Mid-Year Freak Out Book Tag!

Hello!

Originally, I had another post I was going to do today but I couldn’t motivate myself to finish it for this month, so it’ll (hopefully) go out in July, along with some other interesting things too! I did this tag last year and really enjoyed it, but I didn’t post it at the right time of the year so I was determined to do this one along with everyone else, because it is huge with other book bloggers and YouTubers too. If you would like to see what I had mentioned in the first post, click here. If you end up doing the tag on your blog or YT channel, I would love to see your answers too, so please leave a link down in the comments section for me to check out later.

I do want to mention before I officially start; I am only going to talk about the books I’ve finished already so that it goes into the reviews that I will be publishing later this week and possibly next week too. I am also including the reviews to each book that is mentioned below.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2021?

This question is always so difficult to answer, especially so early in the year, but for the sake of the tag itself, I think it is a three way tie between A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St Clair, This Is War by Kennedy Fox, and Highland Raven by Melanie Karsak, What I find interesting about all three books is that they are all in different genres and for once I have a book focused on two characters but found the male character more compelling! Honestly, Viola really drove me crazy, which in a way worked out great for the banter between she and Travis, but I found it absolutely annoying!

ATOD and HR mean a lot for me, mainly because they were the start of their series I didn’t expect I would fall in love with earlier in the year but I’m forever thankful I found them! The myth behind both Persephone and Lady Macbeth generally perceive these ladies as weak and despite the fact I have only heard of little things about these characters in the past, I really believe the authors are giving them a voice to their stories. It is focused on them where most of historical knowledge is focused on their counterparts instead. However, in the defense of the God of the Underworld Hades, Scarlett has made him out to be as ruthless as you’d expect anyways but full of compassion and very loving towards Persephone!

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2021?

I’ve read 14 books in the last six months and the only one I can say for certain that I think was the best sequel is, Highland Blood by Melanie Karsak. At first, I had written out “Highland Vengeance” but honestly, the second book was WAYY better!

This book really took me on a ride just as much as it did was our main character Corbie! It was full of twists and turns but I truly loved the bond between Corbie and Gillacoemgain. I didn’t really know I loved that relationship until I got to the third book and I started noticing that everytime she would bring him up, I had tears in my eyes. It totally threw me for a loop but nevertheless I don’t regret my decision on continuing the series.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

For some odd reason, I have yet to actually start reading A Touch of Malice which came out in late May. It is the third book of the series and I’ve done a really good job of staying away from various spoilers, so I feel pretty good about that but I am hoping that once I finish my current books I will make the switch because I desperately want to know what the hell has happened to Hades and Persephone.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

I guess this post is mostly about Scarlett St. Clair and Melanie Karsak because they each have a book coming out after the summer. Scarlett is up first with the second book of the events that happened in both A Touch of Ruin and A Touch of Malice. The title is A Game of Retribution and I’m not exactly thrilled that both of these books will be in one storyline because that means it’ll either be well over 400+ or some things will be left out of the whole thing; honestly the only thing that is keeping me excited is we get to hear Hades say “fucking fates” again…

As for Melanie, she is releasing a historical fiction about the warrior Queen Boudicca in “Queen of Oak” and since I am nearing the end of the Celtic Blood series, which discusses Boudicca quite a bit in the first and three books, I am very ready to see the spark I enjoyed so much in Corbie again. Trust me, I will be very happy to read this book after I’m done with her story! I’m going to need something to help get me through the grief but I am slightly troubled because I would also like to read a historical biography about Boudicca as well, and I had planned on reading it once I finished with Highland Queen but I don’t know if I should wait until I have read QOO first. I don’t think I would do a lot of comparisons between them but I am sort of torn on what to do now…

Biggest disappointment

To be perfectly honest, I’ve had some good luck lately but there was one book that I was very excited to get into at first but I was so irritated about what the hell I was seeing on my Kindle that I ended up being in a tiny slump for a few weeks. The book in question was Wolf Hall by Hillary Mantel. I knew it was about King Henry VIII and his court but that was about it, I wasn’t familiar with the other stuff going down on the sidelines and I think this was my issue. I wanted to hear a story about a courtier at Hampton Court either during the end of Catherine of Aragon or start of Anne Boleyn’s days.

