Beard in Mind

Beard in Mind by Penny Reid

4 stars! 

“People, all people, are blinded by their own expectations.” 

Beard in Mind is the fourth book in the Winston Brothers series and can be read as a standalone novel. This book follows Beau Winston, twin brother of Duane from the first book, and Shelly, sister of Quinn from the Knitting series. Beau and his brothers Duane and Cletus own and run a mechanic shop in town. With Duane leaving the country soon to travel with his girlfriend, Cletus hires a new mechanic, the beautiful and cold Shelly Sullivan.

Right off the bat, due to a misunderstanding, the two don’t get along. Beau doesn’t like Shelly’s demeanor toward him and her unfriendliness toward customers. Shelly is highly intelligent and Beau had insulted her. But, at the end of the day, Beau is a good and friendly man and he makes the effort with her, discovering her secrets and becoming her friend. But eventually they both want more, and Beau’s brother Cletus stands in the way of that.

“I don’t think Beau Winston would purposefully hurt anyone.” 

I know when it comes to a Penny Reid novel, I can always expect the unconventional romance. You don’t get the same old story when you read one of her books, you get something unique, and something special. It’s why she’s an auto buy author for me, the woman has never let me down. In a time where many authors are spitting out repetitive and unoriginal stories, Penny Reid offers something more to readers with her work.

This book made a few observations about society without being preachy about it. The most obvious, being the cultural norm of how we perceive OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder, and the misunderstanding of what the actual disorder it. The heroine, Shelly, has it, and it’s an everyday struggle that she has to conquer, that she works hard at, but it makes her misunderstood to those around her. It has something interesting for the reader to take away and think about, maybe not use the phrase so casually in conversation.

The second one I noticed, which is less obvious, is the subject of rape culture. Shelly is a beautiful woman, and because of that, many men think it’s okay for them to hit on her/assume they have the right to do so, and it isn’t. Just because someone is beautiful, doesn’t mean it’s okay to assume you can make advances on them or touch them without permission. Granted, Shelly’s sharp wit and intelligence proved no match for whatever man came her way, but just because she can handle herself still doesn’t mean it’s okay.

I liked Shelly and Beau equally, neither one of them drove me crazy or made stupid decisions. They each had some issues to work on and work through, and they made the decision to include each other in their problems. It doesn’t mean that being together solved everything, but now they had someone to support them throughout what was happening. As a couple, they didn’t seem to have that spark between them. Personally, while I liked them together, I didn’t feel the attraction between the two like I had for other couples in this series. And at times, I felt this book was more about the side characters than them as a couple. Which is fine, I loved the side characters, but to me, something lacked.

If you haven’t read the Winston Brothers series yet you need to. If you haven’t read a Penny Reid book yet, I can’t even with you right now. The series only has two books left, making me just one book closer to my love Billy!!! I need Billy ASAP!

“Don’t let anyone in your life who isn’t the best, and don’t hesitate walking away from a person who can’t give you what they need.” 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Royally Endowed

Royally Endowed by Emma Chase

4.5 stars! 

“I feel more alive just standing next to him, than I have around anyone else.“ 

Royally Endowed is the story of bodyguard Logan, and the girl he is to protect, Ellie. Ever since Ellie’s sister began dating a prince, a bodyguard was required to keep her and her family safe. Logan is assigned to her by the Prince is Wessco himself.

Spanning over a few years, we see the progression of a friendship based on respect and understanding between Logan and Ellie, and as the two get older, something more begins to form. But Logan’s job means the world to him and he doesn’t want to compromise that. Ellie is the perfect woman for him, but will there ever be a perfect time for the two of them to be together?

“Subtlety, thy name is not Logan St. James.“ 

This book came to me at exactly the right time, I needed something fluffy, funny and sexy in my life. I’ve been having a hard time finding books I loved, and this one broke the pattern! This is the book you turn to when all other books fail to make you smile. I cannot go on enough on how refreshing it was to read this story, how much I loved the characters and the plot. Some things may seem a bit tropey, but it just works.

Bodyguard romances seem to be the new trend in romance and I am totally on board with this. I feel it adds a touch of the forbidden to otherwise safe romances, kind of like the office romance where there’s a chance someone could get fired. The other side of it for me, is that protector role. We get that tiny bit of alpha, wanting to protect someone and keep them safe, but it’s their job which makes it not so creepy to me than some random dude going all Tarzan on a woman.

