Book Reviews

The Winter King by Christine Cohen

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 352
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Middle Grade
Published: Nov. 19, 2019, by Cannonball Books
Rating: 5 stars


A village trapped in winter, a tyrannical god, and a girl who will do anything to keep her family alive…

Ever since Cora’s father disappeared through the ice, whispers about her family’s “curse” have grown increasingly louder. Desperate to help her mother and siblings survive another bleak season in the Winter King’s frozen grasp, Cora begins to bend (and even break) the rules she has kept since she was a little girl. But when she discovers a secret that’s much bigger than herself, she realizes too late that she has put herself—and those she loves—in even greater peril.


Cora’s father passed away when ice fishing. The town thinks her family is cursed. When it’s time for winter and the Winter King’s return, Cora becomes desperate to help her family make it through the winter.

I rarely read standalone fantasies. When I came across this one, I decided I would give it a go. I want to add more standalone to my collection. This book I will most definitely be buying a physical copy.

I didn’t think I would get sucked into the story as I did. I almost read this in one sitting. If I didn’t have a few things to do yesterday, I would have finished it. I think it has been a while since a book thoroughly sucked me in the way this one did. I loved it.

It didn’t turn out the way I thought. I loved the pacing. I loved the world-building. The hardship that the MC goes through. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I do have another book by this author. I can’t wait to dive into more of her writing.

With it being middle grade, I can’t wait for my son to be old enough to read this. I may even read it to him.

Book Reviews

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

My edition: Library Hardback
Pages: 356
Series: The Grisha Trilogy #1
Genre: Fantasy, YA, High Fantasy
Published: June 5, 2012, by Henry Holt & Company
Rating: 4 star


Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.


Funny enough, I liked this more than I thought I would. There are many mixed reviews, but either way, it’s a hyped book. If y’all know me, I tend to be on the minority side when it comes to a hyped book. I liked it. I am a bit surprised.

Now I didn’t give it a full five stars due to it having the “betrayal” trope and a love triangle. I love the world Leigh built. Alina isn’t my favorite but she isn’t the worst that I have read. It is a very easy read, I would say this would be a good beginner’s fantasy into High Fantasy.

I knew the Darkling would be one of those male characters I shouldn’t root for yet here I am going after Mr. Toxic because when it comes to book boyfriends I fall for the ones I shouldn’t. (i.e. Psychopathic, sociopath, power-hungry, dominating, etc.)

Mal grew on me at the end. At first, I didn’t like him. He was the typical male character that doesn’t realize what he has until it’s gone. But still, he ended up growing on me in the end.

I really hope my library has the other two books. But I have one more book to read before I go back to the library.

Book Reviews

Green: The Beginning and the End by Ted Dekker

My edition: Library book & audiobook
Pages: 392
Time: 14h 59m
Narrator: Tim Gregory
Series: The Circle #0
Genre: Christian Fantasy
Published: Sept. 1, 2009, by Thomas Nelson Publishers
Rating: 2.5 stars


AS FORETOLD BY ANCIENT PROPHETS, an apocalypse destroyed Earth during the twenty-first century. But two thousand years later Elyon set upon the earth a new Adam. This time, however, He gave humanity an advantage. What was once unseen became seen. It was good and it was called…”Green.”

But the evil Teeleh bided his time in a Black Forest.

Then, when least expected, a twenty-four year old named Thomas Hunter fell asleep in our world and woke up in that future Black Forest. A gateway was opened for Teeleh to ravage the land. Devastated by the ruin, Thomas Hunter and his Circle swore to fight the dark scourge until their dying breath.

But now The Circle has lost hope. Samuel, Thomas Hunter’s cherished son, has turned his back on his father. He gathers the dark forces to wage a final war. Thomas is crushed and desperately seeks a way back to our reality to find the one elusive hope that could save them all.

Enter an apocalyptic story like none you have read. A story with links to our own history so shocking that you will forget you are in another world at all. Welcome to “GREEN.” Book Zero.



Let me start off with the fact that I was confused about the world in this book. I think it would have been better for me to start off with Black. I have seen that in many reviews of this book. I will know when I finish the series.

Also, should say I have tried starting this book three or four times now. I always just said screw it and gave it back to the library. Well, I decided to give it one more go and actually finish it so I could move on to Black. I really should have seen the reviews on this to read Black first. Ted mentions at the beginning of the book before you start that this series is a circle. You can either start with Green and end with White or start with Black and end with Green. I can’t say anything about this until I finish the series.

