Tag «#makemeread»

Series Review: Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Black City (from Goodreads):

A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war.

In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-old Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.

When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Favourite Read 2012
Series: Black City Trilogy
Author: Elizabeth Richards
# of Books: 3 (Black City, Phoenix, Wings)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Vampires, Dystopian, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: November 2012 – June 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover, eBook

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’m not sure how I learned about Black City when it was first released. I think I was browsing new titles at my library and came across it. Regardless, I devoured the book in one sitting–when I should have been studying for exams–and loved it! I remember when twist after twist happened, I emerged from my room telling my roommates how AWESOME this book was.

So why did I wait 5 years to read Phoenix? I don’t have a good answer. I was dying to read it, taking note of the publication date and waiting and waiting. And I think life and school just got in the way and this book went to the wayside. That’s why I made this series a part of my Make Me Read It Readathon for August 2017.

The Concept / The World:

Gah, I adore this world! I love a good vampire story and dystopian fiction is my kryptonite. So the two of them together? Magic. (Or some might call it “Urban Fantasy”) Not a lot of series can do this well (Darkness Before Dawn for example) but this one is the standard for me. It has a rich world, a complex political situation (swoon!) and a setting that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The Plot:

This series has everything I want in a plot. It’s engaging, action-packed and has just the right dose of romance. And the TWISTS! They always got to me. This series always kept me guessing.

Everything just builds so well. Phoenix (book 2) is the perfect example of that. Usually, Book 2s in Trilogies are a little slumpy but this one was not! Definitely not. It was addicting from start to finish and one of the strongest sequels I’ve ever read.

And the grand finale was fabulous! It wraps everything up beautifully and never had a dull moment. AMAZING!

The Characters:

I loved Ash and Natalie. They each have such a compelling story and character background. I couldn’t help but want them to succeed in everything they tried.

But the rest of the cast is phenomenal as well. You have the people you love to hate; the ones who surprise you and the ones who just make the story that little bit stronger. It’s a rich world that is only enhanced by its rich cast.

The Romance:

It’s perfect! You see why they are drawn to each other despite their differences. I was a fan from the start.

Series Rating: 5/5

Black City 5/5 | Phoenix 4.5/5 | Wings 5/5

overall

Why aren’t more people talking about this series?!?!? I just love the cast, the amazingly heart-pounding plot line and the passionate romance. It has everything I want in a paranormal dystopian (urban fantasy) series!

Read if You Like: vampires, paranormal dystopian, urban fantasy
Avoid if You: dislike action, paranormal
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Readathon: Summer TBR Wipeout & Make Me Read Wrap Ups

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My Reading Time Frame: July 8 – August 19, 2017

My main goal for the Summer TBR Wipeout was to get back on track with my reading. I find by mid-year, I’ve lost some of the momentum and am scrambling to keep up.

In general my goals for this challenge were:

No ARC Requests

Result: Slight Fail

Leave The Night On  The Thirteenth Gate (Dominion Mysteries, #1) The Forbidden When the Scoundrel Sins (Capturing the Carlisles, #2) An Earl by Any Other Name (Sins and Scandals #1)

I ended up getting ARCs for a lot of sequels for series I had already started so I picked up books I shouldn’t have in theory. I don’t regret them though! I really enjoyed all of these!

Finish (at least) 3 Series I’ve Previously Started

Result: 4 Series completed

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) The Rising (Darkness Rising, #3) A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3) Wayfarer (Passenger, #2)

My Make Me Read It Readathon helped with this a lot since I purposely chose sequel novels I needed to read. The Rising was the only one I had listed as a priority for this challenge so I’m happy I got it finished.

Read Sequels for (at least) 2 Previously Started Series

Result: 3 Sequels Read

In Too Fast (Roommates Trilogy, #2) Arcana Rising (The Arcana Chronicles, #4) Phoenix (Black City, #2)

I suppose In Too Fast shouldn’t really count since I had just read the first novel a week or two before, but I’m glad I picked it up sooner than later! And it was nice to return to the Arcana world nearly a year later. Phoenix was a Make Me Read It pick that I should have read YEARS ago but I absolutely adored it!

Read 1 Classic Novel

Result: I only started Jane Eyre

Work really kicked my ass on this one. I felt like I was scrambling to read my other books so this one soon became forgotten.

Binge Read 1 Series from start to end!

Result: Finished the Shatter Me Series!

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

I’m so glad I finally picked this series up! I really, really enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next set of books in this fantastic world to be released!

