a Slytherin romance recommendation | ARC Review: The Shadows Between Us, written by Tricia Levenseller

The Shadows Between Us

The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Publication date: February 25th, 2020 
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 336
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

– My Thoughts –

“They’ve never found the body of the first and only boy who broke my heart.

And they never will.” 

The Shadows Between Us starts with the trope, “boy you might be hot and all, but imma still kill you as it suits me” but it quickly turned to “oh noooo.. boy you’re THE brooding hero of my fanfic dreams..how in the f-ing hell can I kill you”.

Alessandra, the second daughter of a nobleman, started off as an ambitious heroine. It seems that she has everything, riches to freedom to do whatever she wants but Alessandra knows that as a woman she has to marry someone eventually. Alessandra shocks her father when she tells him she’ll marry the Shadow King. Alessandra is confident that the King won’t be able to help himself and fall for her. When he does, Alessandra is going to kill him and rule the kingdom in his place. Of course, things don’t go her way. For starters, there are others in line ahead to kill the king.

I won’t say I didn’t enjoy the book because I loved every bit of it. There are pretty great moments( some of which I’ve included above) like Alessandra’s sense of humor, her passion for designing clothes, female friendships, moments of female empowerment, great banter and Demodocus of course! I was intrigued by the Shadow King too; not the King part but the “Shadow” part. The pacing was decent as well as I had finished reading it in two days. I loved the twist at the end as well. I couldn’t predict the villain until before two pages of the revelation but it was anticlimactic.

Now let’s talk about what I didn’t like. To me, it seemed like Alessandra quickly forgot about her plans. I didn’t like the Alessandra that we got to see after she joined the royal household. I also wanted to see her in the role of Royal Tailor or something..since there are paragraphs detailing her love for designing. There was also minimal worldbuilding so I’d advise you to steer clear of this if you prefer detailed world-building.

Overall, I would recommend this book. I think if you enjoyed The Cruel Prince, you might enjoy this! If you like anti-heroes, stabby romance, a character-driven fantasy that prioritizes romance, then go buy or borrow this YA fantasy when it hits the shelves on 25th February!

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review!


– About the Author –

Initially from a small town in Oregon, Tricia Levenseller now lives next to the Rocky Mountains with her bossy dog, Rosy. She received her degree in English Language and editing and is thrilled that she never has to read a textbook again. When she’s not writing or reading, Tricia enjoys putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing volleyball, playing OVERWATCH, and watching shows while eating extra-buttered popcorn.

Thank you for reading! Will you add The Shadows Between Us to your tbr? Have you read any of the author’s previous books? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Review of yet another sensational thriller SAFE HOUSE, from the author of Sticks and Stones

Review of yet another sensational thriller Safe House, from the author of Sticks and Stones
Safe House by Jo Jakeman

Safe House by Jo Jakeman

Publication date: October 31st, 2019 
Publisher: Harvill Secker
Pages: 336
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Amazon(99p) | Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Charlie just wants to be forgotten but everyone else wants to know her story…

The morning after a terrible storm, a woman turns up in a remote Cornish village. She has bought the crumbling cottage that has lain empty for over a decade, and she’s going to make it her home. She calls herself Charlie, but it’s a name she’s only had for a few days. She keeps herself to herself, reluctant to integrate with the locals. Because Charlie has a secret.

Charlie was in prison for providing a false alibi for a murderer. But Lee Fisher wasn’t a murderer to her; he was the man she loved. Convinced of his innocence, Charlie said she was with him the night a young woman was killed. That lie cost her everything.

And now she has the chance to start again. But someone is watching her, waiting for her, wondering if she’s really payed the price for what she did.

– My Thoughts –

Steffi Finn fell in love with Lee Fisher, then she went to jail because of him. Now, years later, she’s been released and she wants to start over in a new town with a new identity. Steffi is now Charlie, living in a sleepy little village in Cornwall. No-one here seems to recognise her and life seems good but not for long. As Charlie starts to renovate her house, she feels that she’s being watched. Accidents start happening every other day and Charlie can’t think who might be set on harming her. Her ex Lee Fisher is in jail and any other enemies she’s acquired because of him shouldn’t be able to find the “new” her….right?

