Monday, April 3, 2023

Maiden of Snakes by Jane McGarry



When Marchioness Lamberico fails to conceive a child, she solicits the help of Imelda, the village witch. Nine months later, she gives birth to a baby girl. Biancabella. Though perfect in every other way, the infant is born with a snake wrapped around her neck. To the relief of the marchioness, the creature vanishes at once and, in the joy of motherhood, is soon forgotten. When Biancabella is a young girl, the snake reappears and explains their uncommon sisterhood.

 Samaritana helps Biancabella unlock her magical gifts and asserts that so long as they are together, all will be well. Their close, though secret, relationship unites them above all others. Years pass, the sisters contented, until the day King Ferrandino of Naples arrives, seeking Biancabella’s hand in marriage. What follows shatters the sisters’ bond, leading to misfortune and betrayal, which forces them to grapple with not only the loss of their connection, but leaves each fighting for her life. 

Loosely based on the Italian fairy tale Biancabella and the Snake, the story explores how the love can transform from a domineering and covetous power to authenticity and, ultimately, redemption.


When I first saw this book, I thought I was looking at a medusa retelling with the snakes.  I couldn't have been more wrong.  Instead this was a retelling of an Italian fairytale, Biancabella and then Snake. 

Cottage-core friends...this is a lovely little cozy book I think that may have been written just for you.  There is a "fairy-tale" style of grammar and writing in this book that will make you think you're reading a story much older than it is. 

The story is cleanly written, suitable for any audience of any age. There is only one bad word in the entire book, and some violence. If you're looking for a sweet cozy, low stress read be sure to grab this book.

Maiden of Snakes is available on Amazon and is on KU!

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

White as Witching by Katherine Buel

I picked up White as Witching by Katherine Buel on Netgalley, I still browse now and then looking for books that might grab my attention. I didn't realize when I grabbed it that it was a fairytale retelling, and it definitely snagged all the main points of Snow White's Story.


The Selection is a lie. The five girls chosen each year do not vanish into a life of royal luxury, as most believe. Snow knows this because she knows her aunt Lyric—the Witch-Queen of Cresilea—murderess and usurper.

When the Selection comes to the remote village where Snow has hidden since her father’s murder, she puts herself forward, trusting in her scarred face to hide her identity, and enters the castle she fled seven years ago—a place now haunted by unnatural whispers and eerie shadows.

But more is at stake than Snow’s revenge, or even the fates of five girls, and she must learn all she can about Lyric’s magic—and her own—before it’s too late.

Rich and darkly enchanting, White as Witching takes you into a perilous world of fairy tale where you must break the first rule:

Do not go into the woods at night.
Do not follow the faerie lights.
Do not dance and do not sing—set no foot in the faerie ring.


As in most fairytale retellings this book contained the structure of Snow White. We had Snow, the hunter, the evil queen and the dwarves. We also had the bonus of Rose Red who is left out of many Snow White retellings. There were some original twists to this retelling, like fairies, and fae..and fae kings.

The world building was gradual, the characters dynamic and I enjoyed watching them grow as they faced the queen. Be ready for the love conquers all is a fairytale after all. Generally I have to be in the mood for that kind of thing, which kept my goodreads rating from a five to a four.

This book is geared towards a YA audience, with sex being only implied. Triggers being parental death, death, gore and cannibalism.

White as Witching was published October 22, 2022, and is available on Amazon.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Voyages of Trueblood Cay by Suanne Laqueur

Months ago Suanne Laqueur sent me her book for review, and you was worth the wait on my shelves. If you love a deep romance story, in a romantasy setting with LGBTQ representation read on.


Pelippé Trueblood is on the voyage of a lifetime and hosting a temperamental, half-man half-horse onboard his ship. He just might end up killing his difficult guest. Or kissing him.

Trueblood is descended from giants and poised to be one of the world's great mariners. Raised by his father on the mighty ship Cay, he's chosen at nineteen for a perilous voyage predicted in ancient prophecy: find the lost Tree of Life and anchor her branches back to the sky. Young and unseasoned, Trueblood fears the gods may have picked the wrong man for the job. Worse, scripture demands he be accompanied by the beautiful, brooding Fen il-Kheir. Nothing in Trueblood's life at sea has prepared him for this dangerous new crew member, nor the feelings he plants in Trueblood's heart.

