Review: Moxie

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Moxie by: Jennifer Mathieu

My Rating: 4 Stars

Moxie girls fight back!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with her small-town Texas high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes and hallway harassment. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv’s mom was a punk rock Riot Grrrl in the ’90s, so now Viv takes a page from her mother’s past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She’s just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. Pretty soon Viv is forging friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, and she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Rape, blackmailing, harassment, bullying, slut shaming, mention of accident, sexism, misogyny, and mention of death.

Vivian is used to everything. She’s used to behaviour of the boys. Used to all the sexist jokes, and the boy being able to get away with everything. Until Lucy transfers. Lucy is the new girl and the latest victim of Mitchell’s harassment. Viv puts her foot down. Why should she and the rest of the girls have to deal with this?! Viv using inspiration from her mother’s Riot Grrl days creates Moxie. A zine for all the females. A revolution forms. But can they hold out against the school board and most of the male population?

I had seen Moxie on Goodreads and Twitter. I didn’t care much for the synopsis. I went to the bookstore and saw it on the shelves. Out of curiosity I picked it up. I am happy to say that I enjoyed it!

The book is written in first person limited following Vivian. There are chapter numbers. And pictures of the zines that she makes. Which could sometimes take about three pages.

I’m really surprised that I was able to enjoy it! The synopsis read like one of those feminist books, that don’t turn out that good. I can happily say that I was wrong! What I appreciated the most was the diversity! Some feminist books are actually white feminism in disguise. Which was not the case here. There were WOC and some LGBTQIA characters. And all were done so well!

I really liked Viv! Her journey through creating Moxie was incredible. I loved that she decided to take a stand for the sake off helping her fellow women. This really is an empowering book about fantastic female friendships!

Claudia is Viv’s best friend. The two have done everything together since they were children. Their friendship is tested once the Moxie zines start coming out. Claudia like Viv has gotten used to the system. She’s not quite a fan of it being questioned. Of course Claudia doesn’t like the system or the general treatment, but she’s used to it. This is partly why Claudia didn’t like Lucy in the beginning. Lucy questioned everything and where she came from things were better. She does warm up to Lucy. And makes up with Viv.

Lucy was such a fun character! It was nice to read about her observations on how odd the school was. She was alone in the beginning, but Moxie brought Viv and her together. Lucy and Claudia were on rocky terms in the beginning. The two do become good friends.

Even the typical blonde cheerleader played a huge role. Viv and every other female were under the impression that Emma had a lot to gain from the system. Partly because she was pretty and didn’t seem to mind the status quo. Emma turns out to be so much more! I really appreciated how the author handled women.  

I liked Viv’s relationship with her family! Her grandparents were very sweet. And her mother served for the inspiration of Moxie. Her mother’s past was so cool and interesting! I love that she fought for the things she loved.

Her and Viv do get into a bit of a rough spot. Her mother’s new boyfriend plays a huge role in this. As Viv felt that her mother was changing because of said boyfriend. The two make up when Viv starts seeking her mothers advice. Viv also felt that her family wouldn’t support her on Moxie. Much to her surprise they did and were proud of her.

Viv’s crush Seth also played a huge role, outside of the love interest. Seth actually caught Viv when she put out the first zine. He decided to keep it a secret. And found out cool. He became her go to person for occasional advice. There was a slow burn romance between the two which I liked!

If it wasn’t obvious with the trigger warnings this book was hard to read. There are a lot of hard subjects brought up. And while I think they were dealt with properly, it didn’t make it any easier.

It’s not just the male student body that sucked, it was even the female teachers. The school board and the mentality of the town. The behaviour of these characters truly disgusted me. I spent a lot of my time reading furious at all the things that happened. Which I’m assuming was the author’s intention. Kudos to the author.

