HADES AND PERSEPHONE: CURSE OF THE GOLDEN ARROW by Heidi Hastings & Erica Hasting

A Cursed Love…When Persephone is forced into the Underworld, she fears the Dark Lord who rules the shadowed kingdom. A curse has brought them together, and the Goddess of Spring wars against Hades, the King of the Dead. But as time passes, she begins to wonder if he is truly the monster she fears or if he may be the very answer her soul calls out for. Lies, jealousy and betrayal combine to keep them apart. Together, they battle against an unknown foe, but is there enough time to reveal the dark truths of the God before his kingdom falls? 


Title : Hades & Persephone: Curse of the Golden Arrow
Author : Heidi Hastings
Illustrator : Erica Hastings
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 428
Genre : Retelling
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : January 16, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

I’m a long-time fan of greek mythology and definitely a fan of retellings. That being said, Hades & Persephone is a tale I know less well, so I came into this book with open expectations. The cover, synopsis and promise of illustrations were enough to push me to buy this book but I have to say, the execution did not let me down.

The story of these two was very much push and pull, hate and love. The descriptions of the underworld and its different lands within the world really conjured a great idea of life there. Persephone had such character growth in this book, from seemingly innocent forest goddess to a formidable Queen. The reveals in her story were pretty heartbreaking.

Hades was very likeable from the start. He had little of the heavy-handed god about him and his genuine attachment to Persephone was endearing. Added to that was seeing his work as the god of the underworld, it showed him in a variety of lights, not all scary. There was a lot of chemistry going on between these two and it was a slow-burn romance.

The original stories of the greek mythology gods were dramatic and there was a taste of this throughout the book with twists and turns in the plot. The story was fairly fast-paced and it didn’t lose my attention once. The sinister beings existing in the dark nooks of the underworld were incredibly creepy.

Reading HADES AND PERSEPHONE: CURSE OF THE GOLDEN ARROW was a full-on experience. I cannot express how much the illustrations brought this story to life and made it so much more than your average retelling. Compared to other books I have read with illustrations (like Folio Society books) there was an illustration every 10 or 15 pages, so considering this was a 428 page book, there were lots. I can’t speak for how the kindle book looks, but if you want to read this, I would definitely recommend the paperback format.

The writing, story and characterisation was great in addition the visual. I cannot wait to read more from this author and illustrator and I’m really hoping to see this particular story continue.

THE VOTING BOOTH by Brandy Colbert


Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight.Only problem? Duke can’t vote.When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right.And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.


Title : The Voting Booth
Author : Brandy Colbert
Narrators : Robin Eller & Cary Hite
Format : Audiobook
Length : 6 hours, 5 minutes
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Dreamscape Media
Release Date : July 7, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

This was a shortish listen, told over one day’s events and yet it had such a full story to tell. The themes were so relevant to the now, to Black Lives Matters. Brandy Colbert told this story naturally in a Contemporary YA setting with passionate characters and a hopeful tone.

The story was all set around voting day and Marva just arrived in this book with such drive and determination for activism set in pragmatism as she helped people vote. Duke was on the end of Marva’s plan to help and their day to ensure his vote turned into a saga that was funny, frustrating and cute.

Marva and Duke were different and yet complimented each other well. The day brought some revelations for Marva in particular about the reality of some of her relationships. Duke was a more complex character with past hurts and memories that really gave this voting day some poignant context.

Despite the serious themes, there was time for light-heartedness in this story and the author balanced these elements well. There was a cute vibe developing between these two and I adored the storyline for Instagram sensation, Eartha Kitty.

This was a dual POV story with dual narration. Both narrators sounded age-appropriate and set the tone well for the story. Their narration whisked me into the centre of the tale and got me lost in there.

I highly recommend this story for all YA readers, especially those that like a political slice of pie and contemporary issues, like me.

Thank to Libro FM who gifted this advanced listening copy as part of their ALC programme.

https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781662003929-the-voting-booth

THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET by Becky Chambers

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.


Title : The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Author : Becky Chambers
Narrator : Patricia Rodriguez
Series : Wayfarers #1
Format : Audiobook
Length : 15 hours, 41 minutes
Genre : Sci-fi
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : August 13, 2015

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Sadly I’m feeling rather underwhelmed by this series starter when I really expected to enjoy it. I’m a lover of sci-fi and the idea of a fun bunch of species romping the galaxy sounded right up my street and in some ways it was.

THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET was incredibly complex in terms of characterisation of species. I initially thought the whole book would be from Rosemary’s POV but as soon as she landed on the Wayfarer, it became multi-POV. I wasn’t always enamoured by some of the POVs, nor all of the ship’s crew as characters. I did like Rosemary, Ashby, Lovey, Dr Chef and Pei. Sissex and Ohan took some getting used to and I think that some of the early description of their species lacked the depth I needed to connect.

What I did like was the vibe of the crew on the ship; it was light hearted, warm and welcoming. They were a close crew, a family really. I also liked how relationships were depicted, gender, connections were of little importance and there was a natural tone to how romantic connections were made.

The plot was slow at times but it always picked up eventually with some event happening. I think I wanted a bit more space drama than there was. Maybe this was exaggerated by listening on audio, although the narrator was good.

My ultimate feeling on finishing is that there is enough here for me to carry on with the series. I have finally made some connections with the characters and there was a little action towards the end that I hope spells a better pacing ahead.

FIVE LITTLE LIARS by Amanda K. Morgan

I Know What You Did Last Summer meets One of Us is Lying in this fast-paced suspense thriller following five teens who must cover up the suspicious death of their teacher.

Nothing ruins summer vacation like a secret . . . especially when that secret is a dead teacher.

Ivy used to be on top of the social ladder, until her ex made that all go away. She has the chance to be Queen Bee again, but only if the rest of the group can keep quiet.

Tyler has always been a bad boy, but lately he’s been running low on second chances. There’s no way he’s going to lose everything because someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut.

Kinley wouldn’t describe herself as perfect, though everyone else would. But perfection comes at a price, and there is nothing she wouldn’t do to keep her perfect record – one that doesn’t include murder charges.

Mattie is only in town for the summer. He wasn’t looking to make friends, and he definitely wasn’t looking to be involved in a murder. He’s also not looking to be riddled with guilt for the rest of his life . . . but to prevent that he’ll have to turn them all in.

Cade couldn’t care less about the body, or about the pact to keep the secret. The only way to be innocent is for someone else to be found guilty. Now he just has to decide who that someone will be.

With the police hot on the case, they don’t have much time to figure out how to trust each other. But in order to take the lead, you have to be first in line . . . and that’s the quickest way to get stabbed in the back.

Perfect for fans of Chelsea Pitcher, Karen M. McManus and Holly Jackson!


Title : Five Little Liars
Author : Amanda K. Morgan
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA Thriller
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date : June 11, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

This was a fast-paced teen thriller, a little out of the realms of reality but a page-turner nonetheless. I found some elements predictable and the cast of characters were broadly unlikeable but it kept the plot spinning.

The story was told in multiple POV, all students taking a college-level summer psychology class in high school. Oh the irony of the psychology of this bunch of teens. Out of the this cast of five characters, there were only a couple I took to, the rest were conceited, trouble-makers or plain old mean. All that said, the teacher was plain evil.

The story took a spiral of events, panic and then lies in a familiar pattern but one that works. I did call the final twist very early on though. There were other twists that I didn’t predict however and it did keep me reading.

FIVE LITTLE LIARS was somewhat high drama teen-feeling. I read a lot of YA, but this felt particularly teeny to me with a lack of balance in the characteristics. I reminded myself that someone was dead and high drama was perhaps an appropriate response but there was just something about how it was written that sometimes made my eyes roll (like a teen).

I read this book in an afternoon, it kept me entertained and it was a switch up from genres I’ve been reading. I definitely think it has something to lend to the YA thriller scene and would appeal particularly to young adult readers.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster UK for the finshed review copy.

LOVELESS by Alice Oseman

The fourth novel from the phenomenally talented Alice Oseman – one of the most authentic and talked-about voices in contemporary YA.

It was all sinking in. I’d never had a crush on anyone. No boys, no girls, not a single person I had ever met. What did that mean?

Georgia has never been in love, never kissed anyone, never even had a crush – but as a fanfic-obsessed romantic she’s sure she’ll find her person one day.

As she starts university with her best friends, Pip and Jason, in a whole new town far from home, Georgia’s ready to find romance, and with her outgoing roommate on her side and a place in the Shakespeare Society, her ‘teenage dream’ is in sight.

But when her romance plan wreaks havoc amongst her friends, Georgia ends up in her own comedy of errors, and she starts to question why love seems so easy for other people but not for her. With new terms thrown at her – asexual, aromantic – Georgia is more uncertain about her feelings than ever.

Is she destined to remain loveless? Or has she been looking for the wrong thing all along?

This wise, warm and witty story of identity and self-acceptance sees Alice Oseman on towering form as Georgia and her friends discover that true love isn’t limited to romance. 