Biggest surprise

Truthfully, I didn’t expect how much I would end up enjoy reading Twilight at the beginning of the year. I was really into the movies early on but I had made my choice when they started becoming more and more popular with my family and friends, because I was knee deep in love with The Vampire Diaries, I didn’t want to basically guide me away from my favorite characters and show overall. So, being able to read it with fresh eyes as an adult was interesting! I was able to enjoy Bella a lot more than I ever did with the films. Bella isn’t as dull and quiet toward the Cullens or friends in general and I think that was made it enjoyable for me!

Favorite new author (Debut or new for you)

If you have never read any of my reviews, you might find it curious that I rarely read about what the book is actually about, and no book has ever made me do a double take in the middle of the chapter, as Rough” by Renee Rose and Vanessa Vale did. As you might have seen this spring and last year, I have become a fan of Vanessa Vale’s books, but before finding this one, I had never heard, much less read anything by Renee Rose.

The series itself is called Wolf Ranch, and my first thought was, “this sounds cool, let’s go!: and then I began to read it and Boyd had explained that when he saw Audrey for the first time, his “wolf” caught sight of her and wanted her. I thought this was his nickname for his junk. It never dawned on me he was a shapeshifter, because Vanessa normally doesn’t write about them in her books, just mostly gorgeous cowboys and sex! So, once I started putting two and two together I made the assumption that this must be part of Renee’s influence and in the end, I was right. She has written several paranormal books in the past.

Newest fictional crush

Ooooooh boy.

This one always gets me because I tend to fall for the majority of the characters, but there are at least two that I just cannot stop thinking about and the first is the Lord of Moray, Gillacoemgain. It’s always the ones who you think are going to be the worst of the bunch that you basically fall over heels in love with, and then by the end of the story, that person is gone. I am still grieving over him because he just made me so happy.

I’ve just finished reading the first book of the Badd Brothers series by Jasinda Wilder, and I am in love with Sebastian! Bad boys who can’t express their feelings are usually not my thing but he threw me for a loop and I kind of liked it. No pun intended of course!

Newest favorite character

I am really torn between Lulach, who is the son of Corbie from Highland Blood. You get a glimpse of him at the end of that book, but he doesn’t start to have a bigger role for everyone in the series until Highland Vengeance–he goes from being a newborn to around five or six years old from start to finish so everything that comes across Corbie’s way, she’s not doing it for herself, she’s doing it for him.

And since this question is asking for newest favorite character, I think I should probably add Sebastian Badd to the mix! I’m actually shocked that I like Bast more than Baxter, since I read out of order of the Badd Brothers series. I don’t know why but I prefer Bast at the moment. He seems like a really good guy, but not saying Baxter didn’t. I just find him a little more attractive while reading Badd Motherf*cker by Jasinda Wilder.

Book that made you cry

Now I know I may not have the review out yet but since the film continues to make me cry, I knew it happen again while reading the book too. I just didn’t think it would affect me that much, but you know it happens. Oh, and the book I’m talking about is Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire.

Book that made you happy

I’ve basically talked about all of the books I’ve read so far except for me and I have to say, I am not adding it here because of this reason, but because it did make me happy in the beginning: Before Wallis: Edward VIII’s Other Women by Rachel Trethewey. I love reading historical nonfiction and if it’s about royalty I will probably be drawn to it, and I think King Edward VIII before he met Wallis Simpson was totally different than what he became later on, and it allows you to understand a tiny bit of why Prince Harry would want a normal life away from the royal family.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

Heh, funnily enough, I really haven’t bought a book since December–well except for that one series Mafia Brides by Measha Stone, but in my defense, I swore I was clicking for the Kindle Unlimited but I ended up purchasing a trilogy series and as much as I am not loving it, I feel like I have to complete the series because they were not cheap, as they were $15.99! So, if you are a Kindle Unlimited looking for a series to get into, please watch what you’re clicking or you’ll feel so guilty that you force yourself to read it anyways!

