12

Blog Tour, Promo Post, Teasers, and Review: Freeze

Freeze tour banner.jpg

Freeze (Midnight Ice #2)Freeze
(Midnight Ice, #2)
by Kaitlyn Davis
280 Pages
Fantasy / Paranormal / New Adult
Publication Date:  July 11th, 2017
Get a copy here!

BLURB:

Locked up doesn’t mean locked in.

Pandora Scott is in jail…again. Everyone she once loved betrayed her…again. And some of the most powerful people in the world want her dead…yes, again. Sound familiar? But if there’s one thing Pandora is good at, it’s wriggling her way out of life or death situations, and this time is no different. Armed with her ability to disappear and aided by the mysterious Sam, Pandora’s got a plan. Escape the most secure prison in the world. Evade the most powerful trackers on the planet. Forget every word that Jax has ever told her. And figure out how to change one teeny tiny thing—fate. Easy, right? Well…doable, at least.

Freeze is the second book in the thrilling Midnight Ice series–the brand new spinoff to Midnight Fire, a bestselling paranormal romance with over 200,000 copies sold and over 5000 5-star reviews on Goodreads!

addtogoodreads

Other books in this series:

See my review for FROST (MIDNIGHT ICE, #1) by clicking here!

FROST (MIDNIGHT ICE, #1) is currently on sale for only 99 CENTS!  Get a copy now by clicking here!!!

Kaitlyn Author PhotoAbout the Author:

 

Bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis writes young adult fantasy novels under the name Kaitlyn Davis and contemporary romance novels under the name Kay Marie.
Always blessed with an overactive imagination, Kaitlyn has been writing ever since she picked up her first crayon and is overjoyed to share her work with the world. When she’s not daydreaming, typing stories, or getting lost in fictional worlds, Kaitlyn can be found indulging in some puppy videos, watching a little too much television, or spending time with her family. If you have any questions for her–about her books, about scheduling an event, or just in general–you may contact her at: KaitlynDavisBooks@gmail.com
To stay up-to-date with all of Kaitlyn’s new releases, sign up for hernew release newsletter here: TinyLetter.com/KaitlynDavisBooks
Author Links:

Teaser Image TwoTeaser Image ThreeTeaser Image OneTeaser Image Four

Post of Favorite Quotes

Ooh, I hate doing favorites. I find it so tough to narrow any topic down to a top ten or top five when there are so many amazing things in the world. But for you, I’ll try!

Here are my top five (non-spoilery) quotes from the first two books in my new series, Midnight Ice!

Normally, Pandora preferred to steal for a good cause, more of a supernatural Robin Hood, some might say. Blonder of course, with a much better ass.

“You look good enough to eat,” a sultry voice whispered in her ear.

Pandora whipped around lightning fast, flashing her fangs. “I bite.”

The man smiled, lips practically dripping with sin. “Me too.”

“It’s okay—“ Pandora was cut off by the crash of water against stone as the wave broke and shot toward them like a tsunami, defying gravity as it rolled up the ramp, racing closer. “Impossible odds and near-death experiences are my specialty.”

One way or another, she’d steal the secrets hiding in his smile. She did, after all, have an uncanny knack for thieving.

A thousand lifetimes ago, maybe she needed a man to define her. But she didn’t anymore. And that was just fine with her.

And a bonus line, because I love this scene in FROST J

“Don’t mind me,” he responded merrily, eyes closed. “I’m just warming up in the sun, getting my tan on, displaying my forbidden fruit…”

And here are my top five favorite quotes from other amazing young adult books!

[She] had always suffered from a vague restlessness, a longing for adventure that she told herself severely was the result of reading too many novels when she was a small child.

—Robin McKinley, The Blue Sword

Dumbledore watched her fly away, and as her silvery glow faded he turned back to Snape, and his eyes were full of tears. ‘After all this time?’ ‘Always,’ said Snape.

― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.

—Rainbow Rowell, Eleanor & Park

Don’t be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don’t have to live forever, you just have to live.

—Natalie Babbit, Tuck Everlasting

Hope? Hope can be a powerful force. Maybe there’s no actual magic in it, but when you know what you hope for most and hold it like a light within you, you can make things happen, almost like magic.

