5 Foremost Things about Kendare Blake’s “Five Dark Fates”

“Five Dark Fates”

Three Dark Crowns #4

by Kendare Blake

Nikki’s Rating: 5 out of 10

Summary: Katharine is the Queen Crowned, yet her two sisters still live and the island is not happy about it. The mist that once protected and concealed the island now raises up to gruesomely slaughter all who come into contact with it. As Queen Mirabella seeks out Queen Katharine to find a peaceful solution, Queen Arsinoe prepares for war, backing the rebellion of the Legion Queen. All the while, Queen Katharine is finding that she may have doomed the whole island as she is the Undead Queen and may not be able to control the rageful dead queens inside of her.

5 Foremost Things about Kendare Blake’s “Five Dark Fates”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Gifted

Many residents of Fennbirn are gifted with supernatural powers. There are the elementals that can manipulate the elements of earth, air, fire and water, with Queen Mirabella being the strongest one in a long time. Then there are the poisoners such as Queen Arsinoe that are able to ingest poison, withstand them, and have uncanny abilities creating them. Naturalists like Queen Katharine are able to influence plants, communicate with animals, and usually have a familiar. Then there are the oracles or seers and the warriors who are war-gifted and have exceptional fighting skills.

2. Concept

Overall, the concept for the Three Dark Crowns is pleasantly unique. A set of triplets are born each generation by the preceding queen and then those triplets must battle to the death. The remaining girl becomes the Crowned Queen and reigns until she bears the next set of triplets. Very dark and twisted.

3. LGBTQ

Blake includes a LGBTQ romance budding between Jules and Emilia. There also seems to be no uproar from other characters so in the Three Dark Crowns universe this is accepted and appears to be viewed as normal. Hopefully we can get there one day!

4. The Queens

While they have been taught and raised to not trust each other, the three queens do attempt to work together. They remember that they loved each other once and that perhaps they can be there for each other instead of against each other.

5. Conclusion

“Five Dark Fates” has an overall happy ending for such a bloody and dark tale. Queen Katharine redeems herself in many ways, even though she was never truly monstrous. The Legion Queen is crowned and the island begins to change. There is no more mist to conceal Fennbirn and the reign of the three queens is finally over. And although Billy has left back to the mainland, “Five Dark Fates” ends with Arsinoe leaving to find him.

What were your favorite things about “Five Dark Fates”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

7 Sassy Things about Donna Grant’s “Midnight’s Seduction”

“Midnight’s Seduction”

Dark World #9; Dark Warriors #3

by Donna Grant

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Finally free from her curse and able to see, Saffron wants nothing more but to get revenge against the Druid who tortured her. With the help of the enticing Warrior, Camdyn, Saffron stands a chance until she starts wanting Camdyn more than her revenge and Camdyn doesn’t seem even interested. But when Saffron is captured once again, Camdyn swears to slay all who get in his way till she is by his side once more.

7 Sassy Things about Donna Grant’s Midnight’s Seduction

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Camdyn MacKenna

While all the Warriors have pasts filled with loss, trauma, grief and regret, Camdyn’s story was quite heart wrenching. He was married once and watched his wife not just grow old and die but become bitter and unhappy with their marriage because he was immortal.

2. Kristin

Kristin was a side character that was introduced in “Midnight’s Lover” and secretly planted at the MacLeod castle by Declan. Happily, the Druids and Warriors have figured this out and while it is sad that she died, good riddance, who knows what kind of damage she could have done.

3. Laria

“Midnight’s Seduction” was full of “finally” moments, read on to come across more. So many things happened in this novel that readers have been waiting for. One of those being Laria. Not only were the Warriors and Druids able to find Laria but they also awakened her. Time to kick some Deirdre ass!

4. Malcolm

Finally, finally Malcolm has redeemed himself! While never truly bad, Malcolm has made some poor choices and has been following Deirdre, becoming one of her henchmen. Regardless, when it counted he made the right choice and turned the tide to ensure Deirdre’s demise.

5. Deidre’s End

Deirdre has finally met her end at the hands of the Warriors, Druids, and her sister Laria. While the death of Deirdre cost Laria’s life, it was absolutely necessary and a long time coming. Victory dance!

6. New Beginnings

With a happy ending of Saffron and Camdyn being together, their union was made so much more magical with finding out that Saffron is carrying his child.

7. Midnight’s Warrior

Donna Grant’s Dark World series continues in Book 4 of the Dark Warriors series, “Midnight’s Warrior.”