However, the ‘most beautiful’ book cover would have to be A Touch of Darkness. Honestly, the first three books have gorgeous covers, but the fourth cover is a bit different compared to the others as it has roses and vines instead of that iron design.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Apparently the Lost Pharaoh Chronicles by Lauren Lee Merewether is pretty long; the final book will be coming out soon but I would like to at least three more from that series before the end of the year. I would also like to do the same for the Twilight series, but we’ll really have to see what happens with those books.

I still have a lot of different books on my Kindle that I could knock out before the start of 2022 and here is on my to-do list as of now.

  • Still Me by JoJo Moyes (3%)
  • One Of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus (15%)
  • After Alice Fell by Kim Taylor Blakemore (22%)
  • Roping The Cowboy by Kennedy Fox (4%)
  • Wicked Beat by Olivia Cunning (38%)
  • Crown Of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
  • Elizabeth Woodeville: Mother of the Princes in the Tower by David Baldwin (20%)
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (4%)
  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

The main reason why everybody is so low is because I have a real problem with staying away from KU and looking for freebie gems! Like with my Harry Potter books, I am also casually reading Gone Girl. I will get through it eventually, as I will with all of these books too.

So, what do you think of my answers? Are there any books you think you would like to read listed above? If so, which ones are calling out to you and why?

Book Review: “Highland Raven” by Melanie Karsak

Hello!

The only way I can explain why I read this book is because I desperately wanted to connect to my Scottish roots. I love my Irish bloodline but have always felt something different for the other one. I’ve never found the answer to it, but reading various books have helped me think positively towards Scotland. I actually had one other book I found on Kindle Unlimited and it was nonfiction but since reading the Hades and Persephone series in January, I’ve been craving more fantasy and magic books, so when I saw this series, I thought I would take a chance on it.

WARNING: There are some spoilers mentioned after the description, so if you don’t want to be ruined too much of what this book is about, don’t read anything towards the bottom!

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Destined to become Queen of Scotland.
Bound by blood to the Celtic gods.

Scotland, 1026–Gruoch, descendant of the line of MacAlpin, should have been born into a life of ease. But fate is fickle. Her father’s untimely death, rumored to have been plotted by King Malcolm, leaves her future uncertain and stained by the prophecy that she will avenge her family line.

Escaping to one of the last strongholds of the old Celtic gods, Gruoch becomes an adept in arcane craft. Her encounters with the otherworld, however, suggest that magic runs stronger in Scotland than she ever imagined. Haunted by dreams of a raven-haired man she’s never met, Gruoch soon feels her fate is not her own. She is duty-bound to wed a powerful lord, if not the Prince himself; however, she’s not sure she can stop her heart when she meets Banquo, a gallant highlander and druid.

Fans of Outlander and Mists of Avalon will relish this sweeping Scottish Historical Fantasy that tells the tale of Gruoch, a woman struggling to escape her fate without blood on her hands.

taken from Goodreads.

So, I’m not really familiar with William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. It wasn’t one that I was forced to read out loud throughout high school (thank god!) but I have seen the film called Lady Macbeth with Florence Plugh, I have seen it twice but have never finished it. Once I decided that I was going to read this series. I knew it would be like I walked into another realm, and oddly enough, this metaphor works out great with this story! Anywho, I just looked at the cover and was basically drawn to it and I just hoped it wouldn’t let me down too much.