Fen is a kheiron--a creature with the ability to shift between man and horse. With his dark past, his distrust of humans and his contempt for prophecy, Fen proves a reluctant passenger who could jeopardize not only the voyage, but the very future of the world. As the journey progresses, Fen finds himself more and more drawn to the Cay's charismatic commander, bringing the kheiron closer to everything his human nature longs for, and everything the beast in him fears.


I knew from the second I read the prologue I was in for a treat you guys. This style of writing is the kind that makes you forget your sitting there holding a book, and instead there's a vivid picture of what is going on instead...and it's immediate. There were numerous times while reading this that I had to bring myself back to reality.

The world building was gradual and gentle. You'd think even with a prologue there would be some info-dumping, and there was not. Some of this story is told in journal entries, and some of these chapters are my favorite parts of this book. We begin the story when Pelippe Trueblood is a child, so the journal entries are adorably labeled "From the the Most Private Journal of Pelippe Trueblood" and usually it just documents stories of who he knows and how much he loves them.

Fen's character is just as in-depth, we simultaneously follow the growth of both to an extent. They are very different individuals and slowly watching them let their own guards down was one of the sweetest slow burns that I've read in a long time.

Also...for what it's worth. When I finished this book, I started it all over again. I couldn't enough... If you love a good love story, you're into romantasy, and love LGBTQ representation you will absolutely love this book.

The Voyages of Trueblood Cay was published January 24, 2019 is available on Amazon.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Where the Skies Fall by Casey Bond

This is book two in the Where Oceans Burn Duology, if you'd like to read my review for book one, check it out here.


With these three tenets, we will live. With these three, we will fight.
Bravery. Breath. Brine.

Neera, Goddess of the Sky, claims the war will end in the place where oceans burn. God of the Sea, Talay, believes it to be in the place where skies fall. Yet battles unlike any our people have fought before still wait to be waged. Like it or not, Crest and I find ourselves caught in the middle.

He is The Shark, leader of the Guardians of the ocean. Sworn to protect everything in the salty sea below, his people stake claim to the Isle of Kehlani. As The Scourge of the Sky, I was once his mortal enemy. But he and his people took me in and showed me I’m worth more than the power surging through my veins. For the first time, I feel the sky might not be where I belong.

The great goddess Neera’s scale has tipped out of my favor. Now, losing the feathers in my wings is the least of my worries. It will take every ounce of my cunning and skills to rip myself from the grip of a cruel goddess who would see me cowed and caged. Talay has claimed me for his own, and for that, I am grateful. When the sky descends, thirsty for blood, I will fight. For those I love. For the life I crave. And for him… For him, I will sink the kingdom of the sky. I will drag Empyrean into the depths and delight in watching it drown.


Like the first book, I felt anxious while reading least until progress was made in our slowest of slow burn romances. I love Elira and Crest, and while I found myself less emotional in this book than I was in the first book I will still just as pulled in. 

The story is a fast paced continuation of book one, with Crest and Elira trying to figure out what their relationship will be, along with dealing with the goddess Neera. I'm not usually a fan of enemies to lovers stories, but this one is done just right. Neither one ever bullies the other, and they go from being enemies to seeing each other's worth.  This final book in this duology was done so very well. 

If you're on the fence with enemies to lovers, but love fantasy romances, with some amazing found family vibes give this one a shot. 

Where the Skies Fall was released January 13, 2023, and is available on Amazon.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Sunday, March 5, 2023

A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows by Holly Renee



Destiny or desire?

Where does your allegiance lie?

I am told my union to the crowned prince will determine the fate of the kingdom, but it isn’t my betrothed who haunts my dreams. It’s the half-breed prince who stands at his side.

He is darkness and sin, and when he whispers promises of wickedness in my ear, I crave a man who I can’t have.

Every thought I have is treasonous. The way my hands ache to touch him deceitful.

Even my dreams make me a traitor to the kingdom I am sworn to protect.

But when the kingdom is attacked, I am forced to make choices I’m not prepared for. Our lies and deception are entangled in the shadows and stars, and as they unravel so shall my fate. Betray a kingdom or betray my heart.


I was supposed to read a different book when I started this, but it pulled me right in and I inhaled this one in about a day. It's on the shorter side, at only 259 pages so it's a quick fun read.

Adara was born Starblessed, and is supposed to marry Prince Gavriel, and become Queen of the fae. When she comes of age, she is collected and whisked away to a castle. She quickly realizes not everything is as they seem. The prince's half brother, Evren is a darker presence, but one she feels pulled to.

Adara seems to have almost no choice in her life, she is directed by her mother, and prophecy. She seems unhappy to go with the flow, but also helpless to get herself out of this situation. There is a lot of room for character development here, but we don't really see it in this book. Instead we get the fate she doesn't want, and a grumpy alpha male to whisk her away from it.