I like the story with Thomas, but when we get the past POV with Billy and Janae I couldn’t care less. I just wanted to know what was going on with Thomas and “the future”. But most of the time, I wasn’t rooting for any character. I didn’t like Thomas’s wife, Chelise. Actually, I don’t think I liked any character, especially Samuel. I just wanted to know what was going on in the other world.

I’ve got a few more library books to read before I take this back and get Black.

Book Reviews

The Selection by Kiera Cass

My edition: KU
Pages: 331
Series: The Selection #1
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Romance
Published: April 24, 2012, by HarperTeen
Rating: 2.5 stars


For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.


When this book came out, I was probably worried about the senior prom and graduation. I avoided this book for a long time. I have seen a lot of hate thrown its way. So why am I picking it up now? That is a very good question. I read a copious amount of books that are a fight to the death to be queen or something along those lines. With such books, they are a hit or miss. I thought I really need to read the book that started off the pageant-like contest to be queen. I stumbled across this on the KU list.

With that being said, on to the review.

I didn’t want to be royalty. And I didn’t want to be a One. I didn’t even want to try.

I have many problems with The Selection’s first book. I do not like her mother. I really don’t like the non-supportive parent trope that is heavy in YA. Also, don’t like the trope that tends to follow it which is the other parent not standing up to the non-supportive parent.

My next problem with this is Aspen. How he entered the book was eh. I did not get a build-up with this character. He and America’s relationship was thrust upon us in the second chapter. I could not buy into their relationship because Cass doesn’t explain any of their relationship until the halfway mark. The little bit of him that was shown was toxic masculinity.

That was my great ambition. Not to be Illéa’s princess. To be Aspen’s

Y’all this was said on page 14 of the book. Now it is said that America has been in love with Aspen for two years. But he is a caste lower than her which is not a good thing. Especially with America’s gold-digging mother.

America… I’m not going to mention my thoughts on the name American Singer. But the character herself, I am not a fan of. It took me twenty-two pages to hate the character. Now did she redeem herself? I would say yes and no. At times she would be funny and other times a whiny teen.

Maxon, I kind of like him. He wasn’t as bad as Aspen. I really liked his relationship with America. America wasn’t as insufferable when she was with him. I was thoroughly enjoying this book until the author brought Aspen back into the scene. Like why? Why do we have to have a love triangle? Can’t we just have a brokenhearted girl finding herself after a break-up and learning to move on in a healthy way?

Is that too much to ask for? I went ahead and spoiled it for myself to see who she ends up with. And since that happened I am done with The Selection.

Book Reviews

Cross Academy by Valicity Elaine

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 428
Series: Cross Academy
Genre: Christian, Fantasy
Published: August 17, 2015
Rating: DNF


Blessings are gifts from God. But when the spiritual realm cracks open and demons crawl forth in hordes, Blessings become the means of survival. Humanity needs supernatural weapons to fight this supernatural war, so Gifts of power are given to strong Tribes and Clans to help preserve the last of God’s Children.

That was over 700 years ago.

Today, Cross Academy trains those with exceptional blessings. Hunters of the Cross are the legends of old, fighting demons and darklings to keep the Four Regions safe. When a seemingly insignificant village is destroyed, the Cross goes to investigate. What they learn threatens to tip the balance of the Great Demon War … in favor of the demons.
Chaos unfolds over the Four Regions of the earth, and the refugees taken into the Academy are right at the center of it all.

Fox Fire is one of the rescued villagers who enters the Academy. She remembers the legends of her elders; how her ancestors fought the darklings using the Gift of the Flame. Now, those stories are nothing but myths. There hasn’t been a Sundancer born in the Fire Tribe in over 200 years. Until now. When the walls of Fox’s village come crashing down, Fox realizes the myths about the Fire Tribe might be more than children’s stories.

Enrolling in Cross Academy is her only way to get stronger, but she isn’t sure the schooling is worth it. She isn’t even sure she can survive the courses. But she doesn’t have a choice. Her best friend has been possessed by a powerful demon. Only God can save him now. But Cross Academy teaches students how to slay demons … Can Fox use her blessing to save him instead?


For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12

This book is broken into three parts. Discernment disclaimer: Obviously due to the synopsis this deals with demons. This has gore in it. It also deals with other mature topics.

I didn’t finish this due to some issues. I will talk about them in this review.

