Book Review: Unravel The Dusk by Elizabeth Lim




Author: Elizabeth Lim
Series: The Blood of Stars #2
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy, Fairy tale retelling
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 7th 2020
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: Netgalley

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Maia Tamarin’s journey to sew the dresses of the sun, the moon and the stars has taken a grievous toll. She returns to a kingdom on the brink of war. The boy she loves is gone, and she is forced to don the dress of the sun and assume the place of the emperor’s bride-to-be to keep the peace.

But the war raging around Maia is nothing compared to the battle within. Ever since she was touched by the demon Bandur, she has been changing . . . glancing in the mirror to see her own eyes glowing red, losing control of her magic, her body, her mind. It’s only a matter of time before Maia loses herself completely, but she will stop at nothing to find Edan, protect her family, and bring lasting peace to her country.

YA fantasy readers will love the sizzling forbidden romance, mystery, and intrigue of Unravel the Dusk.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

It’s been a month since I read this book and I still have a TON of feelings about it. I’m sad that it’s over, I’m glad it ended the way it did, and for the first time ever I believed that something was going to happen and I honestly wasn’t angry that it may happen. Let me try to put into words what I’m feeling about this book, okay?

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Book Review: Spin The Dawn by Elizabeth Lim


Author: Elizabeth Lim
Series: The Blood of Stars #1
Audience:  Young Adult
Genre: High Fantasy, Fairy tale retelling
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 9th 2019
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: Netgalley

Blurb (from Goodreads):

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh.

*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

Spin The Dawn is one of the books I’ve been deathly afraid to read. The more of my friends were reading it and loving it, the more I was afraid of reading it. Thankfully ARC August happened and Soph @ Bookwyrming Thoughts had been lovingly and gently pestering urging me to add this book to my TBR, and since I also had the sequel, I decided this was the time. I did not expect to love this book as much as I did, and if you take nothing else from my review, know that I am very tempted to double my rating into a 10-cups rating, which I’ve never done. EVER. In 10 years of blogging. So there you have it. Let’s get to it, shall we?


Spin The Dawn  tells the story of Maia Tamarin and her desire to become a master tailor. She inherited her father’s talent for making the most beautiful clothes, no matter the craft she uses for making them, but because she’s a woman, she will never achieve her goals. Only men are deemed talented and worthy of becoming Masters of any crafts. And even if Maia’s work was beautiful and her father would let her create some of the clothes for the clients coming into their shop, no one knew it was actually Maia who made them.

I loved Maia’s strength and determination. She knew she had to be the one to go to the palace, because her father and her brother were not able to go, and even if she could have been executed for lying to the emperor, she did what she had to in order to help her family. I also loved her sense of right and wrong. She was certain that using magic meant cheating her way into winning the competition, so she refused to use her magic scissors. And that shows just how talented she truly was, because she was doing all those beautiful designs by herself. Also, I want to mention that the tasks were impossible. A jacket out of paper? And glass slippers? But our heroine did them all perfectly, which is why I adored her and was rooting for her.

While struggling to win the competition against men who did not have the same morals as her, Maia attracts the attention of a very interesting character, Edan. I want it known that when I first met Edan I knew he was going to be special, and I hoped he wouldn’t turn out to be a villain. Because guys…I usually have my attention grabbed by the villains in YA it seems. I won’t spoil his character for you, but he was awesome.

What surprised me about this book was that even though it’s shorter than 400 pages, the story is so detailed, and the plot is so dense, that it felt like I was reading a 500-page book. Which to me is always awesome. The worldbuilding was amazing, and we get just enough details to feel like we know this world, but not too many that the reader may feel overwhelmed. And there are so many things happening in this book, too!

I loved this story, in case I wasn’t sufficiently clear. I’m not sorry I waited to read it though, because not only can I jump straight into the sequel, but because I got the chance to manage my expectations. Even if I went into reading this book with insanely high expectations, I still believe I would have ended up loving this book. And now I’m off to read the sequel guys, because the ending of this book was so heartbreaking, I can’t wait.

Book Review: The Faerie Prince by Rachel Morgan

Author: Rachel Morgan
Series: Creepy Hollow #2
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date:  May 1st 2013
My Rating: 4 Cups
Source: My copy
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Action, intrigue, and romance to swoon for!

With graduation just weeks away, guardian trainee Violet Fairdale is determined to claim the top spot in her class. But first, she’ll have to survive her final assignment–and the guy she’s been forced to partner with.

Her confusing feelings for Ryn aren’t the only thing making life difficult, though. With enchanted storms wreaking havoc in the fae realm, a murder within the Guild, and an Unseelie prince still determined to possess Vi’s special magic, graduation is about to become the least of her problems.

