ARC Review: The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I loved The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi SO MUCH that when I heard the sequel, The Silvered Serpents, was available on NetGalley I knew I had to request it. When I was approved, I involuntarily screamed and flailed a bit. It was great. It did take me a bit of time to read the book though, simply because I had already started my semester so I read as much as possible during what I’ve started referring to as “stolen time.”

I didn’t note down any trigger or content warnings while reading this one, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t there. If you’ve read The Silvered Serpents and noticed something that might need a trigger or content warning, please let me know in the comments or anonymously via this form. Without further ado, let’s jump right into this review!

The characters I got to know and love while reading The Gilded Wolves are all back, but they’ve grown and changed so much that for some of them reading The Silvered Serpents was like getting to know them for the first time all over again. Each of the returning characters still receive beautiful development throughout this story. I especially enjoyed getting to know a bit more about Delphine’s character and past. There are also a few new characters that joined the cast in The Silvered Serpents who are each developed beautifully. Each of the characters’ story arcs wind seamlessly and beautifully into each other and the development of each of them is masterfully done.

The rules of the world in which this series takes place was built up beautifully in The Gilded Wolves, so it wasn’t surprising not to see any building up of the world itself in The Silvered Serpents. Instead, the world building is put into the new possibilities and locations explored through the story. Roshani Chokshi is masterful in her world building and this book was no exception. She manages to build up the world in the reader’s mind piece by piece without being info-dumpy at all, allowing for a smooth and fully immersive experience.

The Silvered Serpents picks up shortly after The Gilded Wolves left off. There is no explanation at the beginning of the book before the story begins its first arc as I have seen the second book in some other series do and I really enjoyed that about it. No space in the story is left for explaining the previous events of the series beyond the major events that are still weighing on some of the characters. While some of the story flows smoothly, following my expectations while I was reading, there were some parts of the story that left me surprised–both pleasantly and unpleasantly. There are plenty of twists and turns throughout the story, some meant for the reader and some meant for the characters, and each of them build on each other beautifully. The only complaint I could possibly have is HOLY CLIFFHANGER, BATMAN!

Roshani Chokshi has definitely maintained her status as an auto-purchase author with The Silvered Serpents. Even so, I had a lot of trouble deciding what rating to give this book. In the end, I decided to wait until after I finished writing and editing this review to help me process my thoughts and feelings about this book. I’d like the next book now, please and thank you. 🙂

Overall, I rate The Gilded Wolves 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it! Add it on Goodreads and preorder your copy so you can enjoy it when it’s released on 22 September 2020.

Roshani Chokshi has been an auto-purchase author for me ever since I read The Star-Touched Queen. Her writing style is incredibly immersive. It reminds me of music in that it flows beautifully off the page, creating incredibly vivid mental images. Who are some of your auto-purchase authors and why do you love them?

Blog Tour: The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

Hi there, bookworms and dragons! It’s been quite a while since I was able to participate in a blog tour, but when this one was sent out as an option I knew I had to make the time for it. Keep on reading for my full review, a bookish soundtrack, information on where you can go to get your hands on a copy of The Falling in Love Montage, and a tour-wide giveaway! But first, let’s have a look at the Goodreads synopsis…

Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a case home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out.

But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms.

Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

How could I possibly pass up the opportunity to read what is so obviously the book I need to read while in quarantine? Exactly. I could not.

My Review

I went into The Falling in Love Montage without really having any expectations. I thought it might be a light and fluffy flf story and… I was wrong. It’s not light and fluffy at all, but it manages to remain hopeful through all its anxiety and teen angst. While I’m sure I noted a content warning while reading, I can’t seem to find my notes so if you’ve read it and noticed one, please let me know in the comments or anonymously via this page.

It’s obvious from the cover and description that this book is a flf contemporary story and I was so excited for that. The characters are all very complex and well developed. I could easily have had a full conversation with each of them or all of them together as a group. I really like how every person was developed through the lens of how Saoirse experiences them so, while I was able to form my own opinion of them based on their actions, I also got to see very vividly how Saoirse thinks and feels about them.

Also, Saoirse’s level of sass and wit? Admirable. But don’t go into this expecting to see some perfect high school girl character. She is extremely flawed, just like any real teenager (or adult for that matter) is. The book being written in first person definitely allows you to see her flaws and process them as someone on the outside while also acknowledging that she might not see them as flaws or even see them at all. She is definitely a realistic character.

Before we move on to talk about the rest of the aspects of the book, I also have to mention how awesome it was to see a plus size girl be both unapologetic and described as gorgeous? There are books out there about fat girls or with characters who are fat, but they rarely portray them as beautiful or attractive. This book does that and it was so wonderful to read.

The book is set entirely in a modern day seaside town in Ireland. The world is maybe a little less immersive than I usually like for it to be, but it was easy to visualize the places where the story takes us. The space inhabited by the characters is almost secondary, but the characters inhabiting them always seem to fill the space with their personalities and interact with the world as the story carries on. There are some aspects that someone who has never been to Ireland might have trouble understanding (I could imagine some Americans not understanding why people would insist on hanging out outside instead of inside when it’s hot) but overall, the world is developed just enough to be functional.