Summer TBR Wipeout Wrap-Up:

I had a great experience with this challenge. I managed to read a lot of books during this timeframe (29 to be exact!) that didn’t necessarily meet my above criteria so I consider it a success. I’ve decided to do my own “Sequel September” self-challenge to help tackle some of those sequels I didn’t get to this month.


-are getting married! (3)

My Reading Time Frame: August 6 – August 13, 2017

My Goal: 4 Books

First, a big thank-you to everyone who voted! I know that I don’t always pick books that everyone knows but you still make such a great effort to vote!

The Results of the Vote:

Shadows in the Silence | This So Isn’t Happening | Phoenix | Across a Star-Swept Sea | Hitched | The Savage Blue | Trust in Me | Caught Up in Us | Derailed | The Bet

What I Read:

Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Hitched: Volume One (Imperfect Love, #1) Phoenix (Black City, #2)

Ok, so I know the point of this challenge is to read the books in the order of most votes but I needed a lighter read to counteract the teenaged angst of Shadows in the Silence. It’s the curse of being a mood reader and I usually break up my YA reads with a romance novel. That’s why I read Hitched second instead of fifth like I was supposed to (according to the poll results). I only got about halfway through Phoenix as well (but finished it the next day!).

Unfortunately, I also wasn’t able to get my library’s copy of This So Isn’t Happening in time for the challenge (it literally came in the last day of the readathon) but I will read it as soon as I can!

So I didn’t meet my goal of 4 books but hey, I got some long overdue novels off my TBR!

What about the rest?

For me, the Make Me Read It Readathon doesn’t end until everything on the list is read. As I said above, September is going to be all about the sequels and as most of the books are sequels, they are top of the list!


Did you participate in these challenges? Are you participating in anything right now?

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Read-a-thon: Make Me Read It (August 2017) Vote!

-are getting married! (3)

Better late than never! I was so worried this wasn’t going to happen this year but I’m SO HAPPY that it is! This is one of the only readathons I take part in annually just because it is so much fun! I am SUPER excited that this readathon is back for another year!

Last year, my goal was to read the Top 4 of 10 books and I definitely did that! I eventually went on to read all the books I had selected by the end of 2016 as well.

This one is hosted by Val @ The Innocent Smiley and Ely @ Tea and Titles.

The Challenge Details:

  • When is it? August 6th until August 13th, 2017
  • Tag? #MakeMeRead
  • How does it work? Make a list of books you want to read and then have your friends vote! You will then read the books in order of highest to lowest votes.
  • My Goal: Read 4 of the below books!
  • Why I need your help? I need your help voting for what books I should read!

The Selections:

For the last two years, I’ve always picked items from my TBR jar (aka books I own) for my candidates. Two reasons for this: 1) I didn’t have to depend on the library to have the books when I needed them and 2) I didn’t read my “owned” books enough. This year, according to my mid-year reading challenge recap, I’m doing a great job reading those books I own (yay!).

So this year, I’m changing it up a bit. I’ve still included some TBR jar items (I still have an August #Shelflove goal) but I’ve also thrown in some sequels I’ve been neglecting. In fact, I’ve gone 50:50!

Here are the books:

This Is So Not Happening (He's So/She's So, #3) The Savage Blue (The Vicious Deep #2) Shadows in the Silence (Angelfire, #3) Phoenix (Black City, #2) Across a Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars, #2)

Trust in Me (Wait for You, #1.5) Hitched: Volume One (Imperfect Love, #1) Derailed (Clayton Falls, #1) The Bet (The Bet, #1) Caught Up in Us (Caught Up in Love, #1)

The Vote:

Even if you have never heard of some of these books, please vote! Pick your fave cover or title!

Poll has Ended! Thank you to everyone who voted! Here are the results:

If you are doing this challenge, leave a link to your post and I will gladly vote for your picks!

Thank you in advance for you vote! I really appreciate it!

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Read-a-thon: Make Me Read It (July 2016) VOTE!

-are getting married! (3)

I am SUPER excited that this readathon is back for another year! Last year, I participated and managed to read 6 of the 10 books I had picked (and my goal was to read 5 so WOOT!).

This one is hosted by Val @ The Innocent Smiley and Ely @ Tea and Titles.

  • When is it? July 9th until July 16th, 2016
  • Tag? #MakeMeRead
  • How does it work? Make a list of books you want to read and then have your friends vote! You will then read the books in order of highest to lowest votes.
  • My Goal: Read 4 of the below books!
  • Why I need your help? I need your help voting for what books I should read!