I look at the whole thing in three acts, you get to know the origins of Gruoch and Corbie, living at her aunt and uncle’s castle and knowing her only role in life there is to be a pawn because of her bloodline, as she is the direct link to the Irish royal families, and at this time, Christianity is being introduced all across the land and reeking havoc on the Old Gods, and when it is her time, she goes to live with this coven, of eight women to learn more about the history, paganism and magic. And then you are pulled back into the Macbeth side and discuss the role of the Wyrd Sisters.

Something wicked this way comes.

I was already sold on the medieval aspect of the story and the fact that you, as a reader, are learning things such as soul magic–I found it so interesting!–that I was literally telling myself “it’s not real Meghan,” but what I was really surprised about was my interest into the Celtic paganism and rituals mentioned within the story. In a way, Samhain is like Day Of The Dead to Latin Americans, where you celebrate your ancestors, by giving them their favorite foods, clothes, etc. If you want to learn more about the Celtic religion and everyday life, click here

There were a lot of information mentioned but for once, I wasn’t confused or thought it was too much (shockingly!) but I still gave it a four out of five stars on Goodreads. I think it was because of the sections between the events that happened during Samhain and then suddenly being transferred to a whole other part. I kind of kept losing interest once we entered the third act and I never really understood that part yet. However, I just need to keep thinking that maybe we’ll learn more about all of the that in the second book, Highland Blood, because I was smart this time around and as it started getting toward the end of it, I went and downloaded the next story in the series. There is a slight chance that by the time I get this review up, I’ve finished reading that one and have an extra post on Friday, but don’t get your hopes up though because I am reading rather slower than I would like to at the moment.

Have you checkout out the The Celtic Blood series by Melanie Karsak? If you have, were you familiar with the story of ‘Macbeth’ already?

Book Review: “A Touch Of Ruin” by Scarlett St. Clair

Hello!

Well, I am back with my third review of a Scarlett St. Clair book.

If you didn’t know I have already read A Touch Of Darkness written with Persephone, as the main focus, and A Game Of Fate told in Hades’ point of view of the same plot. This one continues Persephone’s story following the events at the end of both books. Scarlett is releasing A Touch Of Malice in May 2021 and A Game Of Retribution sometime next winter. I know it seems very confusing but that’s just how I read both series and will as the rest of the books are released.

I really tired during the last week of January to change up what was next on my list but I couldn’t leave it alone and honestly, I think it was the best thing I could have done because now I can officially move on from the story of Hades and Persephone and read other genres, like nonfiction, and be fully committed to it.


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Persephone’s relationship with Hades has gone public and the resulting media storm disrupts her normal life and threatens to expose her as the Goddess of Spring.

Hades, God of the Dead, is burdened by a hellish past that everyone’s eager to expose in an effort to warn Persephone away.

Things only get worse when a horrible tragedy leaves Persephone’s heart in ruin and Hades refusing to help. Desperate, she takes matters into her own hands, striking bargains with severe consequences.

Faced with a side of Hades she never knew and crushing loss, Persephone wonders if she can truly become Hades’ queen.

taken from Goodreads.

I think the best way to describe this story is, it was a roller coaster of different emotions. I was proud, envious, in love, sad, and God help me, aroused throughout much of the book. Sorry to any family members out there who are reading this post and wishing I hadn’t shared that little tebibit.

“I just need a mental health day,” Persephone said.

Anyways…

There are a lot of things in this story. We talk about the ultimatum that Demitri gave her in the beginning, the ins and outs of Apollo and Sybil’s relationship, how the Goddess of Spring is dealing with her new found powers, and eventually we get on to Lexa. On top of all of this, we have the new relationship with Hades and the prospect of becoming his wife and eventually Queen of the Underworld.

As much as I saw Persephone as a strong woman in the first book, I didn’t really see her like that here. There are a few parts where she comes out like a total badass, but I find with this one, she is more whiny than anything else. Whenever she was posed with going back and forth between the Underworld and Upperworld, you as the reader could clearly see her juggle more than she could really handle and even though I admired her for wanting to being present in both worlds with her friends she never really found a way to find a steady solution until the end of it. Of course, now that I mention it on here, that was probably the point of the whole story in the first place.

