Review: Tokyo Ever After (Tokyo Ever After #1)

Title: Tokyo Ever After (Tokyo Ever After #1)
Author: Emiko Jean
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publisher: Macmillan Young Listeners
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Audiobook
Release Date: May 18, 2021
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Izumi Tanaka has never really felt like she fit in—it isn’t easy being Japanese American in her small, mostly white, northern California town. Raised by a single mother, it’s always been Izumi—or Izzy, because “It’s easier this way”—and her mom against the world. But then Izzy discovers a clue to her previously unknown father’s identity… and he’s none other than the Crown Prince of Japan. Which means outspoken, irreverent Izzy is literally a princess.

In a whirlwind, Izzy travels to Japan to meet the father she never knew and discover the country she always dreamed of. But being a princess isn’t all ball gowns and tiaras. There are conniving cousins, a hungry press, a scowling but handsome bodyguard who just might be her soulmate, and thousands of years of tradition and customs to learn practically overnight.

Izzy soon finds herself caught between worlds, and between versions of herself—back home, she was never “American” enough, and in Japan, she must prove she’s “Japanese” enough. Will Izumi crumble under the weight of the crown, or will she live out her fairytale, happily ever after?


Izumi Tanaka has always felt like she stood out as a Japanese American in her mostly white town where she lives with her mom. She has never known her father, but one day she finds a clue to who he is: the Crown Prince of Japan. Izzy travels to Japan to meet her father and learn about her Japanese heritage. She enters an entirely new life, with sparkly tiaras, sneaky cousins, judgmental press, and a handsome bodyguard. However, though Izzy didn’t feel like she fit in at home because she wasn’t American enough, she’s also judged for not being Japanese enough in Japan. Izzy must find a way to balance her two heritages before the weight of the new crown becomes overwhelming. 

This story reminded me of The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. That was one of my favourite series when I was a kid, so this book felt nostalgic. It’s fun to imagine that you can wake up one day and find out you’re a princess, but this story shows that it isn’t all glitz and glamour. 

I listened to the audiobook for this book and I really enjoyed it! I always find it helpful to listen to a book when it has words that aren’t in English. There were Japanese phrases and names in this book, which I wouldn’t have known how to pronounce if I had read a physical copy of the book. 

Tokyo Ever After is a fun story! I’m looking forward to reading the sequel! 

Thank you Macmillan Audio for providing a copy of this audiobook.

What to read next:

Tokyo Dreaming by Emiko Jean

American Royals by Katharine McGee

Other books in the series:

  • Tokyo Dreaming (Tokyo Ever After #2)

Have you read Tokyo Ever After? What did you think of it?

Review: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)

Title: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: August 16, 2007
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:


Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger… and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever…


Rose Hathaway is a dhampir, a guardian of vampires. She must protect her best friend and princess, Lissa Dragomir. The girls ran away two years ago, but the guards from Vampire Academy finally catch up with them and bring them back to the school. Rose and Lissa have to navigate drama with their peers, while also facing dangerous threats to their lives. 

This story wasn’t what I expected. It was quite dark and intense. There was animal cruelty, animal death, bullying in the form of “slut shaming,” self harm, and attempted suicide. 

I did enjoy this book, but I wasn’t expecting it to be so dark. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the series!

What to read next:

Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Other books in the series:

  • Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)
  • Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)
  • Blood Promise (Vampire Academy #4)
  • Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy #5)
  • Last Sacrifice (Vampire Academy #6)

Have you read Vampire Academy? What did you think of it?

Review: The Darkening (The Darkening #1)

Title: The Darkening (The Darkening #1)
Author: Sunya Mara
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: Gold Leaf Book Box
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: July 5, 2022
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

In this thrilling and epic YA fantasy debut the only hope for a city trapped in the eye of a cursed storm lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a prince terrified of his throne.

Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman’s axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen’s soldiers—led by a paranoid prince—catch up to Vesper’s father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that fate.

