Book Review: Savage Monarchs by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook!

Savage Monarchs is the final book in the Nocturnal Academy series by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook (though the story does not end here- the next series they wrote is a direct continuation of what happens after this book!). As always, I received an ARC of this book and am re-posting my review here as a courtesy to the authors! I originally reviewed this book back in February on Goodreads.

Here’s the blurb:

Escaping the academy was just the beginning.

I’ve made it out of Nocturnal Academy.

No longer do I exist to please the vamps. Now, as a member of the Winter Court, my job is to execute them. But maybe my new standing is no better than being a courtesan. Now I am to become an assassin for the King of the Winter Court. The rules of the game might’ve changed, but I’m still a pawn.

If the King of the Winter Court thinks that I’m going to turn into a mindless soldier after everything I’ve been through, he’s in for a rude awakening. I’m going to do this on my terms while keeping a wall around my heart at all times.

I will not be vulnerable again.

Life, however, has other ideas. Like throwing in a friend from my past and worse, Thorsten, a handsome jerk of a vampire who has messed with my mind and feelings one too many times.

I might’ve left Nocturnal Academy, but I’m far from safe.

Enter a magical world where a half-fae will fight for her voice to be heard!

And the cover:

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And my review!

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review 🙂

Savage Monarchs wastes no time jumping right back into the action of the previous books! It begins with the vampire Thorsten witnessing everyone freaking out over Onyx escaping the Academy. He doesn’t quite know where she went, but he is happy she escaped- and he hopes to see her again.

Meanwhile, we find out that Onyx has actually been spirited away by her father, who is King of the Winter Court. This confirms what Onyx suspected all along- she inherited ice magic from her father. She is pretty wary of her father, because she thinks he saved her so her could mold her powers to use for his own devices. Despite this, she wants to train and become a warrior princess for the Winter Court. Her goal throughout this novel is to find a way to kill Volthus, the vampire that “bought” her at the end of the last book.

I enjoyed this book, and I thought the ending was kind of sweet. I have to wonder, though, how this girl so quickly became a warrior. One minute, she’s at the Academy barely able to conjure any sort of magic; the next minute, she can fight and outsmart vampires (and fae) that are way older and more experienced? Anyway, this is still a pretty good story! Supposedly the next few books in the series will focus on other characters (neither of whom I’m very fond of), but hopefully we’ll see more of Onyx someday!

I gave Savage Monarch 4/5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: The Last Stitch Goes Through the Nose by Moses Norton!

Just like my last two book reviews, in January I reviewed a book called The Last Stitch Goes Through the Nose. This wasn’t a book from one of the authors who give me ARCs of their books, but rather, it is a book written by awesome fellow blogger Moses Norton aka The Well-Red Mage! I wanted to support his efforts, so I purchased his book and left him a review!

Here’s the blurb for the book:

Who is the Scissor-man? Nobody cares, nobody sees, except for one little boy. This debut literary fantasy novella takes a hard look at society and its outcasts through the eyes of youth.

In a world where death is ignored, a child named Orasi becomes fascinated with the Scissor-man, the homeless mortician and a man around whom local legends have been developed by well-meaning parents to frighten children into obedience. After he finds a black thread in the snow belonging to the Scissor-man, Orasi begins to unravel the myth and folklore surrounding this horrifying figure, and his journey of discovery brings him closer than ever to the father he barely knew. Orasi must fight against new feelings he has never confronted before, trying to make sense of the state of his family and the state of his village. But the world is a place that has already decided its rules. New feelings can be punished. His is just one beating heart among millions who are already dead, and Orasi may not like what he finds in the end…

The Last Stitch Goes Through The Nose tests its characters to see if they are still breathing, and it might reach out to see if you are, too. Not exactly social commentary and not exactly pure fantasy, The Last Stitch encourages you to do the forbidden: think and feel before it is too late. It is perfect for any reader who isn’t too grown up yet, or the reader who suspects they can still see through the eyes of a child.

And here’s the cover:

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Here’s what I wrote for my review:

I have been keeping up with Moses Norton, aka The Well Red Mage, on his blog for a few years now; therefore I was happy to read his first novel, The Last Stitch Goes Through The Nose!

The main character in this story is a boy named Orasi. At the start of the tale, his mother keeps calling him away from the window. He doesn’t listen, because he wants a glimpse of the terrifying Scissor-Man.

The town of Reicbough, where Orasi lives, needs the Scissor-Man “only out of necessity.” You see, the Scissor-Man is a mortician and grave digger, and the people of Reicbough are very uncomfortable with the thought of death. They would prefer not to talk about it, not to think about it, and pretty much pretend death is not a natural part of life.