Despite the fact that the story is stretched out in three parts, every single chapter had a lot of information that I am still trying to digest because I know the next book is going to be even more difficult. I am looking forward to checking it out but I am also in need to meditate with Hecate as well or hang out with Hermes, either one would be a blessing in disguise!

Have you read this series yet? What were your thoughts on this installment of the saga of Hades x Persephone? Were your emotions all over the place like mine?

Book Review: “A Game Of Fate” by Scarlett St. Clair

Hello!

A part of me knew I would be back for another book review, it is much sooner than I was really expecting, but yet here we are anyways!

On Wednesday, I published the review of A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair. I was at the start of A Touch of Ruin, which is of course, is written in Persephone, the Goddess of Spring’s point of view, but I was on Instagram a day after I downloaded it onto my Kindle, I saw a comment on the author’s profile, and someone had shared that is might be smart to read ATOD and then switch to this book before going into ATOR and Scarlett said you could definitely read the entire story in that order, so that’s what I decided to do, which meant I returned the other and was able to switch to A Game of Fate, the first book written in Hades’ point of view.


Hades, God of the Underworld, is known for his inflexible rule, luxurious night clubs, and impossible bargains. Use to control, he is not prepared to discover the Fates have chosen his future wife and Queen—Persephone, Goddess of Spring.

Despite her attraction to the god, Persephone, an ambitious journalism student, is determined to expose Hades for his cruel and ruthless ways.

Hades finds himself faced with the impossible—proving his future bride wrong. Despite his efforts, there are forces who wish to keep the two apart and Hades comes to realize he will do anything for his forbidden love, even defy Fate.

taken from Goodreads.


For this book, I was sort of worried that it would replace what I thought of A Touch of Darkness, but from the moment it started, I knew this was an entirely different plot and story because it is focused on Hades, the King of the Underworld. If you had questions or theories of what was going on in Hades’ mind, which wasn’t as different as I had expected, like how much he thought about having sex with Persephone in almost every chapter wasn’t that big of a stretch but still, he thought about it a lot more than she did for him.

“Fucking Fates,” he mumbled,

Another part of me was very curious to having a whole book dedicated to seeing the worlds from Hades’ point of view. You don’t usually get to see it fully, when two characters share one book and I think that was what really sold me to this idea of having a separate series to divide up everyone’s true thoughts and ultimately see the character without much interaction from other people. You get to see his relationships with his brothers, enemies, and even Demeter too! I think one of my favorite things that I enjoyed about this book was you get to see the “friendships” Hades has made with fellow Gods and Goddess of the Underworld, like Hecate, the Goddess of Witchcraft and Hermes, the God of Trickery and Fuckery… 😉

Hades is a boss. I’d compare him to like any of the notorious mobsters in the history and beyond, but he seems like so chill with anyone that know him best when he completely switches from this immortal badass to laidback, homebody. You can also see this trait when it comes to The Fates too, although it is not as noticeable at first but you definitely know he absolutely cares for the ones that deserve it the most, and since The Fates are basically connecting him to Persephone, he really tries to breathe in and control his anger and frustrations for them and everybody else in the Underworld.

I am curious to what happens in the next few books, because apparently there are quite a lot in the series but I love learning more about these Greek gods and goddesses. Something that I am wondering about, is whether or not, if the author will write more like a series for Hecate and/or Hermes in the future. Honestly, I would rather be interested in learning more about Hecate than Hermes, but this two characters are really my favorites and I’d like to see how they got to be where they are now, you know? I mean, I don’t think Scarlett had originally wanted to write in both Persephone and Hades’ point of views so I’m just throwing it out there that it could be a nice novella, you know?

