Book Review: Scattering the Ashes by Paul Semendinger

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A heartfelt story about overcoming grief and learning to live again.

Book CWs

  • Alcohol
  • Cancer
  • Chronic pain
  • Death (parental)

Premise (from Goodreads)

Sam Holmes is a young, enthusiastic school teacher living an uneventful, albeit pleasant life – even if he won’t admit to himself how lonely he is. Dedicated to teaching, and inspired by the kids passing through his 8th grade history class, Sam is energized by the end of the school year. Now he has the time to dedicate himself fully to training for the historic New York City Marathon – his first.

But Sam’s simple life is radically changed when his father suddenly passes away and the Last Will and Testament are read to him. Sam learns that his father’s final wishes are unique, and as such special burden has been placed solely on Sam. To earn his inheritance, Sam’s father is sending him on a quest; to travel to the places that had been significant and scatter his father’s ashes at these destinations. Now, instead of a pleasant summer, Sam is thrust into a journey he neither wanted nor asked for.

While fulfilling is father’s wishes Sam meets Rachel Parker, a young woman who brings direction, clarity, and companionship to Sam’s lonely life. As he faces the struggles of a contract dispute at work, a budding romance, and running in his first marathon, Sam Holmes must make the critical decisions that will impact the rest of his life.

Review (No Spoilers)

Thank you to Paul Semendinger and Booktasters for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review!

If you’ve ever read 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson, Scattering the Ashes is kind of like an adult version of that. We follow Sam as he makes his way through letters that his father left for him after he passed away.

Given that this is an adult novel, I had expected Sam to be more mature than he actually was. In the beginning of the book, Sam basically falls in love with any woman he sees, to the point where I found him super creepy. He also has a lot of childish tendencies. One particular instance that comes to mind is a scene where he goes to the gym and upsets everyone around him by blasting his iPod and singing out loud. I kept mentally yelling at him to just grow up. I’m happy to say that his character does develop throughout the book and he’s much better at the end.

Something that I appreciated about this book was the subplot dedicated to Sam’s work. Because his school is going through contract disputes, Sam is forced to choose between his love of teaching/students and his duty to his fellow teachers. As a professor, this particular storyline really resonated with me. I think a lot of educators tend to think only of themselves and forget about the students they claim to want to help. I hope that more teachers will read this book and see that sometimes doing what you think is right can end up harming a lot more people than you originally thought.

My favorite part of the novel, though, was reading the letters Sam’s father left for him. They were emotional and heartfelt and I feel like they would pull on anyones heart strings. I think most people would hope to have as strong as a relationship as Sam and his father had.

Introducing: BookTriggerWarnings.com!

Updated: November 11, 2020

Hi everyone! If you follow me on Twitter, then you might have already seen my announcement about a project that my partner and I have been working on for the past week.

We wanted to create a site where the entire bookish community could come together to help readers feel safer in their book choices. From this idea, booktriggerwarnings.com was born!

What is BookTriggerWarnings.com?

Book Trigger Warnings (BTW) is a wiki-based site that allows you to search books that you are interested in to see if anyone has added trigger/content warnings, tropes, representation, or controversies about it. If you feel that anything is missing (or if you can’t find the book), you can edit or add pages too!

Having this information should allow you to make a more informed decision on whether or not the book is for you.

What are trigger warnings?

Trigger warnings (TWs) are little notices that people use to indicate if they think anything potentially triggering is in their content. Many people use the terms “trigger warning” and “content warning” interchangeably, but some also argue that there are slight differences between the two.

BTW has “trigger warning” in the name, but the “trigger warning” section is for both TWs and CWs.

Why are trigger warnings and content warnings important?

Trigger/content warnings are very important when it comes to making sure reading is a safe activity. There are many readers out there who can be seriously harmed if they are forced to read a particularly triggering topic without any prior warning. Maybe their grandparent recently passed away and they don’t want to read about death right now. Maybe they love animals and reading about animal abuse is particularly hard for them. There are endless possibilities as to why a reader might request a trigger/content warning.

