February Wrap up

 february 2023 reading wrap up

Romantasy Designs 

Once Upon a Broken Heart - Stephanie Garber

RATING - ★★★★★


How far would you go for happily ever after?

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings... until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing.

But after Evangeline's first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game - and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she'd pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy...

I have been meaning to re-read OUABH for so long, so I could refresh my memory for Ballad. And then, the lovely Stephanie Garber posted a photo of our "My toxic trait is always falling for the Villain" mug on her Instagram and I knew I HAD to bump up the re-read to the top of my TBR!

My thoughts:


- It gives all the grown up fairy-tale vibes but with hot villains.... What more could you EVER ask for?

- It was so cool seeing more of the world of Caraval, its history, and magic. I especially liked the idea of the story curse and secretly think it's real... it would explain why we have so many historical, magical legends from all over the world that are spookily similar. 

Favourite quote:

"I believe there are far more possibilities than happily ever after or tragedy. Every story has the potential for infinite endings."

The Ballad of Never After - Stephanie Garber

RATING - ★★★★★


Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she'll never trust him again. Now that she's discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn't the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline's life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she's not sure she can...

My thoughts:

- I need book 3 IMMEDIATLEY please. 

- The fairy-tale vibes are immaculate. I want to live in the enchanted hollow (with Jacks of course).

- Sooo many twists I did NOT see coming.

- The plot has me in a CHOKEHOLD and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT. A curse for true love is due to release in September and I can't wait!

- I'm 100% tempted to dye my hair pink like Evangeline. 

Favourite quote:

"Happy endings can be caught, but they are difficult to hold on to". 

The Shadows Between Us - Tricia Levenseller

RATING - ★★★★


Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power: 

1) Woo the Shadow King.

2) Marry him.

3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King's power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she's going to do everything within her power to get it. 

But Alessandra's not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen - all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

My thoughts:

-Great premise - a villainous MC sounded so interesting, and the opening line... "They never found the body of the first and only boy that broke my heart." had me hooked!

- Not as dark as I was expecting which was disappointing. Lacking in murder, betrayal and general evil-ness given the premise. 

- Enjoyed the female empowerment angle

- Felt that the magic could have played a bigger part 

Favourite quote:

"Happiness, however short-lived, is always worth it."

Sorcery of thorns - Margaret Rogerson

RATING - ★★★★


All sorcerers are evil, Elisabeth has known that as long as she had known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer's Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery - magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library's most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth's desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them. 

My thoughts:

- Really cool fantasy elements and magic system

- Books that are alive and potentially dangerous - but also can be friendly and loyal

- A really sweet slow burn romance

A favourite quote:

"You belonged in the library, as much as any book."

The Serpent and the Wings of Night - Carissa Broadbent

RATING - ★★★★


Human of vampire, the rules of survival are the same: never trust, never yield, and always - always - guard your heart.

The adopted human daughter of the Nightborn vampire king, Oraya carved her place in a world destined to kill her. Her only chance to become something more than prey is entering the Kejari; a legendary tournament held by the goddess of death herself.

But winning won't be easy amongst the most vicious warriors from all three vampire houses. To survive, Oraya is forced to make an alliance with a mysterious rival.

My thoughts:

- I was very impressed with the fantasy elements, worldbuilding and magic system

- Just the right mix of plot and romance - and I was really rooting for the romance arc in this one

- A ruthless and violent hunger games style tournament run by the GODESS OF DEATH

- Touch her and die trope 

- It still managed to pack in plenty of emotional punches. Why do we love it so much when authors cause us pain? I'll never know but I WILL EAT IT UP. 

- A great adult romantasy all around! 

Favourite quote: 

"Death isn't frightening, when weighed against an insignificant existence."

A Kingdom of Stars and Shadows - Holly Renee



Destiny or desire?

Where does your allegiance lie? I am told my union to the crowned prince will determine the fate of the kingdom, but it isn't my betrothed who haunts my dreams. It's the half-breed prince who stands at his side.

He is darkness and sin, and when he whispers promises of wickedness in my ear, I crave a man who I can't have. Every thought I have is treasonous. The way my hands ache to touch him deceitful. Even my dreams make me a traitor to the kingdom I am sworn to protect. 

But when the kingdom is attacked, I am forced to make choices I am not prepared for. Our lies and deception are entangled in the shadows and stars, and as they unravel so shall my fate. Betray a kingdom or betray my heart.

My thoughts.

I was drawn in by the premise... spice, fantasy, forbidden love. I didn't like that this book went from zero to spicy in like 5 pages... I mean, the characters barely even knew each other! I also wasn't really impressed by the plot and guessed most of the major plot points. I was invested enough to try book two, but have since DNF'd this series. Sorry - it's not for me!

Favourite quote 


Have you read any of these books? Or are they on your TBR? Leave us a comment and let us know! 

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