Book Review

Book Review: On These Black Sands (Aisling Sea #1) by Vanessa Rasanen

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: NA Fantasy
Length: 436 pages
Author: Vanessa Rasanen
Publisher: Crab Apple Books
Release Date: August 10th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


An awkward stowaway. A troubled pirate captain.
Is she the key to his quest or will she be his ruin?

Aoife wants nothing more than to fulfill her duty and serve on the Council. But a spilled secret reveals a deadly truth she never suspected. Plagued by guilt and wanting no part in the Council’s methods, she panics and runs, stowing away on a pirate ship.

Declan doesn’t have time to deal with an irritating stowaway, and this job is already dangerous enough without having her underfoot. With less than a month to bring the enchanted dagger to the rebels, he needs to find a way past the bloodthirsty creatures guarding it.

In a world of secrets and legends, a lost dagger may be the key to saving a nation. But it will take far more than wit and a cutlass to retrieve it. Can an heir and a pirate work together–or will their secrets drown all hope?


This was a great debut. Even if I struggled with some of it, I truly enjoyed it overall and look forward to checking out book two.

Aoiefe was alright. I felt like she was extremely naïve about everrrrrything. And some repetitiveness to her storyline and thoughts dragged that on longer than necessary. Luckily, I found a pretty swoony character in Declan. I liked him most of the two points-of-view. He was the kind of dashing pirate, searching for treasure that makes you want to jump on the boat and join him.

The world building was a bit shallow. I was confused about why we were after a certain artifact and still wondering how that artifact works and can change the game, so to speak. There’s also fae involved? I don’t know, I need more answers here. I muuuust have good world building in a fantasy book to be wrapped up in here and that’s what lacked the most.

A predictable ending, with a good set-up for book two. I did like a lot of the side characters and there seems to be plenty of opportunity to expand the world and get some deeper character dives.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: some mild
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, kidnapping,

Instagram || Goodreads

Book Review

Book Review: A Memory of Light (Until the Stars Are Dead #1) by Allyson S. Barkley

Rating: ★★★☆
Genre: NA Fantasy
Length: 330 pages
Author: Allyson S. Barkley
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Release Date: January 1st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


An exceptionally-skilled thief, Ari lives deep in the forest with no one but her bobcat Jagger for company. She is determined to keep to herself as civil war drags on around her, but when a mysterious stranger appears with an unexpected job offer, she has no choice but to leave her quiet life behind.

Unwillingly paired with chatty, optimistic magician Ely, Ari finds her patience, wits, and skill tested when the journey quickly proves to be far from what either of them bargained for. Ari must face one of the greatest tests of her thieving career – and come to terms with the many secrets she has been hiding.

With an exciting heroine and a diverse cast of characters, A Memory of Light is the first title in the fantasy series Until the Stars Are Dead, which follows Ari and Ely’s adventures navigating the dangers of their complicated, quickly-changing world.

Thank you to the author for sending along a copy.


This kind of got off to a rough start, there was an extreme lack of dialogue which (for me) is hard to get drawn in by. I like the connection the characters and needed more of that.

Once Ari FINALLY started feeling like talking a bit to Ely and others things got better. I liked the dynamic between them and see maaaybe a potential love interest? If not, totally cool, I like the bond they have going. The closeness between them is starting to show and I think that’s why I can see potential. Now that they have a bit of a bond I hope to see it more in book two.

One of my least favorite fantasy tropes is the adventure/traveling plotline. This dragged out for me too. The entire book is one quest without any home base for me to get a feeling of anything else then some woods and running for your lives.

In the end, I did truly enjoy the base of the writing. I wasn’t turned from wanting to continue and I look forward to seeing how book two further expounds on the world building and the character development.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: none
  • Violence: mild
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: small scale skirmish scenes, physical and weaponry altercations, recounting of losing loved ones

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: Belladonna (Belladonna #1) by Adalyn Grace

Rating: ★★★★★
Audience: Upper YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Adalyn Grace
Publisher: Little, Brown for Young Readers
Release Date: August 30th, 2022
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.

Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.

However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.


Yess. This was everything I wash hoping it would be!! I loved the way the story was written. I CAN NOT WAIT FOR THE NEXT BOOK.

We’ve got to talk about the romance first. Because it was glorious. I looooved Signa and Death’s push and pull. They had chemistry from the get go and perfectly placed banter. Every time he said little bird I MELTED. Give me all of them. I of course would have loved even more romance but I imagine that’s coming and I will impatiently wait for more.

The murder mystery was well crafted too. I tried not to make to many theories because I love being in the dark when I’m loving a read. It made it all the more fun when the answers started coming out and the darkness of others was brought to light. The plot had great pacing and I really couldn’t have asked for more.

It totally lived up to my expectations.

Overall audience notes:

  • Upper YA Fantasy Romance
  • Language: a little
  • Romance: one vague open door
  • Violence: med-high
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: murder, poisoning, near death situations

Instagram || Goodreads || The StoryGraph

Book Review

Book Review: Crystal Caged (Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles #5) by Elise Kova

Rating: ☆☆☆
Audience: NA Fantasy
Length: 426 pages
Author: Elise Kova
Publisher: Silver Wing Press
Release Date: March 11th, 2020
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


The highly anticipated and breathtaking finale of Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles by USA Today bestselling author Elise Kova.

One way or another… she will be the end of the world.

With powers that weren’t supposed to be touched by mortal hands, Vi Solaris is determined to free herself and the world from the deadly vortex it’s trapped in. This mission has taken her to forbidden lands and has transformed her from a sheltered princess to a fearsome warrior.

But the ultimate triumph requires the ultimate sacrifice, forcing Vi to choose between the last tethers to her humanity and the very people she’s sworn to protect.

Vi’s story of magic, sacrifice, triumph, and love reaches its epic conclusion in Crystal Caged. Air Awakens: Vortex Chronicles should be read in order:Vortex Visions Chosen Champion Failed Future Sovereign Sacrifice Crystal Caged


It’s no secret I LOVE the original Air Awakens series (for real, please go read this). So I dived into this one thinking I would at least really like it, and I am sad that it overall was a let down. To show you, it took me 4 days to read the original 5 books, and 2 years to finish this series.

My biggest issue was the entire basis for the plot. I never got fully behind it. It continues after the first series, and yet, twists back to it as well? I don’t know. Things became very convoluted and I found myself staring down an enigma that I just didn’t feel like solving.

The romance was great at least. I adored Taavin. He was tender and kind. Full of support for Vi, but also willing to go toe-to-toe with her if needed. I thought they were a true match and grateful the ending worked out for them (I thought it was heading in a different direction and I was going to riot). This ship was the high point throughout the books and kept me going when I wasn’t interested in the wider story.

I mostly read this to read the next series in this world (you don’t have to do that, but I’m, in general, a big Kova fan so why not?). I’m ready to move on and see what A Trial of Sorcerers has in store for me.

Overall audience notes:

  • NA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses to closed and brief open
  • Violence: physical altercations, loss of loved ones, weaponry, magical attacks, near death experiences

Instagram || Goodreads