Review: Never Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales

Never Ever Getting Back TogetherNever Ever Getting Back Together by Sophie Gonzales
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My confession of the day is that I have never watched a full episode of either The Bachelor, or The Bachelorette.

Of course I have watched clips and understand the general idea, I’m not a savage. I also recognize it is an absolute sensation and many people love it.

After having so much fun with this book, I think I may need to binge some!

The set-up of Never Ever Getting Back Together feels very ode’ to The Bachelor and frankly I was living for it.

We follow rich, related-to-royalty, arguably-charming playboy, Jordy, getting his own reality television show, Second-Chance Romance.

For the show, ex-girlfriends of Jordy’s will be living together in a mansion, interacting with him and each other, participating in challenges and generally biding for his attention. Week-by-week, Jordy sends one girl packing, until the time comes for his final selection.

Maya dated Jordy two-years ago and the break-up was rough. He cheated on her for months before ultimately calling it quits suddenly when she called him out on his behavior.

Skye dated Jordy directly after Maya. In fact, Maya’s reputation precedes her. Jordy warned Skye how jealous and crazy Maya got after he broke up with her.

Skye can’t believe Maya is joining the show too. Isn’t she like a security risk or something?

When Maya learns Skye, the girl who stole Jordy from her, is going to be participating on the show as well, she’s furious. This girl knowingly dated Jordy behind her back for months. Who does that? Filthy liars, that’s who.

Arriving at the mansion the two girls learn an even more horrible truth, they’re being forced to room together. They’re quite literally bunk-mates.

They try to muscle through it, they might even be contractually-obligated to, but it ain’t gonna be easy. Along with four other girls, Maya and Skye start to settle into their new normal and compete for the ultimate prize: Jordy.

Maya’s no fool though. She knows Jordy too well to fall for any of this smoke in mirrors. Jordy hasn’t changed and that’s fine by her. Maya isn’t dreaming of becoming Jordy’s one-true love, she’s dreaming of revenge.

I had a lot of fun with this. Particularly the set-up, it was adorable. The narrative alternates between Skye and Maya, beginning a little before they even agree to be on the show.

The backdrop of the mansion, filming the reality show, it was great. I felt like I was getting a real glimpse behind the scenes of an actual show. It felt very realistic.

I also liked the mix of personalities that the contestants had. They all had their own motivations for being there and few of those actually revolved around Jordy, or love.

Skye and Maya’s interactions, as they got to know one another, as they battled and then began to drop their defenses; I thought that was really well done too.

My only slight issues with this story would be that I feel like it may have worked better if the story was actually written as New Adult, or Adult. It could have gone farther in the exploration of the relationships.

Also, I didn’t feel the chemistry between the characters. I didn’t find the romance that ultimately transpires believable.

These are tiny critiques though and both of these things are simply my personal opinion. Overall, this book is adorable as heck and I really enjoyed following the concept through to the end.

I was lucky enough to listen to an audio copy and definitely recommend that medium. The narrators did an incredible job bringing this story to life.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books and Macmillan Audio, for providing me with copies to read and review. I am absolutely looking forward to more from Sophie Gonzales!!

Never Ever Getting Back Together
releases next Tuesday, November 29th. Preorder your copy now. You don’t want to miss out. Get it while it’s hot!!

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Review: Nothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus

Nothing More to TellNothing More to Tell by Karen M. McManus
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Karen M. McManus is back and her latest novel, Nothing More to Tell is my favorite yet!

I have been so hyped about this book for over a year and apparently, for good reason. I’m not sure if it was my level of excitement that pushed this one over the top for me, but this was pretty much a perfect YA Mystery for my tastes.

And that Epilogue?! Are you kidding me, McManus!? I want more of this story and these characters so much. Fingers crossed there will be an announcement soon, if there hasn’t been already. It’s possible I missed something. Nevertheless…

This story follows Brynn and Tripp, long-time friends from Sturgis, Massachusetts, who had a falling out and were then separated for four years after Brynn’s family moved to Chicago.