Title : Loveless
Author : Alice Oseman
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : YA Contemporary
Publisher : Harper Collins
Release Date : July 9, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

I’m keeping this brief because I want to let the own-voices reviewers shine on this one.

LOVELESS is the story many have been waiting for, welcome representation for aro-ace readers with a character discovering their sexual identity and it was a complex unfurling of realisation for Georgia. Georgia had this screaming desire to fit in, get her firsts under her belt until she was faced with actually doing that. The story was an opening up of consciousness of identity.

There were lots of first year uni experiences in here that were fun. Georgia was surrounded by a bunch of friends, two of whom made an uncomfortable triangle of bubbling rivalry, a bit of sparring but also friendship goodness. It was about the experience of trying to fit in and not quite succeeding; it was also about the fear of revealing yourself to others.

Overall, this was a read that revealed an experience that is important and I valued being able to read this greatly.

Thank you to Harper Collins for the early review copy. 

THE VANISHING by Jayne Ann Krentz

From New York Times bestselling author Jayne Ann Krentz comes a gripping new romantic suspense trilogy fraught with danger and enigma.

Decades ago in the small town of Fogg Lake, The Incident occurred: an explosion in the cave system that released unknown gases. The residents slept for two days. When they woke up they discovered that things had changed-they had changed. Some started having visions. Others heard ominous voices. And then, scientists from a mysterious government agency arrived. Determined not to become research subjects of strange experiments, the residents of Fogg Lake blamed their “hallucinations” on food poisoning, and the story worked. But now it has become apparent that the eerie effects of The Incident are showing up in the descendants of Fogg Lake…

Catalina Lark and Olivia LeClair, best friends and co-owners of an investigation firm in Seattle, use what they call their “other sight” to help solve cases. When Olivia suddenly vanishes one night, Cat frantically begins the search for her friend. No one takes the disappearance seriously except Slater Arganbright, an agent from a shadowy organization known only as the Foundation, who shows up at her firm with a cryptic warning.

A ruthless killer is hunting the only witnesses to a murder that occurred in the Fogg Lake caves fifteen years ago-Catalina and Olivia. And someone intends to make both women vanish.


Title : The Vanishing
Author : Jayne Ann Krentz
Series : Fogg Lake #1
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 294
Genre : Romantic Suspense/Thriller
Publisher : Piatkus
Release Date : July 2, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 3.5 star review

A very readable suspense/thriller with a romance that wasn’t overly convincing but it wasn’t the main stage at all, so it didn’t spoil the show. Set around a town called Fogg Lake, known for its strange folks, this story was shrouded in mystery as well as fog.

The story started with great traction, in the city and two private investigators who were ex-Fogg Lake residents. The whole legacy of that small town was interesting and in some ways, I wanted a bit more about the town and less about the caves and lab. Maybe some of that is going to come later in the series.

Catalina was on the hunt for her kidnapped partner and someone was sent from ‘The Foundation’ to assist. Some of the secret world underpinnig the psychics took a bit of getting hold of but I got there. Slater from who arrived to assist, quickly became relationship potential but I didn’t feel the connection or the speed of their romance but I did like them both as characters.

The killer on the loose was the usual suspenseful reading and overall a solid, enjoyable experience. Jayne Ann Krentz is easy to read, reliable and I’ll definitely indulge in more from this series.

WHAT YOU WISH FOR by Katherine Center


From Katherine Center, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.


Title : What You Wish For
Author : Katherine Center
Format : eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : Women’s Fiction
Publisher : St Martin’s Press
Release Date : July 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

WHAT YOU WISH FOR was a quirky story, injected with good people and goals. Centered around school life, with teachers, pupils and other staff, this book reeled you in to feeling part of that family. This was a great character-driven story and it felt like something I hadn’t really read before.

The protagonist Sam, was a librarian in a school she loved, with staff that were like family. The death of her beloved mentor and head of school brought an old crush Duncan to the school. This was not a happy reunion and it turned into a semi-hate relationship.

One: Duncan Carpenter was really here, in my school, about to become the guy in charge. Two: I was not immune to the sight of him in any microscopic way. And three: he had no idea who I was. That last one smarted, I’m not going to lie.

It was quickly apparant that Duncan was not the guy she’d previously known. The Duncan in this story was a hard-skinned robotic type headteacher, immune to persuasion and with one goal. Sam tried and tried, but he was impermeable.

I couldn’t think of a polite way to tell her that her brother was a mural murderer-and that I had just decided he was my mortal enemy forever.

