Blog Tour Review: A Wish for Jo by Audrey Davis

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A solid sequel in the enchanting and magical small town we first encountered in A Wish for Jinnie

Foreword

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

Purchase on Amazon (affiliate link): https://amzn.to/3y161Um

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#TheWriteReads #BBNYA #BlogTour Review: May Day by Josie Jaffrey

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The adult fantasy/romance that my adult self was looking for.

Thank you so much to The Write Reads and Josie Jaffrey for allowing me to be part of this experience and also providing me with a complimentary eARC and media kit!

Purchase this book (affiliate link): Amazon

About the Author

Josie is the author of multiple novels and short stories. Most of those are set in the Silverse, a pre- and post-apocalyptic world filled with vampires and zombies.

She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA). Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published.

After finishing her degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics) at the University of Oxford, Josie wasn’t sure what to do with her life.

She slogged through a brief stint working for an investment bank in London during the 2008 credit crunch, then converted to law and qualified as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property. She worked at a law firm for five years before moving to a UK-based international publisher in 2016. Whilst she loved law, in the end she didn’t love it quite as much as writing, which she now does almost full time.

Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.

Review

Book CWs

For a list of warnings, tropes, and representation for this book, check out its page on BookTriggerWarnings.com.

Premise

If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.

It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.

When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.

To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.
Body bags on standby.

May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England. 

Review (No Spoilers)

I was so excited to get a chance to read May Day because I missed the first tour that TheWriteReads hosted for it. I’m not sure why I didn’t sign up the first time around because this novel was perfect for my vampire-obsessed self.

My obsession with vampires probably started when I was in middle school and my sister introduced me to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Following that, I read and watched many vampire stories including Angel, The Vampire Diaries, Twilight, Being Human, and Dracula. I was always a sucker for a good vampire romance. On top of that, I also grew up watching and reading many detective/police/mysteries. So when I saw that May Day is not only a story about vampires but a story about vampire detectives, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy.

May Day follows the story of a queer female vampire detective named Jack Valentine (amazing name btw). Jack and her colleagues are investigating the murder of a human that appears to be supernatural in origin. Instead of having a straightforward investigation however, what Jack gets is a twist and tangle of dark secrets, hidden societies, and dangerous men.

I enjoyed reading this novel a lot, even despite the inclusion of the despised love triangle trope that always manages to pop up in vampire fantasies. The pacing and plot keep you hooked until the very end and the world that Josie Jaffrey has built is well-thought out and interesting. She also did a great job in making the characters relatable and realistic, despite their undead and otherworldly nature. I’m excited to see where this story takes us, especially since the temperature on the hate-to-love romance brewing in this novel seems to slowly be edging its way towards flaming hot.

This tour includes reviews of both book 1 (May Day) and book 2 (Judgement Day) in the Seekers series, so be sure to keep an eye out for all of the amazing reviews being shared! If you’d like to follow along with the rest of the tour, you can find the tour schedule here.


I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official. 

The sign-ups are now open for BBNYA 2022 for authors and panelists. 

Click here to enter your book.
Click here to sign up to be a panelist.


Disclaimer: Most posts made on this blog will include affiliate links, identified by the phrase (affiliate link). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This comes at no additional cost to you.

Chill Relaxed Readathon Wrap-Up

(This is a late post because I’ve been having a hard time focusing on things lately.)

From March 13-March 15, my partner and I participated in a weekend readathon hosted by Tiffany. The goal of the readathon was to get everyone’s mind off of Covid-19 so there was only one rule: No virus talk!

I finished 4 books during this readathon and since I’ve fallen so behind on book reviews, I decided that instead of giving each book it’s own post, I should do a wrap-up with mini-reviews.

Book #1: Bewitched by Kelly Moran (3.5 stars)

Bewitched was a book that I received for free from Booktasters in exchange for an honest review. I wrote a review and posted it on Goodreads and Amazon, so I’ll just paste that review here:

Bewitched was an entertaining read that I really enjoyed. It reminded me a lot of Charmed (sometimes to the point where I felt like it was fanfiction), which is a show that I grew up watching with my sister and binge watched all seasons on Netflix a few years ago. One of the things that I think I should mention is that this book is not as “romance-y” as the cover makes it look. With the shirtless dude on the cover, it seems like this book would be super steamy but there are only around three sexual scenes and they’re pretty short/tame. The book focuses a lot more on the actual plot than the sex, which is something that I can appreciate.

The characters were all pretty likable for who they were. I actually think the character I liked the least was Kaida because she was basically always crying or on the verge of crying. Pull yourself together, Kaida! I am guessing that the next two books must be written to focus on Ceara and Fiona and I’m very interested in learning more about them. They’re both very intriguing characters!

Book #2: Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith (4 stars)

I really enjoyed this book and its characters! I find that I often dislike YA protagonists so it was nice to find two characters that I could relate to and cheer on. What I appreciated most about this book was the fact that it tackled a lot of sexism/racism that gamers experience online and how prevalant bullies (and bully sympethiseraz) are in the world.