Due to a change in Brynn’s father’s job, they’re back in Sturgis, right back in their old house. Brynn is nervous about going back to Saint Ambrose School. She didn’t leave under the best terms, after her ex-best friend, Tripp, embarrassed her in gym class and then socially shunned her with zero impetus or explanation.

More tragic that all that though is the fact that just prior to their move, Brynn’s favorite teacher Mr. Larkin was murdered and found in the woods adjacent to the school. Three student discovered his body, her ex-friend Tripp being one of them.

Now upon their return, Brynn is determined to get to the truth behind Mr. Larkin’s death. She even pitches the case to a popular True Crime podcast, at which she has secured a dream internship.

Back in school, Brynn’s pretty determined. Let the investigation begin. She knows someone is hiding something about Mr. Larkin and it just may be Tripp.

The Reader also gets Tripp’s perspective and there are some scenes set in the before, surrounding the time that Mr. Larkin was killed.

I absolutely adore how McManus unrolled this story. The shifting perspectives, the mini-reveals along the way as Brynn gathers more and more information, it was perfectly paced in my opinion.

I loved Brynn’s investigation. Amateur sleuths are one of my favorite tropes and I found both Brynn’s motivations and her methods believable.

I also thought there were some great red herrings and the way this wrapped up was smart. As mentioned earlier, I am fairly sure there will be another book to follow this one, but since I have heard nothing official in that regard, I will just say that I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Personally, I would love more content with Brynn and Tripp!! There’s more to explore in this town.

As an aside to long-time McManus fans, you’ll find entertaining Easter Eggs, or references to her previous works cleverly placed throughout. Every time I came across one, it would just bring a ridiculous smile to my face.

Also, it made me want to reread everything she has ever written. Frankly, that shows you just how clever this one really is. Well played, McManus. Again. Well played.

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Review: The Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco

The SacrificeThe Sacrifice by Rin Chupeco
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


When a film crew from the United States arrives on Kisapmata, a deserted island in the Philippines, they are ready to get to work. They need their new show to be a success and with the content they’re after, it should be.

For me it was easy to picture this crew and their motivations. I was thinking something around the lines of Discovery shows such as The Curse of Oak Island, or The Secret of Skinwalker Ranch. You know the type of show I mean.

The thing with Kisapmata island is that a God is reputed to live within the island. He goes by different names, some consider him a Death God, some call him the Dreamer, but he is said to have the ability to grant unknowable power in exchange for eight, very specific, sacrifices.

Because of this legend, locals avoid the island as much as they can. It’s uninhabited and while they do have knowledge and respect of it, they tend to give the God his space.

The crew does discover one local teen, Alon, said to have a special relationship with the island. They’re a bit of a caretaker, spending a lot of time there and even maybe communing with the God.

Considered an expert of all things Kisapmata, the film crew are delighted when Alon agrees to stay with them and be their guide during the show.

As they settle in and begin to set up, a giant sinkhole appears in the middle of their camp. In it, belying logic, is a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse wrapped amongst it creepy-as-heck branches.

It’s like the corpse has been feeding the tree for years, but who is it and more importantly, how the heck is this tree growing underground?

Thus begins the horror that is this little island. From there stuff escalates real quick. The crew needs to get their story, but is the payoff going to be worth it?

People start seeing things, visions of people long dead and it seems nowhere is safe. As a storm rages offshore, they lose communication and have no means of escape. Is anyone going to get off this island alive?

Y’all, y’all, y’all! First of all, this is the perfect time of year to pick up this book. This story has almost everything you need for a phenomenal reading experience.

We have detailed and fascinating legends. We have, basically a curse. We have a dynamic film crew with well-fleshed out characters. We have a nonbinary main character. We have inclement weather trapping our cast at a remote location. We have atmosphere for days. We have stunning, toe-curling horror imagery. We have scenes that will make you sleep with the lights on.