Even arm herself with her father’s book of dangerous experimental magic.

Even infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers.

Even cheat her way into his cold heart.

But when Vesper learns that there’s more to the story of her mother’s death, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm.


Vesper Vale lives in a city that is trapped by a dangerous storm. Everyone who touches the Storm is cursed, and anyone who enters the Storm doesn’t return. Vesper’s mother went into the storm after killing the king, and Vesper now lives in hiding with her father. When Vesper accidentally exposes her father’s skill with the magic of ikonomancy, the Queen’s soldiers find them and capture her father. Vesper sneaks into the palace, and she must get close to the prince in order to find her father and save everyone from the approaching Storm. 

I was hooked right away in this story. There was lots of tension and danger when Vesper’s dad was discovered. The stakes were high since everyone in Vesper’s life was gone. She also didn’t have anything left to lose, so she took a lot of risks. This made for an exciting story. 

This story is set in a creepy fantasy world. There is a storm surrounding the city, which is divided into rings. The royals and the most elite residents live in the center, with poorer people in each ring further out towards the Storm. The storm has actually absorbed some rings completely so there are less than there once were. This reminded me of the extreme weather we have all over the world. Between wildfires and flooding storms, there is so much unpredictable weather, just like this dangerous Storm that curses anyone who touches it. 

The Darkening is a thrilling start to a fantasy series!

What to read next:

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Have you read The Darkening? What did you think of it?

Review: Blood Like Fate (Blood Like Magic #2)

Title: Blood Like Fate (Blood Like Magic #2)
Author: Liselle Sambury
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: August 9, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Voya fights to save her witch community from a terrible future.

Voya Thomas may have passed her Calling to become a full-fledged witch, but the cost was higher than she’d ever imagined.

Her grandmother is gone.
Her cousin hates her.
And her family doesn’t believe that she has what it takes to lead them.

What’s more, Voya can’t let go of her feelings for Luc, sponsor son of the genius billionaire Justin Tremblay—the man that Luc believes Voya killed. Consequently, Luc wants nothing to do with her. Even her own ancestors seem to have lost faith in her. Every day Voya begs for their guidance, but her calls go unanswered.

As Voya struggles to convince everyone—herself included—that she can be a good Matriarch, she has a vision of a terrifying, deadly future. A vision that would spell the end of the Toronto witches. With a newfound sense of purpose, Voya must do whatever it takes to bring her shattered community together and stop what’s coming for them before it’s too late.

Even if it means taking down the boy she loves—who might be the mastermind behind the coming devastation.


Voya Thomas passed her Calling and now is not only a witch but the Matriarch of the family. Though she has replaced her grandmother as the leader of the family, they don’t listen to her. Her ancestors who she calls upon for advice have been ignoring her, so she doesn’t know what to do next. Then, Voya has a vision of her home burning and her entire family dying. She needs to figure out how to stop it from happening, which means returning to the boy she loves, who may be behind it all. 

Blood Like Magic was one of my favourite reads last year, and this sequel lived up to my expectations. It was easy to jump back into the story because the characters were so vivid and distinct. I particularly love the setting of Toronto, my hometown. This story doesn’t feature typical Toronto settings, like the CN Tower, but instead they visit locally known locations like Dixie Outlet Mall and Trinity Bellwoods Park. I love how this feels authentically like Toronto. 

I appreciated the blended family in this story. There extended witch families were in this story a lot more because they had to work together to protect the broader witch community. Voya’s family lives in a huge house that includes her aunts and uncles, as well as her mom, dad, and her dad’s second wife and daughter. I liked seeing this positive perspective of a healthy blended family. 

I was getting worried close to the end of the story because I didn’t think there was enough space left for the story to be complete. However, it all came together at the end. I really hope that we will revisit Voya and her family in the future because I love these characters!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Sisters of the Snake by Sarena and Sasha Nanua

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

Other books in the series:

Have you read Blood Like Fate? What did you think of it?

