Book Review: HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston (OwlCrate Book March 2018)

“Heart of Iron”

Heart of Iron #1

by Ashley Poston

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: As a pirate on the notorious spaceship, the Dossier, Ana is no stranger to perilous situations and danger. And when her best friend and Metal begins to malfunction, she is willing to jump in headfirst and risk everything to save him. But as they hunt across space for the part he needs, they stumble onto a secret that shatters everything that they know about their world and each other. Now Di has been HIVE’d, absorbed into the super AI built to keep Metals in line, and is commanded to find and terminate Ana.

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8 Honorable Things about HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston (OwlCrate Book March 2018)

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Anastasia

It appears that “Heart of Iron” may have been inspired by the fairy-tale story of Anastasia Romanova aka the 1997 cartoon movie Anastasia. I say fairy-tale because in reality Anastasia Romanova was assassinated with her family in 1918 but due to not finding her body and/or not being able to confirm thru DNA, there were rumors that Anastasia survived. In “Heart of Iron,” Ana, who doesn’t remember her life before the Dossier, turns out to be Princess Ananke Armorov. Her family was killed all on the same night and it was believed that she died as well but she in fact escaped. Also in “Heart of Iron,” the shady-ass bad guy is named Rasputin, Ana’s father’s name was name Nicholii, and there is a spaceship called the Tsarina. So yeah, “Heart of Iron” is a retelling of Anastasia in space, which is totally cool in my book! Anastasia is one of my favorite movies.

2. Space

Space! While I would never want to actually go to space in real life, I do enjoy movies and books that take place in space. There are so many options for different worlds, cultures, and species when working within a space setting versus just a world. “Heart of Iron” takes place in space, specifically on and between various planets within the same solar system and although all characters are human, one major character is from a people that originate from a whole other galaxy.

3. Love

Love can be hard to define and quantify, as many of our emotions are. Would an AI ever be able to understand these emotions or even experience them? Could a human develop feelings for an AI, even love them? Would the AI be able to reciprocate those feelings? These are just some of the questions that will come up while you are reading “Heart of Iron” because Ana is very much in love with her Metal and best friend, Di. While I’m not sure how it would translate in real life, in this fictional world I absolutely loved Di and Ana’s relationship! Their ability to work with each other and balance each other, along with their continuous banter made them a very enjoyable couple.

4. LGBTQ

“Heart of Iron” featured one LGBTQ relationship as well as a budding romance between two main characters. Captain Siege of the Dossier is married to Talle, a woman, and together they raised Ana. Sparks fly between main characters Jax and Robb as soon as they meet and hopefully will end with them being together. Although Jax can’t seem to touch another living being… It’s like Rogue and Gambit in X-men, so tragic!

5. Di

Di is my favorite character in “Heart of Iron” and there are many reasons for this. First is his dedication to Ana, being her bodyguard, partner in crime, best friend, or her caretaker depending on needs. Next his banter to himself and other characters was amusing af. And finally, that he was able to overcome the HIVE and not actually kill Ana. He’s still in there somewhere and I can’t wait for Ana to bring him back!

6. Ana

For being a princess, Ana is definitely not stereotypical. She is impulsive, loud, outspoken, combative, and rough around the edges. I like her a lot! Ana puts those she loves above herself and tries her hardest to solve all her problems on her own to avoid putting others in danger(which usually leads to more problems but at least she tries). She is also extremely inquisitive, which I totally relate to.

7. Writing

Overall, “Heart of Iron” was a blast to read! The story was intriguing with the mysteries surrounding the Metals, the HIVE, the death of the royal family, and Ana’s backstory. All the characters were likeable and relatable. And Poston kept things fast-paced, continuously moving the story along, while pulling on your heartstrings as characters endured heartbreak and setbacks.

