BOOK REVIEW: Rise of the Cinder Fae (Dark Hearts Fairytale Retellings #1) by Whitney Dean

BOOK REVIEW: Rise of the Cinder Fae (Dark Hearts Fairytale Retellings #1) by Whitney DeanRise of the Cinder Fae (Dark Hearts Fairytale Retellings #1)
by Whitney Dean
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Born and raised in the forgotten and broken kingdom of Ashbury, Elora has spent years resenting the royals of Pumpkin Hollow, the kingdom that forced the fall of Ashbury and procured the town as its own.

Separated by a mysterious glass bridge, Ashbury is treated as the orphan kingdom, left to squander and starve with only the promise of protection from King Jasper, preventing anyone outside their realm from searching for the magic that lay within the ashy valleys and red skies.

Because twenty-five years ago, the Cinder Fae arrived. As mysterious as the magic encompassing Ashbury, the Cinder Fae bargained for their lives by promising to keep the entire realm warm with their ability to mine mountainsides into coal.

But Elora and the Cinder Fae hold a secret that could bring the end to Ashbury and the mysterious winged creatures, who, despite Elora's best efforts to pry, refuse to share where they came from or why they can't return.

In her desperation to prevent the downfall of her kingdom and the death of her beloved Fae, Elora drinks from an enchanted spring, convinced she can make the prince of Pumpkin Hollow fall in love with her and guarantee their safety.

But magic takes to give.

And Elora didn't realize her heart would be the sacrifice.

Review:

Rise of the Cinder Fae was an enemies to lovers, fairytale retelling of Cinderella.  With a fantasy twist, an arranged marriage, found family, and one horse, this book will take readers on a magical journey!  

“A marriage of convenience. How romantic.”
I curse. “Believe me, Irina. The only one this is convenient for is her.” I recall Elora’s glares and venomous insults, my jaw clicking as a fresh wave of annoyance rises and nearly drowns me. “Romance is out of the question.”

My heart was instantly pulled in by Elora.  With an evil stepmother and two evil stepsisters, who used her as their personal maid, I couldn’t help but feel for her.  She should have been a princess.  Yet instead she slept in the attic and didn’t seem to have much freedom.  So when Elora was taken in a pumpkin carriage to the ball to meet a dashing prince, I was so excited for her!  Yet this Cinderella retelling had so many fascinating elements mixed in.  There were the cinder faes, an arranged marriage, a King who was disgustingly horrific, and a future mother-in-law and sister-in-law who I absolutely cherished!

“This is twice you’ve walked away from me,” he snaps, his tone laden with irritation.
“I’m shocked you can count.”
A low growl rumbles in his chest as he wraps a hand around my wrist and tugs me backward.

The kingdom Elora was from, suffered greatly.  And as she set her sights on the prince, she hoped that she would be able to save her kingdom.  I adored that we not only got this story from Elora, but from Finnian too.  He was the dashing prince.  I loved their enemy vibes from the start.  And I loved how they both saw each other, because I just knew their growth would be fun to watch.  From the moment they smashed pumpkins together, I was smitten.  Especially during the cleaning up afterwards.  Elora and Finnian were at the start of a beautiful relationship! So by the time they were dancing where she grew up, I was in love. 

Finnian tsks. “I expected more from you, Elora. Is your only weapon that mouth of yours?”
My lower stomach tightens. “The one you keep staring at?”
I don’t turn to gauge his reaction.
  

My absolute favorite in this story was Irina!  She was Finnian’s sister, and a princess.  She was bold, hilarious and just made my heart melt with happiness.  Her taking a liking to Elora, and helping her every step of the way just made me love her that much more!  I would hope that she gets her own book too, or is super prevalent in the next book.  

The second I crossed that bridge, my life was decided.
I fell right into their trap.
What a foolish doe to graze where lions play.

While this story was slow to start, I adored the first half.  I didn’t care that it was long, I was fully absorbed and obsessed with every single word.  Yet the latter half of this story dragged for me.  Even with some interesting twists, I couldn’t help but find myself skimming from time to time to hurry it along.  Also, there were some scenes that had me questioning what the characters were thinking, like the river and small room scene.  But as the story kept unfolding, I realized that I couldn’t ever find the love I had for this story.  Which made me so sad.