Have you read A Game Of Fate yet? Or are you waiting until you finished the series in Persephone’s side of events before you move on to this series?

Book Review: “A Touch of Darkness” by Scarlett St. Clair

Hello!

Man! It’s great to be back at writing these posts again.

Early December, I finally made the decision to stop reading for the rest of 2020, but two days before Christmas, I was on YouTube and this book and the rest of its series and they talked about what the story was about, and I just kind of thought “this is interesting” but I didn’t just get it right then and there mainly because I wanted to wait until the holidays were over to start on anything new and once I got the books I generally wanted to purchase, I was fine with waiting to get the first book, but then my gut was telling me to check to see if it’s available on Kindle Unlimited and there they were: the Hades x Persephone series and prequels too! So, I ended up getting just the first book in case I didn’t enjoy it off the bat, and I ended up finishing it in like two weeks!


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Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a Goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

taken from Goodreads.

I didn’t really know what the series was about before putting it on my Kindle. I just kind of saw the cover on YouTube and was like, “oh, you are gorgeous! Gimme!” and really felt the need to get it. You also have to remember that I already had a small stack of books to keep me afloat for a while but I chose to get this one instead. A part of me feels bad but yet I was thrilled seeing on KU that I just gave in and didn’t bother to look back. I mean, I don’t regret it one bit because it was everything that I wanted it to be and more, so obviously after I get done writing this review, I’m diving deep into the second book!

When I was younger, I already had a growing obsession on Ancient Egypt and its mythology, but my only source to learn more about Greek mythology was the Disney version. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I realized that a lot of information that they gave us kids was pretty wrong, such as Hera, the “mother” of Hercules is definitely untrue. In the research we did, it was actually said that Hera had a strong hatred for Hercules! Unfortunately we were only allowed to select few of Greek gods and goddesses, and after that, I kind of lost the interest to learn about their mythology altogether. I had already decided on this before I found these books but it really shocked me on how much Disney influenced me–this book is about Hades and all throughout the damn book my mind kept showing me Cheyenne Jackson from “Hades” on Descendants 3 film and everytime we were in the Underworld, I would have James Woods, who voiced the animated version of Hades in 1995 in my head during some of the very erotic scenes! Totally not recommended by the way.

Respect could build an empire. Trust could make it unbreakable. Love could make it last forever.

I do want to point out that while I was wrestling with my version of Hades, I have never particularity loved the name Persephone until now and even though she is described as a platinum blonde in the story, I kept seeing her with strawberry-blonde hair instead. The same goes with her mother Demeter too! So, my whole system was a bit out of wack but I made it happen anyways. I definitely saw myself quickly becoming a bit of a fan of Persephone. I think everything that is said to her towards the end is completely true om how I viewed her in the start of the book. I think she is the one, who made me want to continue reading, especially when I should be in bed asleep, but I really wanted to know how everything ended for her, not much about Hades though.

The story itself was, very intense from start to finish and I feel that’s the main reason why I was able to read it so quickly, because you didn’t have that much time in between chapters to basically refresh yourself from a certain scene and even though I loved reading at that speed, it was sometimes too much for me and I had to take many breaks throughout important moments. Thankfully, everything was described in almost perfect detail so I was able to map out everything from both the Upperworld and the Underworld. The only place I had some difficulty building in my mind was the glasshouse, everything else was pretty easy structurally and it was a good thing too because it evened out my outlook on the characters and the events taking place.

There is a chance that by the time this post is published that I have probably finished with “A Game Of Fate” which is in the point of view of Hades, by the time this post goes up.. I was on Scarlett’s Instagram page the other day and someone had made the comment that it is better to read it like this and just continue to switch from their POVs. However, if you just want to stick to Persephone’s version of events, that’s totally up to you.

So, have you read “A Touch of Darkness” yet? If you have, when did you start to explore the second series? For those who have read retellings like this, how do you turn off those childhood memories basically and create newer versions of these mythological gods and goddess?