Written in alternate timelines and dual POVs, we learn what kind of a person Steffi was before she became Charlie. We see how Lee controlled her and how Steffi couldn’t believe that he was a serial killer. It kinda reminded me of Ted Bundy..Lee Fisher was charming and manipulative sure, but he didn’t fit the profile of a serial killer(not at first glance, at least). Steffi was a victim of Lee’s too and it’ll break your heart reading her character arc.

The pacing was good even if I had a bit of trouble getting into it during the beginning. The setting of the village where Steffi/Charlie settled and the uneasiness she felt every moment was perfectly written. I liked the unpredictability of the twists as the author kept my mind working to find out who Steffi/Charlie’s stalker was and why was he/she(/they) were trying to kill her.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you’re looking for a slow-burn thriller with a captivating female lead. This story literally gives a terrifying meaning to the phrase “Love is blind.”

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review and for including me in the blog tour!

Safe House by Jo Jakeman

– About the Author –

JO JAKEMAN was the winner of the Friday Night Live 2016 competition at the York Festival of Writing. Born in Cyprus, she worked for many years in the City of London before moving to Derbyshire with her husband and twin boys. Safe House is her second novel and Sticks and Stones was her debut thriller.

Thank you for reading! Do you like reading thrillers? If you’ve read Safe House or the author’s debut, then I’d love to know what you thought!

Blog Tour: Crown of Coral and Pearl, written by Mara Rutherford | ARC Review & Giveaway

Blog Tour: Crown of Coral and Pearl, written by Mara Rutherford | Review & Giveaway
Crown of Coral and pearl by mara Rutherford

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford

Publication date: August 27th, 2019 
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Buy:Book Depository | Wordery | Amazon

Synopsis:

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…
Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.
Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.
In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

– My Thoughts 

“Sorrow is good for the soul, Father had said after the incident, when I had recovered from the pain and sickness but had still not grown used to the feel of the torn flesh on my otherwise flawless skin. “Those who have never known pain or adversity are as shallow as the waves lapping on the shore.” 

“And what is wrong with being shallow?” I’d asked him. 

“What lies beneath the surface of shallow waters? Nothing. It’s only when you go deeper that the ocean comes alive. The deeper you go, the more mysteries and surprises await.”

Crown of Coral and Pearl by Mara Rutherford is a fantasy about how love can destroy and how it can rebuild.

Nor and Zadie are two sisters from a place called Varenia that has been oppressed by the people of Ilara for centuries. It is a tradition that every time an Ilarian Prince is of age, a Varenian daughter of great beauty must be married to him. Nor and Zadie like every other girl in Varenia have to abide by strict rules of beauty. Every girl in Varenia must be nothing short of perfect. Fortunately( or, unfortunately) Nor doesn’t have to worry about keeping to her beauty regimen as she’s already been scarred since she was seven years old. When the time comes for the new Prince of Ilara to be married, the village elders choose Zadie as the bride-to-be. Zadie not only doesn’t want to get married to the Prince but she also doesn’t want to leave her beloved twin sister.
So, she devises a plan that has devastating consequences. Not only is Zadie gravely injured but the sisters’ mother thinks that Nor was the one who did it. Amidst the suspicious gaze of the villagers, Nor readies herself to take Zadie’s place as the future queen of Ilaria.

I loved the first half of the book more than its second half. Althought the summary tells us what happens in the first half, it’s still enjoyable due to the atmospheric world-building, beautiful description of the various relationships, history of Varenia and Ilara. My heart cried out when Nor was leaving Varenia and Zadie; their love was so pure and captivating that I fell in love with the book at that very moment.

The second half was interesting but lost the magic of the first half. Nor arrives in court and lo and behold, the emissary of Ilara Talin whom she met in Varenia is one of the Ilarian princes. She is to marry his older brother Ceren and he is such a Joffrey ( you know..from GOT!!). I don’t know if I should warn about an insta-love trope between Talin and Nor because it felt more like insta-attraction to me. I read through some of their chapters and they didn’t exactly say they love each other. I really hope to see more development on both of their parts in the sequel rather than fall headfirst into love.

Ceren was a Joffrey sure but you will sympathize with him in some parts of the book and then you know.. fall in utter hate with him. With that said..am I looking forward to the sequel? Definitely! There were a lot of things that were open ended and I need a book two for those and I’m definitely here for more Nor and Zadie!!