“There is only one way this can end.”
I barely feel his hand on my lower back as the stars above us start to spin. “And which way is that, little doe?”
“Ruin,” emerges in a breath as the starry sky envelopes me.

This story ended with a bang, and will leave the reader excited for the next book.  While I’m unsure whether I’ll read the next story in this series, I absolutely loved how unique this retelling felt.  So if you’re looking for a spicy retelling that also has fae mixed into the story, then definitely give this one a try.  Here’s hoping you love it more than me!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

BOOK REVIEW: Just One of the Groomsmen (Getting Hitched #1) & Always a Bridesmaid (Getting Hitched #2) by Cindi Madsen

BOOK REVIEW: Just One of the Groomsmen (Getting Hitched #1) & Always a Bridesmaid (Getting Hitched #2) by Cindi MadsenJust One of the Groomsmen (Getting Hitched #1)
by Cindi Madsen
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Addison Murphy is the funny friend, the girl you grab a beer with―the girl voted most likely to start her own sweatshirt line. And now that one of her best guy friends is getting married, she’ll add “groomsman” to that list, too. She’ll get through this wedding if it’s the last thing she does. Just don’t ask her to dive for any bouquet.

When Tucker Crawford returns to his small hometown, he expects to see the same old people, feel comfort in the same old things. He certainly doesn’t expect to see the nice pair of bare legs sticking out from under the hood of a broken-down car. Certainly doesn’t expect to feel his heart beat faster when he realizes they belong to one of his best friends.

If he convinces Addie to give him a chance, they could be electric…or their breakup could split their tight-knit group in two.

Hiding the way he feels from the guys through bachelor parties, cake tastings, and rehearsals is one thing. But just as Tucker realizes that Addie truly could be the perfect woman for him―he was just too stupid to realize it―now she’s leaving to follow her own dreams. He’s going to need to do a lot of compromising if he’s going to convince her to take a shot at forever with him―on her terms this time.

Review:

Just One of the Groomsmen was a heartwarming, friends to lovers romance.  Set in a small town in the south, with characters that will make you smile, I absolutely adored this story!  There was spice.  Angst.  And all the feels!  Addie was a tomboy surrounded by her best friends, Tucker, Shep, Ford and Easton.  And when Tucker came back to town, sparks flew between them.  While they both tried their best to deny their feelings for each other, it was impossible!

The push and pull between them was intoxicating!  And when they did toe the line, their moments together were steamy!  Add in characters that will make you laugh, like Nona, and friendship that runs so deep and this story had everything I love about small town romances.  This was my first Cindi Madsen, and I listened to the audio which was phenomenal, so I can’t wait to binge read all of her other stories!

 

BOOK REVIEW: Just One of the Groomsmen (Getting Hitched #1) & Always a Bridesmaid (Getting Hitched #2) by Cindi MadsenAlways a Bridesmaid (Getting Hitched #2)
by Cindi Madsen
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Violet Abrams may have been a bridesmaid no less than seven times, but her wedding day was near—she could feel it. Until her longtime boyfriend left her for someone else. That’s just fine—she has her photography and a new project redesigning her sister’s bakery to keep her happy and fulfilled. Fast-forward to the day of his wedding, though, when Violet might have accidentally, totally not on purpose, started a fire. And... Officially the worst day ever.

Firefighter Ford Maguire thought he’d seen it all. Until he’s called out because someone tried to set the local bakery on fire…with a wedding magazine? The little arsonist might be the cutest woman he’s ever seen, but he’s too career-focused to consider something serious. Still, Violet seems like a great person to help him navigate his upcoming “man of honor” duties in his best friend’s wedding.

Pretty soon, not only is Violet giving him lessons on all things weddings, she’s helping him train his latest rescue-dog recruit puppies and weaving her way seamlessly into his lone-wolf lifestyle. But forever is the last thing on Ford’s mind, and if there’s one thing a perpetual bridesmaid knows, it’s the importance of a happily ever after.