To bring it to something non-book related for further context, I have people in my family who are veterans with PTSD. If you were to light off a firecracker around them with no warning, they’ll completely shut down. Giving them a heads up beforehand allows them to mentally prepare themselves ahead of time (even if it means leaving the area). It’s the same idea with trigger/content warnings on books/tv shows/movies/etc.

If you’re interested in reading more about why people think TWs and CWs are important, check out our giveaway thread where we asked participants this exact question.

Why did you make BTW?

There are many book bloggers/reviewers who believe in trigger/content warnings and will put them in their reviews. There are even a few authors who push to have them in their books or on their websites.

Unfortunately, there are still a lot of publishers and authors who don’t include these warnings and it can be a very difficult conversation to have with them because the reading community is pretty split about it. Some people view trigger/content warnings as spoilers, while others argue that if a trigger warning spoils your books, it probably relies too heavily on the emotional reactions of readers.

My partner and I wanted to create a centralized place where readers could find this information without having to trudge through thousands of book reviews on Goodreads or Google. If you don’t believe in trigger warnings or think they will spoil a book for you, then okay, you can skip reading the book’s page and continue your reading as you’d like. But if you do, we’re hoping BTW will make it just that much easier to help your fellow readers.

How can I help?

Because BTW is a wiki-based site, it relies heavily on community participation. We create new book pages pretty much every day, but if you have the time and energy to help us improve, you can make an account very easily (you just need a username and password) and begin making edits!

We are also very serious about listening to our community and improving the site. In fact, we recently added a “representation” section to the site as a result of community feedback. You can now look for/add what type of rep any particular book includes. There are a few limitations that we have as a wiki, but if you have a suggestion that you want us to look into, please let us know by DMing us on Twitter.

Please help spread the word by sharing our link on your social media sites! For more information, you can visit the site or follow the BTW twitter here.

Blog Tour Review: A Wish for Jinnie by Audrey Davis

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Not the right book for me but definitely has a lot of potential.

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and Kathryn Freeman for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary digital copy and blog tour media kit!

If you’d like to get a copy of A Wish for Jinnie, you can find it on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

About the Author

Audrey Davis is a Scottish-born former journalist, now resident in Switzerland. Her newspaper career saw her cover events in Northern Ireland and the Falkland Islands, as well as working for a London-based movie magazine writing reviews and carrying out interviews.

She self-published her debut romantic comedy novel A Clean Sweep in June 2017, following an online Open University course in Writing Fiction.

Audrey followed up with a short, darker prequel A Clean Break before beginning work on a rom-com novella trilogy with a ghostly twist – The Haunting of Hattie Hastings. Again, reviews across the board were excellent, and it was combined into a standalone novel in November 2018.

A Wish For Jinnie is her third standalone novel.

Apart from writing, Audrey enjoys travel and spends a lot of time in Edinburgh. She is an avid cook, watcher of scary movies and reluctant gym-goer.

Review

Book CWs:

  • Dementia
  • Cheating (emotional)

Premise

What if wishes really could come true? 

When Jinnie Cooper is dumped by her fiancé, and exiled to a job in an antiques shop in a sleepy Scottish village, little does she know a battered old lamp is about to shake up her life. 

Genie Dhassim grants wishes. But he also wants a few of his own to come true. Letting him explore the outside world proves nerve-wracking as Dhassim has an uncanny knack of putting his pointy-slippered foot in it. 

As Jinnie grows closer to her employer Sam, Dhassim discovers his time on earth is running out. 

Can both Jinnie and Dhassim find true happiness? Or are those wishes that cannot be granted?

Review (No Spoilers)

I’m gonna start this review off by saying this was definitely not the right choice of book for me. I want to emphasize the “for me” part because I was the first person on Goodreads to rate this book below 4 stars so obviously it appeals to other readers. I also checked out some of the other reviews in this tour and all the ones I clicked on were positive. By all means, if you’re interested in this book please check it out for yourself! (Also the cover is gorgeous, not gonna lie.)

