February Wrap Up


I posted my first ARC review of the year: The Broken Elf King by Leia Stone. See the link below!

I’m actually really happy that I still managed to read 4 books this month, despite my day job turning absolutely insane, a family member passing away, and my other job becoming increasingly more demanding. I think I’m finding the balance I need right now, but it’s an ongoing struggle. One of the books I did read happened to be in the middle of the night because I’m on new medication that gives me insomnia sometimes but, eh. You win some, you lose some.

I’m also really happy that the books I’m reading this year have generally all been really highly rated so far. I’ve had a few 3 stars, but I’ve had a surprising amount of 5 stars. I’m hoping this continues for the year.

I decided to treat myself to a book box by the company Bookbox.au, and you can read about that service and unboxing here.

I am on a – not a – book buying ‘ban’ as such, but I am trying out a restriction on purchasing books this year where for every page I read, I earn one cent towards a new book: so if I read one 300 page book, I earn $3. In January 2024, I read approximately 2000 pages, so I had a $20 budget for a new book. I also recently cleaned up my to-reads shelves on Goodreads by removing everything that didn’t spark joy. When I was browsing recently, I did see a book I distinctly remembered adding to my to-reads shelf after I had completely my little cleanse. So I treated myself.

Purchased… sort of?

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury

An urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

This book was hand-picked for me by Bookbox.au, so I still consider it a purchase rather than a gift.

If you see my Nemo tried a Personalised Book Box post, you’ll get the full context.

I am pretty excited to read it!


A Fragile Enchantment by Allison Saft

In this romantic fantasy of manners from New York Times bestselling author Allison Saft, a magical dressmaker commissioned for a royal wedding finds herself embroiled in scandal when a gossip columnist draws attention to her undeniable chemistry with the groom.

Niamh Ó Conchobhair has never let herself long for more. The magic in her blood that lets her stitch emotions and memories into every dress she makes is the same one that will kill her—sooner rather than later—and she’s determined to spend the little time she has left guaranteeing a better life for her family. When she’s commissioned to design the wardrobe for a nearby kingdom’s royal wedding, she knows this is her one chance to make something of herself.

Niamh arrives in Avaland, where young nobles are making their debuts into society during the candlelit balls and elegant garden parties that fill the social Season. The only damper on the festivities is the groom himself: Kit Carmine, prickly, abrasive, and begrudgingly being dragged to the altar as a desperate political act. Beneath Avaland’s glittery façade, unrest is brewing, and an anonymous gossip columnist has been spreading rumors about corruption within the royal family. As Niamh grows closer to Kit, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom into something more…until the columnist starts buzzing about her chemistry with the prince, promising to leave her alone only if she helps uncover the royal family’s secrets. Niamh discovers that the rot at the heart of Avaland goes far deeper than she bargained for—but exposing it could risk a future she never let herself dream of, and a love she never thought possible.

Transporting readers to a Regency England-inspired fantasy world, A Fragile Enchantment is a sweeping romance threaded with intrigue, unforgettable characters, and a love story for the ages.

I am drawn to the idea of the magical dressmaker and the prickly prince. I’m a bit of a softie for royalty!


Kingdom of the Cursed (Kingdom of the Wicked #2) by Kerri Maniscalco

One sister.
Two sinful princes.
Infinite deception with a side of revenge…Welcome to Hell.

After selling her soul to become Queen of the Wicked, Emilia travels to the Seven Circles with the enigmatic Prince of Wrath, where she’s introduced to a seductive world of vice.

She vows to do whatever it takes to avenge her beloved sister, Vittoria…even if that means accepting the hand of the Prince of Pride, the king of demons.

The first rule in the court of the Wicked? Trust no one. With back-stabbing princes, luxurious palaces, mysterious party invitations, and conflicting clues about who really killed her twin, Emilia finds herself more alone than ever before. Can she even trust Wrath, her one-time ally in the mortal world…or is he keeping dangerous secrets about his true nature?

Emilia will be tested in every way as she seeks a series of magical objects that will unlock the clues of her past and the answers she craves…

After I finished Kingdom of the Wicked, I was pretty keen to get my hands on the second book. Luckily, my library had a copy available!


The Other Side of Perfect by Mariko Turk

Alina Keeler was destined to dance, but one terrifying fall shatters her leg – and her dreams of a ballet career along with it.

After a summer spent healing (translation: eating vast amounts of Cool Ranch Doritos and bingeing ballet videos on YouTube), she must trade her preprofessional dance classes for normal high school, where she reluctantly joins the musical.