Review:

Always a Bridesmaid took us back to the small town we love, and there were all the familiar faces.  Yet this one hit deeper.  It was emotional.  And heartfelt too.  Both Violet and Ford thought that they were not worthy of love.  Their pasts and families had created doubts in their minds.  So it was heartbreaking that they thought they weren’t good enough.  Watching them fight their way to their happily ever after, will have you cheering them on!

Violet and Ford’s meet cute was beyond memorable!  And the cake testing, the bar, playing pool, to even the coffee house scene all slowly started to build a friendship between these two people.  Mix that all in with characters we love, friendships that run deep, and the most adorable puppies ever and this book was so easy and fun to listen to!  I loved how the story transported me to another world.  It was so vivid and colorful!  So if you adore small town romances with steam, then definitely put this one on your tbr!  I’m so happy I listened to it!

 

BOOK REVIEW: Wildfire (Maple Hills #2) by Hannah Grace

BOOK REVIEW: Wildfire (Maple Hills #2) by Hannah GraceWildfire (Maple Hills #2)
by Hannah Grace
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Maple Hills students Russ Callaghan and Aurora Roberts cross paths at a party celebrating the end of the academic year, where a drinking game results in them having a passionate one-night stand. Never one to overstay her welcome (or expect much from a man), Aurora slips away before Russ even has the chance to ask for her full name.

Imagine their surprise when they bump into each other on the first day of the summer camp where they are both counselors, hoping to escape their complicated home lives by spending the summer working. Russ hopes if he gets far enough away from Maple Hills, he can avoid dealing with the repercussions of his father’s gambling addiction, while Aurora is tired of craving attention from everyone around her, and wants to go back to the last place she truly felt at home.

Russ knows breaking the camp’s strict “no staff fraternizing” rule will have him heading back to Maple Hills before the summer is over, but unfortunately for him, Aurora has never been very good at caring about the rules. Will the two learn to peacefully coexist? Or did their one night together start a fire they can’t put out?

Review:

While I adored Icebreaker, this book and I didn’t mesh as well.  One of my favorite things that was missing in this story was the group dynamic.  I adored that we got it in the beginning, with the Jenga scene.  And that it pushed Russ and Aurora together.  But once they left for camp, that component was gone.  Yes there were characters at camp I adored, but they didn’t give off that same feeling, or the banter.  I missed it.

Russ Callaghan can call me a good girl anytime.

While the camp scene wasn’t really my thing, what I did enjoy about this story was the characters.  I adored them and felt their struggles in my heart.  These characters were so fleshed out and their issues felt real to me.  Russ was the sweet, cinnamon roll guy that was so easy to fall for.  And Aurora felt like the girl next door you could easily be besties with.  And both of them were hurting because of their family.  People had always made both of them feel less than and they tried their best to hide their hurt deep.  His dad had a gambling addiction, and her dad just ignored her.  I knew that they could find happiness with each other, if they would just take that next big step!

“We could have just had a conversation. This is not the kind of main character moment I’m looking for in my life!” She groans loudly, peeking at me between her fingers.

Watching their friendship form was heartwarming.  I loved how they had to work for it.  How the camp forced them together, like in the team building activities.  And how they realized they were having miscommunication issues.  Yet the whole time, it felt like their story was low on the angst and tension.  So they were adorable and also had some steam too!  Their date in the back of the truck was beyond cute!  And the epilogue down the road left me closing this book with a smile.  But for me, this book was wayyyyy too long.  I would have been happier with a couple hundred less pages.  So if you’re looking for a forced proximity, miscommunication, NA romance with a cinnamon roll guy, then this book may just be what you were looking for!

“You are the brightest thing in my life, Aurora,” he says. “And you’re a living reminder of the good things that can happen when I allow myself to be happy.”

PS I adored Fish, Trout, and Salmon!

BOOK REVIEW: Visions of Flesh and Blood: A Blood and Ash/Flesh and Fire Compendium (Blood And Ash #5.5) by Jennifer L Armentrout and Rayvn Salvador

BOOK REVIEW: Visions of Flesh and Blood: A Blood and Ash/Flesh and Fire Compendium (Blood And Ash #5.5) by Jennifer L Armentrout and Rayvn SalvadorVisions of Flesh and Blood: A Blood and Ash/Flesh and Fire Compendium (Blood And Ash #5.5)
by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Rayvn Salvador
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

VISIONS OF FLESH AND BLOOD: a Blood and Ash/Flesh and Fire Compendium is a comprehensive companion guide for background, history, reader-favorite information, art, and reference materials. Combined with original short stories and scenes from some of the world’s most beloved characters, as well as never-before-seen visual enticements, it’s a treat for the senses.

