Book Review |The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Good Morning Worms!

This post will be my spoiler-free review of The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller. Due to work, it has taken me a while to get this review put together, but it is here! So please…Enjoy!

Title: The Shadows Between Us
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Published: February 25, 2020
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 Stars

SYNOPSIS

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?

SPOILER-FREE REVIEW

The Shadows Between Us follows the main character, Alessandra Stathos, a master manipulator who knows exactly what she wants and exactly how to get it.

Alessandra’s character is written really well. She is undeniably herself throughout the entire book; determined, ruthless, manipulative, sexually aware, and non apologetic. She does grow to care in the end, but not a complete personality change, so very realistic.

If you’re looking for a great world-building fantasy novel, this isn’t for you. This book is more of a fantasy romance, highly focused on the romance than the fantasy elements. We know there is a fantastical element, the Shadow King’s powers, but the book doesn’t dive too far into the backstory about the magic.

In a weird way this novel reminded me of The Selection series by Kiera Cass. If America and Maxon were murderous and dark. It takes place almost entirely in the palace where Alessandra is trying to woo the Shadow King as they are courting.

There are quite a few tropes that I love in this story, like; fake dating/courting, friends to lovers, and enemies to lovers. Along with the main romance plot, there are a few subplots we get to dive a little into and it gives the story a little something extra!

If you’re looking for a quick fantasy read, where you can fly through it in one sitting without your brain hurting from all the world building, this is the standalone book to pick up!

Overall, I really did enjoy this quick, easy novel and I can’t wait to try out Tricia Levenseller’s other books, starting with Daughter of The Pirate King!

Looking to buy?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Shadows-Between-Us-Tricia-Levenseller/dp/1250189969/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=

Chapters Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/product/9781250763662-item.html?s_campaign=goo-Shopping_Smart_Books&gclid=Cj0KCQjwtrSLBhCLARIsACh6Rmj6kmtQCM1V5dVrCKnpMBPzxKAdF-Zl_vCp8uZ1LXIZBSHfbnGiAM8aAh9JEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/The-Shadows-Between-Us-Tricia-Levenseller/9781250189967?redirected=true&utm_medium=Google&utm_campaign=Base1&utm_source=CA&utm_content=The-Shadows-Between-Us&selectCurrency=CAD&w=AF4BAU967672BUA8V9DQ

more by this author

Illumicrate Unboxing| August 2021- Dark Academia

Hey Worms!

A while back, I signed up for Illumicrate’s waitlist and was able to start a subscription in June!

Since then, I’ve received the June, July, and August boxes, however, we’re going to talk only about this past months box; August’s Dark Academia!

WHAT IS ILLUMICRATE?

Illumicrate was the first UK book subscription box, which started in 2015. They now offer 2 monthly subscriptions:

Full Box Subscription– this includes 4-6 items based on that months theme, a pin inspired by that months book, plus the exclusive edition of a newly released book!

Book Only Subscription– this includes the book included in that months box!

They also offer special editions, both full boxes focused on a particular author or fandom and a range of special edition book offerings as well.

If you’d like to subscribe, there is currently a waitlist available to join on their website at https://illumicrate.com

UNBOXING

**Note: I am missing one item from this box. The saucer that goes with the teacup arrived broken and I am speaking with customer service**

List of items:

**Note: Instagram handles for all creators of these items will be listed**

Reading Journal & Planner
Designed by: Nabaa Afridi (@whimsical.doodles)

Secret Societies Book Pot:
Artwork by: Chattynora (@chattynora)

The latest book pot in the collection is inspired by secret societies.


Goddess of Wisdom Teacup and Saucer
Artwork by: Niall Grant (@niallcgrant)

The first in Illumicrates new Greek mythology inspired tea cup collection; this tea cup features gorgeous artwork of Athena, the perfect deity for a Dark Academia box!
**missing from photo; the saucer**

Dark Academia Page Tabs
Artwork by: Plum Tree Illustration (@maya_jasmine_art)

Keep track of your favorite moments and quotes while you read with these page tabs!

Dark Academia Washi Tape
Artwork by: Fez Inkwright (@rosdottir)

Decorate your journal, and anything else you choose, with these lovely dark academia inspired washi tapes!

Monthly Collectors Pin
Designed by: Stacey Mcevoy-Caunt (@stacey.mcevoy.caunt)

As always, the monthly collectors pin is designed by Stacey Mcevoy-Caunt. This month’s pin was inspired by the ancient grimoire that the demon was bound within!

featured book

The Devil Makes Three by Tori Bovalino

Exclusive Illumicrate edition with all exclusive: cover, foiled embossing on the hardback, sprayed edges, and signed by the author!

synopsis


When Tess and Eliot stumble upon an ancient book hidden in a secret tunnel beneath the school library, they accidentally release a devil from his book-bound prison, and he”ll stop at nothing to stay free.

