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: The Changeup (The Vegas Kings #1) by Emily Childs

Rating: ★★
Audience: Contemporary Sports Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Emily Childs
Publisher: Victorious
Release Date: April 26th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


He’s baseball’s biggest heartbreaker. Now…he’s stealing mine.

Parker Knight is a smooth-talking pitcher with a smile for days and a roster of broken hearts behind him. Those are only a few reasons why a guy like him is never getting near my heart.

After making a cross-country move to prove I deserve a place within my dad’s baseball empire, the last thing on my mind is a play boy pitcher.

But when we randomly meet off the field, it’s clear Parker has no idea I’m the team owner’s daughter. He thought I was going to be his next conquest. I didn’t mean to shut the guy down so hard, and I certainly didn’t expect to oversee his foundation on my first day at the office.

No one has ever seen the real guy behind the bad boy of baseball, but the more I get to know Parker, the harder it is to ignore the feelings I’m catching.

I’ve had my heart broken too many times before. How can I trust it with the biggest heartbreaker of them all?


Well. I shall continue my quest for the ultimate baseball romance. This ain’t it folks.

Things started off fine, I can’t say I was sold initially but I gave it a chance.

Everything was a bit insta-love. I thought the banter started off well, then by halfway there’s major pronouncements of love and other things that just didn’t click.

I also never liked the female main character. She was weirdly obsessed with things like the Titanic? And she had all sorts of self loathing that I don’t love reading about and need to be addressed personally without the love interest’s involvement.

Mostly I think this book was trying too hard. And it’s hard to keep explaining that one major point, but that’s what it boiled down to for me. Trying to create emotions for me that I wasn’t feeling whatsoever.

On to the next.

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Sports Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: make-outs
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: discussions of traumatic brain injury from car wreck, bullying, harassment, blackmailing, absentee parents, loss of parents (off-page)

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Book Review

Monthly Reading Wrap-Up: April 2023

Another great month of reading! A small slow down from last month but that is completely okay. I loved how many rereads I got to and found some absolute new favorites.

Favorite Books:

  • To Poison a King
  • A Girl Called Samson
  • The Ashes and the Star-Cursed King
  • In This Moment
  • The Assassin’s Blade
  • Before the Fortress Fals
  • Echoes of You
  • Desire or Defense
  • Throne of Glass
  • Fourth Wing
  • Finding Gene Kelly
  • Practice Makes Perfect
  • The Weight of Air

Least Favorites:

  • Two Wars and a Wedding
  • A Shadow Crown
  • The Path of Daggers
  • The Heart’s Choice
  • Georgie, All Along by Kate Clayborn
  • Objection to Love (Greenbank Romances #3) by Karen Thornell
  • Two Wars and a Wedding by Lauren Willig
  • [ARC] To Poison a King (The Heirs of Isla #1) by S.G. Prince
  • Shattered Souls (Guardians of the Maiden #3) by Beck Michaels
  • A Girl Called Samson by Amy Harmon
  • Legends & Lattes (Legends & Lattes #1) by Travis Baldree
  • Love at First Psych by Cara Bastone
  • Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell
  • [ARC] The Ashes & The Star-Cursed King (Crowns of Nyaxia #2) by Carissa Broadbent
  • Haley and the Yeti (Love Tucson #1) by Laura Langa
  • [ARC] In this Moment (Timeless #2) by Gabrielle Meyer
  • [Reread] Assassin’s Blade (Throne of Glass #0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
  • [ALC] A Shadow Crown (The Halfling Saga #2) by Melissa Blair
  • [ARC] Why Trey Let Me Get Away (Famously in Love #1) by Kortney Keisel
  • Before the Fortress Falls by A.L. Sowards
  • Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata
  • [ARC/ALC] Echoes of You (Lost & Found #2) by Catherine Cowles
  • [Novella] Kill Joy (A Good Girls’ Guide to Murder #0.5) by Holly Jackson
  • [ARC] Desire or Defense (Hooked on a Feeling #1) by Leah Brunner
  • [Reread] Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Path of Daggers (The Wheel of Time #8) by Robert Jordan
  • [ARC] Bonesmith (House of the Dead #1) by Nicki Pau Preto
  • [ARC] The Never Heir (The Otherworlds #1) by Courtney Millecam
  • [ALC] Fourth Wing (The Empyrean #1) by Rebecca Yarros
  • [Gifted] To Swoon and to Spar (The Regency Vows #4) by Martha Waters
  • Finding Gene Kelly by Torie Jean
  • A Sinister Revenge (Veronica Speedwell #8) by Deanna Raybourn
  • Captured by Chaos by Kathryn Marie
  • [ARC/ALC] Practice Makes Perfect by Sarah Adams
  • An Amiable Foe (Castles and Courtship #1) by Jennie Goutet
  • [ARC] The Heart’s Choice (The Jewels of Kalispell #1) by Tracie Peterson and Kimberley Woodhouse
  • Silver in the Bone (Silver in the Bone #1) by Alexandra Bracken
  • The Darkest Sunrise (The Darkest Sunrise #1) by Aly Martinez
  • The Brightest Sunset (The Darkest Sunrise #2) by Aly Martinez
  • The Unselected Journals of Emma M. Lion (Vol. #2) by Beth Brower
  • [Novella] The Managing Miss (Promise of Forever After #5) by Heidi Kimball
  • The Weight of Air by Kimberly Duffy
  • Slaying the Vampire Conqueror (Mortal Enemies to Monster Lovers) by Carissa Broadbent
  • [ARC] The Art of Love and Lies by Rebecca Anderson