—Laini Taylor, Daughter of Smoke and Bone


arcreview

4.25Penguins
Quick Reasons: YAYAYAY I’ve returned to this awesome world and these entertaining characters!; I’m not sure how I feel about all the secrecy surrounding Pandora; Sam is a complex, secretive character…but somehow I found myself really loving him; fast-paced, satisfying journey; I can’t wait to see what happens next

Huge thanks to Kaitlyn Davis for sending me a free digital galley of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

FRZ Quote1

I really adore the world that Kaitlyn Davis has crafted so far in this series! The magic makes sense and is fitting. Kaitlyn Davis has put a lot of thought and care into making this world enthralling and believable; each time I step into her pages, I feel like I learn just a little more about the characters and their callings…and step just that much farther into Kaitlyn Davis’s mind. The scenery is brilliantly imagined, I could “see” everything that was occurring and every place our characters transported us to, and THE GROWTH JOURNEY! I swear, every time I think I know everything I possibly could about Pandora, something else slips from the shadows and presents itself, and I have to reconsider.

And these characters–oh, my penguins! They don’t give up their secrets easily, let me tell you–in fact, they hold on ever and ever tighter the closer to the ending we get! Which is both a beautiful and frustrating thing, because as the pieces fell away, more pieces were rooted in cement. Kaitlyn Davis knows how to weave an intriguing, entertaining story while still maintaining an air of mystery and suspense. (Now, mind you, I am doing my absolute very best to impart how much I adore this world without ACTUALLY giving away any major spoilers, because I’m just that awesome. And I loathe spoilers as much as the next pebble collecting penguin, so there’s that too.)

FRZ Quote2.png

Also, if the above isn’t enough to tempt you to dipping your toes in these rippling waters… the plot is fast-paced, and the action is FULL of suspense, complexity, and mystery. While these characters are on a journey to finding (or, in some instances, rediscovering) themselves, readers are ALSO on a journey–filled with snark, magic, and the fantastical.

I had such an awesome time returning to Kaitlyn Davis’s world of monsters and mayhem, and cannot WAIT to see where the journey takes us next! I definitely recommend this to lovers of redemption journeys, snarky personalities, and super complex back stories. Break the chains binding you, Penguins; the fun is only just beginning!

2

Kissed by Fire: Sometimes, You Gotta Choose

Penguin2.3

Kissed by Fire (Blood & Magic #2)

As Friend of the Pack, Aria Naveed should be untouchable, protected by the most influential group in the Pacific Northwest. But someone is unleashing rogue vampires to hunt her down, and she is determined to find out why.

When Aria gains command of Sanborn Place and takes on a case involving a mysterious paranormal, her life is put in more peril than ever as she finds herself bound to an influential power player. She doesn’t want to be anyone’s puppet, but must tread carefully as she traverses the streets of Spokane, WA, or risk being overwhelmed by the forces moving against her.

As the only known pyrokinetic in the area, Aria is in high demand, but not for her services. It seems that to those in power, she’s worth more dead than alive, and if a mysterious enemy has their way, she won’t live long enough to find out why.

Blood & Magic #2
Urban Fantasy/Magic/Paranormal
192 Pages
Publication Date: September 13th, 2015
Get a copy here!

4Penguins
Quick Reasons: awesome action, fast-paced plot; so much snark, I can’t even!; lots of fights and life or death situations; Aria seems to “almost die” every few chapters; interesting addition of shifter lore; I’ll admit, I’m swoony over Declan; love the character interactions and dynamics

Huge thanks to Danielle Annett and the crew at Bookmarks & Tours for sending me a free copy of this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

kf-quote1

I think it’s official: I need more stories like this in my life. This series is ADDICTIVE, penguins. I know I’ve read a lot of reviews on goodreads about how this series is a huge ripoff from a few others out there in the book world, but…. I haven’t read either of those other series, and therefore have nothing to compare to. And I have absolutely ADORED this journey so far!

Once again, the prose is fast-paced and full of high-stakes, intense action. Our main character, Aria, spends almost half of this book almost dying only to be miraculously brought back to life–I swear, the girl has either the worst or best guardian angel ever. Of course, one of these life-or-death situations leads to some interesting and unexpected shifter lore–which I actually adored from the get-go. Declan is new bae, guys; he’s absolutely adorable and I just want to hug him.

kf-quote2

I am just slightly confused about a few of the “magical” elements that occurred in this sequel. The biggest of which being the sudden appearance of the Chupacabra. We’re never really given an explanation for its sudden existence–we’re just thrown into the battle and expected to accept it at face value. But I’m the type of reader that wants to KNOW things, guys–why does it exist now? Have they always existed, but never been stumbled upon, or is there something bigger at work? What sort of magic was behind it, making it so super strong and dangerous? Things like this make the world-building much more seamless, and seem to go a bit awry in the storytelling for this series, which is a bit annoying.