What were your favorite things about Midnight’s Seduction?


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9 Rewarding Things about Leigh Bardugo’s “Ruin and Rising”

“Ruin and Rising”

Grishaverse Book 3; The Shadow and Bone Trilogy Book 3

by Leigh Bardugo

NIKKI’S RATING: 9 OUT OF 10

Summary: Unable to use her powers, Alina Starkov is a prisoner once again but this time to the cunning Apparat, the spiritual leader of Ravka who tends to change sides whenever it suits him. While Nikolai attempts to keep the Darkling busy focusing on him, Alina’s allies come together to help her escape. As they travel across Ravka searching for the last amplifier, Alina comes to discover that the cost may be too high. In order to stop the Darkling, Alina will have to destroy herself and kill the man she’s loved since childhood.

9 Rewarding Things about Leigh Bardugo’s Ruin and Rising

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Genya

Genya’s storyline is tragic and yet beautiful. While her looks get ruined she not only remains true to Alina and what she believes in, she eventually shows the same confidence and sassiness she had prior to her punishment, looks be damned. Genya gets all she deserves in the end, her man David, a pardon, and a leadership role.

2. LGBTQ

The Shadow and Bone Trilogy included the LGBTQ community through the characters Nadia and Tamar who were an openly lesbian couple. And I loved that in the Grishaverse this was not seen as abnormal, no one commented on it, made a fuss, and the characters weren’t trying to hide their feelings. Hopefully our world can become that accepting one day.

3. Writing

“Ruin and Rising” was written well with great pacing and was absolutely emotional. It was a hard book to put down and it was difficult to say goodbye to the characters in the end.

4. Sun Summoners

The great twist of the three amplifiers, power multiplied a thousand fold but not in one person but shared amongst many otkazat’sya. This twist was so unexpected and yet, made sense with Morozova’s story and the need for balance in the end.

5. The Darkling

Aleksander, the Darkling, another tale of tragedy. While he needed to be stopped, his end is truly sad. All he wanted was to not be alone but he always would be in his power, in his greatness, he had no equal. The Darkling was evil, he did horrible things but there was a goodness to him, a human quality of wanting to be loved, accepted, and cherished.

6. Mal & Alina

OMG! Just an emotional rollercoaster with these two! I’m so relieved that Mal and Alina ended up together in the end, I was really unsure if they would both survive. After everything they had been through with each other, they deserve their happy ending.

7. The Future

While Alina is no longer in the picture, I love that Nikolai embraces her ideas for the future of the Grisha. The leadership for the Grisha will be shared amongst representatives from each order and together they will lead the Second Army, maintaining a safe haven for the Grisha in their world.

8. Bittersweet

Overall, “Ruin and Rising” had a bittersweet ending and it was fitting. Alina and Mal both lost their “gifts”, Nikolai and Genya are forever scarred, and they all have some serious PTSD. However, they all move forward and they appreciate and embrace the happiness that they are able to find. Such is life.

9. Six of Crows

While Mal and Alina’s story has ended with their happily-ever-after, the Grishaverse continues on in Leigh Bardugo’s “Six of Crows.”


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

9 Superior Things about Leigh Bardugo’s “Siege and Storm”

“Siege and Storm”

Grishaverse Book 2; The Shadow and Bone Trilogy Book 2

by Leigh Bardugo

NIKKI’S RATING: 9 OUT OF 10

Summary: Prisoners of the Darkling, Mal and Alina are forced to hunt Morozova’s next amplifier, the legendary ice dragon Rusaly. Just when it seems that there is no hope, they are rescued by the most unlikely person and dropped into the vindictive and superficial Ravka court. As Alina tries to lead the Second Army and find a way to save them all, she is being haunted by the Darkling and comes to realize that they may not be so different after all.

9 Superior Things about Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Grishaverse

Bardugo’s greatest accomplishment as a writer is her world-building skills. There are so many tiny details about the Grishaverse that make it wholeheartedly believable and interesting. While Ravka is influenced by Imperial Russia, Fjerda appears to be influenced by the Norse, while Shu Han appears to have Asian influence. I suspect the Wandering Isle may be inspired by Ireland but I could be wrong. Regardless, as one would expect all these nations have diverse cultures and ways in which they deal with their Grisha, looking forward to learning more about each of them.

