And I Darken//Vlad The Impaler Retelling

And I Darken//Vlad The Impaler RetellingAnd I Darken by Kiersten White
Published by Delacorte Press on June 28th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 475
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point.


I knew going into this that it was a Vlad the Impaler retelling. But the moment I opened this book, I completely forgot that and got TOTALLY engrossed in the story. And then in about the last chapter or so I was reminded who, exactly, “Vlad” is in this book and I loved it. Loved it loved it loved it.

You start with Lada and Radu. Lada is older, tougher, stronger, female. Radu is younger, sensitive, handsome, male. Lada grows up protecting Radu and disliking his seemingly weak personality, Radu grows up wishing he could be more like Lada. Their father doesn’t give a shit about either of them.

They’re given over to the Ottoman Empire, where they meet Mehmed, the son of the Sultan. Lada focuses on keeping them alive long enough to go back to their home country, Wallachia. Radu finally finds somewhere that he can call home.


All the characters in And I Darken are INCREDIBLE. I love Lada. Even though I might not agree with some of her choices, I understand they actually come from a place of love. Radu I found weak, but the way that is worked into a strength as he grows older is wonderful.

Lada and Radu both play to their strengths in order to keep themselves alive, and watching these strengths grow and shape over the years was great. I love how it wasn’t always explained to the other character, so YOU understood what was going on but they didn’t. It made it a tense read, but really enjoyable.

And the setting. Muy bueno. The history (and religion) were rich without being overpowering.

If you even know who Vlad The the Impaler is, pick this up. If you like history, pick this up. If you love reading, PICK THIS UP.

Have you read it? What did you think?


One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Nowhere To Hide//Don’t Bite Me

Nowhere To Hide//Don’t Bite MeNowhere to Hide by Tracey Lynn Tobin
Published by CreateSpace on October 3rd 2014
Genres: Horror
Pages: 236
Format: eBook
Source: Given

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way altered my opinion of it. Cross my heart.

Nancy King's life was simple. Wake up. Go to class. Work nights at the bar. Flirt with the cute EMT. Sleep through her alarm and burn supper. Then life got complicated. Irrational news reports. Violent wanderers. Sudden attacks. Insane neighbor with a taste for flesh. Now Nancy's life is about running, staying alive, and staying human; but how can she continue to survive when there is simply nowhere to hide?

Hm. Where to start? Nowhere To Hide had a lot of promise.

  1. Zombie apocalypse
  2. Zombie apocalypse
  3. Zombie apocalypse

Yes, I am making a joke.

It started off pretty okay, but the more I read, the more I wanted to not read, but I had to see it through because a small part of me wanted to find out what caused the zombies. And even that part disappointed me a little bit.

Our main character, Nancy, is a bartender. She’s alright, but I never really gave a crap about her. There was nothing that made me root for her and I thought she was quite silly at times.

A lot of the dialogue and scenarios felt very forced and awkward. 0.5 seconds after meeting Greg, Nancy adopts him as an honorary brother. Huh? You just met the kid! More than one character liked referring to people as “my dear”, and Nancy liked using the term “my lover”, which was SO weird. Not once in any internal monologue have I ever called a boyfriend, a fling, whatever “my lover”.

One of the BIGGEST problems I had with Nowhere To Hide was all the telling that happened. We’d be given a scene, something would happen, and Tobin would write, “They shouldn’t have done that.” Or something along those lines, which created some of the most awkward cases of scene transition that I’ve ever read. It just did not flow.

I’m not even going to discuss the errors. Double words, names not being switched. It needs to be cleaned up a bit.

I am, however, giving it two stars for the following reasons:

  1. I did finish it, without really wanting to put it down (this might have been different if the book was longer)
  2. The zombies and the scenarios they created DID kinda scare me

The plot itself had a bit of promise, but it could have been worked on and expanded SO much more.

Have you read any good zombie stories? Will you read Nowhere To Hide?

One StarOne Star

Blood Oranges//Vampire Werewolf Wannabe

Blood Oranges//Vampire Werewolf WannabeBlood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney
Published by Roc on February 5th 2013
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Pages: 253
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought

My name’s Quinn.

If you buy into my reputation, I’m the most notorious demon hunter in New England. But rumors of my badassery have been slightly exaggerated. Instead of having kung-fu skills and a closet full of medieval weapons, I’m an ex-junkie with a talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Or the right place at the wrong time. Or…whatever.

Wanted for crimes against inhumanity I (mostly) didn’t commit, I was nearly a midnight snack for a werewolf until I was “saved” by a vampire calling itself the Bride of Quiet. Already cursed by a werewolf bite, the vamp took a pint out of me too.

So now…now, well, you wouldn’t think it could get worse, but you’d be dead wrong.

There are two things I liked about Blood Oranges.

  1. The cover is beautiful (so are the rest in the series which hurts my heart).
  2. The warning in the front of the book from the author about the contents was funny. She tells you that there’s some swearing and an overall shitty tone to the book, and if that’s not for you, you best stop reading.

The rest of the book did not do it for me though.