I also want to point out that I never felt that Moxie drove away male allies. Towards the end of the book the girls team up for a Moxie walkout. Seth and some of his male friends join this walkout in solidarity of the girls’. I thought that this was really powerful! Don’t believe what Kirkus says.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this! I highly recommend.       

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Review: Here Lies Daniel Tate

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Here Lies Daniel Tate by: Cristin Terrill

My Rating: 5 Stars

When ten-year-old Daniel Tate went missing from one of California’s most elite communities, he left no trace. He simply vanished.

Six years later, when he resurfaces on a snowy street in Vancouver, he’s no longer the same boy. His sandy hair is darker, the freckles are gone, and he’s initially too traumatized to speak, but he’s alive. His overjoyed family brings him home to a world of luxury and comfort he can barely remember. In time, they assure him, he’ll recover his memories; all that matters now is they’re together again.

It’s perfect. A miracle. Except for one thing.

He isn’t Daniel Tate.

He’s a petty con artist who accidentally stumbled into the scam of a lifetime, and he soon learns he’s not the only one in the Tate household with something to hide. The family has as many secrets as they have millions in the bank, and one of them might be ready to kill to keep the worst one buried.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Murder, mention of abusive parent, neglectant parent, self-harm to create a birth mark, drug addiction, overdose, mention of cheating, mention of divorce, incest, blackmailing, and physical violence.

This was not how it was supposed to go. It should’ve been so easy. Pretend to be some recently found rich kid and fit in. He didn’t expect all the problems that come with the Tate name. But hey it’s worth it. He has a family, access to school and other necessities. The cherry on top is that the Tate’s are rich. How long could he keep the act up? What if the killer came for him?

I have read the author’s debut All Our Yesterday’s and thoroughly enjoyed it! When I heard that she was writing a mystery I didn’t hesitate to add it. I am happy to say that I loved it!

Here Lies Daniel Tate is written in first person limited following our main character. There aren’t any chapters. It just starts and ends. You don’t know the name of the main character. He never mentions it. Which worked really well seeing as he is an unreliable narrator.

Our main character has been pulling cons for years. He gets into a foster care system temporarily and then leaves. It’s just a cycle. Of course he doesn’t want to be found, so he never reveals his name. Hence the running.

The book begins with him doing just that. Except it doesn’t quite work out. Whilst running away one of the other children notice him. And tell the people in charge. Out of desperation, he looks into a missing children database. On there Daniel Tate’s information is recorded. Thus he pretends to be Daniel. And then the whole mess begins.

I was really impressed by this book! I didn’t know that the author would be so good at writing mysteries. I truly hope she writes more. I saw nothing coming! And let me tell you there are a lot of reveals. In order to maintain the appearance of Daniel, our main character does some digging into the Tate’s secrets. And there were so many. I also really liked how there weren’t any chapters. It was a unique reading experience.

Once they hear that their brother is alive Lexi and Patrick (the eldest siblings) rush to pick him up. Nichalos is in shock that his brother was even found. And Mia is just happy to have another family member. She was a baby when Daniel disappeared. Their mother seems very cold. And Daniel’s father is in jail, so he can’t visit him. A childhood friend of Daniel’s does also email him.

The FBI get involved in hopes of finding Daniel’s kidnappers. The school board is also informed of Daniel’s mental state and keeps on eye on him. He is assigned a counselor, who he has to report to.

I actually liked our main character! While everything he does is questionable, all in all he just wanted to belong. And a place to call home. It was really something to read about his attempts to become Daniel. There are vague hints into his real life as a child. But nothing concrete. Just enough to keep you guessing. 

I loved the main character’s relationship with Mia! She was so sweet and pure. Like the only one in the family with good intentions. Mia couldn’t walk that much. She had some problem, that the Tate’s say she was born with. I don’t remember the name anymore. If anyone else does please mention in the comments! And I’ll mention you in the review.