The main thing that made me not enjoy this book as much as I could have is the fact that it was doing too much for me. Whenever a book has several storylines, I find it very difficult to connect with any of the characters. While the main character is undoubtably Jinnie–I mean the book is named after her–there are also several chapters dedicated to following other characters such as Sam, Ed, and Jo. In trying to keep up with everyone’s lives in addition to the three(?) love triangles, I found myself getting confused and ended up feeling like the ending had to be rushed in order to tie everything up.

I think I would have enjoyed this story much more if it were split into several installments: one about Jinnie and her love interests, one about Dhassim and Aaliyah, one about Jo/Ken, and one about Angela. Angela was by far my favorite character. She was so incredibly interesting and I really really want a book dedicated to her backstory and where she’s headed from here. I would read that book in a heartbeat because I loved her so much. I want the world for her.

Another thing that I enjoyed about this book was its description of genies and how their wishes work. Dhassim was a hoot almost the entire time and his mannerisms were nothing short of hilarious. I won’t say anything specific to avoid spoilers but some of the last chapters were my favorite scenes with him. He was such a cinnamon roll and he deserves way more hugs than he will ever get.

If you’re interested in checking out the other reviews in this blog tour, check out the graphic below!

Blog Tour Review: Up Close and Personal by Kathryn Freeman

Rating: 4 out of 5.

These characters had some of the best chemistry I’ve ever seen, from start to finish!

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and Kathryn Freeman for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary digital copy and blog tour media kit!

If you’d like to get a copy of Up Close & Personal, you can find it on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

About the Author

A former pharmacist, I’m now a medical writer who also writes romance. Some days a racing heart is a medical condition, others it’s the reaction to a hunky hero.

I’ve two sons and a husband who asks every Valentine’s Day whether he has to buy a card (yes, he does), so any romance is all in my head. Then again, his unstinting support of my career change proves love isn’t always about hearts and flowers – and heroes come in many disguises.

Review

Book CWs:

  • Character death
  • Sexually explicit scenes (mild)
  • Murder
  • Attempted murder
  • Stalking
  • Parental abuse

Premise

British actor Zac Edwards is the latest heartthrob to hit the red carpets. Hot, talented and rich, he sends women wild…all except one.

Close protection officer Kat Parker hasn’t got time to play celebrity games.  She has one job: to protect Zac from the stalker that seems to be dogging his every move.

Zac might get her hot under her very starched collar, but Kat’s a professional – and sleeping with Zac is no way part of her remit…

Review (No Spoilers)

Wow! I was so close to rating this a 4.5/5 because I loved watching these characters as they opened up and got to know each other. These characters had so much chemistry that it was practically radiating off the page! It was by far the best part of the book.

The story has an amazing meet-cute beginning and I could tell right away that I was in for a comedic treat. What I didn’t expect was for it to somehow go from a romance, to a mystery, to a thriller, back to a romance, all while keeping me incredibly invested.

The main reason why I had to knock this down a star was because the male love interest was written to be…kind of problematic. Basically from the get go Kat lays down her boundaries and Zac spends a good amount of the book purposefully overstepping them. When it comes to “will they, won’t they” romances, I find it all too common for authors to write in lines that may seem okay, but actually sound really slimy to me. I’m not interested in seeing characters crossing each others boundaries in romances. What I’m interested in is watching these character shift their boundaries to accommodate their undeniable connection to each other. I think it can be a hard line to toe when it comes to writing romances like these but when it gets to the point where a character is talking about touching a woman’s skin in public because he knows she can’t move away…that’s not okay with me.

That being said, once I decided to put aside these parts, I really enjoyed the rest. Kat and Zac managed to be so frustratingly cute together that I basically spent a good portion of the book mentally screaming JUST GET IT OVER WITH AND LOVE EACH OTHER at them in the hope that they would somehow listen to me.

I do wish that there wasn’t so much emphasis on the MCs not understanding teenage language because they’re in their early 30s (I think) and definitely should have known basically all of the slangs included. Words like “salty” have been around for many many years. The author, Kathryn Freeman, is a Boomer though so once I learned that fact, the confusion over teenage slang made much more sense. I’ll also admit that including “Gucci” in the book was something I found inexplicably hilarious.

