Soon to be a Netflix movie! 20yo Elodie is excited to meet her betrothed, Prince Henry of Aurea. Elodie is one of three princesses who will be given to the dragon during Harvest Week in exchange for Aurea’s prosperity. Each year for the last eight centuries, three princesses from different parts of the world have been brought to Aurea under the guise of marrying Prince Henry, only to be sacrificed to the dragon. After unceremoniously being sent into the dragon’s lair, Elodie keeps going by relying on her wits, her strength and the help of past princesses through clues they’ve left behind. She might just survive to save the next princess.
Likes/dislikes: The story is slow in the beginning to give the reader a sense of calm but then the action picks up once Elodie learns the secret of Aurea. I enjoyed how the author meshed the past and present princesses together and the perseverance of each. I’m impressed how the author’s 13yo daughter created a functional language for the dragons in this story. The language syntax, grammatical rules and words are in the back of the book. Mature content: PG for brief kisses. Language: R for 35 swears, no f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for Men being eaten by dragon, detailed sounds. Being burnt by flames. Pierced through skull by dragon wing point. Ethnicity: The ethnicity of Elodie and Henry fall to white, but brown skinned characters are found in the book also.
Catrin, 17 years old, finds a woman’s dead body that’s been mutilated by a murderer, so she becomes the main witness in helping Simon solve the case. Simon is the nephew of the Comte in charge of keeping the justice in Londunium but he wants to keep his son Oudin out of suspicion, so he assigns Simon to the case. The murders continue and several suspects come to light. Catrin uses her newly found magic that appears in moonlight to try to stop and prevent any more murders from happening and she receives the last thoughts of the fatally wounded women that will help find the killer. Catrin is adamantly protective of those she loves and does her best to stop the violence and the person behind it.
Likes/dislikes: The intensity of the mystery kept me riveted. The explanation of magic and the world building are written out nicely. I love Catrin, the main character because of her strength, loyalty to those she loves, bravery and intelligence.
Mature Content: PG for drug use mentioned, brief kiss, gentle kisses, urgent nondescript kiss. Language: PG for 8 swears and no f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for Catrin finding a dead body that’s bloody and broken. The death is described with little detail. Description of a bloody death, implied sexual assault.
Teen influencers arrive on an island after being invited for a fun-filled weekend to post online reviews and build excitement for the upcoming opening. The island is an amusement park and resort all in one. The six influencers have a variety of online posts and followers. Before they can enjoy much of the island, the killing starts. One by one, people are being chased and killed. Those who remain must work together to outsmart the killer and survive until help arrives.
Likes/dislikes: I enjoyed the premise of inviting influencers to review and build hype about a new place. The mystery was fun and suspenseful. I liked learning about each character’s background. Language: R for 121 swears, no f-bombs. Mature Content: none other than the violence. Violence: R for bloody deaths. Ethnicity: mixed
Emma lives in Prosper, Oregon with her mother, father and six year old brother Kyle. They moved from San Francisco because her father was in trouble for inappropriate behavior with a minor, Alice, a friend of Emma’s. Now it seems that he’s in trouble again with another friend of Emma’s, Hannah. Hannah’s mom found her journal where she’d written about Emma’s father touching her, so the police were called and he was arrested. Emma’s parents have coerced her into standing by her father’s side even if it means lying about the things he’s done to her for years. She’s struggling with loyalty, being treated like a burden and wanting to stand up for her friend and herself.
This is a story about surviving and the strength that takes! 5 stars!
Likes/dislikes: I appreciate the content warning at the beginning of the book to let readers be aware before reading. I enjoyed the gradual unraveling of the mystery surrounding the main character. I like how the author represented survivors and the resources list at the end of the book.
Mature Content: PG-13 for xexual abuse stated but not detailed; verbal abuse, gaslighting of children, physical and emotional neglect; mention of a nonbinary side character with positive interaction and respect.
Violence: PG for temper tantrums and angry outbursts from adults.
In the imaginary continent of Vesteria, three princesses celebrate their sixteenth birthday together and mourn their time together. They will be sent off to other kingdoms to marry princes. Each princess will go to a different kingdom and marry the ruler; Sophronia is marrying King Leopold, who treats her kindly along with his family and court; Beatriz is marrying Prince Pasquale and seems unwanted by him but she’s meant to sway Lord Savelle, as her mother instructed; Daphne is marrying Cillian, who dies before she arrives, so the second heir, Bairre, takes his place in marriage. Each princess struggles with who to trust and in completing their set missions for their mother and her ultimate goals. They’re in more danger than they realize and start to see that they can’t rely on their mother for help or love.
Likes/dislikes: I had a difficult time keeping the three princesses and their corresponding kingdoms straight. I like the premise of villainous deception and seeing the changes that took place within the princesses. I enjoyed the side characters of each prince and the diversity amongst the kingdoms.
Mature Content: PG-13 for kissing and drinking wine. Language: PG-13 for 19 swears and no f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for a beheading. Ethnicity: predominantly white.