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you love books about the bond between sisters, engaging YA fantasy in a unique setting, wonderful worldbuilding, and easy writing to immerse yourself in.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

– About the Author

Mara Rutherford

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world, from Russia to Peru, along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband and two sons. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London and would rather study the folklore of her next post than the language (which she has found is a lot more fun but not nearly as useful). She is a former Pitch Wars mentee and three-time mentor. Her debut YA fantasy, CORAL AND PEARL, will release from Harlequin Teen in Fall 2019.

Website | Goodreads |  Twitter

– Giveaway – 

Win (1) of (15) copies of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL by Mara Rutherford (US ONLY)! Ends on 2nd September 2019. Just click on the button below to enter:

– Tour Schedule –

Click on this link to view the entire tour schedule!

Review: The Bookshop on the Shore(Scottish Bookshop #2), written by Jenny Colgan

Review: The Bookshop on the Shore(Scottish Bookshop #2), written by Jenny Colgan
Blog Tour: Three Days in Florence, written by Chrissie Manby | Review

The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan

Publication date: June 25th, 2019 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: 416
Genre: Womens fiction, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

A grand baronial house on Loch Ness, a quirky small-town bookseller, and a single mom looking for a fresh start all come together in this witty and warm-hearted novel by New York Times bestselling author Jenny Colgan.

Desperate to escape from London, single mother Zoe wants to build a new life for herself and her son Hari. She can barely afford the crammed studio apartment on a busy street where honking horns and shouting football fans keep them awake all night. If she doesn’t find a way out soon, Zoe knows it’s just a matter of time before she has a complete meltdown. On a whim, she answers an ad for a nanny job in the Scottish Highlands, which is about as far away from the urban crush of London as possible. It sounds heavenly!

The job description asks for someone capable of caring for three “gifted children”, two of which behave like feral wolverines. The children’s widowed father is a wreck, and the kids run wild in a huge tumbledown castle on the heather-strewn banks of Loch Ness. Still, the peaceful, picturesque location is everything London is not—and Zoe rises to the challenges of the job.

With the help of Nina, the friendly local bookseller, Zoe begins to put down roots in the community. Are books, fresh air, and kindness enough to heal this broken family—and her own…?

Trigger Warnings mention of self-harming

– My Thoughts 

“If you read…It means there are more heads to be in, more lives to be lived than simply your own.”

This is my first Jenny Colgan book and I was drawn to it because -of course- of the word “Bookshop”. Did The Bookshop on the Shore meet my expectations? Let’s find out..

The book is about Zoe, a single mother who lives in London and is trying to make ends meet. Her ex is uncaring and irresponsible and her 4 years old son Hari has trouble with speech. On top of that, she has to worry about her landlord raising prices on her already dismal but expensive flat. Soon, Zoe gets a lifeline from Hari’s aunt, her sister-in-law who has two jobs for her but they’re both in Scotland. Zoe has no choice other than pack up her stuff and leave for Scotland with Hari in tow.

Zoe finds herself overwhelmed while arriving at one of her jobs in Scotland; she’s supposed to be the eighth(or ninth?) nanny to three unruly kids with a surly father. In her second job, she meets a very pregnant and (almost)friendly local bookseller Nina who isn’t sure Zoe is up to the task. Did Zoe make a terrible mistake or is this her salvation?

The Bookshop on the Shore was not what I had expected. I wouldn’t say I liked it or hated it. It was a light read with a good pace that let me finish it within a day. The only notable things in the book were the author’s beautiful descriptions of the Scottish highlands and her evocative writing style. I liked Zoe and sympathized with her every time. Do not go into this book expecting a romance because there is little to none of it. Ramsay, our heroine’s love interest, is mostly absent throughout the book and I didn’t like the way their “romance” evolved, if it did. The bookseller Nina is the main character in the first book of this Scottish Bookshop series and she was so rude to Zoe every time that it irritated me to the point that I had to skip some of the pages she was in.

Overall, I would recommend this book if you are looking for a light read that’ll make you lust for the Scottish highlands, then go for it! There was a bit of mystery in this book too which added a nice edge to the monotony of it.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

– About the Author

Jenny Colgan

Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including ‘The Little Shop of Happy Ever After’ and ‘Summer at the Little Beach Street Bakery’, which are also published by Sphere.’ Meet Me at the Cupcake Café’ won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller, as was ‘Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams’, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013. 