I feel like it’s safe to say that this will likely be slotted on my mental “to reread shelf” based on how much I enjoyed my overall experience. If you want to check out other reviews on this blog tour, see the graphic below!

Book Review: Intercepted by Alexa Martin

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Made me laugh, made me cry.

Book CWs

  • Racism
  • Bullying
  • Abuse (sexual/emotional)
  • Profanity
  • Sexually Explicit Scenes

Premise

Marlee Harper has been the girlfriend of NFL-star Chris Alexander for the last ten years of her life and still has no ring to show for it. But when a minor computer mix-up results in Marlee discovering that Chris has been cheating on her with several other women, she leaves and vows to never date another athlete again.

Keeping this promise shouldn’t be too hard except old-flame and star quarterback Gavin Pope has just transferred to Chris’ team. When it becomes clear that both of them have lingering feelings for each other, Marlee must decide if dating Gavin is worth breaking her vow and worth the drama.

Review (No Spoilers)

With everything happening in the world, I decided that I needed to take care of my mental health and read (what I thought would be) a feel-good Black romance novel. I felt like Intercepted would be a good choice because…well…the title is a pun. I figured nothing could go wrong with a punny book.

While the book was full of sex, laughter, and genuinely happy moments, the low moments still found a way to tug at all of my heart strings and leave me a mess on my living room couch. Admittedly I’m on my period and my hormones are all over the place so interpret that as you will.

Something to be warned(?) about going into this book is that there is an overwhelming use of hashtags. The book is written from the perspective of Marlee and from the very first chapter she explains that she likes to use hashtags when describing her life. While I found the use of hashtags hilarious most of the time, there were some instances where I wanted them to just go away.

The rest of my opinions on this book can’t really be said without offering spoilers but I basically felt like the timeline was too quick. In the beginning of the book, Marlee is in a relationship with her boyfriend of ten years and after their break-up, she’s falling into the arms of another man almost immediately. Several times in this book I wanted Marlee to slow down and take more time for herself.

The next book in the series is Fumbled and it’s about my favorite side-character so you best believe I’ll be picking that one up. It’s also highly likely that I’ll be making my way through the series in its entirety. The fourth book is scheduled to come out this year so keep your eyes peeled (like a banana)!

Blog Tour Review: The Little Teashop in Tokyo by Julie Caplin

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

An atmospheric read full of amazing character development. Made me want to return to Japan and also made me hungry.

Foreword

Thank you so much to Rachel at https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/ and Jules Wake for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary digital copy and blog tour media kit!

If you’d like to get a copy of The Little Teashop in Tokyo, you can find it on Amazon US and Amazon UK.

About the Author

Jules Wake announced at the age of ten that she planned to be a writer. Along the way she was diverted by the glamorous world of PR and worked on many luxury brands, taking journalists on press trips to awful places like Turin, Milan, Geneva, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam and occasionally losing the odd member of the press in an airport. This proved fabulous training for writing novels as it provided her with the opportunity to eat amazing food, drink free alcohol, hone her writing skills on press releases and to research European cities for her books.

She writes best-selling warm-hearted contemporary fiction for HarperImpulse.

Under her pen name, Julie Caplin, her thirteenth novel, The Little Teashop in Tokyo will be published in ebook and paperback this June.

Find her at www.facebook.com/JulieCaplinAuthor or follow her Twitter accounts @JulieCalpin/@Juleswake

Review

Book CWs:

  • Cheating (inferred/referenced)
  • Sexually Explicit Scenes (mild)
  • Emotional Manipulation

Premise

Grab your passport and escape to a land of dazzling skyscrapers, steaming bowls of comforting noodles, and a page-turning love story that will make you swoon!

For travel blogger Fiona, Japan has always been top of her bucket list so when she wins an all-expenses paid trip, it looks like her dreams are coming true.

Until she arrives in vibrant, bustling Tokyo and comes face-to-face with the man who broke her heart ten years ago, gorgeous photographer Gabe.