The tension builds very quickly and then continues to build. It’s claustrophobic, it’s a bit panic inducing, it’s scary.

I will say that the pace increases so much towards the end, that it almost got a bit too chaotic. I found it more difficult to track what was happening towards the end and challenging to picture in my mind all that was happening. Hence, it’s not quite a 5-star for me.

That is 100% personal taste though, for many people, whose minds possibly work more quickly than my own, this will be a 5-star experience.

I have only read one other Rin Chupeco, The Girl from the Well, and I was super-impressed with the eeriness of that story as well. Chupeco definitely has the gift for horror. I would consider this to be a more-modern, YA-South Pacific version of The Ruins.

The Sacrifice is super-chilling and will stick with me for a long time to come. Chupeco truly knows how to set a scene. I had so much fun with this. 10-out-of-10 recommend!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Sourcebooks Fire, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Now I need to go back and devour Chupeco’s backlist!!

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Review: Emergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi

Emergency ContactEmergency Contact by Mary H.K. Choi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I picked up Emergency Contact as Book #6 for my TBR-Haul Project. I hauled it all the way back in July of 2018 and then for some reason never picked it up.

My initial attraction, and frankly the reason I bought it, was for the cover. I mean, look at her! She’s stunning. I was also hearing great buzz for it at the time though.

In spite of the fact that it’s been collecting dust all that time, I have never really lost interest in the story. After picking it up, I’m disappointed in myself for neglecting it for so long!

This story is set in Austin, Texas and follows two main characters, Penny and Sam.

Penny is just entering her first year of college. With dreams of being a writer, she’s looking forward to getting to Austin and leaving her small town life behind.

Penny was raised by a single mom, who she loves so much, but has a complicated relationship with. Penny’s mom was young when she had her and sometimes, to Penny, it feels more like she is the parent than the child.

Sam is in his early-20s and he is in a major rut. After a break-up, he’s stuck secretly living at the coffee shop in which he works.

He dreams of becoming a filmmaker, but those dreams are on hold at the moment, as he just tries to struggle through day-to-day life. Being newly sober is the icing on the cake, but he does his best to make it work.

When Sam and Penny meet through Penny’s new college roommate Jude, it’s silently like a gut punch for them both, but they don’t make a real connection until later.

A chance encounter finds them alone and the serious experience they go through together that night creates a bond that they keep all to themselves.

From that point forward, they remain in daily contact via text messages and an all-consuming relationship blooms through that remote form of interaction.

As they continue to get to know one another, feelings and emotions begin to grow, but will the two be able to take it from the screen to IRL?

The audiobook format of this story swept me away. We have two narrators, one for Penny and one for Sam and they truly brought this narrative to life. I genuinely felt like I was listening to Penny and Sam tell their stories.

I absolutely adored both of these characters. Penny especially. The way she thought and viewed the world, it was so natural and relatable. I loved her sense of humor or sort of snarky attitude towards life.

Sam was such a sweetie, who although he had been let down by many people in his life, still managed not to be jaded and just had the kindest heart.

In addition to loving them individually, I loved the chemistry and banter between these two. From the very first moment they met, I knew we were bound to have something special here. Watching their relationship grow through a less traditional medium than face-to-face interaction made it that much more enjoyable.

There was a certain level of pining that came with it that I’m not sure we would have experienced otherwise.

Both of these characters were dealing with different and very serious life issues involving family, past traumas and self-confidence. Watching them work through those things, and help each other work through those things, was believable and ultimately left me feeling hopeful.

I was surprised by how connected I felt to these characters as the story progressed. I haven’t really been picking up a lot of Contemporary stories recently and this one revamped my interest in these types of topics and narratives.

I am definitely planning to read more of Mary H.K. Choi’s work. If it is half as great as this, I have a lot of stellar reading ahead from this author!