Full of humor (seriously, I laughed out loud quite a few times reading this), tenderness, and a touch of magic, Royally Endowed is the perfect end of summer book. It’s my favorite in this series and I am honestly excited to see what Emma Chase has in store for us readers in the future.

“Happy endings are for all of us.“ 

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Illegal Contact

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

4.5 stars! 

“I’m your boss. You’re my assistant. We’re not anything else.” 

Gavin Brawley is one of the NFL’s biggest players, and after an assault charge he’s been confined to his home for six months, monitored by an ankle bracelet. Being benched means Gavin needs to hire an assistant to manage his entire life, something he’s not exactly happy about.

Noah Monroe is in desperate need of a job, after him and his father lost theirs they need to make ends meet. The last thing Noah wants is to be a PA to a cranky NFL player, but despite his reservations, he takes the job.

Tension is high between the two of them, and things don’t start off smooth. But the more time they spend with each other, the better it gets until a tentative friendship and mutual respect is formed.

“Better to have an insolent nerd with no interest in football than a kiss-ass fan who will tell all to all their friends.” 

Illegal Contact is the sports romance you’ve been waiting for! Football is never my first choice (like ever), so I was surprised when I ended up loving this football romance. Well, I shouldn’t have been because Santino Hassell is everything that’s good in the MM romance genre. The voice he gives to his characters is so strong, Noah and Gavin felt like real people to me, one’s I could turn my head and talk to.

This is an I hate you/I love you kind of romance. The beginning starts out with much badgering and barb trading, but I loved the journey from dislike to mutual admiration. They always say there’s a thin line between love and hate and this book encapsulates that phrase excellently. I loved Noah and Gavin equally, neither one of them got on my nerves at any point and I was rooting for them both to get what they want.

This is the next big series in MM romance, so you’d be an idiot not to pick up this book!

“You are trustworthy. And I’m tired of always hiding.” 

ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review 

Amnesia

Amnesia by Cambria Hebert

3 stars 

“The sun sees your body, but the moon sees your soul.” 

Amnesia is the story of a small town, where one evening a young woman washes up on the shore of the lake. Eddie, who works at the local grocer, finds this young woman and runs her to the hospital. Once she wakes up a few weeks later, she has no memory of who she is and what had been done to her leading up to her ending up in the water.

Eddie becomes obsessed with Amnesia (as she chooses to call herself) as she reminds him of someone from his past. The two spend a lot of time together, but he’s advised by her doctors to keep his suspicions a secret. Also, someone in town doesn’t appear to be happy that Amnesia is around, and has been watching and threatening her.

“Nothing can stay paused forever. Eventually, you have to hit play.” 

I’ve only ever read the book #Nerd by Cambria Hebert, and I enjoyed it very much. Plus, she’s an absolute sweetheart in real life so I’ve always been meaning to read more of her books. Rave reviews and an interesting memory loss premise are what attracted me to this book. That and an outstanding cover. The book really started out strong, sucking me into the story. Where it fell a bit flat for me was it slowed down about halfway through and seemed a bit too long.

On top of that we have a cliffhanger ending, and I kind of already have my theories what will happen in the next book. I would have been happier with a longer book and gotten all the answers right away than wait for a second book. Plus the romance was a bit too sweet for my personal tastes, but that’s just me.

If you want to read something different and well written, this is the book for you. Suspenseful and filled with kind hearted characters, many reader will love this mystery small town love story. It honestly reminded me of a Nora Roberts type novel.

Trust

Trust by Kylie Scott

2 stars 

It really pains me to say this, but I did not enjoy this book. Kylie Scott is a go-to author for me, she’s written some of my favorite romances ever, but this one fell flat for me.

Trust is about Edie, a seventeen year old who finds herself a hostage in a convenience store robbery. Having just popped in for a few things, the entire encounter changes her life and leads to her decision to leave private school and her so called friends behind and attend public school.

At her new public school, Edie begins to cross paths with John, a boy who was stuck during the convenience store robbery himself. Because of their bond from the tragic night, they begin to form a friendship that means a lot to the both of them. Edie begins to make other, more loyal friends at her new school as well, and things seem to be looking up. But as can be expected, feelings for John begin to form, but does John like her back?

This book started out really strong, but then around 30% slowed down a bit for me. The pacing was a bit off throughout most of the book, and with an unclear plot for most of it. That combined with a rushed ending made it difficult for me to truly enjoy this book. I also didn’t care for John, he and Edie seemed to have zero chemistry, on top of his lack of personality. He wasn’t developed well enough.

