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Book Review: “Ace of Shades” by Amanda Foody

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Dark Fantasy
Series: The Shadow Game #1
Rating: 4 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Not sure
Favorite Quotes: “But she’s spent her entire life fighting for next to last. So if she had to play, she would not lose. She would not break. She had other business in this city.”

“Sometimes we’re not who we want to be because we’re supposed to be something else.”


ABOUT: Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.


My Review:
I sorely underestimated this book. Whatever I thought this book might be about or allude to I was completely wrong. The City of Sin grabs the reader from the start and, even after reading, still hasn’t let go. This dark, edgy, dazzling book is one you won’t soon forget.

I do have mixed feelings about this book and was hesitant to give Ace of Shades the rating that I did.

My interest dwindle after a few chapters, which is probably why it took me so long to read this book. But sheer stubbornness to finish is what kept me reading. I didn’t want to read a story like this anymore but eventually I was hopelessly enthralled.

Ace of Shades, I have to say, is a well-structured book. It couldn’t have been easy to write it during all those long years. The world Foody has developed is rich in visuals, painful in emotions, and sinfully humans in its rough and rugged characters. Breathtaking in its pacing and unapologetic in its tone, Ace of Shades is by far one of the most idiosyncratic young adult novels I’ve ever read. But that’s what makes it such a good novel.

However, that’s where the mixed feelings come in. I don’t know if I liked this book. I certainly don’t dislike it. Amanda Foody is a writer to be reckoned with and one an aspiring novelist like me can learn from. I just don’t know what to think after reading this.

I didn’t like was being led a seemingly wild goose-chase with frustrating dead ends that offered very little satisfaction in the end. Too much letdown with very little payout. And maybe that’s the point. Readers are left unsettled by their journey through the corruption-soaked city of New Reynes.

I don’t know if I’ll read King of Fools – not eager to start nor ready for more of this series – but I will keep book 2 in mind.

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[OFFICIAL] Fall 2019 TBR List + Top 10 Tuesday

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Here it is: my Fall 2019 TBR List! Today’s post actually coincided with the weekly meme Top 10 Tuesday, which works out great!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but is now run by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Today’s prompt is: Books On My Fall TBR List


The Demon Prince of Momochi House (Volumes 8-12) by Aya Shouoto
Vampire Knight (Volumes 15-19) by Matsuri Hino, Translated by Tomo Kimura
Library Wars: Love & War (Volumes 7-15) by Kiiro Yumi, Original Concept by Hiro Arikawa
Dreamin’ Sun (Volumes 2 & 3 of 10) by Ichigo Takano


Awkward by Svetlana Chmahora
A Crooked Kind of Perfect by Linda Urban
Sunny Side Up by Jennifer L. Holm, Illustrated by Matthew Holm (Sunny, book 1)


Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
The Blacksmith Queen by G.A. Aiken
Furyborn by Claire Legrand (Empirium, book 1)
Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff (The Aurora Cycle, book 1)
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Angelbound by Christina Bauer (Angelbound Origins, book 1)
The Werewolf Queen by Brandi Elledge (Wheel of Crowns, book 1)
Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly
Seafire by Natalie C. Parker (Seafire, book 1)
Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen (The Malediction Trilogy, book 1)


Young Adult Contemporary Romance
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang (The Kiss Quotient, book 1)


Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
Puppy Love by Lucy Gilmore (Forever Home, book 1)
Their Ranch Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus (Rocky Mountain Heroes, book 1)
The Doctor’s Family Reunion by Mindy Obenhaus


Hot Blooded by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 4)
Firestorm by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 10)
Blaze by Donna Grant (A Dark Kings Novel, book 11)


Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames (The Band, book 1)
Dragon Mount by Jennifer M. Eaton


Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble

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And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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Book Review: The Water Dragon’s Bride by Rei Toma (Volume 1)

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Manga, Graphic Novel, YA Fantasy
Series: The Water Dragon’s Bride, Volume 1
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Recommend to Others?: Yes


Summary (via Goodreads):
A modern-day girl gets whisked away to a strange land where she is sacrificed to a water dragon god! 

In the blink of an eye, a modern-day girl named Asahi is whisked away from her warm and happy home and stranded in a strange and mysterious world where she is sacrificed to a water dragon god! What plans are in store for her, and what will happen when she comes face to face with this god?

A young boy named Subaru comes to Asahi’s aid, but despite his help, Asahi must endure a test of survival! Will she be able to make it out alive, or will she end up being sacrificed?


My Review:
Great start to what I’m sure is going to be a fantastic series. It has a nice The Little Mermaid vibes to it but a more sinister reversal effect.

Asahi is so cute and funny. I just love her character. It’s sad what she’s going through but I strongly believe things will work out for her in the end.

The water dragon god is very cruel to Asahi. However, Subaru’s mother comes across as more wicked than the water dragon god in this first volume. There’s so much you don’t know about the water dragon god. He is beguiling and stoic. Uninterested in humans who to him are greedy and lower than dirt. I like him as the antagonist. As flat of a character as he is, he’s certainly giving off some powerful vibes.

The story is really interesting and quickly captured my attention. I’m looking forward to reading more volumes. I anticipate unexpected twists and turns unlike anything I’ve every seen.

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Follow me on Goodreads

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And, As Always, Happy Reading!!!