For more about Jenny, visit her website and her Goodreads page, or follow her on Twitter.
Jenny Colgan has also been published under the name Jenny T. Colgan

Thank you for reading! Have you read The Bookshop on the Shore or any of jenny Colgan’s books ? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! 

Blog Tour: How the Light Gets In, written by Katy Upperman | Review & International Giveaway

Blog Tour: How the Light Gets In, written by Katy Upperman | Review & International Giveaway
How the Light Gets In, written by Katy Upperman

How the Light Gets In by Katy Upperman

Publication date: August 6, 2019 
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Pages: 368
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Buy: Book Depository | Wordery

Synopsis:

Since her sister’s tragic death, seventeen-year-old Callie Ryan has basically given up. Her grades have plummeted, she’s quit her swim team, and she barely recognizes the people her parents have become.

When she returns to her aunt’s run-down coastal Victorian one year after Chloe’s death, Callie resigns herself to a summer of guilt and home renovations. She doesn’t expect to be charmed by the tiny coastal town or by Tucker Morgan, a local boy brimming with sunshine.

But even as her days begin to brighten, Callie’s nights are crowded with chilling dreams, unanswered questions, and eerie phenomenon that have her convinced she’s being haunted. Will Callie be able to figure out what her sister is trying to communicate before it’s too late?

– My Thoughts –

This book is SO good!!! How the Light Gets In is a perfect mix of YA contemporary, romance and paranormal. This haunting tale is about Callie who has lost her sister almost a year ago and she doesn’t know how to live on. Her father can’t see her spiraling so he sends her to live with her Aunt Lucy in Bell Cove, to help her renovate an old inn. When Callie arrives at the old inn, she meets a guy called Tucker Morgan and her dead sister.

I did NOT see this coming! The moment since Callie starts to find Chloe’s things in her room at Bell Cove, I was hooked. At first, she suspects her Aunt Lucy of playing tricks on her but later, she finds out how wrong she is. It seems that even in death, the sisters’ bond remains unbroken and that proves troublesome for Callie who finds herself in danger every time she converses with Chloe’s ghost. If this isn’t intriguing enough for you, then let me tell you about the slow-burn romance between Callie and Tucker, which is one of the best things about the book. Like the old inn, Callie lives in, Tucker is not without secrets and I didn’t expect his secrets to having a connection with Callie.

I’m not a believer in paranormal but I’ve seen people go to seances where they hope to communicate with their dead loved ones. It is said it helps bring peace and perhaps, closure. I don’t normally write my musings in my reviews but this book hit me hard. I know the feeling of wanting so badly to talk to a dead loved one for one last time. Katy Upperman has beautifully written characters dealing with the death of a loved one while piecing themselves back together. From the quiet small town with its secrets to the mysterious incidents in the house to Callie and Tucker’s romance felt real. It felt as if the book ended too soon.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book if you love Katy Upperman’s books, YA contemporary with a twist, romance with some angst, small towns with lots of secrets, and relatable characters. Please pre-order this order this book or request at your nearest library or borrow it from someone!! You won’t regret reading this.

Thanks to the publisher for gifting me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

– About the Author –

Katy Upperman

Katy’s debut novel, Kissing Max Holden, was published August 1, 2017, and her sophomore effort, The Impossibility of Us, released July 31, 2018. Her third novel, How the Light Gets In, will be out August 6, 2019. All three books are with Swoon Reads/Macmillan. She’s represented by Victoria Marini of the Irene Goodman Agency.

Website | Goodreads |  Twitter

– International Giveaway – 

Win a copy of How The Light Gets In plus some swag! Ends on 26th August ’19. Open internationally. Just click on the button below to enter:

Tour Schedule

Click on this link to view the entire tour schedule! Here are some bloggers who are on today’s stop with me:

August 17th

Confessions of a YA Reader – Guest Post
The Clever Reader – Review + Favourite Quotes
Book Rambler – Review
Sometimes Leelynn Reads – Review + Playlist
In Between Book Pages – Review + Favourite Quotes
A Dream Within A Dream – Promotional Post