I loved that we got a plus sized heroine, Kylie Scott has always shown readers that beauty is more than a skinny body. I respect that she challenges traditional standards of beauty. Plus sized women are often seen as undesirable, and that’s just not true. I also liked the friendship between Edie and Hang, I love seeing stories that portray healthy and supportive female friendships.

According to the Goodreads definition “Young-adult fiction (often abbreviated as YA) is fiction written for, published for, or marketed to adolescents and young adults, roughly ages 13 to 18.” Considering this book contained graphic sexual content that I in my job as a public librarian would not feel comfortable handing to someone 13-15 years old (and 16 is stretching it), I do not consider this YA. I’ve seen lots of reviews citing this as “YA I actually like to read, and I don’t like YA”. Well….. that’s because it’s not YA. This was a contemporary romance novel meant for readers 17 and up. That’s my professional opinion, I understand if you disagree with me.

Obviously I am in the minority when it comes to this book, there are a ton of favorable reviews out there and I encourage you to read them. Also, everyone has different reading tastes, mine fall pickier than others, so I think you should pick up this book and decide for yourself.

ARC provided by the author via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

The Impossible Vastness of Us

The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young

5 stars!!! 

How do you begin to gush about a book you loved so so much? Samantha Young is one of my all-time favorite authors, I’ll read anything the woman writes. So when she published a YA I was intrigued, and decided to give it a shot. I was completely blown away!!!! Young delivers a heartfelt and beautiful story, filled with angst, friendship, love and family.

India Maxwell is alarmed when her flight attendant mother tells her she’s been seeing a man on the other side of the country. Pretty soon her mother is engaged, and she’s whisked away to Boston to live with her soon to be step father, Theo, and step sister, Eloise. India and her mother have never been well off, so she’s in for a world of shock when she finds her new family insanely rich. And because of trust issues from her past, India has no desire to get close to her new family.

While India is adjusting, Eloise is not cruel but also not kind. Eloise’s boyfriend Finn appears to dislike India as well. All India wants is to be on top, and to get enough extracurricular’s to get into a good college. But as time goes by, feelings thaw between the two girls and a tentative relationship forms.

This book wasn’t anything like I expected in the best possible way. India had such a presence on the page, I absolutely adored her, flaws and all. There’s something about a girl trying so hard to be strong that I find endearing, and I felt for her and wished for her to succeed the entire time I was reading.

While this is a young adult romance, my favorite part of the book was the themes of friendship and family. People need more than just romantic love to feel supported in life, and I loved being on India’s journey to find her forever friendships and her way to a new family.

I cannot recommend this book enough, it’s one of the best books I’ve read this year. So if you find yourself curious about this book, just do yourself a favor and buy it and read it. You won’t regret it.

After All

After All by Karina Halle

4 stars 

After All is a standalone spin off of the book Before I Ever Met You, with characters featured in that book. Alyssa is a curvy and sassy office assistant, Emmett an actor making his comeback. They are both part of the bridal party for their friends Will and Jackie, and they meet the day of the wedding. Right off the bat Emmett is attracted to Alyssa, he loves her prickly and spitfire personality, and Alyssa is attracted to Emmett against her better judgement. The two end up having a one night stand and expect to never see each other again. But a tabloid gets pictures of the two of them at the wedding, and they look like a couple. So Emmett, needing some good PR, asks Alyssa to be his fake girlfriend. From there, the lines get blurred.

I always enjoy Karina Halle romances, she never fails to deliver a great story. I loved Alyssa as a heroine, she didn’t fit into the typical role being abrasive and outspoken, as well as being a size ten. It goes to show that not every heroine is a simpering girl that plays doormat to the hero. Alyssa held her own, she knew when to push and when to let go, and I admired her. Emmett is a complicated hero with a damaged past, just the kind of guy readers enjoy to watch fall in love. He challenged Alyssa and thought she was beautiful.

I’m glad we got this story from Halle, it was a nice surprise to get a second book in the BIEMY univserse. I know Tiffany has a boyfriend, but I cannot help but want to get a book for her too. Make this book your next summer romance read!

ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review 

Until It Fades

Until It Fades by KA Tucker

3 stars 

“Something good will come from the bad. It always does. That’s how life balances itself out. That’s how people keep going.” 

