein

Rating: ★★★★.25
Audience: NA Fantasy Romance
Length: 521 pages
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Publisher: Self Publish
Release Date: January 29th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads



My desire to sit upon the Lucin throne led me to revive an ancient, winged monarch; one I deemed a friend until that friend duped and imprisoned me.

Lorcan claims he’s holding me captive for my own safety, but then he also claims I belong to him. Slumbering for five centuries has evidently given the Crow King severe delusions.

We may share an unfortunate mind-link, but we are still masters of our own destiny, and I intend to steer mine away from the Sky Kingdom and its prophecies . . . away from him.

I quickly find out there is no escaping the possessive male. In all honesty, I’m no longer certain I want to.

Get swept away in the second installment of a slow-burn shifter fantasy series full of heartbreaking deceit, wicked supernaturals, and alpha males.


I had seen a review before I started this that mentioned the FMC is a bit of a punk (more or less) for the first half of the book. I can agree with that sentiment and am glad I knew that going in because it allowed me to give her space to grow (even when I was frustrated). Here’s your sign to push through!


There’s something really magnetic about Wildenstein’s writing that kept me enthralled. I usually like to juggle multiple books at once and you won’t find that here because I kept wanting to see this story progress.

I loooove Lore. He’s the perfect dark, broody lead that I know we all love. I thought there was great banter between him and Fallon and there was some solid relationship development too. I appreciated the slow burn aspect that let the characters shine first before steam was added in.

For a plot surrounding war I thought there would be a little more action (seems like it’s coming though!). I adore all of the friendships and tight knit group that has been formed over the first two books. This is of course a romance, but the other scenes play in so well that it helps surround the story with even more fullness.

Overall audience notes:

  • Fantasy Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: 2-3 open; high explicit
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of life, kidnapping, weapons violence, physical and magical altercations, battle themes

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Book Review

Book Review: Foul Lady Fortune (Foul Lady Fortune #1) by Chloe Gong

Rating: ★★★★★
Genre: YA Magical Realism + Historical Fiction Romance
Length: 528 pages
Author: Chloe Gong
Publisher: McElderry Books
Release Date: September 27th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


It’s 1931 in Shanghai, and the stage is set for a new decade of intrigue.

Four years ago, Rosalind Lang was brought back from the brink of death, but the strange experiment that saved her also stopped her from sleeping and aging—and allows her to heal from any wound. In short, Rosalind cannot die. Now, desperate for redemption for her traitorous past, she uses her abilities as an assassin for her country.

Code name: Fortune.

But when the Japanese Imperial Army begins its invasion march, Rosalind’s mission pivots. A series of murders is causing unrest in Shanghai, and the Japanese are under suspicion. Rosalind’s new orders are to infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot before more of her people are killed.

To reduce suspicion, however, she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy, Orion Hong, and though Rosalind finds Orion’s cavalier attitude and playboy demeanor infuriating, she is willing to work with him for the greater good. But Orion has an agenda of his own, and Rosalind has secrets that she wants to keep buried. As they both attempt to unravel the conspiracy, the two spies soon find that there are deeper and more horrifying layers to this mystery than they ever imagined.


I loved this book so much y’all!!!!!! It was one of my biggest releases for the year and it did not disappoint in the slightest.

All of the characters were amazing. The main leads Rosalind and Orion had me hooked on them because MARRIAGE OF CONVENIENCE. I loved the build they have and the way they are slowly moving from unsuspecting partners to a close bond. They, along with the other relationships that are starting (not saying because spoilers) are fantastic. I am here for it all.