This was an entertaining, quick read, and I’m really enjoying stepping into this world–even if I’m a bit disappointed with the world-building overall. Aria is super snarky, Declan is today’s swooniest heart-patter, and I am intrigued enough to hurtle head-first into the third book. I recommend this to lovers of paranormal fantasies, shifter lore/mate-bonds, and hot-headed fire wielders with an impulse control problem. I cannot wait to dive into the next book in this series–and therefore, I will not be. Waiting, that is. Third book, here I come!

2

Cursed by Fire: Sometimes, You Gotta Burn

Penguin2.3

Cursed by Fire (Blood & Magic, #1)

It has been six years since the Awakening and peace in Spokane, Washington is still tenuous at best. The vampires and shifters are all vying for control of the city and the humans seem to be the ones suffering the consequences, or so it seems.

Aria Naveed has spent the last two years of her life fighting to make the many wrongs of the world right, but soon finds out that the humans aren’t as weak as they appear and may be a more terrifying foe than any of the other races combined.

When a stranger rolls into town with trouble on his heels, Aria finds herself trapped in the middle of a battle that could cost her more than she has bargained for as a fight for justice turns into an unexpected fight for her life.

Blood & Magic #1
Urban Fantasy/Magic/Paranormal
202 Pages
Publication Date: January 28th, 2015
Get a copy here!

3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: entertaining, awesome paranormal read; love the magic built into this world; vampires and shifters and magic, oh my!; the MC is stubborn, fiercely independent, and just a bit naive; fast-paced, action-filled read

Huge thanks to Danielle Annett and the crew at Bookmarks & Tours for sending me a copy of this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

cf-quote1

First and foremost: this was SUCH an entertaining, magic-filled read. Our main character, Aria, made for one stubbornly loyal and fiercely independent woman, and I adored everything about her. She is a bit naive about certain things, but overall, she is endearing, easy to connect with, and SO full of snark–I couldn’t help but love her. Of course, the rest of the crew we meet in this book are just as individualized and fun to read! Melody, the harpy, is another of my personal favorites, though I wish we saw a bit more of her in this book. She seems like an important character, but she takes a back seat to the story being built.

And what a story this is! There is SO MUCH to the magical aspect of this world, I feel like we’ve only just brushed the surface of a very long and complex history. I’m still not sure I fully understand all of the backstory or pertinent information–what they call The Awakening seems a bit vague overall. I wish we were given more information on how the magic in this world works, instead of being expected to just accept it up-front as we are.

CF Quote2.jpg

The plot is fast-paced and seemingly never slows down; we hit the ground running from page one, and are expected to keep the pace as Aria and those surrounding her rush headlong into danger and darkness unknown. The blending of lore–vampires, shifters, and “psykers”–is both interesting and entertaining, though at times feels like a bit TOO much magic for one world.

In the end, I had a ton of fun stepping into this world, and will be immediately jumping into the next book in this series. Danielle Annett built a world of magic and mayhem in these pages, and kept me enthralled throughout. I definitely recommend to lovers of paranormal fantasies, power struggles, and a mishmash of supernatural lores. This is going to be a fun series to read, I can tell–and I’m super excited about it!

3

Damned If I Do: This Vampire is Fighting for LIFE, not Death

Penguin2.3

Damned if I Do (The Harker Trilogy #1)

The Harker Trilogy #1
250 Pages
Paranormal/Fantasy/Romance
Publication Date: September 14th, 2015
Get a copy here!

They killed my sister and infected me.

Now I have to pick up the pieces before I die.

I’ve spent the last five months trying to find the bastard who did this. Yet, even with the help of a hot amnesiac vampire named Jude, I’ve had zero luck.

Until now. And it could change everything. Even though I grew up in a family that hunted the supernatural, there were still things I didn’t believe in.

Now I have to hurry for the slim chance that I could save us all. Because when you fight against immortal vampires, you’re the one who’s running out of time.