The story itself is lovely. It reads a lot like a romantic comedy movie, which I think is probably exactly what Ciara Smyth was going for given the theme of the book. It flows just as well from beginning to end with a plethora of drama, romance, and humor. Both Saoirse and Ruby have family members who are dealing with serious problems and the stress of this weighs on them throughout the story, moving it in perhaps different directions than it otherwise might have. It is definitely character driven and it works very well.

I really enjoyed reading The Falling in Love Montage from beginning to end. It dealt with some heavy issues while also being funny and romantic. The story wraps up very nicely at the end, leaving no loose threads hanging but making it obvious that their lives do not end at the end of the book. I’d love to see a sequel at some point but as a novel this stands well on its own.

Overall, I rate The Falling in Love Montage 4½ out of 5 bookworms. But don’t take my word for it! You can add it on Goodreads and order a copy to enjoy it for yourself from:

Bookish Soundtrack

Given that The Falling in Love Montage is thoroughly packed with movie references, it was really impossible to narrow down the number of great songs that should go into the bookish sound track. I somehow managed to do it and the following is the result. Enjoy! 🙂

About the Author

Ciara Smyth is a social work student by day, writer by night and cat enthusiast 24/7.

Her first YA novel – about memory, rom-coms and girls who like girls – will be published in Summer 2020 by Andersen Press in the UK and HarperCollins in the US.

She previously worked as a teacher and mental health trainer. She enjoys jigging (verb: to complete a jigsaw) and claims to enjoy yoga in order to cultivate a zen persona that is shattered approximately ten minutes after you meet her.

She is from the south of Ireland but has lived in Belfast for so long that her parents make fun of her Northern accent.


You made it to the giveaway! Woo hoo!! Not one but TWO lucky readers (US only, sorry International bookworms and dragons!) will win a finished copy of The Falling in Love Montage! *Please be aware that delays due to COVID-19 may occur in the shipping of prizes.


Do you want to see more awesome content and have more chances to win? Of course you do and why wouldn’t you?! All you have to do is follow the tour by following this link! 💖

Thank you so much to Ciara Smyth for writing The Falling in Love Montage! Without you, this book would not exist and I would be a very sad panda. You are a rockstar!

Thank you to HarperTeen for allowing me the privilege of reading a digital galley of The Falling in Love Montage before its 9 June release (which has not affected my review in the slightest)!

Finally, thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the blog tour for The Falling in Love Montage! You always make hosting tours such a blast! (If you’re interested in being an FFBC hostwhich you totally should!just click on their logo below! 😀

ARC Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! This one has taken some time for me to be able to write, both because I just haven’t had much time and because this book was an emotional roller coaster. I was extremely lucky to have been able to read an advance digital galley of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab from NetGalley. As always, this does not affect my review one way or another. I am including this in my Diverse Reads section as well as it contains representation for bisexuality, homosexuality, depression, and anxiety.

I’ve been sitting on this review for about a month now because I’ve been having so much trouble processing my thoughts and emotions about the book. It’s such a complicated story so it comes as no surprise that my thoughts and feelings about it are a complicated, tangled mess. As I write this, I’m still unsure of the rating I’m going to give it so I’m hoping writing out the review itself will help me figure it out. I did enjoy the book overall though so we’ll see. Content warnings that I noticed will be at the end of the review. Let’s dive in!

The characters were incredibly well developed, though there were a couple times in the story when I thought, at the time, that something went against a character’s “regular” behavior. However, later in the story I learned things about those characters that would have put those actions solidly within the realm of their “regular” behavior. The character development is artfully done, which pairs perfectly with the story itself. We’re able to get to know each of the characters individually, but also by how they are perceived by others. It’s truly a thing of beauty.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is set in a variety of locations and time periods, all of which seem to have been thoroughly researched and built up meticulously. Whether the story takes place in 1700s Paris or 2010s New York City or anywhere in between, there is almost always the feeling of being fully immersed in the world. Each different location is built up individually as if by magic–without being info dumpy at all–and the rules of the world and how the characters interact with it are laid out beautifully throughout the story parallel to the characters being developed so there is little room for confusion.

The beginning of the story seemed quite chaotic to me, going back and forth between the past and the present while still always moving forward in each of the timelines. It isn’t until around halfway through the book that it begins to become obvious that the chaos was intentional, though at that point of the story the intention itself was entirely unclear to me. However, the chaos is filled in with details that spiked my curiosity. I had a lot of trouble putting the book down so I don’t think even my “if I’m not hooked by chapter 2 I throw the whole book away” friends will have trouble enjoying this one. The story flows in such a way that puts me in mind of a rose–slowly blossoming before it explodes into bloom and leaves you in awe of its magnificence. It is complex and beautifully written.

While The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue works very well as a standalone, I would not be upset if there ends up being a book #2. The ending wrapped up all of the loose ends left from the story while also leaving me wanting to know what happens next. It’s such an amazing story. I went in with quite high expectations and came out having each of them fulfilled and surpassed. This is exactly the high level of quality I’ve come to expect from Victoria Schwab’s writing.

Overall, I rate The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue 4.5 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it! Add it on Goodreads and preorder your copy so you can enjoy it when it’s released on 6 October 2020.

