Keeping His Siren by Kiersten Fay

Keeping His Siren

Author: Kiersten Fay
Series: Creatures of Darkness, #4
Reviewer: Marlou

Summary

Naia DeVoe never mixes business with pleasure, but when she winds up in bed with the vampire she’s been hired to spy on, that rule gets tossed out his luxury suite window. But Cortez is not a man to be trifled with; he’s rich, powerful and the hottest club owner in town. From their first combustible night together, it’s obvious Naia is in way over her head…

As the leader of his clan, Cortez must be careful who to trust. No one gets too close to him…no one, that is, until Naia. He can’t help but be drawn to the beautiful seductress who all but demands his attention. Is she the one he’s been searching for, or just another woman destined to betray him?

Find this book on Goodreads.

Review

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oh my what a lovely book! I’ve been getting into paranormal romance over the last year and I’m not regretting my decision to pick up that first book.

Keeping His Siren has a good, strong storyline which leaves you wanting more. I tried to savor this book, but I just flew through it (time flies when you’re having fun).

All the characters have a proper and well thought-out personality. Only the MC was given a tight backstory, but that is fine considering we, the reader, read from her perspective and she doesn’t know every single detail about people either.

This book is full of smut (duh) but where other mature fanfiction-things are a little over the top Kiersten did a wonderful job at showing just how magical (and primal) sex can be. She wrote every mature scene in a very tasteful way. What I also love is the fact that the author didn’t overdo it. Yes, there was a lot of sex, but there weren’t too many scenes overall. Again, the amount of descriptive scenes was tasteful.

This book is great for fans of J.R. Ward and Larissa Ione. I will definitely check out some of Kiersten Fay’s other books.

Books in this series

A Wicked Hunger (#1), A Wicked Night (#2), A Wicked Desire (#3), Keeping His Siren (#4), Vampire Masquerade (#5)

Read-With-Us Giveaway 2020

Just a friendly reminder that we have a Giveaway that runs nearly all of 2020!

Entries can be made daily between March 30 and November 30.

Up to 3 winners will be selected and may choose one of the dozens of books we’ll review this year as their prize.

Open internationally, so long as Book Depository will ship to you!

Just go to the Giveaways page for all the details.

Hot Dog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Hot Dog Girl

Author: Jennifer Dugan
Reviewer: Renee

Summary

Elouise (Lou) Parker is determined to have the absolute best, most impossibly epic summer of her life. There are just a few things standing in her way:

  • She’s landed a job at Magic Castle Playland . . . as a giant dancing hot dog.
  • Her crush, the dreamy Diving Pirate Nick, already has a girlfriend, who is literally the Princess of the park. But Lou’s never liked anyone, guy or otherwise, this much before, and now she wants a chance at her own happily ever after.
  • Her best friend, Seeley, the carousel operator, who’s always been up for anything, suddenly isn’t when it comes to Lou’s quest to set her up with the perfect girl or Lou’s scheme to get close to Nick.
  • And it turns out that this will be their last summer at Magic Castle Playland–ever–unless she can find a way to stop it from closing.

View this book on Goodreads.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This book was so fun! I loved the ending and a few scenes near the end were just so perfect. Lou has a hard time accepting that the Magic Castle Playland, an amusement park that has always been there, is closing after this summer. It was there when she and her father needed to get away after her mother left. It’s been her summer job. It’s the one fun place in their town. She wouldn’t even mind wearing the hot dog costume again if it meant the park stayed open. She tries to come up with a plan to save the park, while everybody tries to convince her it’s time to say goodbye.

On top of the park closing, she has a major crush on Nick, a Diving Pirate, who also works at the park. He’s currently in a relationship with the girl who plays the princess so things are a little complicated, but she’s not willing to let that stop her. She’s also trying to set up her best friend, Seeley, so she can get over her breakup with her last girlfriend. It’s a lot for one person to keep track of so it’s no surprise that things don’t always go according to plan.

While explaining her latest plan to get Nick to notice her, he almost overhears everything. Luckily Seeley has her back, for a while. Seeley doesn’t think this latest plan is a good idea and tells Lou that it will backfire. Lou is determined to have the perfect summer and that includes being in a relationship with the boy she’s been crushing on, getting Seeley over her breakup, and saving the park. She’ll do whatever it takes…until it all goes wrong and she can end up losing everything.

I didn’t always buy into Lou’s schemes, but I really enjoyed the journey with the characters. They are all figuring out what they want since they’re almost out of school. There was one character that I felt deserved a little more attention based on her role early on, but overall I loved this book. I read the ending a few times because it was so perfect.