Patrick wasn’t home that much. He actually lived on his own somewhere else. Though he was there when our main character had to meet with the FBI. Patrick was a lawyer. Lexi also has her own apartment, but upon the return of her brother she stays in her family home frequently. Lexi was also fantastic! Really great sister. Patrick was too, when he visited.

Our main characters relationship with the Tate’s mother was complicated. She left all the mothering to Lexi or the maid. Barely existed her room to even say hello. Our main character feels like she knows that he’s not actually Daniel. But for whatever reason does nothing about it. Unless you count avoiding him.

The relationship with Nicholas was also very rocky. See Nicholas and Daniel never got along. Of course our main character doesn’t know about this, and constantly screws up in conversations with Nicholas. Hence how Nicholas figures out that he isn’t Daniel. He does threaten to do something about it. But it would be pointless. At this point our main character wants to do some digging and uncover the whole mystery. Thus the two teamed up.

I also liked Nicholas! Especially his boyfriend. He had a no-nonsense attitude which I loved. Our main character also has a love interest. Whose name is Ren (correct me if I’m wrong). And I’m pretty sure she was Japanese. They were so cute together! I really liked the slow burn romance.

The reveals were something. If you think about it some of them were obvious. Most of them weren’t. Specifically what happened to Daniel. I didn’t consider it would be those characters. I didn’t think they had a motive. Turns out they did. It was a bitter sweet ending. And I can honestly say that this book will stay with me.

Overall I loved this! I highly recommend.                

Review: Fire and Heist

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Fire and Heist by: Sarah Beth Durst

My Rating: 4 Stars

In Sky Hawkins’s family, leading your first heist is a major milestone–even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It’s a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you’re a wyvern–a human capable of turning into a dragon.

Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family’s wealth and rank in their community.

With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society–a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Trauma regarding absent parent, mention of murder, blackmailing, imprisonment, mention of blood, abusive parent, and physical violence.

Sky Hawkin’s used to have it all. The perfect family, friends, and boyfriend. Until her mother disappeared. Now shunned by the wyvern society, Sky’s family is dealing with the aftermath regarding her mother. Her father doesn’t smile anymore. Her brothers ignore her. And the Hawkin’s family refuses to speak about what happened.

Much to Sky’s surprise her ex-boyfriend Ryan gives her information regarding her mother. Sky decides to put her foot down and complete the mission her mother failed. With a rag-tag crew, Sky sets out for answers. 

After reading the author’s previous works’ I was highly anticipating this! I am happy to say that I enjoyed it! Fire and Heist is written in first person limited, following Sky. There are chapter numbers and one list.

I had such a blast reading! So much fun but also had it’s serious moments. I particularly enjoyed the play on history! The Hawkin’s are distantly related to King Atahualpa and other historical figures.

I absolutely loved the Hawkin’s! They had such a great relationship, despite all they’d been through. Charles is the oldest. He had this tough guy attitude. Tuck and Liam are fraternal twins. And like most twins had a close relationship. Sky’s the youngest and the baby of the family. Her father and brother’s do their best to keep Sky out of everything. Which just makes Sky even more inclined to look for answers.

There’s a large focus on ‘Before’. As in before the events of this book. When Sky and her family used to be happy, and when they actually had a place in society. After being shunned and dumped by her boyfriend, everyone else followed suit. Sky’s wyvern friend’s ditched her. No one wants to do business with the family. Naturally Sky is angry with all these people. Even when Ryan comes back in her life Sky still holds some resentment.

The world building was excellent! There are a lot of rules within the wyvern society. Even regarding a person’s first heist. Wyverns’ history plays a huge role in the story. Most of it is nothing new. Though I felt that Durst did a good job making it unique.

I really liked Sky! She was a great character. Realistic with her own insecurities. Also very mature which seems to be a thing with Durst’s heroine’s. I enjoyed reading about her character development and journey throughout the story.

Gabriela is Sky’s human friend. Now that Sky doesn’t have any wyvern friends. She is Spanish and loves to do research. Also very self-assured, whilst some insecurities. The friendship between Sky and Gabriela was sweet! They really grew from their relationship with one-another.