Fiona can’t help but remember the heartache of their last meeting but amidst the temples and clouds of soft pink cherry blossoms, can Fiona and Gabe start to see life – and each other – differently?

Review (No Spoilers)

As someone who majored in Japanese and studied abroad in Japan, I was really looking forward to picking this book up! With all of the mentions of Japanese culture, food, and language, Julie had me wishing I could head back to Japan and stay with my host family once again. Sometimes I felt like the writing got a little too much (can someone really love every single food that they try in a foreign country?) but overall I think that the detailed descriptions helped me feel like I was experiencing Japan alongside Fiona.

The main reason that I rated this a 3.5/5 is because for some reason I just couldn’t get attached to any of the characters. I’m a huge sucker for happy endings so I was of course rooting for the two main characters to get together, but I didn’t feel invested in their love story as much as I probably should have been. Why that was is a complete mystery to me because I thought the character development was on point. In fact, the character development was probably what I loved most about The Little Teashop in Tokyo. It’s rare for a book to have as much character growth as this one did and I am extremely grateful for it. I think a part of me had hoped to learn more about these characters’ backgrounds and why they were the way that they were (more so for Gabe).

I admit that it took me a while to get into the plot but things picked up around the half-way point and the last 20% of the book was pretty darn great. If you’re looking to escape to Tokyo in a light atmospheric read, definitely check out The Little Teashop in Tokyo and feel free to follow along the tour! The dates and blog names can be found below.

Book Review: Black Enough Edited by Ibi Zoboi

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A diverse collection of short stories, some of which I loved and some of which were average.

Book CWs

  • Racism
  • Homophobia
  • Bullying
  • Sexual Assault
  • Profanity/Strong language
  • Character death (mentioned)

Premise (From Goodreads)

Black Enough is a star-studded anthology edited by National Book Award finalist Ibi Zoboi that will delve into the closeted thoughts, hidden experiences, and daily struggles of black teens across the country. From a spectrum of backgrounds—urban and rural, wealthy and poor, mixed race, immigrants, and more—Black Enough showcases diversity within diversity.

Whether it’s New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds writing about #blackboyjoy or Newbery Honor-winning author Renee Watson talking about black girls at camp in Portland, or emerging author Jay Coles’s story about two cowboys kissing in the south—Black Enough is an essential collection full of captivating coming-of-age stories about what it’s like to be young and black in America.

Review (No Spoilers)

As a mixed Black woman, the main reason I picked up this book was because I have gone a majority of my adult life being told and feeling like I’m not Black enough. I could go on and on about these experiences but it basically boils down to growing up in Hawaii–a place with a lot of ethnic minorities but admittedly very little Black people–with a Black father who actively worked to suppressed as much knowledge about Black culture from me as possible. Unfortunately for me, there were only two stories (I think…I have a very bad memory) in this book that dealt with mixed kids and as a result I don’t feel any more validated as a Black person than I did before reading it. It’s probably what hurt the most about this reading experience.

The book is a collection of 17 (if I counted right) short stories about what it means to be Black in America. And when I say, “what it means to be Black” all I mean is that each story has one or more Black protagonists. Some take deeper dives into race than others and they’re all about different people, written by different authors so there is a good variety when it comes to story type and writing style.

Because there are so many short stories in this book, it’s hard for me to try to talk about how/why I liked it. I will say that I definitely enjoyed certain stories a lot more than others. Some of my favorites were: Black Enough by Varian Johnson, Oreo by Brandy Colbert, Wild Horses, Wild Hearts by Jay Coles, and Hackathon Summers by Coe Booth. These stories were short but powerful and they left me feeling things that I can’t quite describe. You ever watch a movie or something and you get to the end and you’re just like wow that’s kind of how I felt.

I recommend that everyone take a look at this book. I think it’s particularly nice in that you don’t have to consume it all at once. You could set aside small portions of time to read one or two stories while saving the others for later. I do feel like I should warn you though that some of these stories don’t have “happy” endings. None of them have terribly bad endings or anything but you might get to an end and be left wondering ‘well what happens next?‘ and sometimes that was the beauty of it.