2. Grisha Magic

Another testament to Bardugo’s wonderful imagination is the lore, especially surrounding the Grisha and their magic. The idea that it is not necessarily “magic” but manipulation of natural elements and that there is a balance that must be maintained creates a unique spin on the concept.

3. Amplifiers

The amplifiers are a neat idea; the “rule” that a Grisha may only have one and that some Grisha are actual amplifiers makes things much more interesting. And then of course, there are Morozova’s amplifiers that are legendary beings, which are totally awesome and beautiful. I just wish they didn’t have to kill them, like why would you kill a legendary, mythical being, its just wrong!

4. Sturmhond

Sturmhond aka Nikolai Lantsov is a fantastic character and quite possibly my favorite. While handsome, he is incredibly intelligent, kind, cunning, and most importantly hilarious. Regardless of all the darkness, challenges, and heartache happening, Nikolai keeps his humor and positive outlook. He is the much needed comic relief!

5. Mal

The hero of our story, Mal is another beloved character of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy. He is steadfast, loyal, good looking and all around good guy. While it is heartbreaking to watch his self-destructive behavior, it really shows how much Alina means to him and how much he will put himself through to do the right thing.

6. Alina

While not the most fascinating female protagonist, there is an element of darkness in Alina that makes her alluring. Her desire for more power makes her more relatable and human and really adds to her character development.

7. Connection

The connection between Alina and the Darkling is very intriguing and makes sense. They are connected through their unique powers, their drive for more power, and wanting to “save” Ravka from itself. Just as Alina learns that there is some goodness in the Darkling, there is some darkness in herself. There is no light without darkness and vice versa. It’s all about balance.

8. Emotional

“Siege and Storm” was an emotional rollercoaster for me. Bardugo can seriously pull on some heartstrings. Being the romantic, the only thing I want is for Mal and Alina to have a happily ever after and I’m getting a sick feeling that I may not get what I want.

9. Ruin and Rising

Thankfully this is not the end for Alina and Mal, the Grishaverse continues in Book 3 of the Shadow and Bone Trilogy, “Ruin and Rising”

What were your favorite things about Siege and Storm?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

7 Liked Things about Donna Grant’s “Midnight’s Lover”

Midnight’s Lover

Dark World Book 8; Dark Warriors Book 2

by Donna Grant

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Thrown four centuries into the future, Ian is in bad shape. Torn apart by the death of his twin brother, Ian is now in a desperate battle against the demon god he and his brother shared. Worst of all, if he cannot control his god, he may end up hurting and possibly killing Danielle, the beautiful druid that has captured his heart.

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7 Liked Things about Donna Grant’s “Midnight’s Lover”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Twins

While it was absolutely tragic that Duncan died, I think Grant really captured the beauty of the special connection many twins can share with each other. Made total sense that they equally shared one god and could feel each other’s pain.

2. The Villains

Ugh, Deirdre and Declan. These two are just so vile, greedy, and delusional. They truly deserve each other and I’m hoping that one of them will take out the other in their grab for power.

3. Malcolm

Malcolm continues to struggle with his orders from Deirdre and I’m hoping that it will be enough for him to walk away from her soon and join up with the MacLeods et al. Always intriguing to have those characters that are more fluid in their morals and alliances because you are never really sure what they are going to do in the end.

4. Sizzling

A true romance, “Midnight’s Lover” features sizzling erotic scenes between Ian and Danielle.

5. Pacing

As always, Grant gives a good story with some twists and turns. As a whole, she writes well with likeable characters, enjoyable banter, a vivid imagination, and great pacing, keeping the story going and readers interested.

6. Happy Ending

Overall the ending was pretty positive and I’m grateful for that as things could have gone totally south. Ian and Dani survived and stay together, the infiltrator was discovered and destroyed, but most importantly, Duncan has moved on and found peace.

7. Dark Heat

The Dark World series continues in Donna Grant’s “Dark Heat,” a collection of short stories that begins her Dark Kings series.

What are your favorite things about “Midnight’s Lover”?


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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7 Memorable Things about Donna Grant’s “Midnight’s Master”

Midnight’s Master

Dark World Book 7; Dark Warriors Book 1

by Donna Grant

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: Attempting to trackdown Deirdre, the all-powerful evil magic-wielding drough, Logan is hurdled through time. As he tries to navigate the new times, he meets the beautiful Gwynn, who is much more than she seems. As they realize that she may be the key to the next artifact needed to stop Deirdre, another powerful drough comes into play. Now against two powerful druids, Logan must protect Gwynn, the woman who may save them all and win his heart.