Maximus is a wyvern who can also use magic. His character was quite something. At first I didn’t know how to feel about him. As the story continued I grew to appreciate his character. He’s very dramatic which makes for a fun reading experience.

Ryan’s character surprised me. When I read the synopsis I figured the audience is supposed to like him. I did not except him to be helping Sky in her heist. Let alone encourage it. He was sweet and a total dork. I liked the romance between them. I thought they were cute together. It also didn’t take away from the plot.

The heist was so much fun! I really enjoyed reading about their practice. And the part each character had to play. Once all the twists came into play, there were a lot of genres explored. Such as some Sci-Fi elements. I didn’t see anything coming! And enjoyed all the tibits of the world building explored.

The main themes were forgiveness and power. I respected Sky when she said that she would forgive Ryan and the rest of her friends. It showed character growth. I thoroughly enjoyed the discussions about power. It was very interesting and thought provoking.

Overall I really liked it! I highly recommend it.   

Monthly Wrap-Up: November 2018

November 2

This month I read 18 books. GR links for the books that I didn’t review. There will be a note attached to the books that I did mini and full reviews for. GR and WordPress links included. Please note that links are only provided for the book title. Let me know in the comments what you read!

Book(s) that I DNFed (0-2 stars):

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  1. Daises and Devotion by: Josi S. Kilpack
  2. Dragon Pearl by: Yoon Ha Lee
  3. The Fifth Season by: N. K. Jemisin-Mini review 
  4. Crown of Feathers by: Nicki Pau Preto-Mini review
  5. Skyward by: Brandon Sanderson-Mini review
  6. Next Year in Havana by: Chanel Cleeton
  7. Grace and Fury by: Tracey Banghart
  8. Etiquette & Espionage by: Gail Carriger   

Book(s) that I Didn’t Really Like (2-3 stars):

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  1. Dumplin’ by: Julie Murphy-Wordpress review

Book(s) that I Enjoyed (3-4 stars):

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  1.  The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 32 by: Jun Mochizuki
  2. Blackbird Chapter 2 by: Sam Humphries, Mingjue Chen (Artist), and Jen Bartel (Artist)-Mini review
  3. Banished by: Betsy Schow-Mini review

Favourite Book(s) of the Month (4-5 stars):

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  1. Eden’s Zero Chapter’s 18-22 by: Hiro Mashima
  2. Sincerely Harriet by: Sarah W. Searle-Mini review 
  3. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by: Tahereh Mafi-Wordpress review

Book Haul: November 2018

November 1

Book Haul is when you share books that you bought from the bookstore, ebooks/kindle, borrowed from the library or a friend, books you won through giveaways, and books for review purposes. GR links for (only) the book titles. Let me know in the comments what books you hauled!

Library:

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  1. The Fifth Season by: N. K. Jemisin
  2. Dumplin’ by: Julia Murphy
  3. Grace and Fury by: Tracy Banghart

Ebook/Kubo/Kindle/Audible:

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  1. The Case Study of Vanitas Chapter 32 by: Jun Mochizuki
  2. Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku Vol. 3 by: Fujita 

Netgalley:

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  1. Dragon Pearl by: Yoon Ha Lee 
  2. Crown of Feathers by: Nicki Pau Preto
  3. Daises and Devotion by: Josi S. Kilpack
  4. Sincerely Harriet by: Sarah W. Searle
  5. Slayer by: Kiersten White

Bookstore:

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November books

  1. Skyward by: Brandon Sanderson-Not included in image 
  2. My Hero Academia Vol. 15 by: Kohei Horikoshi
  3. Willa of the Wood by: Robert Beatty
  4. Twilight of the Elves by: Zack Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos 
  5. The Dark Days Deceit by: Alison Goodman 

Review: Gray Wolf Island

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Gray Wolf Island by: Tracey Neithercott

My Rating: 4 Stars

Right before Sadie died, she begged her sister, Ruby, to do the one thing she could never do herself: Find the treasure on Gray Wolf Island.