While the readathon isn’t at the most ideal time of year for me (last week of classes and moving back home!), I still want to make a solid effort with this challenge. I’m hoping for 4 books total which seems doable. These books are all books I have purchased over the years so it eliminates the need for me to make sure I get these books from the library AND contributes to my Rock My TBR challenge!

Here are the books I randomly selected from my TBR jar:

The Girl with the Iron Touch (Steampunk Chronicles, #3) To Win Her Love (Players, #1) Air Awakens (Air Awakens, #1) Kaleidoscope Hearts (Hearts, #1)

Finding Us (Finding, #1) Slade (Walk of Shame, #1) What's Yours Is Mine (Vista del Mar #1) A Beautiful Idea (Beautiful, #1) Ransom (Ransom, #1)

You may have never heard of some of these books but I ask that you please vote anyway! Just vote for your favourite cover 😉

Note: You can vote for multiple books!

If you are doing this challenge, leave a link to your post and I will gladly vote for your picks!

Thank you in advance for you vote! I really appreciate it!

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Single Sundays: The Mad Tatter by JM Darhower

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for The Mad Tatter (from Goodreads):
Reece Hatfield has just one rule when it comes to falling in love: don’t fucking do it. There’s no room in his life for another person. He can barely keep a handle on things as it is. A shadow of the man he used to be, Reece spends his days tattooing, the artist inside of him longing for the chance to do something different.

Avery Moore is all dance, all the time. Ballet is all she’s ever known, and she’s damn good at it. Her body is her art, a living canvas that captivates Reece the first time he lays his eyes on her.

He yearns to leave his mark on her body… in more ways than one.

The tattooed degenerate with a shady past. The beautiful ballerina with a bright future. They live in different worlds, yet somehow, they fit. But just because they fit doesn’t mean they belong together. Cracks sometimes form. Two pieces don’t always make a whole. The course of love never did run smoothly. Things get messy.

And Reece doesn’t do messy.

Not anymore.

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Author: J M Darhower
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Heat Rating: really warm
Point of View: First Person, Single *Male POV*
Publication Date: April 12, 2015
Source & Format: Own–Kindle

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Well, just look at the cover for one. Then look at the title (I love plays on words). And then I looked at the price ($1) and thought, why not?

I was looking forward to a book that had seemingly opposite people attract and fall in love. Tattooed bad boy meets a ballerina? Yes please!

The Plot:

I definitely thought this book was going to be more erotica based but I’m really happy that it wasn’t. Actually, the plot in this book really wasn’t anything I expected. The romance was more of a slow burn and the focus was mostly on Reese coming to terms with who he is.

Which was actually very refreshing for me to read. I enjoyed watching Reese grow as a character and man. I loved watching him interact with Avery. It was a very sweet story to watch unfold even if it wasn’t packed with action or a whole lot of drama.

The Characters:

Because it wasn’t told from Avery’s POV at all it was really cool to read and subsequently understand Reese more than you normally would if Avery was the one telling the POV or it was an alternating POV. I really enjoy male-only POV romances–they keep things interesting if you ask me. And what I really liked is that Reese is a genuinely nice guy. He isn’t some crude, alpha male who describes women like objects or simply wants to possess Avery because he can. You really fall in love with him and root for him to succeed.

I also really liked Avery. Even though she doesn’t get her own POV, I still feel like I had a good grasp on her character. And I actually appreciated the fact that she does take a bit of a back-seat to Reese’s development. She was a great leading lady!

The Romance:

Like I said earlier, it was definitely a slow-burn romance–which I really liked! It was great watching these two form a sincere connection with each other. They weren’t banging each other on every available surface or falling too fast. It was a great balance and they were a fantastic match, so I was rooting for them the whole way!

My Rating: 4/5

overall

I’m glad this book wasn’t what I thought it was going to be! It was a great slow burn, male POV romance. Don’t judge the book by it’s cover! There is so much more to The Mad Tatter than meets the eye!