Orasi is a curious boy, however, and struggles with many emotions throughout this book- mainly sadness and frustration at the way people act and react to different situations. He begins to pity the Scissor-Man and the way people treat him.

The turn this story takes at the end is very depressing, and what happened was just so… unnecessary. It made people finally start to recognize death and remember those who have passed on, but it just goes to show how uncomfortable people can be with those things they don’t fully understand.

I really enjoyed this book, though it didn’t leave me with happy feelings when I was done reading it!

I gave The Last Stitch Goes Through the Nose 5/5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: The Fracture by Margo Ryerkerk!

In January of this year (just like my last book review, geez) I read and reviewed a short story by Margo Ryerkerk. It’s set in the Ardere series universe (which is now called the Dark Legacy series, but whatever) so yeah… on to my review!

Here’s the blurb:

Oh… there is no blurb. Moving along…here’s the cover:

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That guy has a totally smackable face, ugh. I don’t know why but he bugs me and doesn’t really look like the character he represents in the book! Anyway, here’s the review I posted on Goodreads:

This book begins with Gavin and Cooper training for their final exams at their high school. Gavin is showing promise as the best in his class, but all he wants is for he, his two best friends (Cooper and Dominic) and his girlfriend (Pia) to stick close together after graduation. Unfortunately, during this training, Dominic decides to go take a walk and is murdered. Gavin subsequently blames himself for some reason (as if Dominic needed a babysitter or something!) and develops a whiny, woe-is-me attitude.

Despite this, Gavin still ends up graduating as the top Dragoon in his class and has many great opportunities laid out before him. However, he can’t get over Dominic’s death, and he continues to pull away from everyone and everything. This ultimately costs him his relationship with Cooper and Pia, but sets the stage for the beginning of Fluidis Rising! This was a nice little backstory that I really enjoyed reading!

I gave The Fracture 4/5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Rogue Fae by Ashley McCleo!

Back in January of this year, I read and reviewed Rogue Fae, a companion novella to the Starseed Trilogy by Ashley McCleo. I really enjoyed that series (and I’ve reviewed all the books on my blog already- sorry, I’m too lazy to find and repost the links) so this was a fun little read. Here’s the blurb for the book:

The Nashville coven is in a tizzy, which is to be expected. Murder does tend to bring out peoples’ anxiety.

What’s unexpected is that the coven asks visiting witches Gwenn, Rena, and Emily, to help find the fae throwing Nashville into disarray. After all, they have the rare magical skill set no one in the coven can boast.

However, as the trio follows the clues the fae left, they unearth something fishy. There seems to be more to the string of death and destruction the fae left behind than meets the eye. One member of the coven is being aggressive, and Gwenn can’t help but feel uncomfortable around another.

And that’s not even considering the decades-long feud between the fae tribe and the witches that the trio unearths.

A feud no one in the Nashville coven bothered to mention.

Coincidence? The trio thinks not.

Now all they have to do is prove it.

Rogue Fae is a prequel, stand-alone novella to The Starseed Trilogy. If you like realistic, smart characters and fast-paced mystery steeped in deceit and small-town politics you’ll love it!

And here’s the cover!

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Here is my review:

Rogue Fae is a prequel novella set in the Starseed Universe. I’m a big fan of the Starseed Universe trilogy, so I couldn’t wait to see which characters would be featured in this book! Minor spoilers are present in my review, so please don’t read if you haven’t read the original books yet!

Rogue Fae follows Gwenn, who is one of the triplets’ aunts. She goes to a concert and meets up with Rena, who ends up being Lily’s adoptive mother. Talk about a small world! Gwenn and Rena hit it off right away and decide to go on a road trip together. Soon, they meet up with Emily, who ends up being one of Lily’s most beloved friends.

The three girls go to stay at a local coven and discover that there is a rogue fae supposedly going on a murdering spree. Because they are up for adventure anywhere they go, they decide to investigate the rogue fae, and they discover nothing is quite as it seems.

This was a nice little story, and I enjoyed dipping back into the Starseed Universe!

I gave Rogue Fae 4/5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Vicious Royals by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook!

I know I have been posting my monthly gaming recaps, and I do have one for May! However, I’m so damn slow at actually putting out blog posts, I’ve accumilated quite the list of posts I want to do. So instead of doing my recaps, I’m going to tackle that list- in the order I wrote them down in- so I can finally get all my posts done. I’ll still throw my recaps in there- at this rate, I’ll do my May recap in December. Whatever, I suck, moving on….