3.75Penguins
Quick Reasons: forbidden love; vampire lore with an interesting and unique twist; a vampire and a witch walk into a bar…and blow the roof off; well-developed, snarky characters; the relationships built upon and portrayed throughout are gold; loads of action and fight scenes; this will leave readers hungry for more

Huge thanks to Erin Hayes and Giselle @ Xpresso Book Tours for granting me access to this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

diid-quote1

I need to start this review off with an apology, dear penguins. I am a terrible, terrible book reviewer. See, I read this book on the plane ride home from my vacation. On the 15th. You know, several weeks ago? And then I got off the plane…and promptly forgot that I had a review to write at all. I guess I should have written myself a note on the cocktail napkin that came with my drink, or on my hand, or on my forehead… Something?! Regardless, I’m typing it up now–do you forgive me, penguins, for being such a basket case? I hope you do.

This book was equal parts “magical, snarky, stubborn witches”…and “blood-thirsty vampire.” There was an incredibly unique and inventive take on magic meets monster to this story that I became immediately engrossed by–no, really! I think it took all of one chapter for me to realize this was EXACTLY the type of book I love to fall into. I ADORE the world Erin Hayes built around her readers in this book–it was dark, full of action, and compelling. I was entertained from the very beginning–and hungry for more at the end. Seriously, I’m super glad I have the second novel in this series to dive into soon–I am dying to know what happens next!

The characters are well-rounded, snarky in all the right places, and realistic in their relationships/reactions. This read is FULL of drama, emotions, and broken personalities…and I adored every single minute of it. The love story is, while touching upon the cliched “forbidden” of mortal and the undead, both endearing and surprisingly steamy. I LOVE that this book is written in two perspectives, as well–it helped to fully immerse me in the story AND in the characters. There’s also an intriguing…twist, near the end, that caught me off guard. I’m not sure how that will come into play in the second novel, but it’s bound to be interesting!

diid-quote2

I had a TON of fun diving into this world of chaos, vampires, and magic–and I can’t wait to pick up the second book! I am sorry, though, that I forgot until tonight that I’d even finished this read; how dare I call myself a book reviewer?! Feel free to revoke my privileges, if you must…though I do hope you don’t. I recommend this read to lovers of vampires, forbidden romances (think akin to Twilight, sort of…), and a fight to the death (or, rather, a fight to NOT die). This is entertaining from start to finish; if you’re seeking a fun, quick read, perhaps you should consider this one!

2

Book Tour (Review): Tail & Trouble

trouble banner

Tail and Trouble HiRes

Tail and Trouble
By Victor Catano 
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing

When Gabriel’s witch girlfriend doesn’t return from her latest trip, he gets on the road and heads out to find her. Sheila’s coven is secretive and distrustful of Gabriel, so the only help he has is Sheila’s familiar, a bulldog named Orson, who is psychically linked to both of them.
In Florida, they walk right into an elaborate plan to steal Orson. A mysterious wizard
named Yareth is behind the plot, and he may also know where Sheila is.
Gabriel and Orson will have to fight for their lives as they navigate around all the magical roadblocks to force Yareth’s hand. They won’t give up until Sheila is safe.

About the Author Victor Catano - HS
Victor Catano lives in New York City with his wonderful wife, Kim. When not writing, he
works in live theater as a stage manager, light designer, and technical director, working
mainly with dance companies. His hobbies include coffee, Broadway musicals, and
complaining about the NY Mets and Philadelphia Eagles.

You can find him:
On Twitter
On Facebook
On Weebly
On Goodreads
On Red Adept


Penguin2.3

3.5Penguins
Quick Reasons: the dog is my favorite character in this book—his snark is beyond adorable, and just what I imagine a dog might think; pretty awesome story telling; the voices of our characters are strong and unique; I really enjoyed the relationship between Orson and Gabriel; the prose is well-detailed; the plot is action-packed; I love that Gabriel is the odd-one-out in this story

Huge thanks to Victor Catano and Red Adept Publishing for granting me access to this title free in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

TT Quote2

Let’s start with the characters. Each voice is unique and well-crafted. It’s not hard to keep characters straight, regardless who’s speaking, because the detail and care Victor Catano put into his characters and personalities shines through. Each person literally leapt off the page for me, though I have to admit, I’m VERY partial to our leading dog, Orson. His personality was above and beyond what I expected going into this book. His snark alone kept me chuckling, the wit and sass falling as naturally from his tongue as drool.

I also really appreciated that our leading man, Gabriel, is sort of the “odd man out” in regards to the magic of this world. As a non-magical, just your average human, I felt Gabriel was put into a role I wasn’t expecting. That of the outsider. The interloper, if you will. While Gabriel holds his own against the evil and wrong-doers of the book, he is not made out to be anything but average. I really enjoyed this; it’s not often we see men cast in such roles.