7 Memorable Things about Donna Grant’s “Midnight’s Master”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Declan

Having one all-powerful evil druid was enough but things just got very interesting as Grant introduces Declan, a drough so powerful that he has been able to capture and hold Deirdre. Hoping that perhaps they will end up fighting and killing each other.

2. Time-travel

A nice twist to the plot, the Dark World series has jumped forward to our time period. Very cool to see how the characters change and adapt to the new times.

3. Gwynn Austin

Very independent, Gwynn is a druid who can hear the wind and shows immense courage, daring, and resourcefulness in her journey to find the artifact.

4. Logan Hamilton

Logan has been one of my favorite Warriors and it was enjoyable seeing him fall in love and finally lift the burden of his shameful secret. Totally cool that he can control water!

5. Heat

As always, Grant delivers a true romance novel as things heat up between Logan and Gwynn.

6. Writing

Grant continues her fantastic writing style in “Midnight’s Master.” The novel moves forward at a good pace and offers enough description to create the scene without boring readers with too many details.

7. Midnight’s Lover

The Dark World series continues in the Dark Warriors book 2, “Midnight’s Lover.”

What are your favorite things about “Midnight’s Master”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

7 Suave Things about Donna Grant’s “Shadow Highlander”

Shadow Highlander

Dark World Book 5; Dark Sword Book 5

by Donna Grant

Nikki’s Rating: 7 out of 10

Summary: In a daring attempt to save as many druids as he can, Galen invites a clan of druids to MacLeod castle. As they travel across Scotland, Galen finds out that not all is as it seems. The druids are hiding a terrible secret, a secret that involves Reaghan, the druid that has caught his eye. With discord and strife beginning to tear at the alliance between druids and the Warriors of MacLeod castle, Galen must do all he can to protect Reaghan or risk losing her forever.

7 Suave Things about Donna Grant’s “Shadow Highlander”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Lore

Donna Grant has a truly creative imagination and even with many characters, no two Warriors have the same power/ability. “Shadow Highlander” focuses on Galen who has the ability to read minds when touching another and really shows what a burden this power is.

2. Reaghan

A very powerful druid who is extremely courageous and tries to protect her people at any cost. She is fierce and yet kind and gentle, a good fit for Galen.

3. Galen

Cursed and blessed with telepathic abilities, Galen struggles throughout “Shadow Highlander” as his power take their toll whenever he touches another. It is a lonely burden and one that truly disturbs him when he comes into contact with an evil-being. Happily, Galen learns to control his power and it is no longer his dirty secret.

4. The Plot

Just when you thought things were coming to an end for Deirdre… The crazy bitch is too powerful for a simple death by killing the body, oh no, now we got to find some artifacts, locate her sister, then wake said sister up. So complicated but so intriguing!

5. Racy

Things get hot and racy between Galen and Reaghan in “Shadow Highlander.”

6. Happy Ending

“Shadow Highlander” made me so nervous towards the end! I was really afraid that Galen would lose Reaghan and/or he wouldn’t be able to touch her without reading her mind. Thankfully we can all breathe a sigh of relief as things worked out in the end.

7. Darkest Highlander

As we now know that Deirdre’s body and spirit must be destroyed to end her, the Dark World series continues in “Darkest Highlander.”

What are your favorite things about “Shadow Highlander”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

8 Fun Things about J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

by J.K. Rowling

Nikki’s Rating: 8 out of 10

Summary: Updated and now available to Muggles, Newt Scamander’s compendium of magical creatures, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is a must-read! Listed alphabetically, Newt Scamander gives important information on all sorts of magical creatures from the dangerous dragons, and their types, to the beautiful elusive unicorn.

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8 Fun Things about J.K. Rowling’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The World

The Wizarding World of J.K. Rowling is absolutely brilliant and imaginative. “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” is just another glimpse into that wonderful Wizarding World.

2. Immerse Yourself

With a Foreword by New Scamander and the Introduction, which includes a history of magical beasts and Muggle awareness and Ministry of Magic beast classifications, “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” really immerses us into J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.

3. Enjoyable

While not quite a story, “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” is a fun, enjoyable quick read.

4. Drawings

My only complaint is that “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” isn’t filled with drawings of all the magical creatures! The drawings that are featured are adorbs and make me want these beasts even with dangerous M.O.M. classifications.