8. Soul of Stars

Thankfully Ana and Di’s story continues in Ashley Poston’s Heart of Iron series, “Soul of Stars”, which is the second and final book in the series.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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Book Review: 7 Cool Things about THE CURSED SEA by Lauren DeStefano

“The Cursed Sea”

The Glass Spare #2

by Lauren DeStefano

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: As Wil deals with the fallout of killing her beloved brother, she is now on the run from two kingdoms. As the Northern and Southern kingdoms are at war, both are hunting Wil for their own reasons. The Southern Isles see Wil’s curse, to turn anything living into gems with a simple touch, as something to be exploited and used to kill and amass wealth. And in Arrod, her death is ordered by her own brother, Baren, who is haunted by death and seems to have cursed his whole kingdom. Wil teams up with her supposed enemy, Loom, the exiled prince of the Southern Isles,  as they fight to win back both their kingdoms before everything they love is destroyed.

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7 Cool Things about THE CURSED SEA by Lauren DeStefano

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The World

The world created by Lauren DeStefano for The Glass Spare duology was an interesting combination of fantasy and technology. The world includes elements of the modern with electricity, machinery, and guns but also includes castles, alchemy, magic, and curses. It was a nice blend that ended up working together and didn’t appear disjointed.

2. LGBTQ

Lauren DeStefano included a LGBTQ relationship between the characters Espel and her guard Masalee. While I loved this dynamic simply for inclusiveness and reducing stigma, it really helped show the depth of Espel’s character and how much she kept hidden from the world. Through the love that she and Masalee share, it is revealed that Espel is not the monster she appears to be but rather is putting on an act to protect that which she cherishes most.in “The Glass Spare” but we learn that he committed a crime and was therefore cursed. Wil was born with her curse and the great mystery is why.

3. Mending Relationships

“The Cursed Sea” had a theme of mending relationships throughout. This theme is seen between Espel and Loom, Wil and Baren, and even Loom and Wil. When the characters take the time to try to understand where the other person is coming from, they are able to empathize and make compromises. They learn to trust and work towards mending the relationship or at least reach an understanding that causes a truce between them.

4. The Curse

Wil’s curse was the source of mystery throughout “The Glass Spare” and thankfully “The Cursed Sea” helps to explain why Wil was cursed from birth and it was not what I was expecting! There were so many twists and turns relating to the curse that even when I thought I figured everything out, there was another revelation. Ultimately, Wil’s grandmother and grandfather were terrible people.

5. Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry was another theme seen in The Glass Spare duology. First shown between Espel and Loom, it is revealed that they grew up pitted against each other and while they believed that the other truly hated them, neither of them would kill the other when it came down to it. It is through this act of not killing the other that they realize that there is a love between them regardless of their upbringing. Sadly, the sibling rivalry between Wil and Baren doesn’t end as well but it is revealed that while Baren did have an overwhelming irrational hatred of Wil, she and her brothers also fostered this hatred by excluding him from their friendship. This allows Wil to comprehend that it wasn’t all Baren, that she contributed to this rivalry as well and that regardless, he still didn’t take her life.

6. Love

Always the sucker for love stories, I really enjoyed the experience of Loom and Wil falling in love and then actually embracing it. As they went from being angry, possibly even out right hating each other, to a truce, to then accepting their feelings for one another was a delightful journey to be part of. Most importantly, they respected each other’s boundaries, were willing to allow the other to make their own decisions, and were willing to accept whatever choices were made.

7. The Ending

Happily The Glass Spare duology had an overall positive ending. While not all dreams and aspirations were reached, each character got what they deserved in the end. Most exciting was the reunion between Loom and Wil, hoping they lived happily ever after together.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

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July 2021 Book Reviews

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Book Review: THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano (OwlCrate Book November 2017)

“The Glass Spare”

The Glass Spare #1

by Lauren DeStefano

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Wanting nothing more to explore the world and wander, like the life her mother once led, Wil dreams of freedom but as a spare heir, she doubts the king will ever give her a mission beyond their kingdom. Then tragedy strikes as she develops a power to turn whatever living thing she touches into gems. Forced to flee her kingdom, Wil must now navigate the world while trying to find a way to break her curse.