The TBR Book Tag

Still struggling to catch up on all of my tags so here’s another one! I was tagged by Krista.

How do you keep track of your TBR?

My partner and I have a TBR bookshelf in our room that is separate from our other books. I also use Goodreads sometimes to mark books that I haven’t bought yet.

Is your TBR mostly print or ebook?

Mostly print because I’m finding that ebooks make me sleepy when I read them. The ones that I have on ebook are almost all because they are requested reviews or part of blog tours.

How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

I’m a mood reader so it basically involves me staring at my shelf for long periods of time. Sometimes I’ll choose a book that I know I should have read by now but usually it’s decided by mood.

A book that’s been on your TBR the longest.

Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne has been on my TBR like since it came out oops! I should probably read that soon.

A book that you recently added to your TBR.

My partner and I went on 3 book hauls very recently so I have a lot. One of them is Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai. I read The Right Swipe in February and didn’t really care for it so I hope Girl Gone Viral is better.

A book that is on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover.

The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen. It’s actually on my TBR because my partner bought it based on the cover and I was just like okay yeah sure I’ll read it.

A book on your TBR that you never plan on actually reading.

I’d like to think that I’ll read all the books on my TBR eventually but Loki by Mackenzi Lee is that one that I’m least looking forward to.

An unpublished book on your TBR that you’re excited for.

The unnamed fourth book in the Shades of London series by Maureen Johnson is one that I’ve been looking forward to FOR YEARS and it seems like it might not ever happen. I’m pretty sure it was supposed to be released in 2018.

A book on your TBR that basically everyone has read except you.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is one that I’ve been meaning to read but I only bought it recently. I’m hoping to watch the movie afterwards.

A book on your TBR that everyone recommends to you.

I would say The Hate U Give again but since I used that before I’ll say Beach Read by Emily Henry since I’ve heard only good things about it so far.

A book on your TBR that you are just dying to read.

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. I wanna read it SOOOOO BADDDD but it was out of stock when we ordered it so it’s estimated to get here in July 😦

The number of books on your Goodreads TBR shelf.

91 though I should REALLY do a Down the TBR Hole post cause a lot of those are books I added in like high school that I don’t care about anymore.

I tag:

Book Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A cute love story with autistic rep, written by an own-voices author.

Book CWs

  • Ableism
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Assault/Rape
  • Profanity
  • Sexually Explicit Scenes
  • Stalking (mentioned)
  • Sexism
  • Slut Shaming (stigmatization of sex-workers)

Premise

Stella Lane is a 30-year-old, hard-working econometrician whose parents won’t stop trying to set her up on dates and talking about grandchildren. The problem is, dating–and sex–have never held much interest for her. In fact, french kissing grosses her out and any form of sexual advance causes her to completely shut down.

When Stella’s coworker tells her that practice makes perfect, she begins to wonder if maybe he’s right. As someone with Asperger’s, maybe sex is just one of those interpersonal things that require more effort. One thing is for sure, if she’s going to learn sex, she’s going to learn it right. She does the first thing she can think of: she hires a professional.

Enter Michael Phan. Having worked as an escort for several years, Michael knows that he must always keep his clients at an arm’s length. If people get too close, things get messy. So when Stella offers to pay him to be his only client for the next few months, it only makes sense that he say no. So why doesn’t he?

Review (No Spoilers)

I know this is probably a very strange way to start of a review, but my favorite part about this entire book was the Author’s Note at the very end. In it, Helen Hoang not only shares her journey of discovering she was autistic and how this affected her life and writing, she also shares several resources that she recommends for readers to be better informed. I often don’t read author’s notes/acknowledgements at the end of books, but I’m so glad I didn’t skip this one.

Okay, story time! And by that I mean, time to talk about the story!

Stella and Michael were really cute the entire book. As much as I love hate-to-love plots, I also love reading romance novels where the two characters are good for each other from the start. I wanted nothing more than to see the two of them together and happy, even when they had miscommunications and misunderstandings.