Single mother Catherine is driving home from a disastrous blind date when she comes upon a car crash, and she saves the life of the passenger inside. It turns out the man she saved is a hockey star and a celebrity. Having already been through a scandalous affair with her teacher when she was a teen, she doesn’t want any of the media attention that comes with the accident and tries to remain anonymous. But her identity is blown, and that’s when she meets Brett Madden and the connection between them is immediate.

“I promised myself I’d be smarter.” 

K. A. Tucker is a great writer, she has the ability to suck you into a story effortlessly. I thought this was an interesting story, a girl who made mistakes in her past and does everything she can to overcome them. Catherine was a great, strong female protagonist and she was someone the reader could admire. Brett seemed like a really sweet guy and exactly what she needed.

The pacing of this book was very slow, we didn’t even see that much interaction between the main couple until about 60% in. Cinderella story tropes aren’t my favorite, on top of that this book was very sweet so it just didn’t match with my personal tastes. I think a lot of readers will really love this book and this story, so I encourage you to pick it up and decide for yourself.

“No wonder people want the happily ever after between us. I want the happily ever after.” 

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 

Hearts on Air

Hearts on Air by LH Cosway

4 stars! 

“Trev was the one thing in this world I could never, ever resist. I’d always want him. Only him. Even when I know wholeheartedly that I shouldn’t.” 

Trev and Reya were best friends, until they became much more. After years of pining for the guy she always wanted, Reya had him. Until he signed on to a parkour reality television series and the two drifted apart. Now, two years later, Trev reenters Reya’s life, and he is determined to bring her back into his. And he does this by bringing her on the road while his show is filming throughout Europe.

Reya is determined not to let Trev get under her skin again, but being in close quarters through some of the most romantic cities in the world make it difficult to resist him. Little does she know, Trev has been harboring some serious intentions for Reya, and this time he’s not going to let her go.

“Happiness was a stranger, but misery was a dear old friend.” 

I love the Hearts series so so much. Each book brings something unique and special to the table, every story something new, and every character a breath of fresh air. While this can be read as a standalone, we got brief glimpses of Reya and Trev in previous books in the series, and I have always been intrigued by their dynamic and have wanted to read their story.

I love reality television romance, it’s something we rarely see in the book world, but when we do it adds a little something extra to the story. That and Reya were my favorite parts of this book, I loved her as a heroine. She was alluring, curvy, and fierce. She had her issues and her insecurities, but they were what made her wonderful and she didn’t let them hold her back from living her life. Trev and Reya were explosive together, a delightful and beautiful couple. I know readers will love their story.

“He smelled like home. He embraced me like love.” 

ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review 

180 Seconds

180 Seconds by Jessica Park

4 cried my eyes out stars

“It’s going to hurt until it doesn’t anymore.”

180 seconds is about a college junior Allison. After sixteen years of being tossed around the foster care system, unwanted, she was adopted by her father. Now years later in college, she still lacks social skills and would prefer to spend her time studying or in her room. While talking a walk one day, she gets roped into a social experiment where two people stare into each others eyes for 180 seconds, no breaks. The person she does this with is another college junior named Esben, and the experience has a profound effect on the both of them.

“We are engaged in a form of intimacy that scares the absolute hell out of me. It’s as if there is a weight on my chest that I want to shove off, and I’ve never been this terrified before.
Or this whole and hopeful and connected.
My body starts to tremble. I want more of what I’m feeling, and I also want none of it.”

I went into blind and it was wonderful! It was on the sweeter side and more emotional than I usually like my books, but I still really enjoyed it all the same. I love heroines that aren’t the norm, and Allison wormed her way into my heart very early on in the book. This is a story not just about love, but friendship, family and kindness to others. But what I loved most actually was this was a new adult college read: I really missed reading that kind of book, it feels like no one is writing them anymore.

Anyways, if you are up for an intensely emotional novel, this book is the one for you! I really liked it and look forward to more that Park has to offer readers in the future.

“You can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”

Rhapsodic

Rhapsodic by Laura Thalassa

5 stars!

“People like us are not victims. We’re someone’s nightmare.”

Rhapsodic is the tale of Callie the Siren, present day bounty hunter with a past that’s always tied to her. When she was a teenager, she needed help and called upon The Bargainer to help her clean up her mess. Lost and alone, she kept calling him back for more and more favors until her wrist was wrapped in the hundreds of favors she owed him. Until one day, he left her and she didn’t see him again.