I’m perfectly fine with swearing. I’m fine with dark tones. I’m fine with violence, gore, sex; I’m basically fine with whatever you choose to throw at me. This is by far not the most gruesome, upsetting, disturbing (insert other dark adjective here) concept that I’ve read about. But I was super excited to pick this up and see what twisted things it could offer my mind. Which turned out to be nothing.

I think its ultimate downfall is that it felt very forced. Nothing about Quinn felt natural to me. It reminded me of a little kid saying “fuck” to make themselves look tougher. The entire time I felt like I was sitting across the table from someone explaining their life story to me while my eyes started to glaze over out of sheer boredom because I KNOW they’re making half it up. I just didn’t care about what she was telling me.

Now, Kathleen does warn tell us in that little warning at the beginning of the book that Quinn is not a good writer (or narrator I guess). Which is fine. But now, since this is the only book I’ve read by her (under Kathleen Tierney which is her pen name, or Caitlin R Kiernan which is her actual name) I’m going to assume that her writing is crap. It’s one thing to state that the narrator is a bad writer, but if the whole book comes across like that, how am I supposed to know any different? You’re deliberately writing bad and it’s not even a good bad. Have I stopped making sense?

I don’t even remember most of what goes on in Blood Oranges. I struggled through it. I’m upset that I don’t get to keep this pretty cover on my shelf, but I definitely will not be continuing the series.

Anyone else read further and loved these? Did I miss something?

One StarHalf a Star

A Darker Shade of Magic//New Favourite Coat

A Darker Shade of Magic//New Favourite CoatA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab
Published by Tor Books on February 24th 2015
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Borrowed

Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.

I was a little late to the reading of this, but I was sort of afraid that it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I’d never read anything by V.E Schwab, so I didn’t know if I’d like her writing or not.

Yeaaaahhhhhh shouldn’t have waited.

I could not put A Darker Shade of Magic down. This was one of those books where if I had 5 minutes to do something, I was picking up this book and cramming in as many pages as possible.

First off, the worlds in this are amazing. I love how each London has a different colour associated with it in Kell’s mind. It made it a lot easier for me to keep track of where he was and who was associated with that London. And too be honest, after I got into it, not once did I mess up the worlds. They were each so vastly different but wove together wonderfully.

Kell is a great character. I found his chapters a little…lighter feeling than Lila’s. He really did take on a sparkle for me like Red London has (was Red London supposed to sparkle in the book or is that just me making shit up as I go?). Whereas Lila felt very grey for me, but in a good way. I could FEEL the smog of Grey London sticking to her clothes. I felt invincible and at ease when I was reading Kell’s chapters, while I felt anxious but determined reading Lila’s. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this intensely for two characters in a book.

And the plot. Mhm. I loved the way V.E worked the plot. It was a simple idea but it had SO MUCH complexity that it gripped me from page one.

I loved A Darker Shade of Magic so well that, even though I borrowed it from the library, I went out and bought it as soon as I finished it. I plan on rereading it and then reading the sequel. I want more of this world!

I’ll also be checking out some more of V.E Schwab’s work.

Oh, and if anyone could make me a duplicate of Kell’s coat that would be GREAT. K thanks.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

First Grave On The Right//New Fav Urban Fantasy

First Grave On The Right//New Fav Urban FantasyFirst Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 5th 2011
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 338

Charley sees dead people. That's right, she sees dead people. And it's her job to convince them to "go into the light." But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e., murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she's been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.


I’ve seen this series over the years, but I never picked it up. Why? I have no idea. Past Mackenzie wasn’t the smartest. Especially since I claim to be such a fan of urban fantasy. You’d think this would have been higher on my tbr list.


Well, about 100 pages in I decided to buy the rest of the series soooo. I feel like that alone expresses how much I loved this book.

Do me a favour, if you’re unsure about this series, go open this book, turn to a chapter, and read the chapter heading. Just, just read the chapter heading. If it doesn’t make you laugh, then we can’t be friends. If the humour is right up your alley, close the book, walk quickly to the closest cash register, purchase the book, cancel the rest of your plans as you head home and spend the next couple hours devouring this book.

Darynda Jones, your writing is on point. I hope it only gets better from here.

Charley Davidson is hilarious. I love her attitude. I love her sarcasm and sass. I love her job. I love the people she surrounds herself with. I love the ghosts that she sees. I love the ghosts she wishes she didn’t see.

I want a friend like Cookie.

The only thing I was a little…eh…about was Reyes. I knew who he was as soon as he appeared in the book, even though the entire book is about Charley figuring out who he is. So that was a bit of a let down, but I enjoyed the rest of the ride so much that it only let me down a little bit.

I’m excited to see where the rest of this series goes. It better be good. Especially since I’ve dedicated so much shelf space to it. But no pressure or anything.

ALSO. Almost forgot.

The copy I bought was AMAZING. It was hardback, but didn’t have a dust jacket. The cover was printed on the book ends. This is the first book I’ve ever bought like this and it was fantastic. SO much easier than navigating a dust jacket! Why aren’t more books printed like this??

Oh and the font used for this series. On point. So far I know it’s carried into the second book. #booknerdthings

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star