To be fair- SPOILERS!!! If you plan on reading this book, do not read my review. Seriously I give away plot points and if you continue to read on it is not my fault you ruined the story for yourself.


Part one starts off following the children, more specifically Fox, Talon, and Roaring, of the Grand chief. They live in the Village of Wi. The Village has three rings. The outer ring has the poverty, the second ring has the merchant and the market, then the innermost ring has the Grand Chief and their family plus people of status. They are a matriarchal society. On the day Fox earns her knot, she wants to celebrate by going outside the Wall. She and her best friend KI are then attacked by a demon that took over a bear’s body. KI is hurt in the process and Fox kills her first demon. Talon is going to be the Grand Chief someday and I think she feels inadequate. She is close to her brother who is quiet and stand-offish. I’m quite unsure about their relationship. I don’t know if I am reading too much into this or if it’s written as if there might have been a ship between them. (Again I may be reading too much into this due to the fact that before I got saved I read books such as Game of Thrones and Flowers in the Attic. Both books have certain relationships that shouldn’t happen) But she feels lacking in comparison to her siblings. Roaring and Fox are amazing in combat while Cat the other sister is amazing with social occasions. Part one ends with the destruction of the village and Fox fighting for her best friend’s life. Roaring and Talon fought as well but we don’t know if anyone lived at the end of part one.

If you don’t like the color red, then you will not like any of the decorations for the Fire Tribe. Everywhere you look red, red, more red. What’s that? RED! For most of part one, I feel as if I wasn’t completely invested in any of the characters. Plus there was the relationship between Talon and Roaring I’m trying to figure out if my brain is reading too much into it. At the end of part one, I was shocked because I didn’t know whether or not the author really did what I think she did.


There was one chapter with Evelyn’s POV in part one but it’s towards the end and there isn’t too much information given besides he is a lieutenant from the Academy. He and his team were dispatched to take care of an ambush of demons. They end up following the giant demon at the end of part one. Evelyn and the Cross Academy saved two thousand from Wi including the Fire siblings. But Wi was cut off from the rest of the world. They are untrusting of anyone whom they deem as an outsider. Evelyn sits in with the interviews his second, Kotaro, and a priest, Izzy, conduct to gather further information on what happened to Wi.

Talon is questioned by Evelyn (who is at times referred to as Diaz) and the team. Through this interview, it is established that KI has been possessed by a demon since he came to Wi. Talon being only nine could tell something was not right with the boy. She then makes the decision (as a nine-year-old) to seal the demon because an exorcism would be too dangerous. It’s only hinted that Talon has an extraordinary gift that if she was properly trained she could have been a priest along with Izzy who is extraordinary by priest standards. When KI was attacked in part one, it broke the seal that Talon had placed which awoke the demon inside KI which then turned into a beacon drawing the demon horde to Wi.

The siblings are now in Babel where the Cross Academy is located. They are no idea about this world because Wi has been so isolated and closed off. Diaz even tells Talon that she was a bird in a cage and how he hopes in Babel she learns to fly. Talon and her sibling have to bury their parents and unfortunately, they are unable to go back to Wi to do the burials. At the end of part one, Roaring is discovered as a Sundancer who has the ability to bend fire. It’s hinted Fox is one because she wasn’t burned at the end of part one. During the burial, Fox notices the earth benders. There are also people who can bend air. Some people can heal themselves and others. (serious Avatar vibes) It doesn’t say bend. I am inputting that word in because I don’t know what else to call it.

Fox is asked by Diaz to join the Academy because he knows she is a Sundancer like her brother. Though Diaz would much rather have her brother. Fox agrees to it after she makes a deal to see KI. Fox also, learns of the Nine which has been discussed in chapters involving Diaz. The Nine are the top evil. Fox fought against one at the end of part one.

I am not a fan of Fox. She is quite protective of KI but I don’t buy their relationship. I don’t buy her feelings for him. I just don’t see it.

I ended up DNFing this due to not really connecting with the story. I wasn’t too big of a fan of the writing. There are too many small plot points going on and it felt like several stories combined into one. Too many MCs and at times I was confused about who I was reading in a chapter.

My final thoughts about the book are that it had amazing potential. There are a few things that are weird for me. The first would be when the chapter comes up it is named after the person whose POV is the main of that chapter. The reason I say that is because it’s sometimes hard to figure out who is the main POV if it wasn’t said. Also, with the chapters, Fox is the only one whose full name is the chapter. For Talon, it’s just Talon. For Roaring, it’s just Roaring. But for Fox, it’s Fox Fire. Why is her’s so different?