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7 Great Things about THE GLASS SPARE by Lauren DeStefano

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Midas Touch

Lauren DeStefano’s “The Glass Spare” appears to be inspired by the Greek myth of King Midas who turned everything he touched into gold. In “The Glass Spare,” the main character Wil is cursed, turning anything living into a gem upon touching it. Obviously this kills whatever she touches and sadly only takes a few seconds to be devastating. While a curse to her, many others see her as a viable asset for unlimited riches.

2. Curse

The main differences between King Midas in the Greek myth and Wil’s character in “The Glass Spare” is that King Midas wishes for his powers while Wil is cursed with it. Loom is another character who is also cursed in “The Glass Spare” but we learn that he committed a crime and was therefore cursed. Wil was born with her curse and the great mystery is why.

3. Siblings

Wil and her two brothers, Owen and Gerdie, are absolutely heartwarming together. All three of them confide in one another and look out for each other in a way that I wish all siblings could. Sadly though, their other brother does not share their bond and actually appears to have a deep hatred for all of them, especially Wil. Regardless, DeStefano portrays loving sibling relationships in “The Glass Spare” that are based on trust, respect, love, gratitude, and healthy boundaries. Serious sibling goals.

4. Tragedy

Sadly, Wil’s curse causes the death of a beloved brother and it was heartbreaking. Wil struggled with blame and survivor’s guilt, both being understandable for how things went down. Interesting though is that through that event, she comes to realize that her father loves her more than she believed. He does not even attempt to kill her but rather banishes her because he does not have it in him to kill his daughter. Of course, the whole situation could have been avoided if he hadn’t ordered Wil on a dangerous mission to begin with.

5. Characters

“The Glass Spare” is rich with different characters, each with unique backgrounds, goals, and personalities. You have an exiled prince who is cursed and willing to sacrifice his life for those he loves. Then there is Zay, his wife, who is a powerful warrior, fierce mother, and loyal friend. Gerdie, Wil’s brother, who doesn’t allow his physical limitations to define him and is a genius, especially with alchemy. Even the bad characters are interesting as we try to figure out their end game for Wil.

6. Ruling

Both Loom and Wil show incredible responsibility and understanding of what it actually means to rule a kingdom. They both realize that when kingdoms go to war, it is the people that suffer the most. It’s not about the money spent from the treasury or the land or goods that may be obtained from winning, it is the people who pay the price on both sides and nothing materialistic is equivalent to a life. Loom and Wil love their kingdoms and only want what is best for the greater good. They both learned empathy through suffering and would make better rulers than their parents.

7. The Cursed Sea

The story of Wil and Loom continues and concludes in The Glass Spare book 2: “The Cursed Sea.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 7 Dreamy Things about DRAGON BOUND by Thea Harrison

“Dragon Bound”

Elder Races #1

by Thea Harrison

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: As the last of her kind, Pia Giovannia lived her life under the radar until she was black mailed and stole from the most dangerous and powerful of the Elder Races, Dragos Cuelebre. But when the dragon tracks her down, instead of taking her life, he claims it and makes Pia his. As Dragos and Pia try to navigate their intense feelings for each other, their Dark Fae enemies take advantage of Dragos’s distraction and take his most precious possession, Pia.

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7 Dreamy Things about DRAGON BOUND by Thea Harrison

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The World

The Elder Races series includes a lot of supernatural elements. There are Light Fae, Dark Fae, Wyrkind that are beings that can shapeshift into specific animals both mythical and non-mythical, Elves, harpies, and witches. Mostly the world is similar to our own with added magical pocket realms and of course those supernatural beings openly living amongst the humans. Very interested to see the different cultures, strengths, weaknesses, politics, and customs of the various supernatural groups.