It’s graduation time for Violet and Ryn, and things aren’t exactly going as planned. That’s right, guys, me and Jamsu are back with another buddy read, this time for book 2 in the Creepy Hollow series by Rachel Morgan. I enjoyed the second book a lot more and, unlike before, I was completely taken by surprise by certain events. Let me tell you all about it.


The Faerie Prince picks up about a month after the events from the previous book. Violet is trying to understand what happened with Nate, her ex, while also stressing about her final assignment. At the same time, Violet has made a deal with Ryn, a truce of some sorts, to try putting the past behind them and become friends.

What I loved about this book was that there were a ton of surprises that I did not anticipate. It all started with that final assignment. It looked too easy on paper, so I was fully prepared for things to go sideways, but I didn’t anticipate how much it would land Violet and Ryn in trouble. I adored seeing Ryn sweat a bit because of Violet. To be honest, he has a lot of groveling to do before Violet (and the reader) forgives his past behavior.

Next we get to the Seelie Court and some stuff happens there that made me a bit angry. I don’t understand the motivation of a character, even though they explained stuff. I’m weary of them, even though Violet seems to trust this person.

I liked seeing Violet grow closer to Ryn. She starts to slowly forgive him for being an asshat, and starts seeing his nice side. Ryn, on the other side, is trying to make amends. He is totally groveling, as he should, but he goes beyond that in order to make things right between them. There’s this one scene that was adorable and I’d forgive him completely.

I liked the pacing of this book. It’s not non-stop action, but almost. I loved the ending. It’s all left under a giant question mark. Is everyone okay? Who died? Who attacked them? What happened? Everything is left to the imagination, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the third book to see how Violet’s part of this story ends.

All in all, I really enjoyed reading this book and I’ll definitely keep reading the series.

Remember to visit Jamsu @ Jamsudreams to read her review of The Faerie Prince.

Book Review: The Faerie Guardian by Rachel Morgan

Author: Rachel Morgan
Series: Creepy Hollow #1
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date:  October 27th 2012
My Rating: 3.5 Cups
Source: My copy
Blurb (from Goodreads):

She’s fae. He’s human. He should never have followed her into the magic realm…

Violet has one job: protect humans from dangerous magical creatures. It’s a job she’s good at—until the cute human guy whose life she just saved follows her into the fae world.

Now she’s broken faerie law, risking her future at the Guild of Guardians. She needs to get Nate home and make him forget everything he’s discovered.

If only someone wasn’t intent on hunting him down.

Vi and Nate are pulled into the darker side of the fae world, where deadly magic and long-forgotten secrets exist.

Vi might be one of the best, but can she get them out alive?

Dazzling magic, page-turning action, family secrets, and swoon-worthy romance. Grab your copy today to be swept away into this enchanting world!

Jamsu and I had to much fun during our Vampire Academy/Bloodlines buddy read, that we decided to continue knocking off a few books from our TBRs that we had in common. So we picked The Faerie Guardian and let me tell you, I had a ton of fun.


I’ve had The Faerie Guardian on my TBR for way longer than I am willing to admit. I’ve always had a thing for faerie stories, and let’s face it: there can never be too many stories about them, just like with vampires. Anyway.

In this book we are introduced to Violet, a Guardian-in-training, who does something bad. In all honesty, it’s not her fault, but she still gets blamed for one of her assignments not ending the way it was supposed to end. I liked Violet. She’s been through some stuff growing up, having lost both her parents at an early age. They were both Guardians, and I think she feels a need to follow in their footsteps and honor their memory, so she signed up to become a Guardian as well.

I wasn’t very fond of Nate from the beginning. I did like the fact that Violet had someone in her corner, aside from her mentor, but I just wished her love interest would have been a bit more genuine in a way. For some reason Nate didn’t feel like someone worthy of her, but I’ll let you guys decide if I’m right or wrong. He has some mystery surrounding him, and the reader discovers it as the story develops, just like Violet does, and I am definitely curious to see how his story will continue in the next books.

I found this book a bit predictable, but that didn’t keep me from enjoying the story. I an very curious to see what will happen next in this world. I also love that the series seems to be broken into groups of books that focus on a set of characters, so even though there are currently 9 books, they don’t all focus on the same main characters, which I adore. So I’ll definitely check out the rest of the series.

All in all, this was a pretty good series starter, and I can’t wait to read more about this world. As always, please remember to visit Jamsu’s blog and read her review for The Faerie Guardian.

Book Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #6
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date:  February 10th 2015
My Rating: 3 Cups
Source: My copy
Blurb (from Goodreads):

THEY WILL BE TESTED

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.