I first heard about The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue because I follow Victoria Schwab on Twitter and had seen her talking about it. Are there any books you discovered because of someone you follow on social media?

Trigger/Content Warnings (TW/CW):

These are the trigger and/or content warnings that I notice while reading The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. As always, if you’ve read the book and noticed any TW/CWs that are not listed here, please let me know in the comments or anonymously via this form.

  • Slut shaming
  • Suicide ideation
  • Suicide attempt

ARC Review: The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


Hey there, bookworms and dragons! As soon as I heard Erin Morgenstern had written another novel, I knew I needed to find out if it might be possible for me to read it ASAP. I somehow managed to get approved for this one on NetGalley. I do not know how. I was honestly expecting them to say no but HERE WE ARE. *ahem* I only noted a couple trigger/content warnings (TW/CWs for short) while reading, but I’ll add those at the very end. 🙂 Let’s dive right on into this review thingy!

I’m not sure how to talk about the characters from this one, really. I feel like I got to know the characters just enough to care about them but not enough to actually know them. We didn’t really get much backstory at all for most of the characters. My favourite character of the novel is probably Kat, which even now I find odd because I know so very little about her. I think this is part of the book’s charm, but I do wish I could be able to actually tell you more things about the characters themselves.

The Starless Sea is set partially in various times of the real world and partially in a place that exists beneath the real world and is powered by the magic of stories. I was expecting the world building to be the star of the show and I was not disappointed. It’s lush and immersive and left nothing to be desired. I fell in love with it right away.

The story itself is complicated and loops all over the place, seemingly without direction. However, about half into the book, the puzzle pieces start fitting together to form a larger picture that my thoughts still return to days after finishing it. The end did leave a loose end or two though and not in a way that speaks of a sequel, though they are obviously intentional. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

In the end I really enjoyed reading The Starless Sea, though I don’t think I enjoyed it as much as I did Erin Morgenstern’s first book. I will still definitely jump at the chance to read anything new from her though so there is that.

Overall, I rate The Starless Sea 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!


As soon as I heard about The Starless Sea, I knew I wanted to read it because of how much I loved Erin Morgenstern’s first novel, The Night Circus. Are there any authors whose work you’ve read because you enjoyed a previous work of theirs?


  • Hanging
  • Multiple mentions of suicide

ARC Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo


Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to receive an ARC of Ninth House back in June. I was SUPER excited for it but also didn’t have time to read it just then with grad school and the library’s summer learning program that I had bitten off WAY too much of. I didn’t end up picking it up until last week, and then I took my time reading it instead of letting myself read it in a sitting or two.

This is mainly because I read online that it’s an ADULT novel that deals with very difficult subject matter and I’ve seen the trigger warning list being passed around so I felt like I was ready, so long as I let myself go at my own pace. I’ll say this again because it seems like people are having a really hard time understanding… Ninth House is an ADULT novel. It’s been pitched as an adult novel. It’s being marketed as an adult novel. Leigh herself has been screaming into the void that is social media that it’s an adult novel. Please stop saying it’s YA.

I’ll post the TW/CWs at the end of the review. The list was already substantial and I added to it a little. Please also keep in mind that most of the content warranting these warnings is graphically portrayed. Self care is important, y’all! That being said, let’s dive right into my review!

The characters were, for the most part, pretty well developed. This is something I’ve come to know Leigh for though so I wasn’t surprised. There were a few characters who could have easily been the same dudebro, but for the most part everyone had their own particular essence to them that made them easy to care what happened to them. Even the few instances when all I cared about was that the characters suffer, at least I cared. It’s a book full of character caring.

The majority of Ninth House takes place in New Haven, Connecticut, both on and off the Yale University campus, and takes place in the present day. The world building was particularly interesting, I thought, because the rules for the world were built up before being torn down and rebuild slightly differently over and over again. The base rules of the world remained in place though, so this worked really well for me and kept the world feeling fresh and new and a bit overwhelming, which I’m now sure was intentional.

The story did flow relatively well, though the change in perspective and timeline did throw me a little. There are headings at the beginning of each chapter that kind of help with it, but I still had a little trouble keeping track. This is also probably at least in part because it’s the end of summer and my brain is just fried toasty. Once I got a few chapters in though it was much easier so maybe I just had a slow start. Either way, the pacing is nearly perfect, though a little slow in some places. Ninth House was honestly hard to put down at times and I made myself do it anyway because I needed to pace myself while reading this one if I wanted to make it through and still be ok.

I really loved the character of Alex. She is incredibly flawed and she’s honest with herself about it. I related to her. I related to a lot of the trauma in the book. While I was a little worried going into it that some of the many things on the TW/CW list would trigger me, Ninth House ended up being a very cathartic read for me. For the longest time, I felt like it was just me who experienced things like I have. It’s a lonely thing, trauma. We learn to blame and shame ourselves into guilty, solitary silence. There are things in Ninth House that I’ve never heard people speak openly about that I have experienced. I know it’ll sound a bit ridiculous, but it was almost like Leigh was speaking directly to me through this book, telling me she sees me and I’m not alone. I can not wait to read what comes next.

Overall, I rate Ninth House 4.5 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!