He’ll manipulate all the ink in the library books to do his bidding, he’ll murder in the stacks, and he”ll bleed into every inch of Tess’s life until his freedom is permanent.

Forced to work together, Tess and Eliot have to find a way to re-trap the devil before he kills everyone they know and love, including, increasingly, each other. And compared to what the devil has in store for them, school stress suddenly doesn’t seem so bad after all.

**Synopsis from Chapters/Indigo**

read along

Each month, Illumicrate hosts a Photo Challenge and a Read along featuring that months book.

If you’d like to join in, the start date in September 23, 2021.

Join the read along for The Devil Makes Three in the Illumicrate Reading Room on Discord. You can find the link to join the discord server in the linktree on Illumicrate’s Instagram page!

Book Review | The Dating Plan by Sara Desai

Hey Worms!
(yes…worms. Short for bookworms my loves!)

Today’s post will be a review of The Dating Plan by Sara Desai. This book took me a little longer than usual to finish, but I’ll tell you all about that down below!

Title: The Dating Plan
Author: Sara Desai
Published: March 16, 2021
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Daisy Patel is a software engineer who understands lists and logic better than bosses and boyfriends. With her life all planned out, and no interest in love, the one thing she can’t give her family is the marriage they expect. Left with few options, she asks her childhood crush to be her decoy fiancé. 

Liam Murphy is a venture capitalist with something to prove. When he learns that his inheritance is contingent on being married, he realizes his best friend’s little sister has the perfect solution to his problem. A marriage of convenience will get Daisy’s matchmaking relatives off her back and fulfill the terms of his late grandfather’s will. If only he hadn’t broken her tender teenage heart nine years ago… 

Sparks fly when Daisy and Liam go on a series of dates to legitimize their fake relationship. Too late, they realize that very little is convenient about their arrangement. History and chemistry aren’t about to follow the rules of this engagement.

Spoiler-free review

Before getting into this review, I did want to mention that I heard some characters from Desai’s The Marriage Game pop up in this book, however, you do NOT have to read that one first in order to understand this story! I read this one as a stand-alone.

Now that that is cleared up… on to the review!!

This book has two wonderful main characters:

Daisy Patel- quirky software engineer who loves Marvel! She’s obsessed with lists and has her whole life planned out.

Liam Murphy- sexy, Irish, venture capitalists with something to prove.

Together in this book these characters create such a funny and spicy story that you just can’t help but love.

This one has many romance tropes that I love. To name a few, we have fake dating (fake engagement really), second chance romance, hate to love, etc. I mean who doesn’t wanna dive into that?!

The book follows Daisy and Liam who unexpectedly bump into each other 10 years after their last encounter, where Liam up and left, standing Daisy up on prom night, with no contact since.

After getting over her past anger ( but not really), Daisy and Liam strike an arrangement: a fake engagement!

Throughout the story, we find out the reasons why Liam vanished, and slowly watch Daisy’s walls crumble as she begins to forgive and fall for him once again.

I dove right into this book, but somewhere in the middle I got a little stuck and wasn’t able to get back into the story until a few months later. I don’t know if it was just a bit repetitive with the whole, I like him but I can’t do that again scenario, or what, but after that much needed break I ended up getting the feel for the characters again. This time I flew right through it and loved every second!

This story does have a few warnings for abuse, however, it really helps build Liam’s character quite a lot and we get to watch him grow throughout from this.

Overall, I really did enjoy The Dating Plan and am looking forward to reading more from Sara Desai!

looking to buy?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Dating-Plan-Sara-Desai-ebook/dp/B08BKSGLLR/ref=sr_1_1?crid=3E235FXTQGHQY&dchild=1&keywords=sara+desai&qid=1630343948&sprefix=sara+des%2Caps%2C234&sr=8-1

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Dating-Plan-Sara-Desai/9780593100585?ref=grid-view&qid=1630344195577&sr=1-1

More from Desai

The Marriage Game


A high stakes wager pits an aspiring entrepreneur against a ruthless CEO in this sexy romantic comedy.

After her life falls apart, recruitment consultant Layla Patel returns home to her family in San Francisco. But in the eyes of her father, who runs a Michelin starred restaurant, she can do no wrong. He would do anything to see her smile again. With the best intentions in mind, he offers her the office upstairs to start her new business and creates a profile on an online dating site to find her a man. She doesn’t know he’s arranged a series of blind dates until the first one comes knocking on her door…

As CEO of a corporate downsizing company Sam Mehta is more used to conflict than calm. In search of a quiet new office, he finds the perfect space above a cozy Indian restaurant that smells like home. But when communication goes awry, he’s forced to share his space with the owner’s beautiful yet infuriating daughter Layla, her crazy family, and a parade of hopeful suitors, all of whom threaten to disrupt his carefully ordered life.