I'm not usually a big fan of a weaker female lead being lead by a alpha male, but the book moved so quickly I still couldn't set it down. The slow burn is satisfying, the forbidden love aspect brings it to another level..and bonus there's lots of spicey spice.

Overall, an enjoyable, fast paced, spicey, fantasy romance. I'm looking forward to book two.

A Kingdom of Stars is available on Amazon and Bookshop.

Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of this book myself for review.  There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

February Wrap Up


Whew...what a whirlwind February was.  Here's what I've been up to this month.

Before I get to the books, let me talk business first. Last month I opened an Etsy shop, and while it's been fun making stuff, sales have been...non-existent. It's my little plea for help, do you like what you see? Just put a heart next to it guys...let people know you like it, even if you don't want it. One of my latest creations is my mug I madeya’ll this cute mug I think would make a great gift for your favorite librarian, or English teacher…what do you think? The other thing I did this month was set up an Amazon Storefront. It's where I'm listing all my favorite things, like what's on my desk or cute things I can find in my favorite color. Check it out here.

I started off this month with an approval from Berkley Publicity...and anyone who's been on Netgalley for any length of time knows they are the pickiest of picky. I was deeply flattered and jumped right into the Miniscule Mansion of Myra Malone. I felt like the book had a really great idea, but the delivery fell a bit short...check out my review for it here.

I also read Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries and what a fun cozy, low stress read that one is.  Grab your cup of tea, a comfy blanket and just dig in.  It's such a fun magical book. I also read CN Crawford's Frost, just in time for the second book to come out Ambrosia, which is on my March TBR. Next I read Where the Skies Fall by Casey Bond, the second in her Where Oceans Burn Duology. You can read my review for Where Oceans Burn here. I'll be posting my review for Where Skies Fall soon.

This month's video game was the beautiful Spiritfarer: Farewell edition. I just couldn't pull myself away from this one. It was a gorgeous well created game. Please check out my review here.

For those on my mailing list, look for this freebie in your inbox! I made this desktop just to thank you for sticking around. If you'd like to join the mailing list before it goes to everyone's inbox be sure to click here.

Thanks for reading!


Disclaimer: I often receive advanced copies of  books and games free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book or game I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Game Review: Spiritfarer -- Farewell Edition


What a beautiful, bittersweet game. In an absolute gorgeous setting, with beautiful music and aesthetics. Spiritfarer shares with you a gentle adventure as you take on the role of the spiritfarer: the one who guides souls into the afterlife.  They share with your their stories and troubles, and when their spirit is tired, they let you know they're ready to go.

This game was visually stunning, with it's relaxing music and sound effects it was a great way to unwind at the end of the day for me. The colors were vivid, the sky and the landscape just so beautiful. The storylines were lovely and the challenges the game presented slowly increased in difficulty but never urgency. The complete definition of cozy games for me.

The story though is what really pulls you in. As the spiritfarer, it's your job to guide souls into the afterlife. You do this job with the help of spirits who knew you before you became the spiritfarer, as well as your cat, Daffodil. You get to know the souls that come to your ship, their likes, and dislikes, their fears and regrets. You help them visit places of their past, offer them their favorite foods, and more. As you work through each soul's quest you enrich their lives, and increase your abilities and things you can build on your boat.

The boat is your home in which you and the spirits you guide live. You slowly gain access to blueprints so you can upgrade people's homes, or the kitchen or workshops on the boat. There is some gardening (of course!), as you have the option to build a garden, and even an orchard.  There are mini games that bring you specific items you need, and overall plenty to do to keep you hooked on the game for hours.

Overall Rating: 10/10 --- loved this one

Difficulty level: Easy
Publisher: Thunder Lotus Games
Release date: August 18, 2020
Genre: Cozy/Management
Available on: Xbox, Switch, Playstation 4, PC, and Mac

Friday, February 24, 2023

The Catch by Jenna Miles


Contributor post by Kaylee Hunt

The Catch by Jenna Miles


Julia Dunphy’s husband just left her for the second time, her thirteen-year-old won’t stop swearing in public, and to top it all off, her four-year-old just asked to buy condoms. Needless to say, this isn’t how she expected her life to pan out.

Then, Julia’s new work in an aquarium shop washes up old memories of a whale-watching business she once imagined — and of William Quinn, the man she imagined it with. William walked into her life with striking blue eyes and constant surprises. Before she knew it, she was head-over-heels in love. However, the realities of life eventually pulled them apart. When Julia and William’s paths cross again, despite their baggage, an undeniable spark remains.