Ninth House is Leigh Bardugo’s adult debut, though she’s already gained some notoriety with her Grishaverse series’.

Who are some of your favorite authors who write for more than one age range?


  • drug use
  • overdose
  • self harm
  • sexual assault
  • forced drugging
  • drugged rape
  • filming and distribution of rape film
  • rape of a child
  • victim blaming
  • child abandonment
  • psychological abuse of a child
  • death
  • suicide
  • forced consumption of human waste
  • blackmail
  • gore
  • 1st person victim’s account of stabbing, suffocation, drowning
  • torture

ARC Review: The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! I was lucky enough to snag a physical arc of The Grace Year as a prize for the summer learning program at my local public library and, since my semester ended last week, I was finally able to dive into it. Trigger/Content warnings will be at the end of the post, especially since one of them is a potential spoiler for a side plotline. Let’s dive right into my review!

Character development… I’m almost sad to start the review here, but I have trouble shaking things up sometimes and characters always come first in my reviews so I’ll just say it: there was little to no character development in all of the 400+ pages of this book. I honestly have very little idea of what any of the characters look like and I had trouble caring about anyone other than the main character. Other than Tierney and maybe three other characters, everyone was horribly flat. It was disappointing, but that’s honestly the worst thing about this book so take it as you will.

The Grace Year is set in an unknown time in and near a place called the colony. It’s a world steeped in religion that has been twisted so that women have become dangerous possessions for men to own and punish as they see fit. It really reads like a cult and it was just as creepy and disturbing as it sounds. The teenage girls are sent off into the woods to live in the encampment for a year to burn through their magic, which felt similar to the concept of concentration camps but where the ones with power over the imprisoned are the other imprisoned. It was an uncomfortable world to slip into, to say the least.

The novel is very plot-driven, which works out since the plot (and most of the side plots) are really interesting. I especially love the way everything pulls together at the end into something I was not expecting. There was a bit of the plot that I think the story could have done without, but overall the plot was extremely interesting and flowed somewhat well.

What I like most about The Grace Year is how it examines human nature. It’s bold and honest and it doesn’t shy away from the darker sides of us. It highlights the power of belief. It shows humanity at it’s most caring and at it’s most violent. While I’m not sure how I feel about the ending, I definitely enjoyed reading The Grace Year enough that I had trouble putting it down. I definitely agree with the comparisons I’ve seen to The Handmaid’s Tale, Lord of the Flies, and The Hunger Games and I honestly think it’s a modern combination of the three. I hope to read more of Kim Liggett’s work in the future.

Overall, I rate The Grace Year 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!


  • Suicide
  • Suicide Attempt
  • Stalking
  • Stockholm syndrome
  • Blood

The Grace Year is a dystopian YA novel. What are some of your favourite stories within this genre?

Blog Tour: The Chosen by Taran Matharu

Hello there, bookworms and dragons! I’m so super excited to be posting today as part of the blog tour for The Chosen by Taran Matharu. I loved what I read of his Summoner series, so when I got the chance to read an early copy of the first book in his all new Contender series, I jumped at the chance. Keep reading for my full review! But first, what’s this book about? Well, I’m so happy you asked! Let’s have a look at the synopsis.

Introducing an epic new trilogy from Taran Matharu, author of the New York Times–bestselling Summoner series.

Throughout history, people have vanished with no explanation. A group of teenagers are about to discover why.

Cade is settling into a new boarding school, contemplating his future, when he finds himself transported to another realm. He soon discovers their new world is populated with lost remnants from the past: prehistoric creatures, ancient relics, and stranger still — people. Overwhelmed by his new surroundings, Cade has little time to adjust, for soon he and his fellow classmates are forced to become contenders in a brutal game, controlled by mysterious overlords.

But who are these beings and why did they choose these teens? Cade must prepare for battle . . . because hiding is not an option.


My Review

As I said above, I was already really excited for The Chosen based on my enjoyment of Taran Matharu’s previous writing. But then I saw the cover and there are actual dinosaurs on it? Like, how many YA novels have dinosaurs? I can’t think of any. So I was doubly excited to dive into reading it, which I did in two sittings that would have been one if not for my own monsters. TW/CWs will be the the end of the post, so let’s dive right into my review!

The diverse cast characters are all fairly well developed. I especially loved getting to see an ownvoices Indian/mixed race rep that’s a bit different than what I’ve seen in other novels. It focuses less on the culture Cade’s family came from and more on his experience of the culture surrounding him outside of his parents’ influence. I really liked that, regardless of all of the things that happen to him, Cade still believes that people are innately good. We also get Yoshi, a Japanese American boy who does not appreciate your Mario Kart references, and Spex, a Brazilian American who could probably win Jeopardy. Sadly, there is also Finch. I have never so strongly wanted to slap someone in my entire life. To all the Finches out there: stop talking and keep your hands to yourself.

The world building is so incredibly lush and immersive. The story starts off at a “therapeutic” school (AKA military school), where Cade and the others have been sent for various reasons right up to and including murder. I could easily drop myself into the unknown location and walk around there. Though, honestly, I’d have to run because the world is hazardous to say the least. The rules of the world were intentionally held back through the story, little bits being shared as Cade stumbled upon them. I do love that mysteriously missing bits of history from Earth cropped up all over the world of the story, giving us fun little tidbits of information about them as Cade learned about them.