Ellerie lives on a farm in a small remote village with her family. Her father keeps bees and her mother takes great care of everyone. Ellerie’s twin, Sam, has been distant so she’s helping their father more often. Merry and Sadie are the younger siblings and now their mother is pregnant again. The crew that left for a supply run never made it far. They were killed and no one knows what happened. The village believes that huge wolves with silver eyes are to blame. Ellerie meets a young man that she describes as having a vulpine face, supposedly he’s a trapper, wandering by the creek edge as she’s washing laundry. He says his name is Price but she doesn’t think he’s telling the truth. She decides to call him Whitaker Price. Sam is accused of getting Rebecca pregnant and Sam insists she’s sleeping around with others. Rebecca’s father is accused of starting a fire in Ellerie’s family’s fields and might hang for it. Weird things keep happening to the villagers; small acts of violence that they’re blaming each other for. One night, Ellerie wakes to the farm ablaze. Their mother is caught in the fire and has to be taken to town for medical treatment. The unusual young trapper that Ellerie has gotten to know, takes Mama and Papa into town and returns to let the rest of the family know they made it safely. Whitaker, the mysterious trapper, suspiciously won’t answer any personal questions that Ellerie asks him. Ellerie finds this strange but enjoys his company and wants to spend more time with him. Mind tricks seem to be working on the citizens. The villagers spiral out of control and Ellerie does everything in her power to save her beloved town. Unique spin on the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, 5 stars!
Likes/dislikes: An absolutely perfect book! Beautiful writing, vivid imagery, strong characters and amazing world building. Great character development. Mature content: PG-13 for drinking, kissing, premarital sex mentioned but not described. Language: PG-13 for 22 swears, no f-bombs. Violence: PG-13 for bloody deaths by monsters, shootings between villagers, fighting.
Told in alternating timelines of 1902 and 1983 Brooklyn, each time focuses on different people. Esta and Harte move forward to 1983 where they can go to the future, get away from the enemy, and figure out how to solve the problems of the Brink and the evil Nibsy Lorcan. Viola and Jianyu are in 1902 with Nibsy. All of the main characters from the past books of this series are mentioned in different timelines. The characters eventually all end up in the same timeline together. The storyline consists of turmoil and struggles to right the wrongs of the past and give freedoms to the people who have an affinity for magic. An intelligent time travel fantasy.
Likes/dislikes: The many timelines, characters and struggles almost need a chart to keep track of. This is the fourth book of The Last Magician series and it just adds another layer to the whole concept and plot. If this series is going to be read, the books should be read together without much time between to help keep it all straight. I like the diversity of the characters and their strengths.
Mature content: PG-13 for drug use by side character, kissing Language: R for 53 swears and 1 f-bomb Violence: PG-13 for villain shooting himself, explosions that killed people. Ethnicity/other info: The ethnicity is mixed with white, Italian, Oriental and Black.
A young boy, Chellamathu, lives with his family amongst Indian poverty. He has many siblings and it’s difficult for his family to take care of everyone. He’s kidnapped and taken to an orphanage for sale. He’s kidnapped along with a few other children and they ride for three hours before they reach the orphanage. While there, he helps the other children with fear, loneliness and sickness. He’s eventually sold to an American family and moves away. Little by little, he forgets his past and that he was kidnapped. He did tell his American family that he was kidnapped when they first received him but they didn’t speak his language. He learns to participate in school and activities but never truly feels like he belongs anywhere. He can’t understand why he feels that way. His family kept photos, records and a voice recording from when they adopted him and named him Taj. In the recording, he states that he’s been kidnapped. When he’s college age, he meets an Indian family and they hear the recording and tell him what he said. After that, Taj starts on a mission to find his Indian home and family. Through acquaintances, luck and perseverance, he finds them and has a heartwarming reunion! Great story. Even though the writing is dry, the story is touching and miraculous! 4 stars!
Shea is a receptionist in a doctor’s office and makes a crime podcast in the evenings. She wants to interview a woman accused of but acquitted of murdering two men forty years ago, Beth Greer. Beth is a rich heiress who lives alone in the family mansion after her father was shot and her mother died in a car accident. Mystery surrounds Beth. She reaches out to Shea to talk about what happened forty years ago. Little by little, Shea is exposed to Beth’s life and secrets and the further she digs the more dangerous it all becomes. 5 stars for this well-written haunted mystery!
In 1855 Philadelphia, Molly lives at an orphanage until her aunt requests that she live with her. Before she even meets her aunt, she’s told she has to pick up a package first which turns out to be nothing like she expects. Molly is mourning the death of her friend Kitty who drowned in the river. Mother Superior told Molly, with a sneer, that Kitty was pregnant and this made Molly angry because Kitty told that secret in confession and no one else should know except the priest. Tom works for Molly’s aunt Ava and he picks her up from the orphanage, takes her to pick up the package then transports her to Ava’s home. Molly finally meets Ava and is given snippets of information about living there and what she’s required to do to stay. She’s expected to collect bodies for Dr. Lavall’s lectures and usually this requires dishonesty. Molly is eventually allowed to join the lectures and discovers that she wants to become a doctor herself even though she’s not welcomed into the surgical world by society. Molly also becomes deeply entwined in the mystery of The Knifeman and it’s going to take all her cleverness and bravery to keep from becoming a victim herself.
Likes/dislikes: Suspenseful, creepy and frightening story kept me riveted. Molly’s strength overcomes her insecurities from being left in an orphanage by her parents and the abuse she suffered there. I enjoy the diverse characters and Tom’s personality and perseverance. The mystery is interesting.
Language: R for 43 swears and 4 f-bombs. Mature content: PG-13 for premarital sex without details and unwed pregnancy by side characters, kissing with main characters. Violence: PG-13 for grave robbery and stealing parts from dead bodies, such as teeth, an ear and skin, bloody remains, stabbing.