Her Royal Highness by Rachel Hawkins

Her Royal Highness

Author: Rachel Hawkins
Series: Royals #2
Reviewer: Renee

Summary

Millie Quint is devastated when she discovers that her sort-of-best friend/sort-of-girlfriend has been kissing someone else. And because Millie cannot stand the thought of confronting her ex every day, she decides to apply for scholarships to boarding schools . . . the farther from Houston the better.

Millie can’t believe her luck when she’s accepted into one of the world’s most exclusive schools, located in the rolling highlands of Scotland. Everything about Scotland is different: the country is misty and green; the school is gorgeous, and the students think Americans are cute.

The only problem: Mille’s roommate Flora is a total princess.

She’s also an actual princess. Of Scotland.

At first, the girls can barely stand each other–Flora is both high-class and high-key–but before Millie knows it, she has another sort-of-best-friend/sort-of-girlfriend. Even though Princess Flora could be a new chapter in her love life, Millie knows the chances of happily ever afters are slim . . . after all, real life isn’t a fairytale . . . or is it?

View this book on Goodreads.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

This is easily one of the best contemporary stories I’ve ever read! It has a perfect ending that stays with you. I loved reading about Millie and Flora’s relationship – from hating each other to maybe, kind of having feelings for each other. Millie is in a boarding school in Scotland because she loves Scotland and she needs some space from things at home. After insulting her roommate within seconds of being together, she finds out her roommate is Flora, the princess of Scotland. Oops.

Flora tries to get kicked out since she doesn’t want to be there and Millie ends up in trouble with her even though she is just trying to focus on school. The two argue a lot and try to stay away from each other but they have to work together for the Challenge, a yearly competition at the school. This year, instead of working in groups, everybody is partnered with their roommate. During the Challenge, Flora loses their packs and the two end up stranded. Millie was really looking forward to this event and is angry with Flora for getting her in trouble, again. However, while they are alone and without resources, they end up actually talking to each other and it looks like they could start to tolerate each other a little bit.

Millie quickly develops a crush on Flora but knows it could never happen. Flora is a princess, rich, and not exactly the nicest person. Millie is only there because she earned a scholarship. Flora is used to getting her way all the time and doesn’t have the same appreciation of the simple things that Millie does.

I love Flora’s personality. She seems hard and distant, but she has to be because people are always watching and waiting for her to screw up. One of my favorite parts of the book is when Flora keeps saying she doesn’t hate Millie and Millie responds that all Flora has done is judge her. Flora clarifies she’s just stating facts and that doesn’t mean she hates Millie. Millie decides to let it go.

It’s a fun, enjoyable read. I can’t think of anything I didn’t like or wish was different. I loved the different personalities of the characters.

Crier’s War by Nina Varela

Crier’s War

Author: Nina Varela
Series: Crier’s War #1
Reviewer: Renee

Summary

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.

Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.

Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

View this book on Goodreads.

Review

Rating: 4,5 out of 5 stars

I received an arc of this book at BookCon 2019. It was the one thing I needed out of BookCon and I stood in line for as long as I needed and it was definitely worth the wait! If you like super slow burn (it hurt!) with enemies to lovers in a sci-fi world, this book is for you. 

The Automae are human-like robots (they have skin and organs) who basically rule the world. There was a war and they won so now the humans have to follow the Automae rules or they die. The humans are struggling to survive. There are different factions within the Automae – some hate humans and want them all gone, others think they can learn from humans and they should co-exist.

 Ayla has spent most of her life seeking revenge for her family, who were murdered by Automae. She finally gets a position at the House of the Sovereign where she plans to kill his daughter, Crier, to make him suffer as she did. One night, Crier is in danger and instead of killing her, Ayla saves her life. Crier decides to make Ayla her handmaiden. Ayla uses this position to feed the resistance information. She was taken in by the resistance leader when she escaped and has been working with them since.

 Crier wants to be more involved with decisions and is working very hard to earn a place on the council. She believes humans and Automae can live together peacefully. She often speaks up when she has an idea but this is looked down upon from her father. She starts questioning her father’s motives when she’s betrothed to Scyre Kinok, who believes all humans should be killed and new Automae-only cities should be built. Kinok doesn’t have the resources to do this, but Crier’s father does. So the two make a deal, and leave Crier and her opinions out of it. She doesn’t understand why her father, who claims to value human’s ways, would work with Kinok.