When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.

Don’t miss their unforgettable final chapter. . . .

LOVE WILL CONQUER ALL

**Disclaimer: This is book 6 in the Bloodlines series and book 11 in the Vampire Academy series. Spoilers are unavoidable for previous books. 

The day has come! Jamsu and I have reached the end of our Vampire Academy/Bloodlines, and I feel so sad, you guys! When we started out buddy read, I knew it would be a wonderful experience, but also heartbreaking. I just didn’t expect how heartbreaking it would be.

Buckle up, my dear book lovers, and join me for the last time on this wonderful adventure. I mention this in the disclaimer I put above, but this review will contain spoilers. There’s just no way around it.


I have to say that my expectations for this book were sky high, especially after reading Silver Shadows. That book was, before I read The Ruby Circle, my favorite of the Bloodlines series, and I expected to like TRC just as much. Unfortunately, as you can guess from my rating, I still like Silver Shadows more. In fact, if it wasn’t for the mild cheating plot, as I’m writing this review, I’d be very tempted to bump SS to a 5 star rating. Let’s start with what I liked first though, shall we?

I adored that we get some domestic Sydrian. I felt that their issues were understandable and very well explored, as much as they were. Sydney is afraid of what using Spirit means for Adrian’s sanity, while Adrian feels that it makes him selfish not to use Spirit when he can help so many people. We once again see the choice theme reappear, the issue that both Lissa and Adrian had in regards to their powers: how do you choose who deserves to be healed and who doesn’t. It’s been a while since that topic has been touched upon, and I feel like it should have been brought up before, but I am glad it has been brought up now. On the other hand, Sydrian are still hiding from the Alchemists, but also the Moroi who hate their pairing and wish to harm them because of it. And that is also putting some pressure on their relationship. As the cherry on top, Adrian’s mom is living with them and let’s just say that she’s not the easiest to live with.

I also loved that we get to see Sydney perform some pretty badass magic. From changing forms, to battle magic, to defensive spells, she can do it all, and I loved it. Not only do we get to see her engaging in magic, we see her do some pretty old school scavenger hunt, which was pretty cool. And we get to see a lot of witches come together to defeat a common enemy.

Now….this is where things get tricky. I understand that at the time it war written, this book was intended to be the last in this world. And for what we know, Mead may decide never to write in the VA/Bloodlines world ever again and that’s fine. But. Because The Ruby Circle is the last in the series, I felt like Mead tried to tie up a lot of loose ends, while also making things a bit more dramatic for Sydney and Adrian, as well as the rest of the characters. It’s not that that’s a bad thing, but I felt overwhelmed compared to the actual page length of this book. Because the book isn’t as thick as even some of the previous books in the series, the last 120 pages felt very packed with details, between the main plot, side characters, subplots, and even the introduction of some very interesting developments for some side characters. So much so that at one point I told Jamsu that I was mentally exhausted. I think in only one chapter I counted about 5 different plots intertwining. That in itself wouldn’t bother me, because I love complicated, complex books, but since this is the last book in the series, I felt like they were too many. I just wish that some of the subplots would have been divided between the last two or even three books, as opposed to having them all in the last one.

What this book has, that Last Sacrifice didn’t, is a cool “gang reunion” epilogue. We get to see how life is for everyone a year after the main events of the book. We meet up with Sydney and Adrian, who have adopted a baby dhampir and are raising him as their own son, we get to see Angelina and Trey, Jill and Eddie, and Rose and Dimitri. Lissa and Christian are missing and I have to say that as much as I disliked Lissa in this series, I wish they would have been there. They were part of the gang as well, so they deserve to be there in my opinion.

I am horrible at reading series endings, so I probably wouldn’t have had the courage to read this book without Jamsu buddy reading it with me. I keep hoping for a new spinoff in this world, especially since there were quite a few bombshells that the gang discovered towards the ending of this book, but I wish it had Neil as one of the main characters. He truly deserves a happy ending after what happened to him.

I expected more, but ultimately I had a ton of fun reading this book and revisiting some of these characters. As always, remember to visit Jamsu and read her review of The Ruby Circle.

Book Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #5
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date:  July 29th 2014
My Rating: 4.5 Cups
Source: My copy
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.

*Disclaimer: This is book 5 in the Bloodlines series and book 11 in the Vampire Academy series. Spoilers are unavoidable for previous books. Plus, this book is 6 year old.

My buddy read with Jamsu @ Jamsudreams continues with Silver Shadows. This book came out almost 6 years ago, but this is the first time I’ve had the courage to read it. I’m not ready for our buddy read to end *insert sobs*

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Not only do we get to see how far the so-called “good guys” are willing to take things in order to make sure that everyone plays by their rules, but we also get to see Sydney being totally rebellious and I am here for it.