The second problem for me is sometimes the way Fox comes across is like she’s twelve or thirteen but she’s really sixteen. She just reads sometimes as younger than she is. I don’t know if that has to do with the cultural aspect the author intended for the Fire Tribe or if it’s just how the author wrote her. To me, she comes off as younger than she is.

If this focused on Fox Fire alone, I think I would have finished it in one day.

Book Reviews

Pippa of Lauramore by Shri L. Tapscott

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 334
Series: Eldentimber #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
Published: March 15, 2015
Rating: 3 STARS


Act like a lady. Don’t swim in the waterfall. And whatever you do, never steal into the woods for a romantic, moonlit ride.

For as long as Pippa can remember, she’s looked forward to her eighteenth birthday. The number represents freedom—and the end of her boring lessons with dreary tutors. Unfortunately for the princess, it’s also the age she is expected to marry Lionel, the stern prince of Vernow.

Eager to escape her future with the Lionel, Pippa convinces her Father to hold a traditional marriage tournament. Thirty men travel to Lauramore to compete, including Galinor, the dark-haired, blue-eyed prince of Glendon.

Galinor is everything Pippa dreams a prince can be. He’s handsome and strong, virtuous and true. Immediately smitten, Pippa decides she will do everything in her power to ensure Galinor wins the tournament—even if she must convince her friend Archer to win it for him.

Dragons and fairies, poison and lies—Pippa will let nothing stand between her and Galinor’s future.

But despite how well the tournament begins, Pippa may soon learn even the right prince can be the wrong man.


It’s a great honor to receive the two extra points a princess may give to her chosen, and it has made the difference in dozens of close tournaments. Winning means prestige, honor…and me.

Pippa has talked her father into hosting a tournament for her hand. She did this so she wouldn’t have to marry Lionel. So during the opening banquet, she looks for a man who could beat Lionel and she can be okay with marrying.

For the most part, Pippa is an annoying heroine. Besides her, some of the other characters don’t make the best decisions. I am a little upset because she doesn’t end up with the guy I wanted her to end up with, but whateves. I don’t know if I am going to move on with the rest of the series. I might read Lord Rigel’s book. He was the one that stole my heart for sure.

Book Reviews

Maid and Minstrel by Kate Stradling

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 145
Genre: Retelling, Fantasy, YA
Published: April 26, 2022
Rating: 5 STARS


Rosalind always shared her birthday with her father’s horses, but she never expected to share their fate.

Sheltered and pampered, beautiful Rosalind of Lovana turns eighteen with fluttering excitement. Nobles and dignitaries across the land are to celebrate with her—including young King Philip of Mallinae, whom she secretly adores.

But instead of a party, she descends to an auction where she is the prize up for bid. Incensed, she ridicules the guests, slinging a willfully hurtful barb at Philip in their midst.

Her father, enraged to have his moneymaking schemes thus ruined, delivers a seething ultimatum: Rosalind must marry a beggar that very night, or she dies.


For all the stupid couples Seriously, just talk to each other

When I read the dedication page, I knew I was going to like this story.

Rosalind is turning eighteen and her father decides she can finally have a celebration. Only when she comes to her supposed party she is told by her father to choose a husband of one of the many noblemen who bought an invitation. So she insults every single one that showed up. Even her childhood crush Philip.

Due to the insults not only to the kingdom’s nobles but to her father as well, he gives her the ultimatum to marry the beggar who knocked on his door or die. She then marries the beggar and has to leave her father’s lands.

I loved this. I do wish for a bit longer but it was amazing. I love Rosalind and Barnabus. They are so caring towards each other. I loved it. I am so adding more of Stradling to my TBR.

Book Reviews

The Heir and the Spare by Kate Stradling

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 300
Genre: Fantasy
Published: Feb. 19, 2021
Rating: 5 stars


An evil princess, a ruthless persecutor, a wretched match.

Tormented at home and bullied during her studies abroad, second-born Iona of Wessett hides in the quiet corners of her father’s castle. Her art and music provide refuge, but her cruel sister Lisenn ever lurks like a monster stalking its prey.

Such has been her life for twenty years.

However, a promise of reprieve and retribution arrives when the neighboring kingdom of Capria proposes an alliance between their new crown prince and Wessett’s heir to the throne. The treaty will rid Iona of the toxic Lisenn, and the potential groom is none other than her erstwhile bully, Jaoven of Deraval. The marriage could not be more poetic: each deserves the misery the other might inflict.