When she learns that William has made a success of their ideas, she wonders if it’s too late to finally make a success of their relationship. But Julia has already blown her first two chances at happiness with William, so a third one seems like wishful thinking. Is another chance with him possible, after all?

Rating: 3.5 Stars

TW: depression, drug abuse, sickness

My Thoughts: 

I first want to preface that every reader is different, so a rating should not completely define the success of a book. With that being said, I did enjoy this book. It had humor, I liked the immediate connection between Julia and William, and I thought their story was very unique.

Julia is very blunt, she knows what she wants and she goes for it. William is perfect at almost everything, but does not think highly of himself. He is shy and not as outspoken as Julia. However, they make a cute pair. 

We jump back and forth between 2012, where Julia finds herself abandoned by her husband for the second time, and 1993, where Julia and William first meet. The story progresses, jumping from past to present. Jenna Miles shares a unique story of not only a second chance, but maybe a third? 

There were a few twists I did not expect coming (that I obviously can’t share, or I’d spoil it for you). These twists were creative. Usually I can see twists like these from the beginning, but Miles created a well-thought out plot that single-handedly distracted me from the “obvious,” which doesn’t happen often.

As mentioned, there are depictions of drug abuse, sickness, and depression. These are heavy topics Jenna Miles used to help develop their characters. While they are sad, they were used to share the story between Julia and William, and she did it well. 

Why I gave this book a 3.5 stars: As mentioned above, every reader is different. Not only do we take that into account, but we take the time the book was read into account. I really started reading The Catch during a very busy season for work. I also realized I’m a mood reader and really wanted fantasy instead of just romance. However, I did finish reading this book through audiobook. I found that finishing this book was easier, especially since the chapters were long, much longer than I’m used to. 

I feel as if this book is a literary fiction book, which I have not read often. This book is very character-driven. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get into these types of books, where the characters are the main focus instead of the plot. However, I did enjoy this book and watching the character development. 

With that all being said, I recommend this book. Not because of the rating, but because I want you to make a decision for yourself. 

Thank you to Jenna Miles, who sent me a copy of The Catch for an honest review. I hope to one day read it again and see if my opinions change over time. And that’s simply what these are: opinions. It takes so much effort to create a whole world, a whole scenario from beginning to end and publish it. Thank you for your story and I hope to read more from you. by Jenna Miles

Keep up to date with my book and game reviews by signing up for my once a month newsletter.


Hi! I'm Kaylee, a twenty-something-year-old book and word lover! When I'm not working as a B&N bookseller, you'll find me with a good book and lots of coffee. In my free time, I also love to write and hope to one day publish something. Until then, I'll happily immerse myself into a new world created by others. You can find me on Instagram @kayhwrites and my blog

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Sunday, February 12, 2023

Frost by CN Crawford



On the worst birthday of my life, I come home to find my boyfriend in bed with another woman. Within hours, I’m drunk, homeless, and pledging to stay single forever. And that is when the dangerously sexy Seelie King rolls through town, looking for fae like me.

Every generation, the king holds a competition for Seelie queen. But for reasons he won’t explain, Torin is looking for a charade, not a real marriage. So when I drunkenly sling insults his way, I have his attention.

When Torin offers me fifty million to participate, I think, “What have I got to lose?” The answer turns out to be “my life,” because my competition will literally kill for the crown.

And the more time I spend with the seductive king, the harder it becomes to remember it’s all supposed to be fake. Now, my life—and my heart—are on the line.


This is the kind of romantasy book that is my all time favorite... we have a broody male fae king with a secret curse he can't tell anyone, and a tough independent female lead with a secret past we don't know much about. Combine this with a "Hunger Games" style contest to win a crown, and it's all win for me.

This book could easily have been read in one sitting. I really felt there was never a dull moment, or wordy explanations that take too long. We start right off with the heart break that is mentioned in the synopsis. Andrew is absolutely hated from the start, and of course while at her most vulnerable she meets Torin.

Because of his secret curse, Torin wants to marry someone he can't love, and he thinks he's found that in Ava. However, this is when the slow burn, forbidden romance slowly evolves...and we never really get much satisfaction in this book. The story leaves off here with a bit of a cliffhanger, and completely unresolved. As much as I usually don't like this in books, it actually worked for me, however I'm really glad book two comes out in less than two weeks.