With just a mysterious treasure map as a guide, Ruby reluctantly allows some friends to join her on the hunt, each of whom is touched by magic: a boy allegedly born to a virgin, a girl who never sleeps, a boy who can foresee his own death, and a boy with deep ties to the island. Each of them is also keeping a secret—something they’ll have to reveal in order to reach the treasure.

As the secrets come to light, Ruby will have to decide: Can she make peace with her friends’ troubled pasts and continue to trust them? Can she forgive herself for doing the unspeakable? Deep in the wilderness of Gray Wolf Island, Ruby’s choices will determine if they make it out with the treasure—or merely with their lives.

From debut author Tracey Neithercott comes a darkly compelling tale of profound friendship, adventure, and finding the strength to tell the truth.

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger Warning: Death, murder, and mention of rape.

I received this E-ARC via the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I was super excited to read Gray Wolf Island! I love reading about treasure hunts and was thoroughly anticipating this one. Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy it.

The story follows Ruby after the death of her sister Sadie. Sadie was obsessed about this mysterious island that is rumored to have treasure. Much to Ruby’s surprise Sadie has set-up a trip to the island for Ruby to go in her place. Ruby gets the help of Gabe, Charlie, Elliot, and Anne. As they make their way to the island, they soon realize they will face truths about themselves. Truths that are harmful.

This actually started off really good! It was so funny and interesting. As the story continued it fell flat and I started skimming for answers. I am not a 100 percent satisfied with said answers. And there were a lot of loose ends that I wish for cleared up.

When I realized that each character would have to face their truths to get to the treasure I was surprised. In reality those truths were just flat. I can’t they were predictable but I didn’t much care for them. In hindsight the secrets were actually kind of dumb. The most shocking would have to be Gabe, Charlie, and Elliot. If you really pay attention to the synopsis you can guess Ruby’s. And Anne’s was just sad but not surprising considering the situation.

I did not like Ruby. Her point of view whilst entertaining at first became such a drag. She was really whiny. And while I do understand her reasoning, I still felt that she should’ve revealed herself sooner. For everyone’s safety.

In order to receive the treasure each character had to reveal a truth about themselves. Otherwise you die. Like literary the island would attack you. Which was very difficult to wrap my head around. And honestly I really hated that island. The magical realism parts of the story were very confusing. Like how Elliot is connected to Cooper. To this day I still can’t wrap my head around it all.

Also was Gabe’s death necessary? I guess it really showed his improvement that he sacrificed himself for Charlie. He did rape someone and that’ll never be okay. He could’ve improved. But now we’ll never know. I think he even said he would confess and everything? When he went back home?

I did enjoy some things. The beginning of the book was strong. I liked reading from Cooper’s point of view. Anne was my favourite character! She was so much fun. I even liked Charlie. I liked the romance between Ruby and Elliot. And the writing style. 

Gray Wolf Island just didn’t work for me. I do still recommend.      

Review: The Dark Days Pact

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The Dark Days Pact by: Alison Goodman

My Rating: 5 Stars

June 1812. Just weeks after her catastrophic coming-out ball, Lady Helen Wrexhall—now disowned by her uncle—is a full member of the demon-hunting Dark Days Club. Her mentor, Lord Carlston, has arranged for Helen and her maid, Darby, to spend the summer season in Bristol, where Helen can sharpen her Reclaimer powers. Then the long-term effects of Carlston’s Reclaimer work take hold, and his sanity begins to slip. At the same time, Carlston’s Dark Days Club colleague and nemesis will stop at nothing to bring Helen over to his side—and the Duke of Selburn is determined to marry her. The stakes are ever higher for Helen, and her decision will truly change the world…

Beware spoilers ahead!