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The Best Stories I’ve Ever Read/Watched

Having a wild and very active imagination combined with the incredible effects of reading books have inspired me to become an author. While I owe every story credit for my writing passion, there are few select stories across entertainment mediums whose stories hold a special place in my heart and inspire me to no ends. These stories have outstanding characters, intricately compelling plots, and wholly original worlds. They take my breath away.

Here are the best stories I’ve ever read/watched that have been influential in my life:


Attack on Titan
Anime Series

Beka Cooper
Young Adult Fantasy (trilogy) Book Series
by Tamora Pierce

Circle of Magic
Young Adult Fantasy (quartet) Book Series
by Tamora Pierce

Daughter of the Lioness
Young Adult Fantasy (duology) Book Series
by Tamora Pierce

Full Metal Alchemist
Anime Series

Anime Series

Ranger’s Apprentice
Young Adult/Middle Grade Fantasy Book Series
by John Flanagan

Fantasy Book Series
by Juliet Marillier

Song of the Lioness
Young Adult Fantasy (quartet) Book Series
by Tamora Pierce

Soul Screamers
Young Adult Fantasy Book Series
by Rachel Vincent

Young Adult Fantasy Book Series
by Maria V. Snyder

Tales From Verania
Fantasy Romance / LGBTQ Fiction (quartet) Book Series
by T.J. Klune

Wicked Lovely
Young Adult Fantasy Book Series
by Melissa Marr

What are some of the best stories you’ve ever read/watched/heard? Let me know in the comments below.

And, as always, happy reading!!!

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Favorite Books In Purple

Bloodhound by Tamora Pierce (Beka Cooper, book 2)
Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr (Wicked Lovely, book 5)
Fade to Us by Julia Day
Forest Born by Shannon Hale (The Books of Bayern, book 4)
Once and For All by Sarah Dessen
Paintbrush by Hannah Bucchin
The Last Battle of the Icemark by Stuart Hill (The Icemark Chronicles, book 3)
Taste of Darkness by Maria V. Snyder (Healer, book 3)
Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (Glass, book 1)
Violet Eyes by Debbie Viguié (A Retelling of The Princess and the Pea)
Wings by Aprilynne Pike (Wings, book 1)
With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland

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Anticipated 2019 Book Releases

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Black Butler (Volume 27) by Yana Toboso – January 22

SUMMARY Three years prior, on his tenth birthday, Earl Ciel Phantomhive lost everything…but he was not alone. From the attack on the Phantomhive manor to the moment the contract with a certain devil was made, Ciel starkly recounts all that has come to pass…leaving all who bear witness breathless!


The Royal Tutor (Volume 11) by Higasa Akai – April 23

SUMMARY Some unexpected guests to the royal palace have the princes on their toes! Between acting as gracious hosts and testing their language skills, what additional lessons will the prospective heirs to the throne learn from their visitors?


Image via Goodreads

Spark by Sarah Beth Durst – May 14

SUMMARY When a shy girl and her dragon-like companion discover their country’s idyllic weather comes at a steep—and secret—cost, they recruit fellow students to defy authority and attempt to spread the truth.

Storm beasts and their guardians create perfect weather every day, and Mina longs for a storm beast of her own. But when the gentle girl bonds with a lightning beast—a creature of fire and chaos—everyone’s certain it’s a mistake. Everyone but Mina and the beast himself, Pixit. Quickly enrolled in lightning school, Mina struggles to master a guardian’s skills, and she discovers that her country’s weather comes at a devastating cost—a cost powerful people wish to hide. Mina’s never been the type to speak out, but someone has to tell the truth, and, with Pixit’s help, she resolves to find a way to be heard.


Image via Goodreads

Your Lion Eyes (Alphaville, book 2) by Christine Warren – June 25

SUMMARY Molly Buchanan is a lioness on the prowl. Unfortunately, since she’s been prowling through the same town for her entire life, she’s down to some pretty slim pickings in the dating department. But the minute she sets eyes on the new bachelor in town, her lioness starts to purr and plans to do some serious rubbing up against Grady Emerson.

Newly arrived in Alpha, Washington, Grady just wants to settle in and do his job as the town’s newest deputy. But even this rogue-bear sheriff knew Molly Buchanan was trouble the minute he laid eyes on her. She might be smoking hot, sharp as a tack, and funny as hell, but she is also his friend’s younger sister, and there are some things a good man just doesn’t do-no matter how much his bear might want to devour her.

What books are you most looking forward to being published this year? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Perhaps I’ll find a new book to read among your top picks.

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Reading 2018: Best of Manga

Today’s the final day spotlighting my favorite books of 2018.

A large portion of the books I read this year were of this genre. But the titles below have had a big impact on me and my reading experience. I feel like the world of books just got ten times bigger.

It behooved me to pick just one as the best. I loved them all so I picked them all as the best.


BLACK BUTLER (Volumes 1-26) by Yana Toboso
Series Review (so far)

FRUITS BASKET (Volumes 1-23) by Natsuki Takaya
Series Review

S●A – SPECIAL A (Volumes 1-17) by Maki Minami
Series Review

THE BETRAYAL KNOWS MY NAME (Volumes 1-8) by Hotaru Odagiri
Series Review


See Which Books Took Home The Gold Last Year In 2017

Reading 2017: Best of Picture Books
Reading 2017: Best of Young Adult & Young Adult Fantasy
Reading 2017: Best of Fantasy
Reading 2017: Best of Romance
Reading 2017: Best of Middle Grade & My Favorite Book of the Year