Book Review: May Day by Josie Jaffrey [with Playlist & Moodboard]

Book Title: May Day
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Series: Seekers #1
Publisher: Silver Sun Books
Release: July 9th 2020
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal

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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.

Content/trigger warnings at the end of this post may contain spoilers.
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Book Review: Killian’s Dead by Josie Jaffrey

Book Title: Killian’s Dead
Author: Josie Jaffrey
Series: Seekers #0.5
Publisher: Silver Sun Books
Publication Date: June 4th 2020
Genres: LGBT, Fantasy
Trigger Warnings: blood, alcohol

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Love is for losers.

Jack doesn’t care about anything except music. All she wants to do is find a decent gig, stand by the speakers and let the bass roll through her. It’s the only reason she gets out of bed.

Until she meets Winta. In the space of a second, everything is different. Winta knows what she wants and for one night, what she wants is Jack. It feels like the start of forever.

Then Winta disappears and Jack faces a choice: should she go back to her life, or track down the only girl who can change it beyond recognition?

One things’ certain: Jack has no idea what she’s getting herself into.


I received an eARC of this book from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinions in any way.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I have no idea how to start this review because my brain refuses to function without having read the first book in this series. But I shall try anyway.

Killian’s Dead is the prequel to Josie Jaffrey’s new urban fantasy series, Seekers. This follows Jack, an 18-year-old music junkie, as she crosses paths with the gorgeous Winta, and they share a wonderful nightwhich might be the beginning of a budding romance. Or at least that’s what Jack thinks. Then things take a shocking turn when Winta suddenly disappears, leaving a wounded Jack behind. She now has to decide whether to forget their one night in paradise or find out what really happened to Winta, unwittingly finding out more than what she’s bargained for.

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Book Review: Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

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Book Title: Descendant of the Crane
Author: Joan He
Publisher: Albert Whitman Company
Publication Date: April 9th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Princess Hesina of Yan has always been eager to shirk the responsibilities of the crown, dreaming of an unremarkable life. But when her beloved father is found dead, she’s thrust into power, suddenly the queen of a surprisingly unstable kingdom. What’s more, Hesina believes that her father was murdered—and that the killer is someone close to her.

Hesina’s court is packed full of dissemblers and deceivers eager to use the king’s death for political gain, each as plausibly guilty as the next. Her advisers would like her to blame the neighboring kingdom of Kendi’a, whose ruler has been mustering for war. Determined to find her father’s actual killer, Hesina does something desperate: she enlists the aid of a soothsayer—a treasonous act, punishable by
death, since magic was outlawed centuries ago.

Using the information provided by the sooth, and uncertain if she can trust her family, Hesina turns to Akira—a brilliant investigator who’s also a convicted criminal with secrets of his own. With the future of Yan at stake, can Hesina find justice for her father? Or will the cost be too high?


I received an eARC of this book from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review.

MY THOUGHTS

I have no idea where and how to start because I’ve tried writing a review four times already. And none of them seem to give the book justice. So here I am, for the fifth time, attempting to concoct a [somewhat] coherent book review, uncaring if I fail miserably once more because I just need to let everything out, else I might explode.

My bookish friends have been constantly raving about this prior to its release and due to overbearing academic pressure, I wasn’t able to keep up with them. But fast forward a few weeks later, I finally had the chance to read and witness for myself how utterly excellent this really was.

Descendant of the Crane was a never-ending rollercoaster in the form of a beautiful, well-thought out book. Influenced by Chinese culture, I adored the intricacy in this one. Some may think that the slow pacing would put me off, (and normally it would!) but in this case, it just added to a great reading experience. The premise was intriguing enough but the plot twists in this book made the whole plot all the more breathtaking. The mystery was so well-done that I was doubting everybody at one point and I could not put the book down! Like the little mystery fan that I am, I always try to solve the mystery on my own so I take short breaks from reading every now and then to let the story so far sink in and come up with a hypothesis about the case. But just when I thought I knew what was bound to happen in this book, a plot twist would smack me right in the face, upending my theories!