TT Quote1

The prose is well-detailed. I could imagine what was happening without much effort. I feel, however, that certain parts of the plot were rushed through or contrived to keep the story going. Action scenes seemed to work out “just right,” some plot points were almost too easily resolved…things like that. While it didn’t effect my read of the book, it did make it a bit difficult for me to shed my disbelief and fully invest myself in the read.

That being said, I had a TON of fun reading this. The prose is witty, humorous, and filled with snark. The characters leap off the page—Orson in particular. (I’m sorry, I can’t help it—I love me some non-human characters, and Orson is just too adorable not to love!) I definitely recommend to lovers of fantasy, entertaining characters, and unique story-telling. The voice for this read? Top-notch. I can’t wait to see what Victor Catano will bring us next!

12

A Review of The Forbidden Wish, by Jessica Khoury

The Forbidden Wish

The Forbidden Wish

Goodreads Rating: 4.07 Stars
352 Pages
Razorbill Publishing
Get a copy here!

She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world…

When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

– – – – –

5Penguins
Quick Reasons: an inventive retelling…with a slight character twist; THIS is the story of Aladdin I’ve been dying to read for years (without knowing it, of course); awesome, emotionally-charged action and a heady, over-the-moon sort of love; poetic, beautiful prose; so many twists and creative additions to genie/jinn lore; I LOVED this book!

And mahGOSH, is the cover absolutely stunning. Go ahead—go stare at it for five minutes. I totally give you permission. Heck, you can drool a little if you want; I won’t tell anyone.

“I know that look.”

“What look?”

“Don’t sweat it, sister. We’ve all had it.” She sighs. “The girls he loved and left.”

Irritably, I look away. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Sure you don’t.” Dal smiles sadly. “You can either hate him or accept that that’s just who he is. When Aladdin sets his heart on something— or someone— nothing can stop him from getting it. And when he does have it, he realizes it’s not what he wanted after all, and then something else will catch his eye, and off he goes again. Over and over. And here we are, the casualties.”

“I’m nobody’s casualty.”

The prose is poetic—soft and smoky, a hint of roses and something ancient, a forgotten magic, blending with the words. Jessica Khoury knows how to weave her words with the fairy tales of old…and yet, somehow, make the story entirely her own. I will admit: I was hesitant going in to this read. I’ve been a bit disappointed with recent “hyped” books…and I was worried this would become the next one to let me down. Thankfully, I was much mistaken—this book is gorgeous, inside and out.

The action scenes are well-written, filled with dramatics and flair…and enough to make a reader long to pull their hair out in anxiety or frustration. I was surprised how quickly I formed attachments to these characters; despite having grown up adoring Aladdin (the Disney version, of course), I wasn’t sure that partiality would journey to book-form. There are also some steamy, heart-melting love scenes; some gorgeously-done girl-power scenes; some fight-to-the-death scenes. In all honesty, there’s a little bit of something for every type of reader.

“Love is a path lined with roses,” I say bitterly. “But it leads to a cliff’s edge, and all who follow it tumble to their doom. You will not find your happiness there.”

The characters are just the perfect blend of realistic, fantastical, and snarky-daggers. I particularly enjoyed Zahra and Aladdin’s back-and-forth relationship. However—while a large portion of this read does revolve around love—it’s not romantic love that gets the main focus. Instead, girl-power and the love of best friends takes main stage—which I absolutely ADORED. Yes, there is romantic love…but it sort of falls by the wayside and lets the rest of this book shine on its own. It was a great breath of fresh air for me, given how often YA harps on about romance.

The chapters are also broken up, now and then, with “fairy tale” snippets. This helped not only to shape and mold Zahra as we grew to know her throughout the read…but also the world surrounding her, and Aladdin. Without these morsels, the story might have come off a bit confusing, the transitions awkward. Instead, Jessica Khoury found a way to work in the backstory without making it obvious that’s what she was doing. And everything—and I mean EVERYTHING—comes full circle at the end, even the smallest things, the things we never thought to think twice about.

I lift my eyes, above it all, and see the one weaving the stars. Imohel, the God of Gods. He smiles and pauses briefly to touch a finger to the center of my forehead, and at his touch, I fall.

Fall through the stars.

Through time.