The Chosen is probably a good example of a plot-driven novel, I think. The story moves so fluidly that it’s hard to put down. As I said earlier, I would have finished it in a single sitting if left to my own devices. There’s so much action and that builds up to the epic action scene near the end… and, unfortunately, the huge cliffhanger. The story moves so well that I have to consider the novel unputdownable.

I enjoyed The Chosen so very much from beginning to (cliffhanger) end. The best way I can think of to describe it to those considering reading it is to say The Chosen is Jurassic Park meets The Hunger Games. I’m already hyped up for the next book of the Contender series, but I’ll have to read more of Taran Matharu’s other writing to tide me over for it.

Overall, I rate The Chosen 3.5 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself! A few places you can order your copy from are:


About the Author

Taran Matharu is the New York Times bestselling author of the Summoner series, which has been translated into 15 languages and has sold over a million copies. He was born in London in 1990 and found a passion for writing during early adolescence, beginning his first book at 9 years old.

Straight after graduating with a First Class degree in Business Administration, Taran was keen to explore a new avenue and get inside the publishing world, landing an internship in Digital Sales at Penguin Random House, from June to September 2013.

Thereafter, while taking time off to travel, Taran began to write ‘Summoner’ in November 2013 at the age of 22, taking part in ‘Nanowrimo 2013’ and sharing his work on The shared sample of the story went viral, reaching over 3 million reads in less than six months. Taran went on to launch his professional writing career, and has never looked back.

His SUMMONER series is published by Hodder Children’s (Hachette) in the UK, Australia and Commonwealth, Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan) in the US and Canada, Hachette Jeunesse in France, Heyne in Germany, Planeta in Spain, Crown in Taiwan, Record in Brazil, EKSMO in Russia, Jaguar in Poland, Ecliptic in Bulgaria, Alpress in the Czech Republic, Ithaki in Turkey, Forlaget Forar in Denmark and Unieboek in the Netherlands.


Want to see more awesome The Chosen content? Of course you do! How, you ask? Simply follow the tour via the schedule in this link.

Thank you to Taran Matharu for writing this incredible novel! Without you, we definitely wouldn’t be here.

Another thank you to Feiwel and Friends for allowing me the privilege of reading an early copy of The Chosen.

And, last but certainly not least, a huge thank you to the Fantastic Flying Book Club for organizing this blog tour and allowing me to be part of it! If you’re interested in how to become a tour host with the FFBC (and why wouldn’t you be??), click on their logo below!


  • Racism
  • Sexism
  • Grief
  • Blood
  • Mentions of slavery

As always, if you read The Contender and noticed TW/CWs that are not listed here, please let me know in the comments or anonymously via this form.

ARC Review: Finding Morgan by S. M. Traphagen

Hello and happy Friday, bookworms and dragons! A while ago, I was contacted by S. M. Traphagen with a review request for an ARC version of Finding Morgan: A LeFay Trilogy. As most of you know, I am currently closed to requests but I was going through a King Arthur retelling phase (including watching The Kid Who Would Be King countless times) so I decided to accept anyway. There were a few TW/CWs, but I’m going to try something new and put them at the end of the post instead of the beginning. Let me know in the comments which you prefer. 🙂 And with that, let’s dive right in. My apologies in advance as it has turned out to be quite a wordy review.

The character development was…. well, it wasn’t. I had a good bit of trouble telling the characters apart without one of their physical qualities or their name being used. This especially became a problem around page 145 when the point of view began to shift erratically and with no notice, whereas before that point we only got to see Morgan’s point of view.

Which brings me to the next bit of trouble I had: I don’t like Morgan. I spent a good bit of the novel face palming at the decisions she made and thought were reasonable. As a single mother, I was hoping to relate at least to that aspect of her, but that aspect was unfortunately entirely unrealistic and so I just couldn’t. I felt like Khalen was just used as a plot device to move Morgan’s story along, which is common but like… her character made me think more of a pet than a daughter. I just don’t feel like an infant or toddler is likely to put their mother’s thoughts/hopes/desires/feelings/etc. above their own, no matter how magically inclined they are.

Another character I had trouble with was Safrie. He is an Egyptian historian and archaeologist who is friends/colleagues with Morgan’s husband. Unfortunately, to me he felt like a white guy who used one word that may or may not be Egyptian Arabic (idk because that’s not a language or culture I have an abundance of familiarity with) and says Allah a few times with no other context as to his religious beliefs given at all through the novel. Naria was pretty much the same, though she’s described as a dark skinned Caribbean woman.

Finding Morgan is set in the modern world and moves between London (England), Massachusetts (United States), Cairo (Egypt), and a remote island off the coast of Canada (I’ve already forgotten the province). They were described just enough that I could get a rough image of them in my mind, but not enough to be very immersive. The magic in the story also doesn’t seem to have any rules or limits to it so it was hard to understand what would be possible and what wouldn’t. This could possibly be given in the later in the trilogy or there might not be rules or limits to it. Or it could have been edited in the released version. I don’t know.