2. Humor

Love a book with humor and Harrison definitely delivered. Some of my favorite moments were the banter between Dragos and Pia, Pia questioning her sanity, Dragos’s attempts at being polite instead of barking orders, and Pia’s overall disrespectful, snarky attitude. Great use of humor throughout the book.

3. Characters

The main characters had personalities and quirks that made sense with their backstories as well as their Wryforms and were overall likeable characters. And most of the side characters introduced in “Dragon Bound” were interesting and I’m looking forward to reading more of the series to get to know them better.

4. Racy

“Dragon Bound” really heated up throughout the book with erotic scenes between Dragos and Pia as they gave into their desire for each other.

5. Dragons

As dragons are probably my favorite mythical animal, I originally picked up this book because it was a romance that involved dragons. Dragons are just awesome! I loved that Harrison included the lore of dragons having a hoard and the ridiculousness of Dragos getting upset that Pia took a penny from him but makes total sense for his arrogant, territorial, “it’s mine!” dragon attitude. Dragos was an overall perfect embodiment of a dragon/man hybrid. And I couldn’t even contain my excitement for the surprise beautiful, adorable baby dragon who was so brave.

6. Unicorns

Probably my second favorite mythical animal, unicorns were also featured in “Dragon Bound” and it was so magical, especially since it was unexpected and the first time I’ve come across a story featuring a being who can shift into a unicorn. As with Dragos, Harrison did an amazing job of making Pia’s personality fit for her Wryform, being a vegetarian, opposed to violence and prone to running.

7. Storm’s Heart

The Elder Races series continues in Book 2, Thea Harrison’s “Storm’s Heart.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert (Owlcrate Book February 2018)

“The Hazel Wood”

The Hazel Wood #1

by Melissa Albert

Nikki’s Rating: 4 out of 10

Summary: Bad luck seems to follow them wherever they go so Alice and her mom, Ella, are constantly on the move. When her grandmother, the famous author Althea Proserpine, dies, Alice thinks their curse may be broken. But then Alice begins to notice characters from Althea’s fairy tales all over New York and they are definitely up to no good. And when the kidnap Ella, Alice has no choice but to make her way to the Hazel Wood, her grandmother’s hidden estate and the one place Ella told Alice never to go to.

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4 Honorable Things about THE HAZEL WOOD by Melissa Albert

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Fairy Tales

The fairy tales within “The Hazel Wood” are not our known fairy tales. Instead, they are unique stories, with some of them actually being featured in “The Hazel Wood” novel. They also tend to be rather dark and twisted like many of our original fairy tales, not the Disney versions. For example, one fairy tale features a cold, spoiled princess who turns to ice and kills people or Twice-Killed Katherine who sucks the vitality and life out of others to remain young.

2. Mother & Daughter

While I am a HUGE fan of romance, it was a bit refreshing that “The Hazel Wood” was not focused on a couple. Rather it was a story about a mother and daughter. What made it even more special is that Alice finds out Ella is not her biological mother and yet realizes that blood doesn’t matter. Ella was a mother to Alice in every sense of the word and will remain in her life as her mother. Although, their dynamic was a bit strange in the sense that Alice would sometimes take on the role of parent to Ella and take care of her, which is not healthy for a child.

3. Fairy Tale Characters

One of my favorite things about “The Hazel Wood” is the concept of the fairy tale characters being “alive.” Obviously this means that bad characters such as Twice-Killed Katherine are alive and sucking the life out of people, which is bad. But overall it is a fun concept and I would have liked to see how different characters adjusted to being ex-Story and what they ended up choosing for their lives, fuck the Spinner.