My biggest issue with The Kiss Quotient was the fact that one of the side characters is a complete jerk the entire book and never learns his lesson. When someone is written to be as problematic as he was, I always hope that the author will use it as a teaching point for all of their readers. The world is full of terrible people like him and if one of them decides to read this book, I want them to know that the character that they identify with is complete trash. Of course, this is less likely to happen if the book doesn’t fully address it.

Aside from that, I enjoyed The Kiss Quotient more than most of the romance novels I read. As much as I really wish that the use of miscommunication/secrets would stop being used as plot points to move stories along, I don’t see that happening anytime soon. A lot of romance–including Kiss Quotient–does it and so does almost every YA book ever written. When will people learn to SPEAK TO EACH OTHER???

Anyways, I bought the sequel The Bride Test as well so I’ll hopefully be reading and reviewing that one sometime soon!

#TheWriteReads Blog Tour Review: Promises Forged by Devri Walls

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Devri Walls has the ability to make you enjoy every single chapter, even if not much is happening.

Thank you so much to The Write Reads and Devri Walls for allowing me to be part of this follow up blog tour and for providing me with a complimentary digital copy. This is book two in the Venators series. Click here if you want to read my review for book one!

Book CWs

  • Abuse (sexual and physical)
  • Fighting/Violence
  • Torture (mental and physical)
  • Character Death
  • Sexual Harassment

Premise (from Goodreads)

It has been mere days in the world of Eon, where Rune Jenkins, her twin brother Ryker, and their friend Grey have been trapped, fighting for their lives. After discovering the truth of their ancestry, the three are far from home, and far from anything resembling their mundane lives of the past.

While Ryker is still held captive by the eerily beautiful Zio and her goblins, Grey falls into the clutches of Feena, the Fae queen. She begins to drain his soul bit by bit to feed her dark underground garden, and Grey has no hope of escaping on his own.

It is now up to Rune to save Grey, as his precious time slips away inexorably. But the Council has denied her permission to embark on a rescue mission, until she can harness her Venator gifts and prove herself capable of venturing into the Fae queen’s territory. As Rune discovers that promises in Eon are forged with life-or-death consequences, she realizes that she must act quickly, or else be swallowed and Grey along with her by the dangers of Eon.

Review (No Spoilers)

When I think of fantasy books, I usually picture epic sagas and long adventures filled with action and danger. For me, this is not at all what Promises Forged is. While there are a few scenes dealing with danger and near-death experiences, what drives the book forward is something that I can’t quite put by finger on. It could honestly just boil down to really good writing.

If you’ve read my last review about Magic Unleashed, you know that I don’t really read fantasy novels. It’s completely possible that this is just how fantasy books go, but when I read Promises Forged, I got to around the 40% mark and realized that I had no idea what the book was supposed to be about (I hadn’t read the blurb). That probably sounds like a negative thing but it really wasn’t. I think it’s a testament to how well something is written when you can have your reader enjoy over 150 pages without introducing the main plot.

I generally don’t go into much detail about plot in my reviews because I want to keep them as non-spoilery as possible but if you plan on reading the series, it might be worth it to read the books back to back since the second book takes place pretty much immediately after the first and I think the same will be true for the third. Devri does a pretty good job of recapping some of the major events but there were some smaller things referenced that I honestly don’t remember.

Click here for a slightly spoilery note on something about the plot that I dislike. Be warned that I have angry use of caps lock.

I. HATE. LOVE TRIANGLES. This series really seems to be leaning towards introducing one OR MORE and I am SUPER NOT looking forward to that. Okay, mini rant over. Sorry!


In regards to the characters, I am still really enjoying every one of them. This book introduces a bit more background for many side characters and I like the fact that I feel empathy towards almost all of them, even the “villains”–except Shax, that guy can suck it. I had hoped to see more of Ryker and of the wolf pack so hopefully more of this will be addressed in the next book.

If you’re interested in this series, definitely check it out! I think the third book is scheduled to be released later this year.