There was one particular thing in the book that upset me and it was “amazingegg”. If you’ve read the book, you might remember what I’m talking about. What this word seemed to indicate to me was poor copy editing because my best guess as to why it is in the book is because Eric Smith wanted to explore a plot arc, ultimately decided against it, but forgot to remove the word from earlier on in the story.

Book #3: Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli & Aisha Saeed (2.5 stars)

This was a book that I was looking forward to because I had heard a lot about it. I basically only ever heard good things so I figured there was no way it could go wrong. Sadly, I was mistaken.

The worst part about this book was that I HATED almost every character. I felt like all of them had personalities that involved being terrible to everyone around them and not feeling bad about it. I didn’t feel like any of the characters developed in the book to learn from their mistakes. I’m actually amazed at how much I enjoyed the romance plot of the book considering how much I hated the two love interests.

Book #4: The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary (4.5 stars)

This is another book that I had seen a lot on Book Twitter and heard good things about. Thankfully, I really enjoyed this book! It was not at all what I was expecting and it took me a while to get used to the writing style (particularly Leon’s chapters) but it ultimately had great character development and a very interesting plot.

Something that I do want to warn readers about though is that this book deals heavily with emotional/sexual abuse. If that is something that might trigger you, maybe skip this read.

Book Review: House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig

Rating: 3 out of 5.

A rollercoaster of a book that had me going back and forth between loving and hating it.

Book CWs

  • Character Death/Murder
  • Gore
  • Paranormal Creatures
  • Not sure the word for it but there are times when you don’t know what is real and what is not

Premise

The Duke of Highmoor has watched over the People of Salt for decades but after tragedy repeatedly strikes his bloodline, the town beings to worry that his family is cursed.

Four of the duke’s daughters have suffered tragic unsuspected deaths and Annaleigh, one of the oldest of those remaining, is the only one who suspects that something evil may be working its way through her loved ones.

One night, Annaleigh and her sisters discover a magical portal that takes them to extravagant balls where they can let go of their grief and dance the night away. But after Annaleigh begins having increasingly disturbing visions of her dead sisters, she starts to wonder if everyone is really who they say they are.

Review (No Spoilers)

Once again, this is a book I read because of House Battles (it was the Ravenclaw book). I had seen it around book twitter and bookstagram but I had no idea that it was a retelling until I read the blurb on the back. To be fair, I hadn’t even heard of the 12 Dancing Princesses before–I read the synopsis on Wikipedia. It’s a pretty jacked up story.

I didn’t like this book as much as I thought I would–though I mostly thought I would like it because the cover is gorgeous.

When I first started reading, I was almost completely bored. I was also kind of annoyed because I felt that the author was using unnecessarily complicated words to be fancy. Mix having to look up words with being bored and you get a grumpy Jenny.

I trudged through the beginning because I rarely ever DNF a book (and because I wanted the points for House Battles) and luckily I was rewarded! As soon as the ghostly visions started happening, I was in awe. The details were absolutely amazing and I found myself terrified–in a good way.

As the plot began to thicken, my excitement just kept growing and growing. I was even convinced that it would end up being a 4.5/5 star read. But once it got to the climax where everything was explained, I was super underwhelmed. I felt as if it was a huge copout!

This book had so much potential for me but the ending effectively killed it. It almost hurts to rate it 3 stars.

Audio Book Review: The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Not as good as its predecessor but still an amazing story and narrator.

Book CWs

  • Character death
  • Murder
  • Suicide
  • Occult
  • Kidnapping

Premise

Aurora (Rory) Deveaux was attacked by a Jack The Ripper copycat and survived. Unable to actually explain what happened to her and removed from school, Rory finds herself feeling overwhelmingly lonely. But something amazing happens: Rory’s therapist convinces her parents to let her return to Wexford, where she is welcomed back with open arms.

Everything seems to be going exactly as Rory had wanted, well, except for:

  1. She has become a human terminus and is now the Shades only weapon.
  2. Her friends are becoming more and more distant as her lies begin to pile up.
  3. She is failing all of her classes.
  4. People around the city are suddenly dropping dead.

Review (No Spoilers)

If you’ve read my review for the previous book in the series then you already know that I love Nicola Barber. She does a good job with pauses, intonation, and accents and make you really feel like you’re in the story. Unfortunately, because I was so obsessed with her narration of The Name of the Star, I was quite annoyed when I discovered that she changed some of her voices.

I imagine that some of these were made on purpose after getting feedback on her work and I am grateful for her aiming to get better. There were, however, some changes that seemed to just be from her forgetting what the character sounded like.

For example, there is a character who has an accent where words like “anything” come out as “anyfink”. Nicola kept this in mind every time she voiced the character in The Name of the Star but for some reason in The Madness Underneath, the character suddenly says “anything”, well, exactly like “anything”. Some other characters had slight voice changes but nothing stood out to me as much as that change.

The actually story in The Madness Underneath is pretty different from its predecessor but still very interesting. Instead of revolving around a murderer terrorizing London, the main focus is on Rory and how she’s trying to overcome her trauma. I would say that it’s less scary and more of a psychological thriller type of book.