Trigger warning: Gun violence, physical violence, blackmailing using a character’s sexual orientation, blackmailing threatening treason, and a fair bit of gore.

It’s been a few weeks since Lady Helen has decided to work with The Dark Days Club. Lady Helen has been spending her with Lady Margaret and her brother Mr. Hammond. Thus far Lady Helen has been presumably ill to the rest of society. Under Lord Carlston’s orders Lady Helen has begun training. And will start attending parities and such as she needs to integrate herself into society. 

Much to everyone’s surprise Mr. Pike a figure in the government has requested a meeting with Lady Helen and Mr. Hammond. Whilst Carlston is away on another government meeting. Mr. Pike reveals that Mr. Benchley’s partner in crime is going to sell Mr. Benchley’s journal. The journal contains important information that Mr. Pike and such members don’t want to get it out.

Mr. Hammond argues that they can’t really give an answer as Lord Carlston isn’t present. Mr. Pike then uses the fact that Mr. Hammond is gay as blackmail. He also blackmails Lady Helen stating that her family will be once again framed for treason. Mr. Pike also instructs the two of them to spy on Lord Carlston. Most of the government officials still don’t trust him and want proof that Lord Carlston is on their side. Lady Helen and Mr. Hammond now have to lie and spy behind everyone’s back.

The story written in third person limited following Lady Helen. At beginning of every chapter there was a date, month, and year. It helps track how many days pass. There are chapter numbers as well. At the top of each page there is a lace like pattern printed. Which is so pretty!

The Dark Days Pact was an amazing sequel! It became more political and action packed. I really enjoyed all the heist and espionage elements. And was thoroughly happy that we were presented more information regarding The Dark Day’s Club. And wow those twists! Not at all what I was expecting. The romance was definitely better as well.

With every book in this series my love for Lady Helen grows. She is such a strong character. She participates in The Dark Days’ Club without giving up her girly behaviour. I truly wish there were more female characters like her. Her friendship with Darcy and Delia was so sweet!

Feeling bad for what has occurred with Delia, Lady Helen decides to tell her everything. Thus begins Delia’s involvement in The Dark Days Club. It also helps that her parents want nothing to do with her. The Duke of Selburn also makes an appearance. He spends the majority of the book trying to dissuade Lady Helen from Lord Carlston. He does get involved in The Dark Days Club but not in a way you would expect. It was really amusing how you got to that point!

I really enjoyed reading about Lady Helen and Mr. Hammond’s escapades! Their relationship even grew throughout it all. And they became really good friends! Some of the information they found out was shocking and very insightful. It really cleared up a lot of things. There are even some new characters introduced who play an important role in the plot.

Mr. Benchley’s journal provided much needed Intel. I still stand by my opinions of him, I have to admit he was very intelligent. While he was alive he had spies everywhere and had information on everybody. This really explained how he was able to get away with so much. 

Lord Carlston is starting to become uncontrollable and more rash. Mr. Quinn is having a hard time controlling him. Mr. Quinn enlists Lady Helen’s help several times. Lady Margaret has been fretting the most openly. Lady Helen and Mr. Hammond start to find it hard to keep this from Mr. Pike and his threats still looms over their heads.

Goodman’s character work really impressed me! In the first book I didn’t really like Lady Margaret or Lord Carlston that much. Whereas in this book I came to really like them! I finally started to understand their side and grew to respect them. 

The romances were so much better in this installment! Mr. Quinn and Darcy start a relationship. Which was so cute! The chemistry between Lady Helen and Lord Carlston grew and I actually liked them as a couple. Of course the love triangle has remained. The Duke of Selburn is still in love for Lady Helen. Lady Margaret and Mr. Hammond are in love with Lord Carlston. I do admit it’s a bit much, but the romance never takes away from the plot. And isn’t the center stage.

Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this installment! I can’t wait to read The Dark Days Deceit. I highly recommend this series!