Told from the point of view of Miss Willa herself, the compendium acts like research material but reads like a journal and cache of personal notes, allowing the reader to revisit the characters and history they so love yet view things in a different way.

VISIONS OF FLESH AND BLOOD by Jennifer L. Armentrout with Rayvn Salvador is a must-add addition to the series that any Blood and Ash/Flesh and Fire fan will enjoy.

Review:

Visions of Flesh and Blood was a comprehensive guide of the Blood and Ash Series and Fire and Flesh Series so far.  If you’re needing a refresher, or have questions about this series, this is the perfect place to look!  And just know that while this doesn’t further either of the timelines, it does give us beautiful artwork, bonus scenes from both worlds, excerpts from Miss Willa’s Diary, and so much more!  

Cue gasps. I mean, I knew this, but can you imagine what it was like for her to discover that little tidbit?

Starting out, one of the things that made me scream was a reference to another series!  A Fire in the Flesh gave us all the hints, and then this book left so many little easter eggs in the pages for Fall of Ruin and Wrath And I’m excited to see how it all plays out!  

Loves to hear himself talk. Driven. Takes pleasure in killing when it’s warranted. Loves to read. Feels spousal needs should come before those of the kingdom. Knows how to braid hair. Expert with many weapons.

This book gave us not only the history of the worlds, but details about what each of the characters had gone through up until this point.  It was emotional seeing how much they had endured!  You’ll get to read about all of your favorite Blood and Ash characters, along with Flesh and Fire characters too.  But keep in mind that those moments were written by Rayvn Salvador. There were so many things that I had forgotten, like why the dragon’s eye color changed over time.  Or the different kinds of Ascensions.  It was all spelled out clearly. I also loved how within the characters, there were a few new things we learned.  Like how emotions taste to Poppy.  I loved approval!  Or the amount of times we got to watch Callum die, I couldn’t stop laughing.  We also got info on what their personalities were like.  And you know who my favorite character summary was?  Isbeth.  I am beyond shocked!

I want you. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow. I want to see what the future has in store for us.

The artwork was stunning!  My absolute favorites were The Blood Forrest, Seraphena “Sera” Mierel, Vonetta Contou, and Jasper and Kirha Contou.  I wanted to lick Jasper lol.  And a heads up to ereaders, I read on my Kindle Fire and while the picture was small, there was a ‘click here’ button that allowed us to see the images full-size in a browser.  And they’re all in color!  But just know that for paperback and hardback, they are still gorgeous, but in black and white.

Personality: No one knows if she likes them or is seconds away from setting them on fire.

The bonus scenes that were written by JLA were phenomenal!  We got a new scene of Poppy and Cas, that made my heart so happy!  We got multiple Diary Entries from Miss Willa!  Those were scorching hot!  AND I was shocked, and am still shocked, who two of those entries were with!  The interview with Kieran had me screaming with laughter!  If I had to pick one thing in this book I loved the most, that was it!  But then there was Emil.  And Netta.  And Tawny.  Ash.  And soooo much more!  The extras in this book were astonishing and worth all the stars!

“You are always safe with me, liessa,” I promised.
That was an oath I’d never break.
Because she trusted me.
And that was a gift. One I would cherish and protect.

Included in this Compendium was the Prophecy broken down.  I desperately needed that!  Favorite quotes from every single book.  The playlists were emotional and I loved that some of the songs I was thinking about, when reading, were in the list!  And more!  And I highly recommend that you pick up this book in pieces.  Not to read it from front to back like I did.  I would have read all the bonus scenes, looked at all the pictures, looked at different special content.  And then read the character profiles that I needed refreshers on.  So happy reading!  And I can’t wait to see what happens next in this world!