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Review: Don’t Let in the Cold by Keely Parrack

Don't Let in the ColdDon’t Let in the Cold by Keely Parrack
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

On their first night home alone together, new step-sisters, Lottie and Jade run into a whole host of problems.

The first being, they don’t know each other at all, but are suddenly expected to act like sisters. Are they even going to be able to get along?

With their parents rushing off on a quick one night honeymoon, the girls are left to their own devices at Jade’s Dad’s Tahoe cabin.

One would think that it couldn’t be too bad. It’s one night. Even if they lock themselves in separate bedrooms for the night, they should be okay, right?

But many, many, many, many things are not going to work in their favor that night. For example, there are strangers lurking about the remote cabin, including a young man named Alex and his adorable dog.

Then there’s the solar flares that cause a massive blackout, causing the cabin to lose power and all connection to the outside world.

It doesn’t stop there though, ultimately the girls are forced out into the cold, bleak wilderness, in the midst of a horrendous blizzard as they struggle through every obstacle known to man to try to reach help.

Speaking of struggles, I had my own struggles trying to get through this one. I listened to the audiobook, thinking my annual road trip to Maine for Labor Day weekend would be the perfect time to listen to it.

I am a huge fan of Survival Thrillers, or Horror novels, and this sounded like it would be right up my alley. Sadly, that didn’t turn out to be the case.

I quickly found the whole thing ridiculous and not in a good way. Oftentimes ridiculous can be hella fun, but it has to be engaging. This felt monotonous to me and never-ending.

The characters were bland and there was a completely unnecessary romance thrown in. With everything they were going through, was finding love truly needed?

Honestly, this felt like the author sat down and compiled a list of forty-five things that could go wrong if you were staying at a remote cabin in the mountains and then connected all of those things with lightly-entertaining filler content.

I know that’s harsh, but clearly I’m burnt that this is what I spent almost my whole solo car trip listening to. I was relieved when it was over.

Nevertheless, as we all know reading is highly subjective. Just because this one didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.

Please don’t take my word for it. If the synopsis sounds interesting to you, give it a shot, you may end up loving it!

Thank you to the publisher, SOURCEBOOKS Fire and Dreamscape Media, for providing me with copies to read and review. I appreciate it very much.

I am glad that I picked this one up. Even though it wasn’t necessarily my cup of tea, I would have always wondered about it otherwise.

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Review: Almost There (Twisted Tales #13) by Farrah Rochon

Almost There (Twisted Tale, A)Almost There by Farrah Rochon
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Almost There is the 13th-installment in Disney’s Twisted Tales YA-series. These can be read in any order, as they each follow different characters and their stories are completely unrelated.

The point of this series is to take our favorite Disney tales, twist one element and explore what would have happened if that twist had actually occurred. Think of it as a sort of alternate history for Disney stories.

It’s Tiana’s turn to take center stage in this magical volume set in 1920’s New Orleans. I’m sure many of you love The Princess and the Frog as much as I do and it was so nice to return to that setting and characters through this story.

The twist in this tale involves a deal that Tiana agrees to make with the notorious Dr. Facilier. Even though Tiana only makes the deal because she feels backed into a corner, it still provides her with all of her deepest desires: her own restaurant, T&J’s Supper Club, her friends safe, and her beloved father’s return.

Unfortunately, sometimes when things sound too good to be true, they are. As Tiana finds herself navigating her new reality, she also begins to notice strange occurrences popping up everywhere around her.

It ends up being a race against both time and evil forces, but luckily Tiana has her good friends Naveen and Lottie on her side. New Orleans is getting creepy and it’s pretty clear Facilier has something to do with it. Can Tiana and friends set things right before she loses everything she holds dear?

Almost There was great. I flew through it so quickly. It was such a treat to be back in this setting, 1920s NOLA, with this fantastic and nuanced set of characters.

I really appreciate what Rochon was able to do with this story. I felt transported. The atmosphere was very well done. A strong addition to the series!!