The plot is captivating and I never wanted to stop listening to the audiobook. There was great pacing and the flow of writing is stellar. I was definitely shouting at my steering wheel listening to some of these scenes. Shocked doesn’t even begin to cover it. I loved all of the twists and betrayals. Never quite knowing who’s side someone is on. It reads like an incredible spy thriller and I cannot wait for more.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Historical Fiction + Magical Realism
  • Language: some
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, blood depiction, medical experimentation mentioned, murder, physical violence, weapons violence

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Book Review

Book Review: Last Chance Summer by Shannon Klare

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Shannon Klare
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: July 21st, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


In Shannon Klare’s fun and sexy YA novel Last Chance Summer, a teen is shipped off to work as a counselor at a summer camp―only to butt heads with her co-counselor.

Alex is a sheriff’s daughter with a less than pristine reputation. When she’s caught drinking at a party by her dad’s deputy, she’s in deep trouble. With an already incriminating incident in her past, Alex’s parents ship her off to her aunt’s summer camp to work as a counselor.

What’s worse than spending your summer deep in the mosquito-infested woods of Texas?

Being paired with an obnoxious co-counselor who wants nothing to do with you.

Alex is determined to make the best of her summer, even if it means putting up with Grant, who has secrets of his own that he’s determined to protect. Can Alex and Grant put their egos to the side and find the bright side of a summer that neither of them signed up for? 


An enjoyable backlist summer time read with allllll those camp vibes. I really liked this!

Alex and Grant had a solid enemies to lovers vibe, but yet sweet? I don’t know how to explain it. I loved the banter and the fun ways they got to know each other in a camp setting. They had maaaany super cute moments where I was cheering them on.

Alex had a lot to learn and explore within herself and this book did an alright job accomplishing that. I think there could have been a deeper dive into the entire story. It’s a short book and I felt much of it was surface level. The ending went kind of quickly with the bigger plots being wrapped up.

It was an engaging read I had a hard time putting down. It’s a simple read that’ll have you thinking of all things summer.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: drunk and underage driving (resulting in loss of life), loss of a parent, grief depiction

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Book Review

ARC Book Review: Stars and Smoke (Stars and Smoke #1) by Marie Lu

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: YA Contemporary Romantic Suspense
Length: 336 pages
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Roaring Books Press
Release Date: March 28th, 2023
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Meet Winter Young—rookie backup dancer turned global pop phenomenon. His star power has smashed records, selling out stadiums from LA to London. Now he’s bringing his swoon worthy assets to a whole new arena…

Infamous criminal tycoon Eli Morrison has just one weakness—his daughter, Penelope. And Penelope has just one wish for her nineteenth birthday—a private concert with Winter Young. When covert ops organization The Panacea Group approaches Winter with this once-in-a-lifetime chance to infiltrate Morrison’s inner circle, Winter must use his fame, cunning, and charisma to pull it off—only he won’t be on his own.

Posing as Winter’s bodyguard is the fiery Sydney Cossette, Panacea’s youngest spy. Sydney may be the only person alive impervious to Winter’s charms, but as the mission brings them closer, she’s forced to admit there’s more to this A-lister than slick dance moves and a handsome face. Panacea’s unlikeliest partners just might become its biggest heroes—and maybe even more—if they can survive each other first.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an eARC.


This wasn’t quite what I was expecting. The Hating Game tagline felt like a misnomer (so if someone can point out where that was, please let me know). But the Mission Impossible vibes were there at least! I like this trend of a more romantic comedy + suspense. It’s a mood I am here for.

There wasn’t as much romance as I was hoping for. Though the second half did a better job of adding to those elements. I would have loved to have seen them be able to connect more and not just about the job they were on. I liked both Sydney and Winter as standalone characters. There were some flashbacks that helped flesh out their personalities and I think there’s going to be some great development in book two for both of them.

The antagonist was painfully obvious so don’t expect to be surprised by necessarily that piece. Action wise, I definitely enjoyed those scenes. High intensity, not quite sure what was going to happen. Waiting for the next page kind of on edge.

I do have plans to read the next book and I’m curious to see what the next adventure will bring!

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary Romantic Suspense
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: near death experiences, gun violence, kidnapping, poisoning, loss of a parent

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