5. Animals

“Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them” is all about animals and while they are fictional it is interesting to see how J.K. Rowling imagined them.

6. Comic Relief

Comic Relief, a charity with a vision of a just world, free from poverty, gets a donation with each sale of “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.”

7. Lumos

With each sale of “Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them,” donations also go to Lumos, a nonprofit set on ending the institutionalization of children.

8. Quidditch Through the Ages

For further reading into the Wizarding World, besides the Harry Potter series, check out “Quidditch Through the Ages” and “The Tales of Beedle the Bard.”

What are your favorite things about “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”?


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.

10 Fantastical Things about Stephanie Garber’s “Finale”

“Finale” Caraval Book 3

by Stephanie Garber

Nikki’s Rating: 10 out of 10

Summary: They are all playing a very dangerous game and not even Legend knows the ending. The Fates, immortal beings with supernatural powers, have been released from the Deck of Destiny and are staging the way to take over Valedna. Sisters Scarlett and Tella are dragged further and further into the lives of the immortals as they realize that their mother’s disappearance is connected to the Deck of Destiny. But the girls are not just trying to save their lives but also their hearts. Scarlett finds herself torn between Julian, the boy she fell in love with, and Nicolas, her once betrothed. While Tella is being pursued by two powerful immortals, both who have already deceived her and broken her heart. Regardless, Scarlett and Tella must find a way to destroy the Fates once and for all or risk losing everything.


10 Fantastical Things About Stephanie Garber’s “Finale”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. The Magic

Stephanie Garber has an amazing, fantastical imagination and she lets it run wild in her Caraval series. Fantasy dresses and desserts, hidden places unlocked by blood, magical items that can teleport you or change appearance, places that time runs faster/slower. It is all just so magical!

2. Descriptions

“The intoxicating scents of honeycomb castles, cinnamon bark pies, carmelite clusters, and peach shine floated through Tell’s cracked window when she woke, filling the tiny apartment with sugar and dreams” (Finale p.21) That tantalizing sentence is a prime example of Stephanie Garber’s exceptional descriptives.

3. Twists and Turns

As with “Caraval” and “Legendary”, Stephanie Garber kept me on my toes throughout “FInale”! Anything could be an illusion or a dream. You would be constantly questioning characters motivations and you could never ever truly trust any of them.

4. Characters

Specifically, Scarlett and Tella are very lovable. Yes, Legend, Jacks, and Julian are all attractive, seductive, and irresitable but it is the female protagonists that really shine in the Caraval series. Both Scarlett and Tella are strong, loving, forgiving, sassy, independent and their own heroes while still making mistakes and being silly.

5. Storyline

Stephanie Garber created a magical land with a compelling story that I could not put down. All 3 books in the Caraval series had slightly different focuses but they all tied in seamlessly with each other and made for an fascinating story arc.

6. The Fates

Immortals with supernatural powers are nothing new but Stephanie Garber included an interesting element of having them trapped in a Deck of Destiny, a deck of cards in the Caraval universe that is similar to out Tarot. Also, when a Fate gives up their immortality for love and eventually dies, their magic creates a magical item.

7. Fantasy Dresses

Her Majesty’s Gown, a Fated object, a gown that changes according to the wearer’s mood (or the dresses), a magical dress that I wish I had! Every gown Stephanie Garber describes in the Caraval series I want. “Finale” even features a gown covered in real butterflies!

8. Romance

As always, I’m a sucker for romance and I appreciate that both Scarlett and Tella have found their loves.

9. Legend

By far one the most intriguing fictional characters I’ve come across. While it was a rollercoaster in “Legendary” trying to figure out if Dante was really Legend or not, in “Finale” it was a rollercoaster trying to determine if he was a deceptive, selfish scoundrel, or a lost soul in need of saving who actually deserved Tella’s love. Not gonna lie that regardless of all he has done, I’m a huge fan and so glad that he and Tella ended up together.

10. More???

While “Finale” was a very satisfying conclusion of Tella and Scarlett’s story, I still want more from Caraval! I would love to hear more about the Fates and their backstories, I want to know if Scarlett and Tella lived happily-ever-after, etc. While I have no idea if Stephanie Garber has any intentions of writing more about the Caraval characters, there is mention in “Finale” of Tella returning to the Vanished Market in the future. I hope we get to revisit the Caraval universe again very soon!

What are your favorite things about Stephanie Garber’s “Finale”?


Be Authentic. Be Unique. Be You.

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