The story itself didn’t really flow well to me. There was quite a bit in it that didn’t move the story along at all and I’m still kind of confused how those scenes work in, but I suppose it’s entirely possible that these scenes might lead into something in one of the later novels. A lot of the story just didn’t seem plausible, especially when it came to character specific stories, and it was a little hard to follow because of this.

The underlying story, however, was very interesting. I like that it’s obvious years are going by in the novel, though it’s difficult to know how many exactly. I really enjoyed seeing it play out long-term this way because most often the novels I read take place over short spans of time, some even less than 24 hours. It was kinda cool and a little overwhelming to see a story span such a long period of time.In the end, I love the idea behind Finding Morgan, I’m just not entirely certain it was executed to the level I was hoping for after such an epic synopsis. Again, the version I read was an ARC and the novel could very well have had a big edit and some sensitivity reading since the version I was lucky enough to receive.

I can only form an opinion of the version I read, though. For that reason, I’m going to refrain from giving Finding Morgan a bookworm rating. Don’t just take my word for it though. Add Finding Morgan on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself!


I’m a sucker for a good retelling. What are some of your favourite retellings?


  • Use of a Romani slur
  • Panic attack
  • Psychological abuse (parent to child)

Blog Tour: Nexus by Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings

I really enjoyed Zenith by Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings, so when the opportunity came for me to be part of this blog tour for the second book in The Androma Saga I jumped at the chance! Keep on reading this post for my full review and bookish soundtrack, and a giveaway! But first, let’s have a look what this gorgeous book is about!

#1 New York Times bestselling authors Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings deliver the dazzling finale to the acclaimed Androma Saga, where stunning betrayals and devastating secrets send an embattled galaxy spiraling into the ultimate nightmare.

Her ship is gone, her crew is captured and notorious mercenary Androma Racella is no longer the powerful Bloody Baroness, but a fugitive ruthlessly hunted across the Mirabel Galaxy. The bloodthirsty Queen Nor now rules most of the galaxy through a mind-control toxin and she’ll stop at nothing to destroy her most hated adversary.

Andi will risk anything, even her precious freedom, to find a cure. Stranded with her unlikely ally, Dex, on the unforgiving ice planet of Solera, their plan to infiltrate a black-market city proves dangerously irresistible.

Back in Arcardius, Nor’s actions have opened Mirabel to invasion. As Andi’s crew fights to regain their freedom, Andi and Dex discover a threat far greater than anything they’ve faced before.

Only by saving their mortal enemy can the crew of the Marauder make one last desperate strike to save the galaxy—unaware that a shattering, centuries-old secret may demand the most wrenching sacrifice of all.



My Review:

First of all, stare at this cover with me for a moment. 🤩 It’s so gorgeous, isn’t it?! Like I said before, I really enjoyed Zenith so I went into Nexus with some expectations on how it would be. I think I marked a TW/CW or two in Goodreads but, naturally, I’m not able to access them from the app. If you’ve read the book and noticed any TW/CWs that should be added, please let me know in the comments or via this form.

I was pretty excited to get back to my favourite space pirate girl gang! The characters didn’t get much development in this one, but I have to think that’s because this is the second book in a duology and definitely not a standalone. Gilly is still my fave with her red hair and fiery soul. Keep destroying things, girl!

Since most of the world was built up so well in Zenith, I wasn’t sure what to expect world building wise from Nexus. There are three world locations that are built up a bit more in this one and they’re all done in a way that’s incredibly immersive. I found myself having trouble pulling my mind out of them, which was both awesome and a little scary sometimes. Either way, the world building is definitely A++!

Nexus started a bit slowly and it was a little tough for me to get into at first. It did pick up around 1/4 of the way in, but I had to really make myself keep going until I got there. After that quarter, however, the story flowed relatively nicely straight through to the end, which wrapped up all the loose bits of story beautifully. There was one thing I was super disappointed about though: how little time on the page Androma, Lira, Breck, and Gilly got to spend together. The thing I liked most about Zenith was the amazing dynamic between Androma and her crew and that just wasn’t there for like 98% of this book.

I did really enjoy Nexus and I’m happy with where it left off, I just wish there was more page time for my space girl gang to be together in all their glory. I do enjoy Sasha Alsburg’s and Lindsay Cummings’s writing styles so I’ll definitely be on the lookout for their other work!

Overall, I rate Nexus 3.5 out of 5 bookworms. But don’t just take my word for it. Add it on Goodreads or preorder it to enjoy when it’s released on 7 May 2019! A few places you can reserve your copy from are…


Bookish Soundtrack:

There were so many great songs that came to mind while I was reading Nexus. Some of them weren’t on Spotify which… was disappointing. However, I’m still really happy with the end result. So, without further ado, here is the bookish soundtrack for Nexus for your listening pleasure! 🎧😊🎉


About the Authors:

Sasha Alsburg is the #1 NYT Bestselling Co-Author of ZENITH: The Androma Saga.

When Sasha is not writing or obsessing over Scotland she is making YouTube videos on her channel Abookutopia. She lives in Massachusetts with her dogs, Fraser and Fiona.

For her writing, she is represented by Joanna Volpe at New Leaf Literary.