As they face off in close quarters, the sarcasm and sparks fly. But when the battle for the office becomes a battle of the heart, Sam and Layla have to decide if this is love or just a game.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Marriage-Game-Sara-Desai/dp/0593100565/ref=sr_1_2?crid=3E235FXTQGHQY&dchild=1&keywords=sara+desai&qid=1630344044&sprefix=sara+des%2Caps%2C234&sr=8-2


The Singles Table (November 16, 2021)

Opposites attract in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy about a free-spirited lawyer who is determined to find the perfect match for the grumpy bachelor at her cousin’s wedding.

After a devastating break-up, celebrity-obsessed lawyer Zara Patel is determined never to open her heart again. She puts her energy into building her career and helping her friends find their happily-ever-afters. She’s never faced a guest at the singles table she couldn’t match, until she crosses paths with the sinfully sexy Jay Dayal.

Former military security specialist Jay has no time for love. His life is about working hard, staying focused, and winning at all costs. When charismatic Zara crashes into his life, he’s thrown into close contact with exactly the kind of chaos he wants to avoid. Worse, they’re stuck together for the entire wedding season.

So they make a deal. She’ll find his special someone if he introduces her to his celebrity clients. But when their arrangement brings them together in ways they never expected, they realize that the perfect match might just be their own.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Singles-Table-Sara-Desai-ebook/dp/B08XM37M3M/ref=sr_1_3?crid=3E235FXTQGHQY&dchild=1&keywords=sara+desai&qid=1630344044&sprefix=sara+des%2Caps%2C234&sr=8-3

Book Review | You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle

Hey Bookworms!

I was originally going to do a post reviewing both of Sarah Hogle’s books, but I wanted to get this review up ASAP to share my thoughts with you all! So, look out in the near future for a review of her newest novel Twice Shy.

Title: You Deserve Each Other
Author: Sarah Hogle
Published: April 7, 2020
Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

When your nemesis also happens to be your fiancé, happily ever after becomes a lot more complicated in this wickedly funny, lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers romantic comedy debut.

Naomi Westfield has the perfect fiancé: Nicholas Rose holds doors open for her, remembers her restaurant orders, and comes from the kind of upstanding society family any bride would love to be a part of. They never fight. They’re preparing for their lavish wedding that’s three months away. And she is miserably and utterly sick of him.

Naomi wants out, but there’s a catch: whoever ends the engagement will have to foot the nonrefundable wedding bill. When Naomi discovers that Nicholas, too, has been feigning contentment, the two of them go head-to-head in a battle of pranks, sabotage, and all-out emotional warfare.

But with the countdown looming to the wedding that may or may not come to pass, Naomi finds her resolve slipping. Because now that they have nothing to lose, they’re finally being themselves—and having fun with the last person they expect: each other.

Spoiler-Free Review

You Deserve Each Other follows our main character Naomi in a type of ‘prank war’ with her fiancé Nicholas, whom she despises, trying to get him to call off the wedding. She does this because the wedding bill is quite high and she can’t afford to pay for it if she cancels it.

During their ‘war’ against eachother, they become totally new people and find themselves falling back in love. Because of this, Naomi is reconsidering if she really wants things to end with Nicholas.

This book was a freaking roller coaster you guys! The first half of the book I actually had aches in my chest because I felt heartbroken for these characters. I physically cried so many times reading this book!

I found this book really relatable for some reason. It takes a lot to make a relationship work and this book really shows that. Communication is key and we really see that in the end. Throughout the book that’s really the problem between Naomi and Nicholas, but they overcome that and fall back in love once again.

The ‘pranks’ were very petty, but I must say, I really enjoyed it. It made for some great laughs throughout. It’s been a while since I physically laughed out loud while reading something!

Overall, this book really was amazing! I would definitely recommend this to anyone, but especially fans of Second Chance Romance or Enemies to Lovers Romance!

looking to buy?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Deserve-Each-Other-Sarah-Hogle-ebook/dp/B07V791JBB/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=you+deserve+each+other&qid=1620761702&sr=8-1

Book Review | The Great Greek Escape by Sue Roberts

Hey Bookworms!

Today we’re going to be talking about my thoughts and review of The Great Greek Escape by Sue Roberts!

Title: The Great Greek Escape
Author: Sue Roberts
Published: May 28, 2021
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

This book follows our main character Sam, who lives in London and is kind of a celebrity thanks to her job as a TV presenter on ‘Wake Up Britain’.

After a night of fun, Sam’s life gets turned upside down. Social media starts dragging her name, she loses jobs on other shows, and her position on ‘Wake Up Britain’ is also in question!