Review: Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel

Title: Accomplished: A Georgie Darcy Novel
Author: Amanda Quain
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Retelling
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley, Raincoast Books
Format: Paperback arc, Ebook
Release Date: July 26, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Georgiana Darcy gets the Pride & Prejudice retelling she deserves in Accomplished, a sparkling contemporary YA featuring a healthy dose of marching band romance, endless banter, and Charles Bingley as a ripped frat boy.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled after The Incident with Wickham Foster last year – at least if you ask any of her Pemberley Academy classmates. She may have escaped expulsion because of her family name, but she didn’t escape the disappointment of her big brother Fitz, the scorn of the entire school, or, it turns out, Wickham’s influence.

But she’s back for her junior year, and she needs to prove to everyone—Fitz, Wickham, her former friends, and maybe even herself—that she’s more than just an embarrassment to the family name. How hard can it be to become the Perfect Darcy? All she has to do is:

– Rebuild her reputation with the marching band (even if it kills her)
– Forget about Wickham and his lies (no matter how tempting they still are), and
– Distract Fitz Darcy—helicopter-sibling extraordinaire—by getting him to fall in love with his classmate, Lizzie Bennet (this one might be difficult…)

Sure, it’s a complicated plan, but so is being a Darcy. With the help of her fellow bandmate, Avery, matchmaking ideas lifted straight from her favorite fanfics, and a whole lot of pancakes, Georgie is going to see every one of her plans through. But when the weight of being the Perfect Darcy comes crashing down, Georgie will have to find her own way before she loses everything permanently—including the one guy who sees her for who she really is.


Georgiana Darcy should have been expelled from Pemberley Academy last year, after her boyfriend Wickham was caught selling drugs out of her dorm room, but she wasn’t because she’s a Darcy. Now everyone at Pemberley hates Georgie because she’s responsible for getting Wickham expelled. Georgie wants to gain back her friends and reputation by becoming the perfect Darcy. She changes all of her classes to AP, focuses on playing trombone in band, and even tries to match her brother Fitz with his classmate Lizzie. With the help of her friend Avery, Georgie attempts to be the perfect Darcy, until she can’t handle the pressure. 

This was a great retelling of Pride and Prejudice. I haven’t read an adaptation that focuses solely on Georgiana. She’s an interesting character who wasn’t featured much in the original story, but she’s important to the end of the plot. 

While Georgie’s story was happening, the romance between Fitz and Lizzie was brewing at SUNY Meryton. I liked that this story was happening simultaneously. If you know the story of Pride and Prejudice, you can figure out what was happening between Fitz and Lizzie, with some help from Georgie. 

I appreciated the discussion of privilege in this novel. Georgie and Fitz had a lot of privilege because of their name and money. One benefit of their privilege was that Georgie didn’t get expelled when anyone else would have. Their privilege wasn’t a fault of theirs, but it did give them opportunities that they wouldn’t have without it.

Accomplished is a great contemporary Pride and Prejudice retelling!

Thank you Raincoast Books and Wednesday Books for sending me a copy!

What to read next:

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

Of Curses and Kisses by Sandhya Menon

Have you read Accomplished? What did you think of it?

Review: The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1)

Title: The Prison Healer (The Prison Healer #1)
Author: Lynette Noni
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Clarion Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Paperback
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.

When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.

Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.

But no one has ever survived.

With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.

From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.


Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan is the healer at the prison Zalindov, where she was taken as a prisoner with her father ten years ago. When the Rebel Queen arrives at the prison critically ill, Kiva must keep her alive to do the Trial by Ordeal. The Trial by Ordeal is a series of challenges with earth, water, air, and fire for the most dangerous criminals. The Rebel Queen is too ill to even stand, never mind complete the trial, so Kiva volunteers to do the trial in her place. However, Kiva doesn’t have the elemental magic required to beat the challenges. Kiva must take on this impossible task while also investigating a virus sweeping through the prison and spending time with an irresistible new inmate. 