You can find Sasha on…

Website | Goodreads | YouTube | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

Lindsay Cummings is the #1 NYT Bestselling Co-Author of ZENITH, along with her duology, THE MURDER COMPLEX from Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, and the MG trilogy THE BALANCE KEEPERS, from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins. She is represented by Pete Knapp at Park Literary in NYC.

Lindsay deals with chronic fatigue, writes full time from her home in the deep woods in North Texas, and loves to chat with fellow book nerds. Lindsay created the #booknerdigans hashtag.

She’s still waiting on her letter from Hogwarts–it was probably just lost in the mail. You can follow Lindsay on Twitter @authorlindsayc or on Instagram @authorlindsaycummings

You can find Lindsay on…

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube



Yay you made it to the giveaway! On this tour, you have the chance to win a finished copy of Nexus by Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings! This giveaway is for bookworms in the US. (Sorry, international friends!) The giveaway will run from 1st May through 15th May 2019.




Want to see more awesome content and have more chances to win? Of course you do! All you have to do is follow the tour. How? Simply follow this link! 😁

Thank you so much to Sasha Alsburg and Lindsay Cummings for creating this series and with it my favorite space pirate girl gang! 💖

Thank you to Inkyard Press for allowing me to have an early copy of Nexus to review and create a bookish soundtrack around!

And, last but not least, thank you so much to the FFBC for allowing me to be a host on this tour! If you’re interested in being an FFBC host (and why wouldn’t you??) click on their logo below! 😁

Blog Tour: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Hey there, bookworms and dragons! It seems like Wicked Saints is high up on everyone’s TBR right now. Also, the premise is right up my alley. So, when I got an email inviting me to apply for this blog tour, I jumped at the chance! Keep on reading for my full review, and an excerpt from the book itself! But first, let’s have a look at what the book’s about.

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devistatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.


My Review

Given that Wicked Saints is at the top of everyone’s TBR and was being spoken highly of by those with ARCs they had already read, I definitely went into reading it with high hopes. Before we dive into the review, I did note a few TW/CWs so let’s get them out of the way.

  • Blood
  • Torture
  • Death
  • Attempted rape
  • Psychological abuse
  • Self harm (recurring, but not linked to MI)

The characters, especially the point-of-view characters, were developed so-so. I feel like this book is partially about secrets and that spilled over into the character development just a little, but I feel like I could have a conversation with most of them even if I couldn’t occupy their headspace. I especially loved Nadya because she is flawed and she knows it and she’s just trying to do her best. She’s so incredibly HUMAN it’s perfect. I need more characters who are like that.

The world the characters and story inhabit is built up rather nicely. It was a bit confusing at first because it’s based around a magic system I haven’t seen before but it made better sense as the story progressed and developed the rules of the world naturally. I will say that I probably might have avoided the book had I realized self harm would be so central to the world building, but I can also understand why it works well in this particular setting.

The story itself is complex and beautifully told. It is slow-going a bit at the beginning but by about 1/3 in, I had trouble putting the novel down. There’s one problem after another that keeps you on the edge of your seat and biting your fingernails, needing to know what comes next. And how was I rewarded for all my sleepless nights and work break chapter stealing? The plot twist to end all plot twists. Wow, I did not see that one coming! I should have because COME ON but… sigh. I did not and it was glorious and I may have screeched when I read it, scaring several coworkers.

The ending (post plot twist recovery, of course) was great. It gave me some of the closure I needed from this story while also lining up a few loose ends (some much larger than others) to be covered in the next two books of the trilogy. Surprisingly, it didn’t feel like a cliffhanger at all, likely because the biggest threads were tied off by the end. Emily A. Duncan has definitely got my attention.

Overall, I rate Wicked Saints 4 out of 5 bookworms. Don’t take my word for it! Add it on Goodreads and enjoy it for yourself. A few places you can order your copy from are…

About the Author

Emily A. Duncan.jpeg
EMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.






Horz stole the stars and the heavens out from underneath Myesta’s control, and for that she has never forgiven him. For where can the moons rest if not the heavens?

—Codex of the Divine, 5:26

It’s certainly not my fault you chose a child who sleeps so deeply. If she dies it will very much be your fault, not mine.”

Startled by bickering gods was not Nadya’s preferred method of being woken up. She rolled to her feet in the dark, moving automatically. It took her eyes a few seconds to catch up with the rest of her body.

Shut up!

It wasn’t wise to tell the gods to shut up, but it was too late now. A feeling of amused disdain flowed through her, but neither of the gods spoke again. She realized it was Horz, the god of the heavens and the stars, who had woken her. He had a tendency to be obnoxious but generally left Nadya alone, as a rule.

Usually only a single god communed with their chosen cleric. There once had been a cleric named Kseniya Mirokhina who was gifted with unnatural marksmanship by Devonya, the goddess of the hunt. And Veceslav had chosen a cleric of his own, long ago, but their name was lost to history, and he refused to talk about them. The recorded histories never spoke of clerics who could hear more than one god. That Nadya communed with the entire pantheon was a rarity the priests who trained her could not explain.