The characters in the book are pretty darn lovable. Surprisingly, I’d say my least favorite character right now is actually Rory because she is really good at unnecessarily pushing people away and I want to hold on to the wonderful side characters as much as possible.

I am 100% going to download the audiobook for The Shadow Cabinet (book #3 in the series). I just have to set up my audible account first. Stay tuned for that audiobook review!

Book Review: Slayer by Kiersten White

Rating: 3/5

A book based in the Buffy universe that had so much potential and then kind of flew off the railings at the end.

Book CWs

  • Character Death
  • Supernatural Beings
  • Bullying
  • Abuse

Premise

Set after the events in Season Eight, the entire supernatural community is trying to adapt to a new world without magic. As a result of Buffy’s recent antics there are now several active slayers around the world operating in a magic-less world without guidance from the (now secret) Watchers Council.

No magic means no more slayers. So when Nina discovers she was activated almost exactly when magic was destroyed, she realizes that not only is she a slayer; she is the last slayer.

Review (No Spoilers)

I honestly had no idea what to expect while reading this book. On one hand, I have watched all of Buffy (though I didn’t read season 8) so I was excited to learn more about the universe. On the other hand I was worried that it would stray too far from the original.

I guess I should start by saying that not reading season 8 of Buffy didn’t leave me very far behind; the book fills in most of the necessary gaps. I will say though that I totally didn’t remember the MC’s father at all. He was only in one episode so it’s pretty easy to forget him.

Let’s talk about the book!

I found many of the characters pretty annoying. The book did the classic thing that I hate where it made characters do bad things but then hastily excused them in the end. It also pulled the trope where a character was like “I have to tell you something but not right now. No way. How in the world would that make a good story if I were to just tell you? How about instead I say I will tell you AFTER we go somewhere. Except you know something’s going to happen that will prevent me from actually telling you, right?”

Looking past the characters, I enjoyed this book a fair amount (until the very end but we’ll talk about that later). There are some dream sequences intertwined into the writing where we can see her interacting with other slayers (like Buffy and Faith) and those were really interesting. There are also a fair amount of shoutouts to the OG characters of Buffy that I appreciated. I also laughed quite a bit while reading.

Okay, let’s talk about the ending. I didn’t care much for the way the books main arch ended but after the story concludes, there are around two more extra chapters that I felt were hastily set up in order to ensure a sequel. (Note: one of these is after the Acknowledgements). The one included after the Acknowledgements honestly seemed to be from a completely different set of characters. I kind of wish that I didn’t read it and just pretended like the book ended sooner.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to read the next book but I just looked at the cover and now I’m like 90% sure I’m going to read it. Both of these books have covers that know exactly how to get me interested. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but like…sometimes I just gotta, you know?

Book Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia (The Caster Chronicles #1)

Rating: 3/5

I was super excited to read this book and start a new series. Enjoyed the plot but not the way it was told.

Book CW: Character death, villianizing mental illness (ableism), fatshaming.

Premise

Ethan Wate is about to start his sophomore year of high school in the small, boring, and predictable town of Gatlin, South Carolina. Nothing in Gatlin has ever changed, that is, until a new girl arrives into town.

Every student in Gatlin High School is prepared for Lena’s arrival. Being the niece if the creepy town shut-in, it’s no surprise that Lena is not “normal”. The surprise is how much Ethan finds himself drawn to her. Not only is she the girl that he’s been dreaming about all summer, but they also have some strange telepathic connection to each other. Will he ever find out who she really is?

Review (No Spoilers)

Beautiful Creatures is a novel that has been hyped for a long time. The series has been on my bookshelf for years and I was happy that I finally got the nerve to start it. I had watched the film on Netflix around a year ago and it seemed like something I would definitely be interested in. Who doesn’t like a good magical love story?

What was unfortunate was that as much as I looked forward to reading this series, I actually didn’t really care for this novel. Don’t get me wrong, I still think the plot is an interesting one and I am anxious to know what will happen next, I’m just not sure I want to read what happens next.

Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I found this book weirdly boring considering how much I enjoyed the story. I think there were a lot of problems with the way it was told.

For one, there were many times where Ethan would act super surprised when someone told him exactly what he had already been thinking pages before. It was as if the authors wrote him as a totally reasonable person but then decided that they needed to “dumb him down” to push the story forward.

Another thing that I found strange was that the book is kind of both feminist and anti-feminist at the same time. There were times where the women were all about showing their power but also instances of body-shaming and the classic “all girls like ______” trope.

I do have to say though that I really like the characters introduced in this book. Macon and Ridley are absolute gems and I loved them so so much. Lena and Ethan were moody messes but I still felt for them all the same. I wish they all would have actually talked to each other more instead of keeping secrets for–let’s admit it–no good reason, but I did love each and every one of them.

The book also contains cute “props”. Each chapter doesn’t have a number but rather tells you the current date. There are several pages dedicated to nifty diagrams. I very much appreciated these little additions. Also, the cover is absolutely beautiful.

I am definitely planning on continuing this series. I just hope that I enjoy the next few novels more than I did this one.

P.S. Is the South really like this???