4. The Night Country

The Hazel Wood series continues in Book 2, “The Night Country.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 5 Charming Things about COVET by Melissa Darnell

“Covet”

The Clann #2

by Melissa Darnell

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: Being watched by both the Clann and vampire council, Savannah knows that she cannot be with Tristan. To do so would start a war again between the two powerful forces. But as they fight against their love for each other, bodies start turning up and the Clann is screaming for blood. As Tristan tries to maintain order amongst the Clann and save Savannah, he pays the ultimate price for his love.

5 Charming Things about COVET by Melissa Darnell

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Supernatural

The Clann series is filled with the supernatural. Vampires, witches, and “Covet” introduces shapeshifters. The best is that Savannah, being born from a witch and a vampire, has all the perks of being a vampire while also being able to use magic.

2. Best Friends

Anne is Savannah’s best friend and she takes this role very seriously. Not only does she accept Savannah’s tales of the supernaturals as truth, Anne doesn’t think any different of Savannah when she reveals that she is a vampire-witch hybrid. And although she is just human, Anne rushes into the battle between the supernaturals to protect her friends.

3. Tristan

In “Covet,” Tristan Coleman continues to show what an amazing fictional boyfriend he is, he is willing to give up everything for Savannah. Regardless of Clann and vampire council rules, he wants to follow his heart and be with Savannah. He goes so far as begging Savannah’s father to turn him into a vampire, knowing that it would be the end of his current life. He even takes over the Clann, something he never, ever wanted to do, in order to protect Savannah.

4. Vampire

Faced with losing him forever or turning him into a vampire, Savannah thankfully chooses the latter. While not the life she would have wanted for him, this does fix a lot of their problems. Now Tristan is no longer part of the Clann, there is no way for the Clann or vampire council to oppose Tristan and Savannah from being together as they are both vampires. The other success is that now Tristan is immortal and Savannah will not have to face watching Tristan grow old and die, facing eternity alone without him.

5. Consume

With Tristan now a full fledged young vampire with strong magic capabilities, The Clann series continues in Book 3, “Consume.”


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

Book Review: 5 Creative Things about CRAVE by Melissa Darnell

“Crave”

The Clann #1

by Melissa Darnell

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: Ostracized by the Clann, Savannah Colbert is just trying to survive high school without drawing the ire of her old friends. But her biggest secret is that she is still in love with her childhood sweetheart Tristan, the future leader of the Clann. As Tristan and Savanna spend more and more time together, they have a harder time denying their feelings. But if they give in to their forbidden love, they risk an all out deadly war between the Clann and vampires.

5 Creative Things about CRAVE by Melissa Darnell

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Supernatural

As a lover of the supernatural, “Crave” was a fun read simply because it featured vampires and witches. It is always interesting to see what myths and legends the author will draw upon for their supernatural world. In The Clann series, vampires are immortal, have increased senses and physical capabilities, can’t eat food, must drink blood, but due to evolution can go out in daylight. They are also descendants of Lilith. I also appreciated that there was a little role reversal as the male protagonist Tristan was the witch and the female protagonist Savannah was the vampire.

2. Tristan

Tristan Coleman is an absolutely wonderful fictional boyfriend! Not only is he charming, thoughtful, and kind to Savannah when they are dating but he was also protective of her before that too. Doesn’t hurt that he is also a hot football player who knows how to do magic.

3. Romeo & Juliet

The Clann is ultimately a retelling of the timeless classic Romeo and Juliet with supernatural beings and taking place in the modern world. Being a hopeless romantic, I loved the premise and I’m really hoping for a happily ever after for Tristan and Savannah.

4. Playlist

Melissa Darnell includes a music playlist in the back of the book featuring songs that go along with each chapter. It’s a fun little bonus to help set the tone and capture the emotions of the characters. Darnell also shows that she has good taste in music, many of the songs were already in my Itunes library.

5. Covet

As things really aren’t going their way, Savannah and Tristan’s story continues on in “Covet,” book 2 of The Clann.


As always, thank you for reading. I would love to hear from you so feel free to contact me or comment below. If you would like to support this blog and/or my paintings please become my patron.

Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.