Vicious Royals is the 2nd book in the Nocturnal Academy series by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook. I reviewed this book in December 2019 on Goodreads! Here’s the blurb for the book:

A sadistic vamp lord. A rebellious fae. A vicious hunt.

The first term of Nocturnal Academy is over. Majors have been assigned.

I’ve made choices that brought me closer to the guillotine. But the fight isn’t over, not yet.

I must get through the spring term. Not an easy feat when the vamp students are planning a sacrifice and have a bone to pick with me.

But even if I survive the prison academy, someone will be buying my contract after school is out, and rumor has it that the king of sadists is interested in me.

Whatever he wants, he gets.

But if he thinks I’ll go down without a fight, he has another thing coming.

I’ll even ally myself with Thorsten, the vamp guard whose family the sadist has wronged.

But working together with Thorsten brings new problems. The handsome jerk seems to hate me, yet keeps putting his head on the line for me.

My mind is growing more and more confused with him while my body craves him.

If I’m not careful, I’m going to leave Nocturnal Academy not just with a slavery contract, but also a broken heart.

Dive into a world where vampires rule over fae, and one girl is determined to change it all!

Vicious Royals is the second book in the Nocturnal Academy trilogy.

Book three will be published in winter 2020.

And the cover:

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And my review!

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review 🙂

Vicious Royals is the second book in the Nocturnal Academy series (formally Nocturna Academy- the name was changed!). This book was mostly told from Onyx’s point of view, though occasionally it is told from Thorsten’s point of view- more on him in a second!

Vicious Royals begins with Onyx in class for her courtesan major. Because of her (in my opinion, dumb) stunt she pulled at the end of the previous book, she is basically training to become a sex slave for a vampire. The teacher tries to make it sound enticing, saying shit like “You are more than someone to sleep with… you are his companion, his champion, his muse…” Yeah, okay. That’s ridiculous!

Thorsten, meanwhile, is a vampire guard at Nocturnal Academy who has helped Onyx on several occasions. He’s pissed about her recent decisions, but still tries to keep her best interests in mind anyway. Onyx can be a little hard to deal with, though. She really is quite baffling in this book- sometimes she seems quite haughty, as if she is better than everyone else. I’m not sure where the attitude comes from, but maybe she’s just trying to grow a thick skin so she can survive her situation!

In the end, Onyx knows she doesn’t want to be sold off, so she forms a daring plan for her escape. Vicious Royals ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see what happens next!

I rated Vicious Royals 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Rogue Blood by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook!

Rogue Blood is a short story set in the Nocturnal Academy universe. I originally posted this review on Goodreads in December 2019! Here’s the blurb for the book:

As a half fae, Onyx Logan knows not to trust anyone since they might have contacts to the vampires, who’d love nothing more than to enslave a fae like her.

However, when Onyx and her mother are threatened by their landlord, Onyx becomes desperate to keep a roof over her head and accepts a waitressing job.

The bar has a lot of strange customers, and Onyx promises herself to get out as soon as she saves enough money.

Just as she is about to quit, something horrible happens…

Dive into a world where vampires rule over fae, and one girl is determined to change it all!

Nocturnal Academy is a four-book series (prequel and trilogy)

The prequel, Wicked Nobles has been released as part of the Academy of Magic boxset.

Book 1, Cruel Elites will be released on the 5th of December.

Book 2, Vicious Royals will be released on the 18th of December.

Book 3, Savage Monarchs will be released in winter 2020.

The cover:

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And my review:

Rogue Blood is a short story that takes place in the Nocturnal Academy universe, just before Onyx begins attending the Academy. The story begins with Onyx at school, where rich, snobby girls are making fun of her. She tries not to react to them, because her mom told her rich people are often involved with vampires. This means that if they find out that Onyx is half fae, she could be in big trouble!

After school, Onyx discovers that she and her mom are about to be evicted from their apartment because her mom couldn’t afford to pay the rent. She is unsure of what to do but wants to help out somehow. It just so happens that she meets a woman at a bookstore, who in turn offers her a job at her bar. I wanted to slap Onyx and say “NO! Don’t do it!” Of course, she ends up taking the job because she doesn’t want to be evicted.

As the saying always goes, if something is too good to be true, it probably is… and Onyx ends up getting herself in a really sticky situation. I feel bad for her, though, knowing that she is doing all of this for her mom… and her mom just ends up selling her to the vamps! Anyway, I enjoyed this fun little story, and it was interesting to get a glimpse into Onyx’s life before Nocturnal Academy!

I gave Rogue Blood 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!

Book Review: Cruel Elites by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook!

Margo Ryerkerk has been a busy lady! She’s been putting out a lot of books lately, and is still so kindly sending me ARCs to read and review. I already posted my review for the prequel to the Nocturnal Academy series back in March, so here is the review for Book #1, Cruel Elites!