Actually what happened was an unraveling of Duncan’s character and it was delicious reading. There were a bunch of superb side characters in this book, especially Max, Babette, Clay and Chuck Norris.

The story included some well written elements representing living with mild epilepsy, I appreciated some of the insightful research that went into that perspective. Added to that, the story also dealt with some psychological trauma. The author did not shy away from inclusion of these areas and it enhanced the book.

Katherine Center always manages to leave you on a wow and with a case of the warm fuzzies. WHAT YOU WISH FOR has done just that, warmed me and entertained me. This is an ideal summer read.

Thank you to St Martin’s Press for the early review copy.

ENGAGEMENT AND ESPIONAGE by Penny Reid – double review!

Jennifer Sylvester made her deal with the devil . . . and now they’re engaged!

But all is not well in Green Valley. A chicken choker is on the loose, 61 dead birds most “fowl” need plucking, and no time remains for Jennifer and her devilish fiancé. Desperate to find a spare moment together, Jenn and Cletus’s attempts to reconnect are thwarted by one seemingly coincidental disaster after another. It’s not long before Cletus and Jenn see a pattern emerge and the truth becomes clear.
Sabotage!
Will an undercover mission unmask the culprit? Or are these love-birds totally plucked?

‘Engagement and Espionage’ is the first book in the Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries series, is a full-length cozy mystery, and is a spin-off of Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers series. This novel is best read after ‘Beard Science,’ Winston Brothers #3. 


Title : Engagement and Espionage
Author : Penny Reid
Series : Solving for Pie: Cletus and Jenn Mysteries Series #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 350
Genre : Cosy Mystery
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : July 14, 2020

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4 star review

What a delight it was to be back with Cletus and Jenn in ENGAGEMENT & ESPIONAGE. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the idea of a mystery series but it felt all the Winston familiarity I desired alongside a compelling set of circumstances. These characters (okay Cletus) had all the quirkiness and oddities you would expect, wrapped up in funny shennanigans. I was fully entertained from start to finish.

I love that Penny Reid has the confidence to drop you in a timeline you don’t expect and it 100% works. Cletus and Jenn weren’t that long past their origin story and I loved being able to pick back up with them there and see how they fared with the challenges that came. I hope you’re ready for the frustration and ancitipation of a sloooooowww burn.

This story had chickens as you might expect but it went from ooh to arghhh as the tale took some sinister turns. Cletus and Jenn made a great team, not quite in tune, not quite communicating brilliantly but with a connection that grounded them to a common goal…their bedroom. Jenn’s mother and father were central to events and they took some figuring out. The Winston brothers’ were ever present and I was pretty happy when they were on-page.

There were some fantastic moments involving emergency lasagna, rings, mistaken identities and bottoms. I laughed out loud many times and this was just ideal entertainment for my weekend.

“Bakers is one vowel away from being ‘bikers’.”

Penny Reid’s brand of humour, intelligent, odd and unusual totally floats my boat and I cannot wait for more from this series.

Thank you to the author for the early review copy




Hollis’ 3.5 star review

BEARD SCIENCE is one of my favourite Winston Brothers books so I was thrilled to hear that Reid was bringing Cletus and Jenn back into the forefront (though lets be honest, Cletus steals the show in pretty much all the books) for their own spinoff that bridges some of the time jumps in the main series.

Getting even was a waste of time. Why would I get even when I could get the advantage?

I think what I loved most, beyond being reunited with this family (even if it’s back in time and not everything is in the HEA-state that we’ve already seen), was the realism in the post-BEARD SCIENCE reality that just because the couple ended up together, doesn’t mean everything is magically perfect after the book closes. Jenn and Cletus are still working through some things, both individually and as a couple, and they are struggling to find time for each other, to keep to their commitments, to keep their promises. I liked that.

What I didn’t like? Jenn’s mother. Her father. The fact that the population of this town is 90% lunatic. Seriously, is there something in the water in Green Valley?

What’s the difference between the Emergency Lasagna and the Lasagna Emergency?
One fixes an emergency, the other causes an emergency.”

Everything not related to shitty parents and the mystery itself were great. I loved seeing old faces, the games Cletus plays, and I loved every page that featured Shelly (because of course I do). I also loved all the literal cock blocking, even the non-literal cocks that blocked, that set us on the road for a slow build to finally getting this couple to, well, couple.

Cletus, don’t you realize? You already have me. Stop being so careful.
And if I make a mistake?
Trust me to forgive you.

Overall this was a great way to spend a sunday and I have no doubt this will delight Jenntus fans and general Winston Brothers fans alike.

** I received an ARC from the author (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett

From the New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to live in two very different worlds, one black and one white.