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Book Review

Book Review: Unlikely Match by Laura Bradbury

Rating: ★★★★
Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 348 pages
Author: Laura Bradbury
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: May 26th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Could the man I hate be the perfect match I need?

I’m Jules Kelly, a certified bohemian boss babe, whose hip tech company just won subsidized office space in the coolest co-working space in town. From a distance I seem poised to take over the world (or at least the travel industry), and I would be if it weren’t for two big complications:

1. A rare and seriously inconvenient disease is tanking my health by the day, and my only hope for a cure—a transplant—is moving further from my grasp.

2. A soulless database company is sharing my new office space, and its coldly gorgeous, judgmental, CEO is on a path to world dominance (at least in his mind).

Tom Davenport represents the very worst of bro culture in the start-up world. Naturally, we despise each other.

The thing is, as much as Tom’s antagonism annoys me, he has an uncanny ability to conjure up my fighting spirit and vitality at a time when my illness is robbing me of both. I’m drawn to him in ways I can’t (or would really rather not) understand.

A mysterious angel investor forces our companies to compete for a life-changing amount of money just when my relationship with Tom becomes infinitely more complicated. To make matters worse, things get cutthroat just as my time starts to run out.

In order to survive, I must decide if I can truly trust my most unlikely ally of all.

Unlikely Match is a high-stakes and steamy workplace romance that will leave you feverishly turning pages.

For those of you who love wry (and sometimes a wee bit dark) humor, emotional intensity, loyal friendships, insane chemistry, and forced proximity in the context of high medical stakes, Unlikely Match is for you.


This was a buddy read win y’all. It wasn’t really on my radar until a friend asked to read it together and wow, it delivered.

I loved that this was a very unique romance. It’s also heavy. Yet, the author does a great job balancing all of the weight with a great love interest and a sweet romance + some seriously amazing friends and other side characters. I love learning more from books and this one brought a whole new disease to light for me. Also it increased my awareness of the nature of transplants and how that side of medicine works. It was extremely enlightening because the author went through this entire process.

The romance was filled with all sorts of witty and snarky banter centered around start-up culture. Two competing CEO’s that can’t get enough of snapping back at each other. It has a nice little rivalry vibe, but with immediate intent for a friendship. Tom is an utter cinnamon roll and I loved how gung-ho he was about being with Jules. And when he overstepped he could recognize that and establish boundaries. I loved the discussion around mental health and medicine and how going through something so traumatic can play a forever role in your life.

I wish there was a dash more lean on the romance side because I just loved them that much, but it was an amazing read that I could not put down. Highly recommend as something different in the romance genre!

Overall audience notes:

  • Contemporary Romance
  • Language: some strong
  • Romance: two brief open door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: heavy discussion about the world of medicine in general (doctor’s visits, needles, hospitals, etc.), PTSD, grief, therapy scenes, transplant surgery and recovery

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