I did listen to the audiobook and as always, Disney does a great job with that format. The narration was fantastic, perfect for these characters.

I definitely recommend this story to fans of this series, or The Princess and the Frog movie. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed if you pick it up.

Thank you so much to the publisher, Disney Books and Disney Audio, for providing me copies to read and review.

I am a huge fan of this series and am looking forward to continuing on with it!

My current ratings for the Twisted Tales series:

1. What Once Was Mine (Tangled): 4.5-stars rounded up
2. Reflection (Mulan): 4-stars
3. Almost There (The Princess and the Frog): 4-stars
4. Go the Distance (Hercules): 3.5-stars rounded up
5. As Old As Time (Beauty & the Beast): 3.5-stars rounded up
6. Straight On Til Morning (Peter Pan): 3.5-stars rounded up
7. Mirror, Mirror (Snow White): 3.5-stars rounded up
8. Unbirthday (Alice): 3.5-stars
9. Conceal, Don’t Feel (Frozen): 3.5-stars
10. A Whole New World (Aladdin): 3-stars
11. Part of Your World (The Little Mermaid): 2-stars

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Review: Bright We Burn (The Conqueror’s Saga #3) by Kiersten White

Bright We Burn (The Conqueror's Saga #3)Bright We Burn by Kiersten White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bright We Burn is the third and final book in Kiersten White’s sweeping YA-series, The Conqueror’s Saga.

I bought this entire trilogy back in 2018 and she has stood quietly, yet beautifully, on my shelves, unread, for all these years. I picked up the first book on a whim, And I Darken, last month when I started my TBR-Haul Project.

The goal of this self-created project is simply to get me to read some of the backlist titles that I own. And I Darken was the first book of the project and I’m so glad it was.

I had such a successful reading experience with that book and consequently binged the rest of the series.

I found the world White created over the course of this series completely immersive. I was transported to the Ottoman Empire era and I found it to be such a refreshing, captivating, mysterious, yet brutal, setting.

The characters, particularly our main characters Lada, Radu and Mehmed, were each so fleshed out and distinct. Over the course of the series I became so attached to them and invested in their lives. I was like a helicopter mom circling them; especially Lada.

Lada was my favorite character. I loved her strength and determination. I felt like White wrote her really well. It was easy to understand her motivations and as hard as she was, you could tell that it was because she was essentially traumatized from her childhood.

She pushed everyone away, only keeping her country in her heart, that way no one could break it. I felt for her. Additionally, she’s a complete and total badass.

After returning to her home country, Lada uses a thousand stakes to send a message to her rivals. This one would never go down without a fight.

Radu grew so much in this one as well. It took a lot to get him to this place, but I think he finally is able to gain some sort of peace, or at least understanding, in his life that was satisfying to see.

He was a sweet baby bird that I want to protect throughout this beginning of this series. In this book, it didn’t feel as much like that. He really came into his own and although not a perfect situation, we love to see the growth.

Overall, White sent me on a tremendous journey with these characters. I seriously haven’t been this emotional at the close of a series in a long, long time. We’re talking actually tears, folks.

Kiersten White has destroyed me. I may never fully recover.

I’ve now read 9-books from this author and I’ll tell you, she’s a heavy hitter in my book.

I will continue to pick up anything she writes and I recommend you do too!

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Review: The Bones Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones

The Bone HousesThe Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After the death of her parents, 17-year old, Ryn, is left to run the family’s graveyard, along with her brother and sister.

This may seem a simple task to you, they’re gravediggers. How challenging can it be?

In their remote village of Colbren, however, the dead oftentimes don’t remain dead; not exactly.

Allegedly, due a decades-old curse, the dead in Colbren can reanimate themselves and begin to walk again amongst the living. These walking dead are known as bone houses.

For the most part, Ryn is used to dealing with this issue. They don’t cause too much trouble. They seem to stick to the forest and are fairly easily cut down if need be.