Sydney is trying to resist re-education, while Adrian is trying to fight spirit. Both are struggling with their own demons, and both are trying to survive this fight. I loved seeing my babies being tormented. I may not have liked certain details that Mead insisted on including in the story, but she does write some pretty awesome drama.

Sydney has grown up so much during these last 5 books. She went from hating the work Jackie made her do, to using all of her knowledge on magic in order to escape the Alchemists. But because this is Sydney we’re talking about, she’s not using magic for herself only. She’s actually trying to get the other alchemists imprisoned at the re-education center free as well. We truly see Sydney in all her glory in this book, not just as a powerful witch, but also someone who is very resourceful, strong, and with the will to survive. Silver Shadows is by far my favorite book in terms of her development, at least so far.

Adrian too went through his own transformation. He gave up taking medicine in order to find Sydney, but that left him open to the mental consequences of using his magic, and that… that is not helping him. He is struggling with his alcohol addiction, he is trying not to start smoking again, he keeps hearing his dead aunt’s voice in his head, and he keeps getting nowhere with his attempts at summoning his girl in a spirit dream. So he’s getting hit from all sides. To top it all off, he blames himself for Sydney being caught by the Alchemists, and that doesn’t help things either. This leads him to make some not so okay choices at first, which made me want to shake him silly. He eventually gets his shit together and is able to pull himself together enough to fight for his girl, and I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of a fictional character.

We finally get to see Marcus doing something other than talking and I was super proud of him. He truly isn’t just someone that talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. We also get some really awesome callbacks to a previous jailbreak involving Lissa, Rose, and Eddie, and I had a chuckle at that. And all in all the plot moved along very quickly. I actually managed to read this in one sitting.

Like Jamsu mentions in her review, we talked about how much Mead seems to love cheating plots. I myself am not a fan, which is really the only reason for the missing half star from my rating.

The ending was surprising and I did not expect that to happen. I’m getting my courage to read the last book in the series, and if you know me, you know how hard that is for me, but I am super excited. I’m very curious to see how it all ends. And who knows, maybe Mead will eventually come back to this world to write more stories.

Remember to visit Jamsu and read her review of Silver Shadows!

Reread Book Review: The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead

Author: Richelle Mead
Series: Bloodlines #4
Audience: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date:  November 19th 2013
My Rating: 4.5 Cups
Source: My copy
Blurb (from Goodreads):

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the wolds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn’t over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there’s still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure—and re-education—looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

We’re finally getting to some very interesting parts in the story, guys! My buddy read of the Vampire Academy/Bloodlines world with Jamsu @ Jamsudreams continues with The Fiery Heart. This is the last book in the series that I’m rereading, so the next two are going to be complete surprises for me and I cannot wait to start reading them!

I already reviewed this book when it came out, so if you want you can go ahead and read my original review here.


I will be honest, even though this was a reread for me, I only remembered the ending of this book, and a certain scene with Adrian being in one of the spirit-induced lows. That felt very liberating to me, because I wasn’t expecting some of the things that happened to happen. For example I totally forgot about Sydney’s parents getting a divorce! Completely and totally forgot about it.

As with my first time reading it, I was very happy that The Fiery Heart introduced Adrian’s POV as well. While I love Sydney, I found it very refreshing to be in Adrian’s head for a while. I also appreciated seeing how Spirit actually affected Adrian. While during my first read I was more invested in the plot, and I was focused on his relationship with Sydney, I was able to notice the little details of how Spirit actually worked for Adrian. I appreciated the fact that it was a different thing than what Lissa went through, because this makes me wonder what other Spirit users are going through as a consequence of using their magical abilities. As last time, I gasped when Adrian revealed that he’s taking medication to deal with Spirit. I was so impressed by his courage, and his will to get better, and by the fact that he didn’t let Lissa’s judgement convince him to give up doing what he felt was necessary for his own health.

I still hated Zoe. I hated her even more, because I knew what she was going to do, and I felt sorry for Sydney because you can tell she really was trying to have a good relationship with her younger sister. Their father was an absolute idiot though, so it didn’t surprise me that Zoe would try her hardest to impress him by any means necessary.

I had forgotten all about Neil. He was an interesting character, one that I hope we’ll get to see in the next two books again.

I am very excited to read the last two books in this series. I have been able to stay away from most spoilers, so I know next to nothing about what will happen next. I’m excited!

As always, please remember to check out Jamsu’s review of The Fiery Heart.