Except that Jaoven, humbled by the war that elevated his rank, appears to have reformed, and the fate of both kingdoms now hinges on the disastrous union he’s about to make.


First, I want to say I love when books start off with bible quotes. This one started with Luke 17:3.

Iona is second princess to Wessett. When she was younger she was sent to Capria to attend their royal college. Her parents sent her away to escape her older sister Lisenn. While she was at Capria she was bullied. Her main tormentor… Jaoven of Deraval. When negotiations for her older sister to the new crown prince come about, Jaoven learns that he wasn’t tormenting a lesser noble from his homeland but the second princess of the neighboring kingdom.

I felt sorry for Iona. The abuse she had to suffer from her sister and her father not really caring. Her sister got away with way too much. I didn’t think I would finish this in a day. But I did. I didn’t think I would like this but I ended up loving it. I will definitely be adding more books by Kate to my TBR. I do have another one that is on my kindle. I am now a bit worried that I will go into a slump. That’s how good the book was. I do wish for more of Iona and Jaoven. Though it has more to do with wanting to dig deeper into the romance and let it grow.

Book Reviews

The Miller’s Girl by Nina Clare

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 332
Stand Alone
Genre: YA, Fairy tale retelling
Published: April 16, 2017
Rating: 2.5 stars


Once upon a time there was a foolish miller who claimed his daughter could spin straw into gold…

All Adela wants is to keep her family together, keep a roof over her brothers’ heads, put food on the table, and not draw attention to herself – for she’s no time for suitors.

But all that is shattered when she’s dragged from the village by a greedy king and ordered to spin straw into gold – or die. Suddenly life has become very dangerous, and which impending fate is worse – execution or a forced marriage to a mad, old king?

It will take faith, courage, and otherworldly help for Adela to outwit those who would destroy her and her loved ones. And a happy ending is something she can only hope for.


Adela is the daughter of the village miller. She has three brothers Lukas, Herbil, and Six. Her father is a drunk who spends all their money. Adela has several suitors after her, one being the bailiff who works for the king and collects their monthly fee. When the bailiff comes to collect, Adela outwits him with the terms of the contract between miller and king. They have two weeks to get the monthly fee along with the late fees as well.

Prince Johann has returned to govern in his father’s place. His father is slowly losing his mind. (My guess is dementia.)

I wasn’t really a fan of this story. I was kind of bored through most of it. About the 70% I just skimmed to the end and read the ending. It took a long time before the romance started and by then I wasn’t invested in either Adela or Johann.

Book Reviews

Feathers of Snow by Alice Ivinya

My edition: Kindle Unlimited
Pages: 294
Series: Kingdom of Birds and Beasts #1
Genre: Fantasy, Romance. YA
Published: Feb. 12, 2021
Rating: 3 stars


In Brianna’s new world of ice and snow, the coldest things by far are the eyes of her betrothed…

Brianna bears a deadly secret: she’s not the princess she is pretending to be. If the prince finds out, her life will be forfeit and her country plunged into war.

But there is more to the icy prince than meets the eye, and Brianna slowly unravels the secrets of his dark past while surviving in a strange culture.

However her goodness and wit will only get her so far. Terrifying beasts stalk the border and a murderer is at work in the town. They know the truth of Brianna’s identity and will stop at nothing to destroy all she has fought for.


Didn’t she understand that this was always going to happen? There had always been a political marriage awaiting her. This was the price for her life of privilege and luxury.

Brianna was Princess Elyanna’s lady-in-waiting. When it is announced that Elyanna’s father and his council have proposed marriage to the prince of the Boarderlands, Elyanna and her mother come up with the idea to send Brianna instead.

Elyanna can only be described as a selfish, cruel, abusive girl. Her mother isn’t any better. In fact, she is worse because she knows how to be manipulative.

This is a retelling of Goose Girl which is a fairy tale I am unfamiliar with. While I liked the story it felt like it dragged on. I liked Brianna and Jian was okay. He didn’t really have much until after the halfway mark. At first, I was glad to start reading this book. It seemed like it was going to be amazing, but I figured out where the plot was going and from there on it was just waiting. Waiting for the attack to happen and for everything to blow up.

If it wasn’t for the last chapter, I wouldn’t continue with the series. But that last chapter shed a bit of light on the situation and it wasn’t the normal betrayal issue that plagues many YA books.