There was a chance older, more primordial gods existed, ones that had long since given up watch of the world and left it in the care of the others. But no one knew for sure. Of the twenty known gods, however, carvings and paintings depicted their human forms, though no one knew what they actually looked like. No cleric throughout history had ever looked upon the faces of the gods. No saint, nor priest.

Each had their own power and magic they could bestow upon Nadya, and while some were forthcoming, others were not. She had never spoken to the goddess of the moons, Myesta. She wasn’t even sure what manner of power the goddess would give, if she so chose.

And though she could commune with many gods, it was impossible to forget just who had chosen her for this fate: Marzenya, the goddess of death and magic, who expected complete dedication.

Indistinct voices murmured in the dark. She and Anna had found a secluded place within a copse of thick pine trees to set up their tent, but it no longer felt safe. Nadya slid a voryen from underneath her bedroll and nudged Anna awake.

She moved to the mouth of the tent, grasping at her beads, a prayer already forming on her lips, smoky symbols trailing from her mouth. She could see the blurry impressions of figures in the darkness, far off in the distance. It was hard to judge the number, two? Five? Ten? Her heart sped at the possibility that a company of Tranavians were already on her trail.

Anna drew up beside her. Nadya’s grip on her voryen tightened, but she kept still. If they hadn’t seen their tent yet, she could keep them from noticing it entirely.

But Anna’s hand clasped her forearm.

“Wait,” she whispered, her breath frosting out before her in the cold. She pointed to a dark spot just off to the side of the group.

Nadya pressed her thumb against Bozidarka’s bead and her eyesight sharpened until she could see as clearly as if it were day. It took effort to shove aside the immediate, paralyzing fear as her suspicions were confirmed and Tranavian uniforms became clear. It wasn’t a full company. In fact, they looked rather ragged. Perhaps they had split off and lost their way.

More interesting, though, was the boy with a crossbow silently aiming into the heart of the group.

“We can get away before they notice,” Anna said.

Nadya almost agreed, almost slipped her voryen back into its sheath, but just then, the boy fired and the trees erupted into chaos. Nadya wasn’t willing to use an innocent’s life as a distraction for her own cowardice. Not again.

Even as Anna protested, Nadya let a prayer form fully in her mind, hand clutching at Horz’s bead on her necklace and its constellation of stars. Symbols fell from her lips like glowing glimmers of smoke and every star in the sky winked out.

Well, that was more extreme than I intended, Nadya thought with a wince. I should’ve known better than to ask Horz for anything.

She could hear cursing as the world plunged into darkness. Anna sighed in exasperation beside her.

“Just stay back,” she hissed as she moved confidently through the dark.

“Nadya . . .” Anna’s groan was soft.

It took more focus to send a third prayer to Bozetjeh. It was hard to catch Bozetjeh on a good day; the god of speed was notoriously slow to answer prayers. But she managed to snag his attention and received a spell allowing her to move as fast as the vicious Kalyazin wind.

Her initial count had been wrong; there were six Tranavians now scattering into the forest. The boy dropped his crossbow with a bewildered look up into the sky, startling when Nadya touched his shoulder.

There was no way he could see in this darkness, but she could. When he whirled, a curved sword in his hand, Nadya sidestepped. His swing went wide and she shoved him in the direction of a fleeing Tranavian, anticipating their collision.

Find the rest,” Marzenya hissed. “Kill them all.” Complete and total dedication.

She caught up to one of the figures, stabbing her voryen into his skull just underneath his ear.

Not so difficult this time, she thought. But the knowledge was a distant thing.

Blood sprayed, splattering a second Tranavian, who cried out in alarm. Before the second man could figure out what had happened to his companion, she lashed out her heel, catching him squarely on the jaw and knocking him off his feet. She slit his throat.

Three more. They couldn’t have moved far. Nadya took up Bozidarka’s bead again. The goddess of vision revealed where the last Tranavians were located. The boy with the sword had managed to kill two in the dark. Nadya couldn’t actually see the last one, just felt him nearby, very much alive.

Something slammed into Nadya’s back and suddenly the chilling bite of a blade was pressed against her throat. The boy appeared in front of her, his crossbow back in his hands, thank- fully not pointed at Nadya. It was clear he could only barely see her. He wasn’t Kalyazi, but Akolan.

A fair number of Akolans had taken advantage of the war between their neighbors, hiring out their swords for profit on both sides. They were known for favoring Tranavia simply because of the warmer climate. It was rare to find a creature of the desert willingly stumbling through Kalyazin’s snow.

He spoke a fluid string of words she didn’t understand. His posture was languid, as if he hadn’t nearly been torn to pieces by blood mages. The blade against Nadya’s throat pressed harder. A colder voice responded to him, the foreign language scratched uncomfortably at her ears.

Nadya only knew the three primary languages of Kalyazin and passing Tranavian. If she wasn’t going to be able to communicate with them…

The boy said something else and Nadya heard the girl sigh before she felt the blade slip away. “What’s a little Kalyazi assassin doing out in the middle of the mountains?” he asked, switching to perfect Kalyazi.

Nadya was very aware of the boy’s friend at her back. “I could ask the same of you.”

She shifted Bozidarka’s spell, sharpening her vision further. The boy had skin like molten bronze and long hair with gold chains threaded through his loose curls.

He grinned.