Read if You Like: slow burn romances, tattooed leads, artist leads, male POVs
Avoid if You: want more “romance”, want more drama

similarreads

  • Confess by Colleen Hoover
  • Dance for Me by Helena Newbury (Fenbrook Academy Series #1)
  • All the Pretty Poses by M Leighton (Pretty Trilogy #1)

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Movie Mondays: Love, Rosie

Movie Mondays: On the occasional Monday, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern | Movie: Love, Rosie (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the MOVIE

Book Cover | Movie Poster

Author: Cecelia Ahern
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Point of View: First Person, Multiple (Told via letters, texts, insta-messaging)

thoughts

This is one of those rare cases where I decided to watch the movie before I read the book. Mainly because I wanted to be surprised when I watched the movie–and truth be told I wanted to watch the movie more than I wanted to read the book. Sometimes with certain movies/books it’s better to watch the movie first so that you don’t know what is going to happen in a movie and that’s what I wanted when I watched Love, Rosie. (I know that you are probably going: “It’s a rom-com, of course you know how it is going to end” but if you watch the trailer you can probably see why I felt this need to be surprised).

My good friend read this book before I did and lent me her copy. She told me that it was a quick cute read but that Rosie really started to get on her nerves as the story progressed so I felt like I had fair warning.

And thank goodness that I did or else I would have quit reading!

I’m sympathetic to Rosie’s situation, don’t get me wrong. So I can understand where her selfish tendencies might arise. However, at the same time, I would expect a situation like hers to accelerate her maturity; and for a while it did. But then it comes back and it just rubbed me the wrong way. There is no other way to phrase it other than that she is a quite selfish person and that makes her hard to like at times.

As for the plot: it is the ultimate second chance love story. As my new book BFF Ruby puts it:

“You know, you two have the worst timing ever…when will you ever learn to catch up with each other?”

And that is how the entire book goes. It is simply a collection of letters, instant messages and emails contributing to the final question: will these two ever get together? Which is cute but gets a little tedious over time especially when you have to deal with an annoying Rosie (and Alex for that matter too). I often found myself wanting to smack some sense into these two but thankfully there are a few characters who were willing to do that for me as I read.

overall

The ultimate lesson I learned from this book: just go for it! This book is all about taking a chance when you should have; never assuming anything and making the best of whatever life throws at you. However, I found it to be very tedious and long. If it was hundred pages shorter, I would have found it a lot more enjoyable.

Rating: 3/5
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Were My Expectations Met?

I’ve wanted to see Love, Rosie since the summer of 2014–only bummer part was that it wasn’t coming to Canada until February 2015 so I “patiently”* waited until it arrived.

I really liked the movie! I thought it was charming and sweet and I laughed quite a bit throughout it. It’s everything you like in a rom-com. Sure, it was a little cliche at times but I mean really: the story is about two best friends who have always loved each other! The entire premise is a cliche! Still, I really wasn’t sure how everything was going to wrap up in the movie so that was exciting. Plus, I just loved watching everything happen and a part of that major reason is the acting.

How Close is it to the Book?

I actually read the book months after I saw the movie but they are vastly different. Many of the situations are similar but the order is different or the people involved have been changed.

I actually prefer the pacing of the movie mainly because it is faster but the events were also much more dramatic. I would say the book is perhaps more realistic while the movie is more “Hollywood” drama but I found the movie to be more entertaining in that respect.

What I also like about the movie is that it actually shows Rosie and Alex interacting. The problem with the letters/etc. is that most things are being described after the fact whereas with the movie you see everything happen in front of you. You see their relationship from start to finish, see how the events actually unfold and it just forges a better connection with the characters.

Did I Like the Cast?

Perhaps I’m biased because I love Lily Collins as an actress. I’m not sure why I like her so much, but I’ve always enjoyed her movies. She reminds me a lot of Jennifer Lawrence for some reason; probably because she can do awkward funny really well. Sam Claflin was also great as Alex! If you didn’t already have a crush on him, you will probably walk out with one after this movie. He does adorkable-sexy so well 😉 I thought they had great chemistry on screen as well which made it such fun to watch. The rest of the cast was awesome as well.

The characters are also much more likeable. I think that is a result of how the plot progresses and how they make the characters react to that. I actually rooted for these two when I watched the movie whereas when I read the novel, it was more of a “are they finally together yet?” and I just wanted them to be together to resolve everything.

thewinneris winmovie

The movie is the definitely winner for me! I just thought the execution was much better; the characters were more likeable and I prefer the format. Reading everything as letters are great but I like watching events unfold before me, not hearing about them afterward.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Love, Rosie (from Goodreads):
Rosie and Alex are destined for one another, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, their relationship gets closer by the day, until Alex gets the news that his family is leaving Dublin and moving to Boston. At 17, Rosie and Alex have just started to see each other in a more romantic light. Devastated, the two make plans for Rosie to apply to colleges in the U.S.

She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She’s pregnant by a boy she’d gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.

Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn’t done with them yet.

Trailer:

Series Review: Scarlet by A.C Gaughen

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen | Scarlet Series

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Series: Scarlet Trilogy
Author: A.C. Gaughen
# of Books: 3 (Scarlet, Lady Thief, Lion Heart)
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Action, Retelling, Romance
Heat Rating: cool; warm in later books
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: February 2012 – May 2015
Source & Format: Own & Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Expectations / Why I Picked it Up:

I bought this book around Christmas because I love stories about Robin Hood and his merry men–always have since I was a kid. I used to watch the Disney Robin Hood movie with the animals all the time when I was young and one of my all-time favourite movie comedies is Robin Hood: Men in Tights. So, I think you can understand my excitement when I read the synopsis for Scarlet. It had all the promises that make a book 5 stars for me: a tough heroine, action, romance and the added bonus was Robin Hood of course.

My Review of Scarlet:

However, when I finished the book, I couldn’t quite give it that 5/5 rating. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the book! It had great action, a bit of mystery and suspense thrown in so that was fantastic. I also liked all of the characters and the plot line overall was exciting and kept my attention.

Where this book failed to deliver was in two ways: 1) the romance and 2) it was way too short.

Let’s tackle #1–the romance. While there was some chemistry and sexual tension between Robin and Scarlet it never reached the level I wanted it to go in the book. Maybe I just read too much into the synopsis (sometimes I fear I pick up on one section of the synopsis and twist it in my mind to be what I want it to be) because now that I look back on it, it doesn’t particularly scream romance story. And to be clear, I wasn’t expecting a full out romance novel–I knew going in it would be more action than anything; but I would have appreciated more romance when all is said and done.

Which leads me into #2–it is way too short! I would have loved another 50 or so pages. It felt like right when we were getting to the good parts it ended. Also, part of the reason for my disappointment was that at the time I read the book, the sequel novels hadn’t been slated for publication so I felt like I was left at the start of a tunnel waiting to see where it would go. For the most part the story wraps up nicely but I just felt like there was so much more to expand upon so I am super glad that there will be two more books!

updates

–July 23, 2015– Book 2: Lady Thief

Well I definitely got my wish for more romance fulfilled with this one! Perhaps a little too much romance? Now don’t think that means it is only romance by that statement; I just mean that there didn’t seem to be too much going on besides the romantic developments. There definitely was plot development but this book didn’t seem as fast paced in terms of action and I missed that a little. However, at the same time, it’s been nearly 3 years since I read this and I felt very out of touch with the series. I highly recommend you read this right after Scarlet to keep the momentum going. Overall, it was a solid sequel and I’m excited for the finale!

–October 22, 2017– Book 3: Lion Heart

This book was slower than I anticipated. I thought there would be more action and heist-like plans but it was more politics and waiting to make a move. I also felt like the romance was the main focus for a solid chunk of the novel. Which is totally fine–there is a lot of this that has to be resolved–I just found it wasn’t keeping my attention all that much. Also, the writing style seemed different than the other novels; not as old fashioned English as Scarlet.

Series Rating: 4/5

Scarlet 4/5 | Lady Thief 3.5/5 | Lion Heart 3/5

overall

The writing style may not be for everyone so be warned (though I felt it improved as the books progressed). It took me a few chapters to get past that. Great for those who want a strong heroine, like Robin Hood stories and love action! Just don’t going into Scarlet hoping for some great love story because that really doesn’t happen until later in the series (ie book 2)!

Read if You Like: Robin Hood, medieval stories, kick ass heroines
Avoid if You: dislike stories with old English, want more romance (at least in book 1)

similarreads

  • Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin #1)
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore (Graceling Trilogy #1)
  • Ransom my Heart by Meg Cabot

Synopsis for Scarlet (from Goodreads):
Many readers know the tale of Robin Hood, but they will be swept away by this new version full of action, secrets, and romance.

Posing as one of Robin Hood’s thieves to avoid the wrath of the evil Thief Taker Lord Gisbourne, Scarlet has kept her identity secret from all of Nottinghamshire. Only the Hood and his band know the truth: the agile thief posing as a whip of a boy is actually a fearless young woman with a secret past. Helping the people of Nottingham outwit the corrupt Sheriff of Nottingham could cost Scarlet her life as Gisbourne closes in.

It’s only her fierce loyalty to Robin—whose quick smiles and sharp temper have the rare power to unsettle her—that keeps Scarlet going and makes this fight worth dying for.

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