 After making Ayla her handmaiden, Crier begins to open up to her about her desires. Ayla is suspicious and continues to listen for information to help the resistance. The two reach an uneasy alliance as they realize they both don’t trust Kinok and think he’s up to something. Crier can’t stop thinking about Ayla and does her best to protect her, but that isn’t always enough. Ayla always seems to be around when Crier’s alarm goes off so her father and Kinok intervene. Crier defends Ayla and her father uses this as proof Crier can’t make her own decisions. Ayla hasn’t forgotten about her goal of killing Crier, but Crier unknowingly gives her information that would be very helpful to the resistance. Ayla just has to find a way around Kinok’s defenses to get the proof the resistance needs.

 There’s so much going on but it’s revealed slowly so I never felt lost or like there was too much going on. The world grows the more you read and the characters motives change as they learn more along with the reader. The ending is satisfying on one level, but also painful. It wraps up this part of the story well, but I really need the next book to find out what they decide (several options are opened to the characters near the end).

Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Romanov

Author: Nadine Brandes
Reviewer: Marlou

Summary

The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them… and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her. . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

View this book on Goodreads.

Review

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

“No amount of age, pride, or maturity could stop me from loving my papa with the heart of a little girl.”

I hate to say this, but I did not like this book… This book sounded so interesting and I have heard great things about the author, but this was not the book for me. It could be that I’m just not one for historical fiction as I see that others absolutely love this book. I promised an honest review so here it is.

So we already know the Romanov family is going to die, it wouldn’t be historically correct if they all lived through this story, but their deaths didn’t impact me at all. By the time they died, I was already bored out of my mind and was only finishing this book because people had been raving about it.

This book is way too slow for my taste. The buildup to their deaths takes so freaking long. And when we get to the fiction part of this historical fiction book, I can’t say I was impressed with any of it. The magic wasn’t magnificent, it was rather dull, and then at the end suddenly the impossible is possible and ugh no just no.

I guess I can see the appeal of this book. The book is focused on the Romanov family (duh), but mostly on the family dynamics. All the characters are rather flat and uninteresting, but the family as a whole makes things interesting.

I gave this book 2 stars because it’s still well-written and I can see that the author did her research, but I really did not enjoy this book and I say that with a heavy heart.

Aladdin: Far from Agrabah by Aisha Saeed

Aladdin: Far from Agrabah

Author: Aisha Saeed
Reviewer: Renee

Summary

One magic carpet ride to a mysterious land, one unforgettable adventure….

Princess Jasmine has always wanted more out of her life – to travel beyond the palace walls, to get to know her people better…to one day become sultana and lead Agrabah. Unfortunately, her overprotective father does not agree. And he keeps introducing her to foreign princes, including a strange – if admittedly charming – one named Ali.

Prince Ali has a secret. He’s not actually royalty from the far-off kingdom of “Ababwa”, as he’s claimed to be. He’s really Aladdin from the streets of Agrabah, who’s stumbled upon an all-powerful genie and a magic carpet and used the first of three wishes to become a prince. Because he, too, longs for a different life.

And when “Prince Ali” presents the magic carpet to Princess Jasmine, she agrees to embark on a journey with him…and asks that he take her to his homeland, Ababwa.

On an adventure in a fantastical kingdom, Aladdin and Jasmine get caught up in the magic therein. But soon sinister outside forces come into play, threatening to strand them there forever.

Will they learn from legends past? Or will the alluring promise of a path to a new life get the best of them?

View this book on Goodreads.

Review

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

I enjoyed getting to spend more time with Aladdin and Jasmine but Aladdin’s lie got to me a bit. I really hate when people lie and throughout this story he has to keep up the appearance that he is a real prince and they are actually in Ababwa. It got a little annoying at times (there are only so many times I needed to be reminded he was lying to be with Jasmine) but it was great seeing Jasmine observing and trying to decide what type of leader she could be, if given the chance. She has a better arc than Aladdin because she’s not pretending and was able to change in the end.

 This story takes place during “A Whole New World.” While traveling everywhere on the magic carpet, where time and space work differently, Jasmine says they should visit Ababwa, Prince Ali’s home. He gets creative and Genie creates his perfect kingdom from ruins. Unbeknownst to them, somebody is actually living nearby and witnesses the kingdom spring up out of nowhere.