The courtroom spectacle and murder mystery was astounding in itself, but what really tied everything for me is the depth of the main characters’ story. The book didn’t just account the tale of how the death of their king affected The Kingdom of Yan, but it also explores how it stirred each of the main characters’ life. Through this, I really connected with each of them. Hesina, for one, constantly amazes me for she remains headstrong however fragile she is inside. She’s got a heart of gold that would probably be her downfall one day. Akira, on the other hand, is such a cunning and mysterious character; full of depth and I just can’t get enough of him. And, OH MY WORD, don’t even get me started on Lillian and Caiyan. I swear on my life, they will be the end of me. I’m speechless and I just want to go back to the very first page, snatch them and then lock them up in a vault. Now, Sanjing is probably an underrated character here but however hostile he can get, I can still see his lovable, precious side from time to time.

Oh oh OH! Let’s have a moment of appreciation for the fact that the romance in this book wasn’t overpowering, which I appreciate a lot!! I’m glad it wasn’t too fixated on and that it didn’t take the focus away from the main plot.

I’ve grown to love both the world and the people in Descendant of the Crane which made parting with the book that much harder. I was left emotionally unstable for quite a while when I finished this one and I couldn’t even think straight! I haven’t cried in public because of a book for a while now, and this made me bawl like a baby.

If you haven’t read this book yet, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?? Please do yourself a favor and go to the nearest bookstore, or better yet, order online (links provided above) for less hassle. This will not disappoint you and every penny you spend will be absolutely worth it. And if you’re one of the lucky people who got swag from the preorder campaign, then swoon with me once more!! THE CHARACTER CARDS AND THE ROSE GOLD BOOKMARK ARE SO GORGEOUS.

Of course, this wouldn’t be possible for me if not for Emily at Literary Edits. I won her 500 followers book giveaway on Twitter! Thank you once again, Emily. 🧡


Have you read Descendant of the Crane? Let’s chat!

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Blog Tour: Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]

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Book Title: Small Town Hearts
Author: Lillie Vale
Series: None (Standalone)
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: March 19th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy. 

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

MY THOUGHTS

Hi! I would like to apologize for my consistent absence both here on my blog and on Twitter because of academic reasons, ugh. But now, our midterm exams are finally over so I get to do more reading, which is always good!

I’ve just started this earlier today and finished it in a day. And considering that I’m a painfully slow reader, that says a lot about how much I adored this book!

Let me start off by saying that the characters are spectacularly-written. If you know me, then you probably know that I am a character-driven reader which means my reading experience largely depends on the characters of the book. So it came as no surprise that I would rate this so highly. Granted, a couple of characters were superficial and “just-there” but I feel like they weren’t really valuable to the main story. The ones that are, though? They were so realistic and I loved every single one of them.

I instantaneously liked Babe Vogel, our main character, mainly because I feel like we’re very similar individuals in the sense that we both fear change, however minuscule it may be. She is also mind-numbingly sweet and loyal to her friends, even though she ends up getting hurt most of the time. But most of all, I liked her since she developed so well through the course of this story. I actually felt like a friend, so proud of who she’s become by the time the book came to a close! Not to mention, she also cares for the environment as she still picked up her trash to throw away even in the middle of a thunderstorm! AND she bakes!!! If all those reasons didn’t convince you in the slightest that she’s one of the best main characters there is, then I don’t know what will.

Poppy, Babe’s best friend, is a character with many flaws which grew on me. I was initially aghast at how Babe managed to be on good terms with Poppy for so long because it seems to me like Poppy was a selfish and manipulative person. However, I understood that she had her reasons and came to realize that she was one of the most realistic characters among them all.

And then there’s Levi. I can’t stop swooning over Levi while reading, and as I’m typing this, I’m falling head over heels in love with him once more! He is definitely the epitome of a perfect book boyfriend. Aside from being extremely talented, he knows exactly how to treat a girl [Babe] right. He was very mature in the entirety of the story and I admire him for that, especially considering that he’s eighteen.