Now, seven years later he has come back, and it’s time for those favors to be repaid. The Bargainer needs Callie’s help, for something is wrong in the Otherworld, and she has the ability to get answers where he cannot. The only problem? Callie’s help has made her a target, and no one knows who is coming for her.

“Now, cherub,” his words roll off his lips like honey, “the first repayment of the day: you’re coming home with me, and you’re not leaving until your debts have all been paid.”

Rhapsodic is a book that has been recommended to me over and over again, and yet I waited because only the first book was out. I binge read all three of her Fallen World books, one in a row, so I know how addictive her books can be. So when the second book A Strange Hymn came out, I decided to pick this one up. And I am so glad I did.

Thalassa writes the perfect hero. At least, the perfect men for me. Her heroes are flawed, and not always good, but they love their heroines and treat them well. Plus there’s just the right amount of alpha male where it can be considered hot but doesn’t leave me banging my head on the table with frustration. Des to me is perfect, he may not be your typical good guy or bad guy, but he has a job to do, people to protect, and he cares for those close to him.

I fell into this book so easily, Thalassa’s writing flows across the page. I hope this woman does nothing but write the rest of her life, because I haven’t found an author whose writing I meshed with this well in a long time. I’ve read four of her books so far and loved all four of them. And I’m a picky bitch. Seriously, I’ve been told that by other readers.

I highly recommend this book, for all types of readers. You won’t regret it!

“And the mountains may rise and fall, and the sun might wither away, and the sea may claim the land and swallow the sky. But you will always be mine. And the stars might fall from the heavens, and night might cloak the earth, but until darkness dies, I will always be yours.”

Stay

Stay by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

4.5 stars!

“My confidence took a hit after the divorce. But it’s slowly coming back. I feel stronger. More self-assured.”

Hailey runs her own anonymous virtual personal assistant business with her ex-husband, and her favorite client ends up being her favorite hockey star, Matt Erikson. Matt just recently went through a tough divorce and tries to spend as much time with his twin girls as he can. Matt also is intrigued by his virtual assistant, and wants to meet her in person.

Hailey is definitely interested, but her history with her ex has really taken a hit on her confidence. Matt also has his issues with his ex that get in the way of his personal life. But, it may be time for the two of them to take a chance and put themselves out there.

“I’m ridiculously attracted to you. Hottie. I figured I should be up front about that.”
“Shut up and kiss me again, Snipes.”

Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy have never let me down! Every single book I’ve read by this pair has been pure magic! I cannot get enough! Stay is another great novel that you have to make next on your to be read. I picked up this book and never wanted to put it back down. It’s actually because of Bowen and Kennedy that I love hockey romances, I’ll pass on the football and you better pass me the puck!

I gotta say the best part about this book is we got mature characters, by that I mean a driven and smart heroine who works hard, and a man who isn’t sleeping around. I cannot tell you how many books I’ve read where the guy is constantly slutting it up until he meets the heroine. Both Hailey and Matt had standards and goals, and it was so refreshing.

This was an unconventional slow burn romance, one I can see myself rereading in the future. This book was low angst and low drama, so it’s perfect for all of you out there allergic to those things. I happen to prefer angst and drama, and I still loved this book. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t like it!

“I’m a goner for this man. Our relationship might not be ‘official’, but holy hell, I officially feel all the feelings for Matt Erikson.”

ARC provided by the authors in exchange for an honest review

Riveted

Riveted by Jay Crownover

3.5 stars

“I was the girl that everyone always assumed was good… so they never asked… but he had and the world stopped.”

Riveted is the story of Church and Dixie. Dixie is that girl who is always sweet and happy, who never lets it show when life gets her down. Dixie knew early on that Church was the man for her, but he didn’t get the memo. Coworkers at a bar, Church is aware that Dixie is attracted to him and a nice person, so that’s why he asks her to come home with him to the South when there’s a family emergency.

Dixie goes with Church knowing she shouldn’t, that she’ll lose her heart even more than she already has. But maybe this trip will be the kick in the pants Church needs to see the good thing he has right in front of him.

“No matter what kind of armor we wear, all of it has a chunk, a dent that speaks to a battle we fought and lost.”

Jay Crownover is an author I always come back to if only for one thing: her characters. I love the dynamic, lovable people she brings to life in her books, you never get the same character twice. Her books are a much needed escape from reality, even when her characters have issues, I am always happy to peak into their lives for a little bit.

