Book Review

Book Review: Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Thriller
Length: 432 pages
Author: Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: June 1st, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Gossip Girl meets Get Out in Ace of Spades, a YA contemporary thriller by debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé about two students, Devon & Chiamaka, and their struggles against an anonymous bully.

When two Niveus Private Academy students, Devon Richards and Chiamaka Adebayo, are selected to be part of the elite school’s senior class prefects, it looks like their year is off to an amazing start. After all, not only does it look great on college applications, but it officially puts each of them in the running for valedictorian, too.

Shortly after the announcement is made, though, someone who goes by Aces begins using anonymous text messages to reveal secrets about the two of them that turn their lives upside down and threaten every aspect of their carefully planned futures.

As Aces shows no sign of stopping, what seemed like a sick prank quickly turns into a dangerous game, with all the cards stacked against them. Can Devon and Chiamaka stop Aces before things become incredibly deadly?

With heart-pounding suspense and relevant social commentary comes a high-octane thriller from debut author Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé.


I am shook and completely freaked out by this book. I’ve never seen Gossip Girl or Get Out, but close friends have said it’s a great combination of both. I loved the academic setting, the twisted story, and how intense the ending was.

The two main characters, Chiamaka and Devon were amazing. I loved both of their POV’s. Both perspectives gave different sides to ultimately the same story. I was endeared by both of them and as the a creeping sense of dread swarmed my mind as the pages went on I couldn’t put this down.

Full of the nuanced, obvious and threatening realities of racism and supremacy. It was incredibly well written and I am in awe of what this author will write next. The relevant exploration of haunting themes will leave you speechless.

I loved the epilogue and the ending in general. I was invested in both story lines and love how Chiamaka’s and Devon’s story never overshadowed one another. Even with a bit of a slow start for me, it ramped up in the second half. For not a huge thriller fan, this is one where I’ll be shouting READ IT to anyone who’ll listen.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Thriller
  • Language: strong
  • Romance: kisses to closed door
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: racism, homophobia, public outing, loss of a parent, murder, car accident, stalking

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Book Review

Book Review: Sunkissed by Kasie West

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Contemporary + Romance
Length: 320 pages
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: May 4th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


A lighthearted and swoony contemporary YA romance by fan-favorite author Kasie West about a girl who finds that a summer spent at a family resort isn’t as bad as she imagined…and that falling in love is filled with heartache, laughter, and surprises!

After being betrayed by her best friend, Avery is hoping for a picture-perfect summer. Too bad her parents have dragged her and her sister to a remote family camp for the entire summer. And that’s not even the worst part. Avery also has to deal with no internet, a cute but off-limits staff member, and an always-in-her-face sister.

But what starts as a disaster turns into a whirlwind summer romance as Avery embarks on an unexpected journey to figure out what she truly wants and who she wants to be.


This made me want to relive some of my high school years and figure out some aspects of my life. I love how this was approached. Watching Avery find her passion and owning her truths to her family and friends really resonated. I have been deeply reminded why I love Kasie West’s books and the way she’s able to captivate and fill my cup.

Avery was a great teenage main character. Not over the top dramatic, but honest in her faults, and struggling to remember her strengths. I loved her character progression and how she took a chance on her summer to try new things.

Add in a sweet romance with Brooks and I was smitten. Teen, summer love! Oh how cute. I liked their relationship a lot too. From being honest with one another, and learning (and admitting) about communications issues felt true. This whole book was a warm summer hug.

I read it in a day and it was super cute and relatable to my soul.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Contemporary + Romance
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: a parent in a care home (unable to care for themselves after a stroke)

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Book Review

Book Review: Cast in Firelight (Wickery #1) by Dana Swift

Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Fantasy Romance
Length: 448 pages
Author: Dana Swift
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Release Date: January 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


Adraa is the royal heir of Belwar, a talented witch on the cusp of taking her royal ceremony test, and a girl who just wants to prove her worth to her people.

Jatin is the royal heir to Naupure, a competitive wizard who’s mastered all nine colors of magic, and a boy anxious to return home for the first time since he was a child.