I read this book while I was sick with Covid, and it kept my mind off being sick. This story was an original take on a “chosen one” story. Kiva didn’t seem like a typical hero, until she volunteered to take the place as the Rebel Queen in the trial. The tasks seemed impossible, which made it more exciting when she succeeded. 

The twists at the end of the story blew me away! I missed the hints of what was coming throughout the story, but after I knew what happened, I could see the clues. 

The Prison Healer is a fantastic young adult fantasy!

What to read next:

The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni

Other books in the series:

  • The Gilded Cage (The Prison Healer #2)
  • The Blood Traitor (The Prison Healer #3)

Have you read The Prison Healer? What did you think of it?

Review: Caraval (Caraval #1)

Title: Caraval (Caraval #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 29, 2016
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

A legendary competition.

A mesmerizing romance.

An unbreakable bond

between two sisters.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.


Scarlett Dragna and her sister Tella have never left their home island. Their father has arranged a marriage for Scarlett with an unknown Count. Scarlett has dreamed of going to the mysterious performance of Caraval, but now that she will be leaving to be married, she won’t have the chance to go. However, one day she receives three tickets to Caraval: one for her, her sister, and her fiancé. Instead of Scarlett’s fiancé, who they haven’t met, they bring Julian, Tella’s latest lover. On their way to Caraval, the sisters are separated. The game of Caraval this year will centre around the mystery of finding Tella. Scarlett is constantly told not to believe anything in the game, but she must trust her instincts to find her sister before the game is over. 

I’m so glad I finally started this series! This was such a thrilling story. I didn’t know what it was going to be about, so the plot was a surprise. There was fantasy, romance, and a mystery. 

The game itself was unreliable so, like Scarlett, I didn’t know what to believe. This made the story unpredictable, especially by the end. I really enjoyed the ending and I’m going to have to start the next book soon!

Caraval is an exciting start to this series!

What to read next:

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Other books in the series:

  • Legendary (Caraval #2
  • Finale (Caraval #3)

Have you read Caraval? What did you think of it?

Review: Katzenjammer

Title: Katzenjammer
Author: Francesca Zappia
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Contemporary
Publisher: HCC Frenzy
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback arc
Release Date: June 28, 2022
Rating: ★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Cat lives in her high school. She never leaves, and for a long time her school has provided her with everything she needs. But now things are changing. The hallways contract and expand along with the school’s breathing, and the showers in the bathroom run a bloody red. Cat’s best friend is slowly turning into cardboard, and instead of a face, Cat has a cat mask made of her own hardened flesh.

Cat doesn’t remember why she is trapped in her school or why half of them—Cat included—are slowly transforming. Escaping has always been the one impossibility in her school’s upside-down world. But to save herself from the eventual self-destruction all the students face, Cat must find the way out. And to do that, she’ll have to remember what put her there in the first place.


Cat lives in her high school along with a bunch of other students. None of them are able to leave. The school expands and contracts like it’s breathing, and the showers pour with blood. Cat wears a cat mask that she can’t remove, and her best friend, Jeffrey, is turning into cardboard. Many of them are transforming into animals or inanimate objects. The problem is that Cat doesn’t know why or how they got there. As she slowly regains her memories, she discovers the events that led them there. 

This story was very good but also very unusual. It was inspired by the story Metamorphosis by Kafka, in which the main character wakes up to discover he has turned into an insect. This story was complex and disturbing. It’s one of those stories that I can’t say much about without spoiling it. 

There were some disturbing scenes, but that’s expected with a horror. There was a lot of trauma experienced in the present story, along with bullying in Cat’s memories of the before time. The one thing that I didn’t like at the end was that there were a lot of questions left with open ended answers. I prefer it when everything is answered at the end, but that’s just my preference. 

Katzenjammer is a suspenseful, high school horror story!

Thank you HCCFrenzy for sending me a copy of this book.

What to read next:

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

Have you read Katzenjammer? What did you think of it?