My favorite parts of this book were Dixie and Church themselves, I felt they were developed really well and neither one of them annoyed me at any point in the book. I understood their actions and what justified them.

I enjoyed this book, but mostly the second half of it. I’ve noticed something in this book, as well as in Honor and Charged: Crownover has been getting long winded with her writing and it’s been taking away from my enjoyment of the book. The first 100 pages of this book felt super long and almost nothing plot wise happened, and this went away the last ⅔’s of the book which picked up a lot for me. In the nicest way possible, I really hope this doesn’t continue, because I almost didn’t keep reading because of the long winded writing. It felt way too long and a lot could be edited out. That’s just my opinion.

Anyways I am excited for Salvaged and cannot wait for Poppy and Wheeler’s story!

“Sometimes all people can see is what’s different, but those differences are what make us who we are.”

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

5 stars!

“I want them to know the real story. The real me.”
“All right. Show me the real you, then. And I’ll make sure the world understands.”

Evelyn Hugo is an iconic aging actress, famous for her work in the movie industry but also famous for having been married seven times to seven men. Monique Grant is a writer for a magazine, but has been in a bit of a career rut as of lately. On top of that she’s getting divorced, so she jumps on the opportunity to interview the famous Evelyn Hugo. When she meets Evelyn, she discovers Evelyn wants more than a simple article, she wants to tell her life story to Monique for a biography. And Monique is getting the story exclusively.

“I’ve spent a very long time learning how to spin the truth. It’s hard to undo that wiring.”

I absolutely loved this story! Taylor Jenkins Reid has this uncanny ability to suck you into the lives of her characters and never let you go. They feel so utterly genuine, I felt as if I was a part of their lives instead of an outsider reading about them. Reid also does an amazing job developing her characters, I was rooting for all of them to get what they want and to achieve their goals.

I never really know what to expect when I dive into a book by Reid, but I can honestly say this book was full of surprises and twists I didn’t see coming. This book spans from the 1950’s to the present day, and we get to know all of the loves of Evelyn’s life. Evelyn herself was enchanting, I found myself fascinated by her life story, her choices and her perseverance. While love was a motivating factor, to me this was mostly a story about success and survival. Evelyn was always going to do what it takes to be a star and stay at the top, and she would fight for what she wanted.

Hollywood and the film industry can be a ruthless place but it can also be one where greatness can be achieved for the lucky ones. I think Reid captured the industry and the time periods this story took place in perfectly.

This is one of the best books I’ve read all year and I think if you go into it with an open mind and a kind heart, you’ll fall in love with this book like I did.

“If you love someone enough, you should be able to overcome anything.”

ARC provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

The Queen and the Cure

The Queen and the Cure by Amy Harmon

5 stars!

“Come to me, and I will try to love you. I will try to love you, if you but come back.”

The Queen and the Cure is the story of Kjell, brother of King Tiras, bastard son and soldier. He and his men have been traveling the lands hoping to hunt and kill the last of the Volgar, a bird creature hybrid that is dwindling in size. During his journey, they come upon a young woman named Sasha, who has the Sight and can see the future. Locals deemed her a witch and pushed her off of a cliff, leaving her bloodied and broken. Kjell, heals her and in return Sasha thinks she belongs to him.

As much as Kjell tries, he cannot keep Sasha away from him as she is determined to remain by her side. He decides to bring her back to his home city, and along the way Sasha begins to creep under his skin. But Kjell has lost his heart to the wrong woman before, and he has no wish to let anyone else in.

“He would not be able to let her go, he thought. He would never be free of her.”

Amy Harmon has such a beautiful way with words, she weaves them to what she wills, and spins beautiful tales and descriptive stories that will remain with you for a long time to come. The Bird and the Sword was one of my favorite books from last year, and to get a sequel set in the same verse was an unexpected and very welcome surprise.

For someone who is mostly successful for her contemporary works, I always find myself blown away at the depth and intricate world building Harmon has to deliver, as if she has always been writing fantasy and not anything else. Her fantasy rivals the greats, current and deceased.

I love the world created in this book, it’s one I want to get lost in. In my mind, this world is real and I don’t want to leave. The characters so tangible and genuine they could be real instead of fiction. I felt for them, my heart stretched for them and their love and their pain.

Basically I loved this book, and I hope you give it a chance and read it too. You won’t be disappointed. By the end, this book had me like:

“I fell in love with you in pieces. Layer by layer, day by day, inch by inch.”