Through light and wind and fire.

Through smoke and a sky gray like ashes.

I just… I absolutely adored this read. The prose is breath-taking, the cover is stunning, the characters and the focus on best friends over romance is so well-done… I can’t find enough words to tell you how much I love this book. I highly recommend this to lovers of Aladdin, fairy tale retellings, and girl-power. I feel everyone can find something to love in this read, so if you’ve been thinking about picking it up, you totally should! Instant favorite.

4

A Review of Death Sworn, by Leah Cypress

13549218

When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances.

But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

– – – – –

Rating: 5/5 Stars
Quick Reasons: awesome, cohesive world-building; plot driven by action, suspense, and intrigue; kick-ass main characters with growths, distinct backstories, and personalities befitting their lots in life; engaging, gorgeous prose

Oh. Oh, my. I LOVED this read, and I’m so happy I decided to finally pick it up. Huge thanks go out to Sarah and Abby from YA Buddy Readers’ Corner for sending a copy of this my way—you girls rock!

So, first and foremost (and probably not surprising, if you’ve been paying any attention at all to my reviews): the cover. It is absolutely GORGEOUS, and manages to portray in at least a small way what this book is about. Whoever designed the covers for this series did a beautiful job—the colors, the perspective choices, everything about it helps set the tone SO well. To be honest, I was initially drawn to these books because of the covers alone. Now that I’ve read it, I’m going to need to own physical copies—these would look beautiful on my shelves.

It’s not hard to kill,” Ileni said softly, as if discovering it all over again. “Not if you hate someone. It’s so very easy.”

But it shouldn’t be.

But enough about the outside—we don’t read books JUST for that, right? I know I don’t. The writing here is just as gorgeous as the cover art. Leah Cypress knows how to paint pictures with her words. She’s woven a tapestry of magic, secrets, and politically charged intrigue. Her voice and the story are so strong, you won’t believe this is only the first book in the series!

The characters are stubborn, snarky, and refreshing—they might be a little naive about SOME things, but they all know they’re not invincible. They all know they’re not irreplaceable. Our main protagonist’s voice shines clear and strong in the writing; despite being 3rd person POV, the narrator’s focus remains almost completely on Ilena and her journey to rock-bottom (figuratively and literally here). Her unique outsider perspective and reckless care lend her a degree of sass I fell in love with almost immediately. Honestly, the girl could cut you with her words, and I LOVED that about her.

How to throw assassins off balance: cry in front of them.

Despite realizing she was sent to the caves to die, she doesn’t let the struggles she faces bog her down or keep her from seeking answers. She spits daggers at danger and laughs; she plays with fire almost heedlessly at times. I just adored her completely—watching her grow and shape right alongside Sorin, the unexpected and surprising (in a pleasant way!) love interest, only helped my love for her leech to my heart like a fungus.

His dark eyes searched her face. “But you love me,” he said finally.

She had no reason to deny it. Ileni lifted her shoulders. “I’ll recover.”

Theirs is NOT the love conquers all, give up the fight, lay down my weapons and surrender type of love. They come from different worlds, different religions, different upbringings…and instead of fighting this, or trying to change who they are, or wishing for a miracle, they accept, they move on, and they help each other grow. They don’t feel the need to hide or change who they are—they love each other regardless, and that makes this sort of unique as far as YA goes. Their personal growths, brought on largely by each other, are endearing and heart-wrenching; you’ll fall in love with them as individuals and as a couple MANY times before the last page.

His eyes met hers, cold and deadly, and the dagger’s edge pressed against her skin. Then his expression shifted into horror. He lowered the dagger and stepped back. “Ileni. That was not smart.”

I know. I’m sorry…” And this time, she didn’t even try to stop the tears.

I just adored this read so much, I wish I could put it into more cohesive words here. I loved all the characters (even the “bad” ones, because I mean really, they’re all just so human and relatable and well-written!) The prose is gorgeous, the plot is intelligent and well-constructed, the scenery Leah Cypress chose to work with is unigue and so fitting the tone. This whole thing is a masterpiece—readers are bound to be enthralled from page one. The exploration of the ridge between magic and murder is just the cherry on top of a beautiful and dangerous mound of wonderful.

I highly enjoyed this read, and recommend it to lovers of Maggie Stiefvater, Sarah J. Maas, and Renee Ahdieh. I will definitely be picking up the sequels as soon as I can; I can’t wait to see what happens next!