 While there Aladdin, ahem, Prince Ali, asks Jasmine to help with making decisions and helping the citizens. Jasmine is delighted. She’s always wanted to be more involved but the Sultan and Jafar would never let her. She listens to each citizen and feels like she’s actually making a difference as she helps them solve their problems. Everything is going perfectly, until that one real person decides to cause trouble that could ruin the illusion and expose Aladdin and keep them trapped in Ababwa.

 Stories that take place in the middle of a movie are usually difficult for me to get invested in since I know how it ends (I’ve watched the movie so I know they make it back to the palace). However, this story excelled at having Jasmine and Aladdin explore their feelings, ideas, and identities. I knew they would get back safely to the palace, but I was still worried about some choices they were being forced to make and how they would handle it.

Poseidon’s Academy by Sarah A. Vogler

Poseidon’s Academy

Author: Sarah A. Vogler
Reviewer: Marlou

Summary

Getting sucked into a whirlpool, sleeping in monster-infested woods, and battling psycho sea-nymphs was not how Hailey planned to spend her first year of high school. But when you’re the only Zeus in the world, life tends to get a bit complicated… 

The Great Battle saw the world changed forever when humans killed the gods and absorbed their powers. One power was coveted above all others: Zeus’s. Thirteen-year-old Hailey Woods is the first Zeus in over a century. Unlike everyone else, she hates her powers because of an ancient prophecy that claims a Zeus will have to save the world someday. 

Hailey doesn’t want to save the world. She wants to be a normal teenager, whose biggest dilemma in life is deciding what to eat for lunch, rather than training to become the ultimate weapon. Poseidon’s Academy, an underwater palace where her powers don’t work, was meant to give her that opportunity. But when she arrives, she discovers the sea-nymphs living there are plotting to resurrect the gods, and Hailey must find a way to stop them before they can enact the prophecy. 

So much for normal!

View this book on Goodreads.

Review

Rating: 2,5 out of 5 stars

This book was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I want to start this review saying that despite giving this book 2.5 stars, I still enjoyed myself. This book has a lot of potential, but it just didn’t wow me. I’ve read almost all of Rick Riordan’s books and I find myself comparing this book to his, and when I do, I find that this book lacks so much. 

Worldbuilding: Gods have been defeated by humans. Humans got their powers. And that’s it. I couldn’t find anything more than that and I would have liked to see more.

Mythology: Yes, she uses the gods and their powers, but there is nothing that hints to myths and no actual stories about the gods are mentioned. 

Characters: Oh boy, they were so flat. There just wasn’t much to them and I really wouldn’t have cared if any of them died… 

Overall, this book is okay. I give it 2.5 stars and I’ll never look back. I do not recommend reading this book. Maybe a young child of age 8 might like it, because of its simplicity.

Books in this series:

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We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal

We Hunt the Flame

Author: Hafsah Faizal
Series: Sands of Arawiya #1
Reviewer: Renee

Summary

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways.

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

View this book on Goodreads.

Review

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I had high expectations for this book and it delivered. I immediately fell in love with Zafira. She is independent, strong willed, and does her best to provide for her family and village. She hunts in the forbidden Arz to feed the poor village. She has to pretend to be a man since the leader of her caliph hates women and blames them for everything bad, including the disappearance of magic. Her hunting skills have caught everybody’s attention and she’s known as the Hunter throughout the kingdom. She would do anything for her sister and village.

It took awhile for me to warm up to Nasir and I may still not really like him. He still has a bit of growth to do. He’s his father’s, aka the king’s, puppet. He does whatever the king orders, even if he disagrees with it. If he shows any hesitation or weakness, his father has ways of punishing him. His father uses Nasir to assassinate anybody who threatens his position. Nasir knows what he’s doing is wrong and sees the darkness in his father, but continues doing the king’s bidding, hoping the person he used to be is still inside.

Zafira and Nasir are on a collision course as they both need to acquire an artifact to bring back magic. Zafira does it because she wants to protect her village from being consumed by the Arz. With magic returned, the Arz will disappear. Nasir does it because his father ordered him to. He doesn’t know why and he doesn’t ask. Nasir also needs Zafira since she’s the only one who can find it. A few new characters join them as they journey closer to the artifact.

I enjoyed the distinct character personalities and how they interacted. Zafira has been providing for her family and village alone for so long she has trouble adjusting to working with a group. Nasir knows his mission and is wary of getting close to anyone, but he was sent with the Captain, who is his opposite in so many ways. He also knows Nasir’s secrets.

You see the characters get to know each other in one on one settings as well as within the group dynamics. They are all withholding information so they choose at different times to trust and at times to refuse to move without more answers.