I originally reviewed this book on Goodreads in December 2019. Here’s the blurb for the book:

In a world ruled by vamps, being half fae and magicless sucks.

Surviving the summer term at Nocturna Academy taught me three things.

1. There’s no escape out of the castle.
2. I’ll be trained as a servant to the vampires or worse—a courtesan.
3. I can fight for what I want from the inside out.

In the last few months, I’ve lost my mother, my best friend, and my freedom.

I’ve done unimaginable things, but I’m not broken.

The Placement Tests are coming up, and I will crush them. I refuse to end up as a vampire’s plaything. I’ll become the 1 out of 100 fae who gets to shape her own fate.

I don’t care how hard I have to work or how improbable my chances are.

My relentlessness and desperation will pay off.

Or at least that’s what I thought.

Because between a mysterious vampire guard confusing me, my nemesis circling in on me like a viper, and a new teacher hating my guts, all my efforts seem to only make everything worse.

If I’m not careful, I won’t end up as a courtesan, but as dead meat.

Immerse yourself into a world filled with magic, danger, and romance.

If you love Richelle Mead, Jaymin Eve, and Bella Forrest, you’ll love Nocturna Academy.

Cruel Elites is a fae academy novel and the first book in the Nocturna Academy trilogy. It is highly recommended to read the prequel Wicked Nobles first, which can be found in the Academy of Magic boxed set.

Book two and three of the trilogy will be published in December 2019 and January 2020.

And the cover:

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Here’s my review!

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

Cruel Elites is the first book of Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook’s new series, Nocturna Academy. They released a prequel for the series which I recently reviewed! I recommend reading it first, as it does give you an excellent backstory for Onyx, the main character. Anyway, Cruel Elites begins with Onyx debating what the hell she should do with herself, because she accidentally killed a fae prince named Preston. Preston had offered to help her escape Nocturna Academy over the summer, but as it turns out, he was nothing but a giant creep. Onyx only wants to get away from him, but she ends up summoning ice and killing him- despite the fact that she thought she had no magical abilities.

With that being said, Onyx resigns herself to the fact that she is pretty much stuck at Nocturna Academy. As was explained in the prequel, she was sold to the vampires by her mother and forced to attend Nocturna Academy so she could learn how to be a good little slave fae for the vampires. In the prequel, she was all about escaping, but in this book she’s a bit more conflicted. She still wants to escape, but she sometimes feels as though maybe she should just accept her fate and try to impress the vampires so she can get a better job with them.

All the classes Onyx and the other fae are taking are meant as practice for their Placement Tests so they can see what course of study they will take for the remainder of their time at the academy. Only one fae receives Independent Study, which means they can choose their own course of action. Onyx spends the entire time trying to hide her magical powers because she doesn’t want anyone knowing what she can do. No spoilers here, but in the end, Onyx does something that I saw as extremely dumb! She may have thought she was being selfless, but to me it was a little out of character and just made no sense. Let’s hope that her decision plays out well for her in the next book!

I rated Cruel Elites 4 out of 5 stars on Goodreads!

P.S. I mentioned this in my prequel review, but in the prequel as well as Cruel Elites, Nocturnal Academy was actually called Nocturnal Academy before the authors changed it- so I didn’t make a type there 😉

Book Review: Wicked Nobles by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hooks!

Recently, Margo Ryerkerk (who graciously sends me ARCs of her books) teamed up with writer Holly Hook for a brand new series called Nocturnal Academy. Wicked Nobles is a prequel to the series and gives us a little insight into the main character, Onyx Logan. Please note that this book is part of a compilation called Academy of Magic, so I don’t think there’s any way to purchase it separately! This is the same compilation that my last book review was featured in, so click here if you want to see the book cover and read my thoughts. With that being said, here’s what I wrote on Goodreads about Nocturnal Academy:

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This is the only cover art I could find for the whole collection- nothing just for Wicked Nobles. Kind of lame, but you get the idea!

Wicked Nobles is the prequel to the forthcoming Nocturna Academy series by Margo Ryerkerk and Holly Hook. The main character is a girl named Onyx (what a bad ass name!). She is half fae, but doesn’t appear to have any magic, which makes her pretty low on the totem pole as far as supernaturals are concerned. Nevertheless, she has to keep her fae identity a secret or risk enslavement by vampires.

Of course, the vampires find out about Onyx’s identity… because her mom SOLD HER. Wow, great mother… anyway, Onyx is forced to attend Nocturna Academy, where vampires and faes go to school together. While the vampires learn how to lead, the faes learn how to best serve their future vampire masters.