On the other hand, as if the fantastic characters weren’t enough, the storyline of Small Town Hearts is breathtakingly genuine and the romance so heartwarming that I just couldn’t get enough of it!

Small town. Coffee shop. Friendships. And a summer boy. Those are four of my soft spots so seeing them all in one book and be executed properly? Lillie Vale has outdone herself on this debut novel.

Oar’s Rest indeed sounds like paradise, plus the food, coffee and baked pastries mentioned made my mouth water numerous times! The romance was everything I could have hoped for too! It was equal parts charming and honest, which was made extra special since it was the only thing that was mostly going right in Babe’s summer that turned upside down. And although it didn’t touch upon much familial aspect, this book shined because it deals with problems on close-knit friendships as everything seems to change the summer before college. 

Overall, I absolutely recommend Small Town Hearts because aside from being such a sweet and romantic read, I think this is an important book for young and new adults such as myself. This book has definitely made its mark on my heart! I would definitely be on the look out for more of this author’s works!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lillie.jpgLillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.

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Win a print copy of Small Town Hearts (US/CAN)

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Blog Tour: Beware the Night by Jessika Fleck [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY!]

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6Book Title: Beware the Night
Author: Jessika Fleck
Series: None (Standalone/No mention of sequel)
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: March 12th 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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On the island of Bellona, they worship the sun. Seventeen-year-old Veda understands that keeping the sun content ensures plentiful crops, peace and harmony, and a thriving economy. But as a member of the Basso class, she never reaps those benefits.

Life as a Basso is one fraught with back-breaking work and imposing rules. Her close friendship with Nico is Veda’s one saving grace in a cruel world where the division between her people and the ruling Dogio is as wide and winding as the canals that snake through their island.

But when Veda’s grandfather is chosen as the next sacrificial offering to keep the sun’s favor, Veda is forced to see the injustice of her world. Turning away from the sun means she must join the night—and an underground revolution she’s been taught to fear all her life.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

MY THOUGHTS

YOU NEED THIS ON YOUR TBR, I SWEAR TO GOD. Normally, I wouldn’t start my review with such aggression but, goddamn, this book is fantastic. AND LOOK AT THAT COVER! It’s so stunning!

Let me start with Veda, our main character, since I loved her so much. She’s a badass and she’s clearly my type of a main character: strong and hard-willed. Unlike others, she does not want to just be a symbol for the people in a raging war; she wants to actually fight with her people. Although she’s scared and admittedly not very equipped for the role, she does not cower. Also, from the first mention of whatever Veda is, it all seemed so flaky for me as well so I know where she is coming from with her doubts.

Nico, Veda’s best friend, was a well-written character as well. His personality resonates true depth and his genuine love for his friend seeps through this book’s pages. I feel every ounce of happiness, hurt, sadness, or whatever emotions he may feel and I’ve come to love him until the end of the book.

Although I’m really not one for love triangles, this one is an exception. It has been executed really well as I can understand and sympathize with each one of them. Despite the tropes, I really enjoyed this book’s plot and the concept about the Sun and Moon being worshiped by the people is something I haven’t read before. I vaguely remember that with every turn of the page, this book kept me wanting more and more!

If you haven’t yet, go get this book for yourself. I was delighted that I thoroughly enjoyed this one. And with the cliffhanger at the end, I refuse to believe that Beware the Night is a standalone. *huffs indignantly* I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story develops.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jessica.jpgJessika Fleck is an author, unapologetic coffee drinker, and knitter — she sincerely hopes to one day discover a way to do all three at once. Until then, she continues collecting vintage typewriters and hourglasses, dreaming of an Ireland getaway, and convincing her husband they NEED more kittens. Her YA debut, THE CASTAWAYS (Entangled TEEN), is now available. Her next YA novel, BEWARE THE NIGHT (Swoon Reads/Macmillan) releases March 12, 2019. More at www.jessikafleck.com

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GIVEAWAY

Win a print copy of Beware the Night (US/CAN)

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