As a way to go under the radar and let things settle down, Sam travels to see her sisters family in Rhodes, Greece for the summer. While there, Sam enjoys the quiet life but also reconnects with an old love, and also kindling a new relationship.

Spoiler-free Review

I must say, this book isn’t at all what I expected! I figured this would be a steamy romance read, but there wasn’t much smut or romance for that matter!

This book is more relaxing than anything. The world building is amazing! You really feel like you’ve just landed in Greece yourself. The small village setting and characters are really what makes this story great.

I wouldn’t go into this with the expectations that this is going to be a sexy, romance read that gets you all hot and bothered. There are a few romantic gestures, but not that many.

I do feel that the ending was rushed to make the relationship happen, and I feel it could have been done way sooner to give us readers more of the romance aspect we expected.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book, it was just a totally different read than I thought I was picking up. Great for anyone who loves a small town setting, or family relationships.

I will definitely be checking out more of Sue Roberts books after this!

Looking to Buy?

Available for purchase May 28, 2021

Book Review| The Playdate by Victoria Jenkins

Hey Bookworms!

Thanks to Bookouture for sending me an early e-book copy of The Playdate by Victoria Jenkins, I really appreciate it! So as you all can tell, I’ll be reviewing Jenkins’ new Psychological Thriller.

Title: The Playdate
Author: Victoria Jenkins
Published: May 21, 2021
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

You can always trust another mother… can’t you?

Single mother Dani has always felt she doesn’t fit in with the other parents at playgroup. So when new mother Adele shows up, Dani jumps at the chance to be friends. Their daughters are the same age and, like Dani, Adele is a bit of an outsider.

Soon, Dani is confiding in Adele about all kinds of things. Like the relationship she had with her daughter’s father, which ended when she learned he was married. And the threats she’s been receiving, which she suspects might be from his wife.

But Dani quickly realises there’s a lot she doesn’t know about her new friend.

Why does she seem so uncomfortable in her own home?

Why does she never mention her husband?

And why is she so interested in Dani’s life?

Who is Adele really? And if Dani lets her in will she be putting herself, and her daughter, in danger?

spoiler-free Review

I haven’t read many mysteries/thrillers, but all the ones I have read, I find the beginning to be slow, just as I did with this one.

However, about halfway through, the book picks up so quickly, you can’t help your mind start to play detective, keeping up with all the twists and secrets, trying to figure out the ending before you get there!

I have never read a book quite like this. It keeps you guessing right up until the very end. I couldn’t put this book down! Highly recommend. Such a thrill!

I can’t wait to read more of Victoria Jenkins!

Looking to Buy?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Playdate-absolutely-gripping-unputdownable-psychological-ebook/dp/B08XWFWZMH/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+playdate+victoria+jenkins&qid=1620915710&sprefix=the+playdat&sr=8-1

Book Review| Beach Read by Emily Henry

Hey Bookworms!

Today I’m going to be reviewing the rom-com Beach Read by Emily Henry!

Title: Beach Read
Author: Emily Henry
Published: May 19, 2020
Rating: 5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

**Content Warnings: death of a family member, cancer, cults**

Synopsis

A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.

Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.

Spoiler-free Review

This book follows our main character, January Andrews, a romance author currently living next to an old college rival, Gus. After both suffer from writers block, they strike a bet, and switch to writing the others genre. January is to write literary fiction, and Gus to write a happy-ending romance!

Let me warn you, this isn’t your typical easy, breezy rom-com. No, this story deals with such emotional, heart wrenching grief and other subjects, you can’t help but cry over.

Henry will tear your heart to pieces, then stitch it back together with a sweet happy ending, and you won’t even know what hit you!

I personally love a good rivals to lovers, a second chance romance, and this was exactly that and more! The romance in this novel happened slowly, very realistic (in my opinion). The banter back and forth between the characters was such a fun ride, but my favorite part was the note conversations (very Taylor Swift ‘You Belong with Me music video vibes), it was adorable!

Another thing you should be aware of; even though the book is called ‘Beach Read,’ there wasn’t much beach time in the plot. There were like three scenes that took place there and that was it, however, it does take place in a small town in the summer, so you still get those good summer vibes.

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants a quick romance read. It may deal with some heavy topics, but it’s still easy to fly through.

I can’t wait to read more from Emily Henry!

Looking to buy?

Indigo Chapters:
https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/beach-read/9781984806734-item.html?s_campaign=goo-DSA_Books&gclid=CjwKCAjwjuqDBhAGEiwAdX2cj2wbNeqbQehuo6UdEz3gz8MV9fdQvMHHa8LEOLux_HWJpZ4Bg0N_qxoCtGMQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

Book Depository:
https://www.bookdepository.com/Beach-Read-Emily-Henry/9781984806734?ref=grid-view&qid=1618701880139&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble:
https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beach-read-emily-henry/1133410994?ean=9781984806734