Rehearsals are nothing compared to Alina’s past life at the acclaimed Kira Dobrow Ballet School. But the stage does offer more than she expected – namely her castmate Jude. He’s annoyingly attractive, ridiculously optimistic, and worst of all, Alina just might be falling for him.

However, find a new normal means making peace with her past and acknowledging the racism she faced. Deep down, Alina still yearns for the world of ballet she left behind. But what does it mean to love something beautiful, yet broken? And as broken as she feels, can she ever open her heart to someone else?

This one has been on my TBR for a while and it was at my library so I snagged it, too!


The Fake Mate by Lana Ferguson

Two wolf shifters agree to be fake mates but unexpectedly find something real in this steamy paranormal romantic comedy by Lana Ferguson.

Mackenzie Carter has had some very bad dates lately. Model train experts, mansplainers, guys weirdly obsessed with her tail—she hasn’t had a successful date in months. Only a year out of residency, her grandmother’s obsession with Mackenzie finding the perfect mate to settle down with threatens to drive Mackenzie barking mad. Out of options, it feels like a small thing to tell her grandmother that she’s met someone. That is, until she blurts out the name of the first man she sees and the last man she would ever date: Noah Taylor, the big bad wolf of Denver General.

Noah Taylor, interventional cardiologist and all around grump, has spent his entire life hiding what he is. With outdated stigmas surrounding unmated alphas that have people wondering if they still howl at the moon, Noah has been careful to keep his designation under wraps. It’s worked for years, until an anonymous tip has everything coming to light. Noah is left with two options: come clean to the board and risk his career—or find himself a mate. The chatty, overly friendly ER doctor asking him to be her fake boyfriend on the same day he’s called to meet the board has to be kismet, right?

Mackenzie will keep her grandmother off her back, and Noah will get a chance to prove he can continue to work without a real mate—a mutually beneficial business transaction, they both rationalize. But when the fake-mate act turns into a very real friends-with-benefits arrangement, lines start to blur, and they quickly realize love is a whole different kind of animal.

To be honest, I was mostly intrigued by this marketing: cartoony/illustrated couple covers are BIG right now, but mostly only in contemporary romance. This is a paranormal about two wolf shifters! Also, when I read it was wolf shifters and fake dating, I was SO on that. I love a good fake dating story. Also, this book is for adult, not young adults, so I might not review it  on the blog.

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L Armentrout

A Maiden…

Chosen from birth to usher in a new era, Poppy’s life has never been her own. The life of the Maiden is solitary. Never to be touched. Never to be looked upon. Never to be spoken to. Never to experience pleasure. Waiting for the day of her Ascension, she would rather be with the guards, fighting back the evil that took her family, than preparing to be found worthy by the gods. But the choice has never been hers.

A Duty…

The entire kingdom’s future rests on Poppy’s shoulders, something she’s not even quite sure she wants for herself. Because a Maiden has a heart. And a soul. And longing. And when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honor bound to ensure her Ascension, enters her life, destiny and duty become tangled with desire and need. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

A Kingdom…

Forsaken by the gods and feared by mortals, a fallen kingdom is rising once more, determined to take back what they believe is theirs through violence and vengeance. And as the shadow of those cursed draws closer, the line between what is forbidden and what is right becomes blurred. Poppy is not only on the verge of losing her heart and being found unworthy by the gods, but also her life when every blood-soaked thread that holds her world together begins to unravel.

I keep seeing this book series recommended in the same breath as Sarah J Maas and other super-popular new adult fantasy series, so I had to see what the fuss was about and borrow it from my library. To be honest, it blurb doesn’t do much for me, so we’ll see.

Monthly Wrap Up

Book Stuff

  • Number of books read: 4
    • The Broken Elf King (Kings of Avalier #2) by Leia Stone
    • Heist (Valenshek Legacy #1) by Tate James
    • Caught By Menace (Grabbed #2) by Lolita Lopez
    • Kingdom of the Wicked (Kingdom of the Wicked #1) by Kerri Maniscalco
  • Finished a series: No
  • Started a series:
    • Valenshek Legacy by Tate James
    • Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
  • New to me authors: Leia Stone
  • Favourite book: Tough one! Probably Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco.

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About Nemo

A lover of kittens and all things sparkly, Nemo has a degree in English Literature and specialises in reviewing contemporary, paranormal, mystery/thriller, historical, sci-fi and fantasy Young Adult fiction. She is especially drawn to novels about princesses, strong female friendships, magical powers, and assassins.

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