*I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book, provided by the author. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

 

Reading Order & Links:

Amazon (click on covers) & iBooks (click on titles)


From Blood and Ash (Blood and Ash Series) #1
Review:

Jen

A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire (Blood and Ash Series) #2
Review:

Jen

The Crown of Gilded Bones (Blood and Ash Series) #3
Review:
Jen

A Shadow in the Ember Ash (Flesh and Fire Series) 
#1
Review:

Jen

The War of Two Queens (Blood and Ash Series) #4
Review:
Jen

A Light in the Flame (Flesh and Fire Series ) #2

Review:
Jen

A Soul of Ash and Blood (Blood and Ash Series) 
#5
Review:

Jen

A Fire in the Flesh (Flesh and Fire Series) #3
Review:
Jen

Visions of Flesh and Blood (Blood and Ash Series) #5.5
Jen

BOOK REVIEWS: Rosie and the Dreamboat (The Improbable Meet-Cute #3) by Sally Thorne & Drop, Cover, and Hold On (The Improbable Meet-Cute #4) by Jasmine Guillory

BOOK REVIEWS: Rosie and the Dreamboat (The Improbable Meet-Cute #3) by Sally Thorne & Drop, Cover, and Hold On (The Improbable Meet-Cute #4) by Jasmine GuilloryRosie and the Dreamboat (The Improbable Meet-Cute #3)
by Sally Thorne
Purchase on: Amazon
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

For a hopeful and hopeless romantic, it’s love at first sight—with a little twist—in a hilarious short story about finding Mr. Right by the For a hopeful and hopeless romantic, it’s love at first sight—with a little twist—in a hilarious short story about finding Mr. Right by the USA Today bestselling author of The Hating Game.

Rosie Whittaker and her sister are up for some Galentine’s pampering at a day spa. Getting locked inside a flotation tank is so Rosie. Enter a firefighter hero determined to pry this luckless pearl out of her high-tech shell. All Rosie has to go on is a dreamy voice and a flirty sense of humor. Remain calm, Rosie. This could be what you’ve been waiting for. Is this the man she’s waited for her whole life?

Sally Thorne’s Rosie and the Dreamboat is part of The Improbable Meet-Cute, irresistibly romantic stories about finding love when and where you least expect it. They can be read or listened to in one sitting. Let’s make a date of it.

Review:

Once Rosie got locked in the flotation tank, I finally became interested in this story.  And then finished this book in one sitting.  I was obsessed when the firefighter showed up and hung on his every word!  Him and Rosie’s chemistry was so palpable, and their banter was so much fun.  I loved that he was her sanity.  And that they could joke while she was stuck in a precarious situation.  It was heartwarming watching their friendship form in a matter of hours.  And that last chapter I was grinning from ear to ear!  But the only thing is……I desperately needed one more chapter please.  My heart was happy where it ended but still, I want more please!

 

BOOK REVIEWS: Rosie and the Dreamboat (The Improbable Meet-Cute #3) by Sally Thorne & Drop, Cover, and Hold On (The Improbable Meet-Cute #4) by Jasmine GuilloryDrop, Cover, and Hold On (The Improbable Meet-Cute #4)

Synopsis:

It takes nothing less than a fateful natural disaster to throw two opposites together in a ground-shakingly charming short story by the New York Times bestselling author of Drunk on Love.

This Valentine’s Day, Daisy Murray has her heart set on binge-watching rom-coms. Instead, an earthquake traps her inside a bakery with its impossibly rude and insufferably handsome owner and head baker. They already have a history: she’s always smiled, he’s always scowled. Where better to finally get to know each other than amid the disaster? Then again, they have no choice. Besides, it could have its sweet, undeniable, and unpredictable perks.

Jasmine Guillory’s Drop, Cover, and Hold On is part of The Improbable Meet-Cute, irresistibly romantic stories about finding love when and where you least expect it. They can be read or listened to in one sitting. Let’s make a date of it.

Review:

Drop, Cover, and Hold On was a forced proximity, grumpy sunshine romance.  She thought he hated her.  He had wanted her from the moment he saw her.  And after an earthquake, they found themselves stuck together in his bakery.  Lots of yummy treats were described and I adored the narrator and how she made the story come to life.  And while this story wasn’t my favorite within this series, it still kept my interest and made me realize I need to try this author’s other books!

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