I hope book two in this series keeps up the great momentum that was developed in book one.

Frost by CN Crawford is available on Amazon. Ambrosia, book two of her Frost and Nectar series releases February 20th. 

To learn more about CN Crawford head over to her website here.

Keep up to date with my book and game reviews by signing up for my once a month newsletter.

Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of this book myself for review.  There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

I was so thrilled to be contacted by Penguin Randomhouse to review Encyclopedia of Faeries.  Such a sweet, cozy new series.


A curmudgeonly professor journeys to a small town in the far north to study faerie folklore and discovers dark fae magic, friendship, and love, in this heartwarming and enchanting fantasy.

Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party—or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones—the most elusive of all faeries—lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all—her own heart.


What a delightful book! I didn't expect to like this as much as I did, and honestly about half way through I almost gave up. The book is a bit slow paced at the beginning, so grab yourself a nice cup of tea, a comfy blanket and settle in.

This story is written like a journal, and you get Emily's version of her travels, and her stay at Hrafnsvik. Each chapter starting off with the date, and then a recount of what happened to her each day. She leaves footnotes, that further explain in greater detail about history, lore, or any other bit of information about dryadology. 

Emily is so relatable. She is shy, introverted, quirky, with some obvious social anxiety going on.  Girl...I relate! She is oblivious to those around her and what they may be thinking. She makes lots of social mistakes when she arrives at Hrafnsvik, some due to her own awkwardness and some due to a bit of culture shock.  She has her ways with the faeries down's structured and there are clear rules. Give gifts, be careful of bargains, and always keep that coin in your hand to avoid fairy enchantments. It became clear her study of faeries really suited her.

Wendell was adorable as well, and I could tell right off the bat he was smitten with her. He just shows up because he missed their "banter" in the office. He was much more at ease socially, and seemed bring certain strengths Emily's situation. I love how he just brushes off Emily's gruffness, and accepts her in all her quirkiness.

Overall, this story was the sweetest fantasy story I've read in a long time. If you're looking for a fun, clean read with a side of a sweet clean little romance be sure to grab this book.

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries was published January 10, 2023, and is available on Amazon and Bookshop.

Keep up to date with my book and game reviews by signing up for my once a month newsletter

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!

Thursday, February 2, 2023

The Minuscule Mansion of Myra Malone by Audrey Burges



From her attic in the Arizona mountains, thirty-four-year-old Myra Malone blogs about a dollhouse mansion that captivates thousands of readers worldwide. Myra’s stories have created legions of fans who breathlessly await every blog post, trade photographs of Mansion-modeled rooms, and swap theories about the enigmatic and reclusive author. Myra herself is tethered to the Mansion by mysteries she can’t understand—rooms that appear and disappear overnight, music that plays in its corridors.

Across the country, Alex Rakes, the scion of a custom furniture business, encounters two Mansion fans trying to recreate a room. The pair show him the Minuscule Mansion, and Alex is shocked to recognize a reflection of his own life mirrored back to him in minute scale. The room is his own bedroom, and the Mansion is his family’s home, handed down from the grandmother who disappeared mysteriously when Alex was a child. Searching for answers, Alex begins corresponding with Myra. Together, the two unwind the lonely paths of their twin worlds—big and small—and trace the stories that entwine them, setting the stage for a meeting rooted in loss, but defined by love.


I have mixed feelings on this book. I loved the original idea, and I initially got really pulled into this story. It was a slow start, but the world building was worth waiting for. Myra's story is a sad one her past trauma led her to live a reclusive life, one she really didn't want to change. Her mother due to her own trauma mismanaged money, so they are facing the possibility of losing their home. I can only imagine how traumatic that would be for someone who struggles with leaving their house.

Then we have Alex, who recognized Myra's minuscule mansion from her blog as being an exact replica of his own home. Alex has had his own troubled past, with an absent  (step) mother, and a father who was emotionally unavailable Alex had to learn to take care of himself in tough situations early on. 

I found both characters likeable and relatable, and their stories having both familiar and unique qualities. Overall I found the book to be predictable though, which is unusual for me. The foreshadowing was strong with this one.  I was able to figure out the big mysteries way before they were revealed, which lead to a somewhat lower rating.

To stay in the loop about books, games, and more digital freebies, and book review opportunities for YOU be sure to subscribe to my email list.

Disclaimer: I received an advanced copy of this book free for review.  This however does not affect my opinions, as I do not leave a review for each book I receive. There are links to Amazon, clicking these links won't cost you anything but any purchase helps support this blog.  Thanks!