Together, their arranged marriage will unite two of Wickery’s most powerful kingdoms. But after years of rivalry from afar, Adraa and Jatin only agree on one thing: their reunion will be anything but sweet.

Only, destiny has other plans and with the criminal underbelly of Belwar suddenly making a move for control, their paths cross…and neither realizes who the other is, adopting separate secret identities instead.

Between dodging deathly spells and keeping their true selves hidden, the pair must learn to put their trust in the other if either is to uncover the real threat. Now Wickery’s fate is in the hands of rivals..? Fiancées..? Partners..? Whatever they are, it’s complicated and bound for greatness or destruction.


I’m not surprised I loved this when I realized how many of my favorite tropes were flying about: enemies to lovers, arranged marriage, hidden identities, etc. YUP. It’s a gem from the get go.

I LOVE Adraa and Jatin! Adraa is such a kicka character. She’s strong and intelligent. I love how she worked toward her goals, but also accepted help. She wasn’t blind to needing others, but also could completely hold her own and her take downs were magnicient. Jatin was the best type of side-kick. Jumping into the fray, falling in love and making me absolutely SMITTEN with his care for Adraa. I love the way these two just clicked.

And when things were clearly reaching their conflict between the main characters, unnecessary drama wasn’t added!!!! I love how it was approached and that Adraa and Jatin actually had a conversation with each other without assuming the other’s thoughts. Put a perfect kissing scene on top and it really sealed the deal for how much I adored this read.

The plot isn’t widly intricate. I was interested and thought the end left enough to explore in a second book. I did really like the magic system. It was a unique play on a rainbow of magic and it was fascinating how it worked with the world building. A really great read that I definitely recommend.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy
  • Language: none
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, magical weaponry, natural disasters

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Book Review

Book Review: Unchosen by Katharyn Blair

Rating: ☆☆☆☆
Audience: YA Dystopian / Romance
Length: 416 pages
Author: Katharyn Blair
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 26th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


For Charlotte Holloway, the world ended twice.

The first was when her childhood crush, Dean, fell in love—with her older sister.

The second was when the Crimson, a curse spread through eye contact, turned the majority of humanity into flesh-eating monsters.

Neither end of the world changed Charlotte. She’s still in the shadows of her siblings. Her popular older sister, Harlow, now commands forces of survivors. And her talented younger sister, Vanessa, is the Chosen One—who, legend has it, can end the curse.

When their settlement is raided by those seeking the Chosen One, Charlotte makes a reckless decision to save Vanessa: she takes her place as prisoner.

The word spreads across the seven seas—the Chosen One has been found.

But when Dean’s life is threatened and a resistance looms on the horizon, the lie keeping Charlotte alive begins to unravel. She’ll have to break free, forge new bonds, and choose her own destiny if she has any hope of saving her sisters, her love, and maybe even the world.

Because sometimes the end is just a new beginning. 


This book takes off at a run and doesn’t let up until the very end. I really enjoyed the audio of this one and how it captured the intensity of the book.

I only picked this up thanks to some reviews from friends so I hope this might convince you to pick it up as well. Dystopian and I don’t mix (especially because this is a pandemic…and we’re in a pandemic). This was written so beautifully and engrossing that I didn’t mind one bit. I was enamored with the story and set-up, wondering how it was all going to be wrapped up in one book. How happy I was when the loose ends were tied up and a great ending occurred.

The romance was so sweet! It wasn’t at the forefront, but was this nice slow build between Charlotte and her friend. By the time they realized their feelings, lives were in peril, so I’m glad I can say that this also had a happy ever after for [most] involved.

One of my favorite components was the fact that Charlotte was NOT the chosen one. I think it’s a funny move against the trope and it worked fantastically here. Her sentiments made me laugh a bit and really feel her character depth. Charlotte was loyal to a fault, yet did her best with some terrible situations.

Really enjoyed this one y’all! I love finding good, quick standalones.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Dystopia / Romance
  • Language: some strong throughout
  • Romance: kisses / make-outs
  • Violence: murder, pandemic (where the “zombie” humans are violent), physical altercations, weaponry
  • Trigger/Content Warnings: loss of loved ones

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