Recently though, the behavior of the bone houses is changing. They’re venturing further into the village and attacking with a new ferocity. Ryn can’t quite figure it out.

Around this same time, a mysterious young man, a mapmaker by trade, has come to the village. Could the two things possibly be connected?

Ryn is drawn to this new man, Ellis, and the two begin to get to know one another. It turns out Ellis was found in the very mountains that border the village. He is on a search for his parents. He wants to know where he came from.

They both have mysteries to solve and there’s no better way to solve a mystery than going on a quest. Any Reader knows that!

Thus, Ryn and Ellis, along with Ryn’s very faithful goat, head off deep into the heart of the mountains, where they hope to finally learn the truth behind the curse and their own lives.

The Bone Houses is a highly creative and engaging YA Dark Fantasy story. I loved the characters and the escalation of the plot over the course of the book.

It’s hard to believe a story following a gravedigger and the walking dead could be beautiful, but in the capable hands of Emily Lloyd-Jones apparently it is.

The writing is lyrical and compelling, with just the right amount of humor, romance and horror elements woven throughout.

I fell in love with both Ryn and Ellis, but really it was Ryn’s family goat who stole the show. We stan an animal companion element in any Dark Fantasy story, but it was particularly well done here.

Additionally, I love a quest. It was fun to go along with Ryn and Ellis on their journey, as they began to piece together the truth behind the bone houses the intensity of the story continued to amp up.

I also liked the secrecy and reveals revolving around Ellis. He had a super fascinating backstory and I loved how Lloyd-Jones chose to bring that all to light. There were some great reveals.

I picked this up in anticipation of this author’s upcoming release, The Drowned Woods, which is releasing next Tuesday, August 16, 2022.

The Drowned Woods, although following a whole new set of characters, is said to be set in the same world as this novel. I wanted to be sure to have the backdrop of The Bone Houses prior to picking that one up.

Also, I have heard incredible things about this book, so I definitely wanted to get to it anyway.

Overall, I had a lot of fun with this story and am happy that i made time for it!

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Review: Blood Like Fate (Blood Like Magic #2) by Liselle Sambury

Blood Like Fate (Blood Like Magic, #2)Blood Like Fate by Liselle Sambury
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

**4.5-stars rounded up**

When I read Blood Like Magic in 2021, I was blown away by Sambury’s writing. She drew me in from the very start and I was 100% invested in that book.

The perfect blending of SFF elements, along with phenomenal character work, easily made that novel one of my favorites of the year.

To say I have been eagerly awaiting the release of this sequel, Blood Like Fate, would be putting it extremely mildly.

This is a chunky monkey and it is so full of deep, moving, thought-provoking content, I was left in awe upon completion. Sambury left no stone unturned in the exploration of these characters and their lives.

At the start of this story, Voya’s family is still reeling from the choices she made at the end of the first book.

For Voya, those were the toughest decisions she has ever made in her life and now she is suffering the consequences. Her closest relationships have been shattered, but she must continue on.

Voya has been named the Matriarch of her witch family; their highest position. Even at such a young age, she is now the official leader of the Thomas family, but how can she be?

Voya doesn’t feel capable, she questions herself and feels like all the adults in her life are questioning her as well. Voya feels they aren’t taking her seriously. Is that true, or are Voya’s own insecurities getting the best of her?

It is an extremely uncomfortable and uncertain position for her to be in.

Making matters worse is that fact that Voya’s love interest, Luc, has completely cut her out of his life. For Voya, it feels like she is losing on all fronts.

Then she has a horrifying vision, one that if it comes to pass could mean total destruction for the witch community. It could mean the death of her entire family.

Confusing Voya is Luc’s presence in the vision. Could he be involved in some way? Is he out to get her revenge on her by punishing her family?

Calling on the ancestors and the greater witch community, Voya begins to investigate the vision. If there is a way to stop it, she must figure it out. She cannot allow that vision to become reality.