Review: Out of the Blue

Title: Out of the Blue
Author: Jason June
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, LGBT, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: May 31, 2022
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

Crest is not excited to be on their Journey: the monthlong sojourn on land all teen merfolk must undergo. The rules are simple: Help a human within one moon cycle and return to Pacifica to become an Elder–or fail and remain stuck on land forever. Crest is eager to get their Journey over and done with: after all, humans are disgusting. They’ve pollluted the planet so much that there’s a floating island of trash that’s literally the size of a country. 

In Los Angeles with a human body and a new name, Crest meets Sean, a human lifeguard whose boyfriend has recently dumped him. Crest agrees to help Sean make his ex jealous and win him back. But as the two spend more time together and Crest’s pespective on humans begins to change, they’ll soon be torn between two worlds. And fake dating just might lead to real feelings…

This instant New York Times bestselling novel from Jason June dives into the many definitions of the world home and shows how love can help us find the truest versions of ourselves.


Crest is a mer, who lives in the Blue, and must go on the journey that all of the merfolk do, which is go on land and help a human. When Crest goes on land, they go by the name Ross, and meet Sean. Sean is a lifeguard, whose boyfriend has just dumped him for another swimmer. When Sean’s ex boyfriend sees him with Ross and looks jealous, Sean realizes he can use Ross to make his ex jealous and want to get back together. Ross agrees to it since that will fulfill their journey by helping Sean. As Sean and Ross fulfill all their tasks for their fake dating plan, they end up developing real feelings for each other, which makes them wonder what will happen when Ross’s journey is finished and it’s time to return to the Blue. 

This story was set in contemporary Los Angeles, but it was a world where fantasy creatures exist. Mer can go on land, losing their tails and taking on a human appearance. There were other supernatural creatures mentioned, like vampires and elves, so hopefully more of this world will be described in other novels. 

I enjoyed the gendered exploration in this novel. Mer were a gender neutral species, so Ross went by the pronoun “they.” It’s ironic, since we usually talk about “mermaids” as being female, and don’t usually mention a male equivalent. Making all mer gender neutral meant there were no mermaids or mermen. They were all mer. 

Out of the Blue is a great original story!

What to read next:

Jay’s Gay Agenda by Jason June

Café Con Lychee by Emery Lee

Have you read Out of the Blue? What did you think of it?

Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart #1)

Title: Once Upon a Broken Heart (Once Upon a Broken Heart #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: September 28, 2021
Rating: ★★★★★


Goodreads Synopsis:

How far would you go for happily ever after?

For as long as she can remember, Evangeline Fox has believed in true love and happy endings . . . until she learns that the love of her life will marry another.

Desperate to stop the wedding and to heal her wounded heart, Evangeline strikes a deal with the charismatic but wicked Prince of Hearts. In exchange for his help, he asks for three kisses, to be given at the time and place of his choosing. 

But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that bargaining with an immortal is a dangerous game—and that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’d pledged. He has plans for Evangeline, plans that will either end in the greatest happily ever after or the most exquisite tragedy. . . .


Evangeline Fox believed in true love and fairy tales, until the love of her life left her to marry her stepsister. To stop the wedding, Evangeline makes a deal with the Prince of Hearts. He asks her to give three kisses, when and where he chooses. However, each kiss leads to danger, so Evangeline’s wish to get her fiancée back will lead to the destruction of many others. 

I haven’t read the Caraval series, and I didn’t realize that this book was a spin-off until halfway though. This could be read as a stand-alone story, though there wasn’t much worldbuilding in this book that was probably in the original series. However, I loved this book. 

There were so many fairy tale elements in this story that I loved. Evangeline was an orphan who lived with her stepmother and stepsister. There were curses and deals made, with some magic potions involved as well. Though this wasn’t a retelling of a fairy tale, I loved these fairy tale elements in this fantasy story. 

Once Upon a Broken Heart is an exciting start to a new series!

What to read next:

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Have you read Once Upon a Broken Heart? What did you think of it?