Onyx is not subservient and has no desire to conform to the vampire’s demands, so she immediately begins plotting ways to get the hell out of Nocturna Academy. One of her teachers offers to help her, but she quickly learns that everything is not black and white, and escaping may be more difficult than she thought.

This book makes me SO excited for the Nocturna Academy books. The series seems like it’s going to touch on some pretty dark subject matter, and I can’t wait to see what happens to Onyx!

I gave Wicked Nobles 4/5 stars on Goodreads! Also, note that in this book, the academy WAS called Nocturna Academy instead of Nocturnal Academy- I didn’t make a typo there! The authors changed the name after the first book due to… stuff. Haha 😉

Book Review: An Academy Witch By Ashley McCleo!

An Academy Witch is a prequel to The Spellcasters Spy Academy series by Ashley McCleo. I already reviewed the first book of this series, so it was interesting to read this, as it focused on one the characters that I actually strongly disliked in the first book! I received this book as an ARC, so I’m sharing my Goodreads review as a courtesy!

This book is actually part of a boxset, so there really isn’t a blurb just for An Academy Witch. Here’s a picture of the cover from Ashley McCleo’s website though!

This is what I wrote on Goodreads:

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review of this book! 🙂

An Academy Witch is a prequel to A Legacy Witch by Ashley McCleo and centers around Diana, the haughty and spoiled daughter of the headmistress of Spellcasters Spy Academy. At least… that’s what I thought about Diana before I read this book!

Diana is a headstrong young woman who wants to attend Spellcasters, but she wants to gain entry based on hard work and dedication- not simply because of her mother. Diana trains hard and completes the trials set before her without complaint because she wants to prove herself.

I admit, I did not like Diana’s character at all when she was presented in A Legacy Witch. I did not understand was she was so rude, cold and seemingly entitled. After reading An Academy Witch, I completely understand her motivations and why she wouldn’t like Odette just breezing into the academy based on the fact that she is a Legacy (meaning her parents attended the school). She could have gone about things a little nicer, but hey… no one’s perfect!

This was a short, easy read that was thoroughly enjoyable and gave a different, more inside viewpoint of Spellcasters. I really enjoyed it, and I gave it 5/5 stars on Goodreads!

 

 

Book Review: A Legacy Witch By Ashley McCleo!

As always, I like to re-post my reviews for books that are so graciously sent to me for free to review! A Legacy Witch is the first book in a new series, The Spellcasters Spy Academy, by Ashley McCleo! Here’s the blurb:

Magic and espionage are in my blood.

But my parents don’t want me attending their alma mater, Spellcasters Spy Academy. They think I can’t hack it. Of course, I plan on proving them wrong.

If I can stay alive long enough.

Someone is attacking witches in my year, and I seem to always be nearby when they strike.

I swear I have nothing to do with it. Shoot, I can barely get my magic to cooperate. But convincing some people of my innocence is impossible. Like hot-as-hell Alex Wardwell, who despises me because of one dumb mistake.

So between proving my parents wrong, passing the trials Spellcasters has in store, trying to convince Alex that he has me pegged wrong, and simply staying alive, it looks like I’m going to have a busy year.

Thank the universe I’ve always been up for a challenge.

And the cover!

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Here’s what I had to say about the book on Goodreads:

I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! 🙂

A Legacy Witch is the first book in a brand-new series by Ashley McCleo- the Spellcasters Spy Academy series! Spellcasters draws immediate parallels to Harry Potter’s Hogwarts for me, as both schools train witches and wizards. Spellcasters is more like a college, however, and trains students to become elite spies.

The main character of A Legacy Witch is Odette, who is a first year student at Spellcasters. Though her parents both attended the school and were revered spies, they are very hesitant for her to attend school. As it turns out, they have good reason for feeling this way… but no spoilers here! 😉

When Odette first arrives, she meets Diana, the headmistress’s daughter. Diana has a huge chip on her shoulder when it comes to Odette, because Odette was the only student who chose to enroll in the academy based on her “legacy” status instead of actually testing in. Most of the other first years feel that way, too, which is not fun for Odette. She also starts out the year as one of the weakest witches (through no fault of her own) which makes her wonder if she even belongs at the school in the first place. She does make a few friends (and meets a love interest of course!) which makes her time at Spellcasters become more bearable!

During The Culling (as the first year at Spellcasters is officially called) there are two trials and one challenge that the first years must pass before continuing on to the next year. I won’t spoil any of the details of them! The ending of the book surprised me, and I bet it surprised Odette too! I can’t wait to read about her second and third years at Spellcasters! 🙂