It’s my understanding that Blood Like Magic is a duology. This did end with a satisfying conclusion, but I will admit, I will be sad if this is all I ever get with these characters.

You cannot read these two books and come away feeling like you are not a part of the Thomas family. I was so impressed with how intricate Sambury got with these characters. You come away feeling like you know not only these characters, but through the ancestors, their history as well.

There is a lot of action, a very serious plot involved in both of these books, but for me, the character work definitely stole the show.

Even though this is a futuristic story, I loved how inclusive it was and how many current themes and issues were interwoven into it. It touches upon things such as gender identity, mental health, generational trauma and a whole host of familial issues.

I thought that every topic Sambury tackled, she handled with grace and skill. Nothing overshadows the overall plot of the story, but enhances it in a truly lovely way.

If I were to offer forth any critiques on this novel, I would say that for me, this one felt a little long. Not in the fact that I felt there was extra content included that could have been cut, I wouldn’t have cut anything. I just felt like it dragged on a bit too long.

I almost feel like this story could have been better served if it had been made a trilogy versus a duology. Of course, this is completely personal opinion, but I certainly wouldn’t have minded a whole other book in this series.

Overall though, I absolutely loved these two books. I cannot even express to you how impressed I am by Liselle Sambury’s work.

She blew me away with this duology full of heart, Black girl magic and a level of depth rarely obtained in the genre. I highly recommend these books!

Thank you so much to the publisher, Margaret K. McElderry, for providing me with a copy to read and review. Blood Like Fate releases tomorrow, Tuesday, August 9, 2022!!!

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Review: Fractured Tide by Leslie Lutz

Fractured TideFractured Tide by Leslie Lutz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

**3.5-stars rounded up**

17-year old, Sia, has been scuba diving her whole life with her parent’s charter business.

She’s used to diving with the tourists, exploring reefs and shipwrecks. There is always something new to interact with in the quiet depths.

It’s quite a serious position for her to be in as well. There’s a lot to be responsible for. Not all the tourists have a lot of experience and getting people to follow even simple instructions can be a challenge.

With Sia’s father currently incarcerated, it’s up to Sia and her mother to keep the family business afloat. On one particular dive, Sia is exploring a sunken craft with some customers when disaster strikes.

Attacked by a mysterious monster of the deep, a customer ends up dead and Sia blames herself.

Making matters worse, they need to call for help when their boat is incapacitated. Another vessel, full of students on a science expedition, comes to their rescue. Sia, her mother and the surviving tourists board that ship.

It’s now that the real fun begins. Again it seems something is after them. The boat sinks and Sia finds herself washed up on a deserted island.

Eventually teaming up with a handful of other survivors, Sia and the others must figure out the secrets of the island and a way to make it off alive. This is no normal place.

Fractured Tide is a unique YA Horror story with an enticing set-up. I was surprised when I discovered that this is told in epistolary format, which is a narrative style I enjoy.

In this case, it is told through journal entries that Sia is writing for her father. It’s a full accounting of all the events happening on the ill-fated trip, including her thoughts and feelings on what is taking place.

I felt like this was a great way to tell this story. You’re literally learning everything as Sia is relaying it and you really only know what she knows, or interprets about the events going on around her.

In the synopsis, this book is compared to Lost and I would 100% agree with that. Especially considering towards the end, I had no clue what was happening; still don’t.

Honestly, I would have preferred more answers. I was a little confused for almost the entire second half and don’t really understand the end much at all. I mean I have theories, but it’s really a shot in the dark.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy this story overall. I found it to be refreshing. I love Horror stories set at sea, so this one was fun in that regard.

I would definitely be interested in picking up more books by Leslie Lutz in the future. I hope she stays in this YA Horror lane, as she is clearly very talented at writing claustrophobic, uncomfortable narratives.

Yessss, that is absolutely a compliment!!!

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