The Vignes twin sisters will always be identical. But after growing up together in a small, southern black community and running away at age sixteen, it’s not just the shape of their daily lives that is different as adults, it’s everything: their families, their communities, their racial identities. Ten years later, one sister lives with her black daughter in the same southern town she once tried to escape. The other secretly passes for white, and her white husband knows nothing of her past. Still, even separated by so many miles and just as many lies, the fates of the twins remain intertwined. What will happen to the next generation, when their own daughters’ storylines intersect?

Weaving together multiple strands and generations of this family, from the deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Brit Bennett produces a story that is at once a riveting, emotional family story and a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing. Looking well beyond issues of race, The Vanishing Half considers the lasting influence of the past as it shapes a person’s decisions, desires, and expectations, and explores some of the multiple reasons and realms in which people sometimes feel pulled to live as something other than their origins.

As with her New York Times-bestselling debut The Mothers, Brit Bennett offers an engrossing page-turner about family and relationships that is immersive and provocative, compassionate and wise. 


Title : The Vanishing Half
Author : Brit Bennett
Format : Hardback
Page Count : 343
Genre : Literary Fiction
Publisher : Dialogue Books
Release Date : June 25, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

A powerful read that was a little slow to get going but hard to put down pretty quickly. This was a story told across generations, with different characters at the fore at different times. Reading the blurb, I thought this was just about the twin sisters, Desiree and Stella and while all the stories branch out from them, there were other characters at the fore at different times. The other characters in the story were such a rich tapestry of interest to me.

I found it took me a good few chapters to get into THE VANISHING HALF but once I had a feel for Mallard, the sisters and their life, I was on board. Initially, my focus was all on Desiree as she seemed to be the brave and bold one, with Stella being quiet. Stella later blew my expectations out of the water, bringing a difficult to read narrative but also one so powerful. I struggled with the thoughts of should I or shouldn’t I empathsise with her situation but as a white woman, how could I possibly judge her? The life she chose for herself was still hard, I cannot imagine a life of such secrecy.

The sisters’ story gave way to their progeny and the characters that stole the show were Jude and Reece. Their story had an evolving beauty that swept across the page, totally absorbed me and made me long for their success and good outcomes. Early was another character that I really loved, the way he subtly emerged into the story, with kindness, was everything. I didn’t particularly like Kennedy but she had a important part to play.

This was an epic story, grand over time and impressionable to readers. It left a melancholy feeling for me at the end but I was completely satisfied with the conclusion. It has a message for contemporary times, I read this thinking, how much has actually changed with regards to some attitutdes? The writing was powerful and I am going to seek out Brit Bennett’s other book immediately.

Thank you to Dialogue Books and Tandem Collective for this gifted copy.

THE DAMNED by Renée Ahdieh

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second installment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful.

Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.


Title : The Damned
Author : Renée Ahdieh
Series : The Beautiful #2
Format : eARC
Page Count : 456
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : July 7, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

Damn but that was good (see what I did there). THE DAMNED utilised all that world-building from book one and just pressed launch. This read was full to the brim of vampiric content and I came to love these characters so much more in this installment. It was an exciting read from cover to cover with a reasonably fast-pace, peppered with lulls to catch your breath.

Sometimes when a book is really good, I highlight and highlight text but with THE DAMNED, I forgot about highlighting, I was that absorbed. The characters I’d come to like from THE BEAUTIFUL became characters I loved and of course, Bastien and Celine were central to this. With that ending to THE BEAUTIFUL, you just know that the world was a confusing place for both these characters at the start of this book.

The story was complex and cleverly woven, but some of the confusion I felt in book one was not a factor in this book. That previous world building paved the way for the characters and different beings to play out with ease. There were so many unexpected factors and plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed particularly the Wyld and the Vale components to the story.

This book /series has delicious side characters and Odette continued to float my boat and I enjoyed getting to know Jae, Ahrun and even Nicodemus better. Pippa had some low level involvement but I see more from her to come.

The chemistry between Bastien and Celine was like a vampire sizzling in the hot sun (snort). These two had a journey and I had no idea where it was going to end up. I will say that Bastien was the kind of hero I could get on board with.

“Do you wish you could make this decision for me?”
“I do. More than I care to admit.”
“Then why have you given me the choice, against this inclination?
“Because I should not make your story about me.”

THE DAMNED blew book one out of the water for me. It gave me all the vampire I wanted and needed and a story to grip consistently. I want more from this series and the end indicates that’s the case.

Thank you to Hodder Books for the early review copy.