Goodreads Monday: The Sweetest Betrayal (The Kinder Poison #3) by Natalie Mae | 9-26-22

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Goodreads Monday was hosted and created by Lauren’s Page Turners and has now been taken over by Budget Tales Book Blog. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

Title: The Sweetest Betrayal (The Kinder Poison #3)
Author: Natalie Mae
Genre: YA Fantasy / Romance
Publication Date: February 14th, 2023
Publisher: Indie

In this heart-pounding conclusion to The Kinder Poison trilogy—which People magazine proclaimed a “delicious high-stakes adventure”—war looms over Orkena, but can Zahru save her people without losing herself?

War has come to Orkena.
Zahru has risen as Mestrah, and she is determined to peacefully end the escalating tensions with Wyrim, her country’s long-time enemy. Yet diplomacy proves to be futile, and when Zahru turns to Orkena’s allies for help, she finds that none are willing to come to her aid—not without Kasta ruling at her side.
As Wyrim advances on the capital, Zahru is desperate to protect her people, even if that means accepting Kasta’s help. But her enemy is merciless. And as ambushes and betrayals push Zahru to increasingly dark tactics, she wonders if perhaps Kasta had it right all along: maybe peace was never an option … and maybe she was never meant to do this alone.
Can Zahru spare her enemy without sacrificing her kingdom? Or will Orkena’s salvation only come if Zahru becomes the monster her people need?” (Goodreads)

(Head here for a sneak peek of chapter 1 and a Q&A!)


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Book Review: The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison #2) by Natalie Mae

Title: The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison #2)
Author: Natalie Mae
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 15th, 2021
Publisher: Razorbill
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

In this sequel to The Kinder Poison–which People magazine proclaimed a “delicious high-stakes adventure”–the magical kingdom of Orkena is on the brink of war, and the only person who can save it is Zahru, the girl they once doomed for death.

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?” (Goodreads)

The Kinder Poison: Review

If I don’t get a third book I will riot. Seriously though, I need it!

This review will contain spoilers!

As with the first book in the series, it is easy to get lost in the pages and I found myself wanting to pick it up at every chance I had. It felt good to read about these characters once again and even though I don’t think the stakes were as high in the sequel, I still liked seeing the development of these characters and the choices they had to make.

Zahru has changed quite a lot but that is to be expected after a near death experience. I can understand her questioning Kasta, especially if he is to rule Orkena along with her. Sometimes I do think she took it a tad too far and I wished that she would talk to him about it but again, I can understand her hesitancy to do so.

For me, Kasta was the star of the show. He was broody and villainous but also had that touch of sweetness. It made it hard to dislike him and I found myself being drawn to him which is definitely the opposite of what I was feeling in book one. I do think he wants what is best for his people but sometimes his own ambition from being powerless at times does get the best of him.

As for Jet, I liked him but he wasn’t a favorite. He is still a cinnamon roll and I love him for that though. I felt that he was more or less a background character and didn’t have much going for him. The relationship between him and Zahru felt more like they were siblings and it kind of killed what I had hoped would happen between them that started in book one. His grudge for Kasta is pretty big but maybe one day they can reconcile.

The plot is filled with a lot of politics and it plays into many plot twists. There are some swoon worthy moments and that epilogue is definitely in my top ten list of things I enjoy. I am hoping that this isn’t the last book because there are still a lot of loose ends with no clear answers. If there is another book then I hope for a resolution and more romance!

Overall, this was an enjoyable sequel. I liked seeing the different sides of Zahru and Kasta. I’m really hoping this isn’t the end for this series.

Blog Tour: The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae


42893340Title: The Kinder Poison
Author: Natalie Mae
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 16th, 2020
Publisher: Razorbill

Thanks to the publisher for the free copy! (I received a copy for reviewing. All opinions are my own.)

*Click here for all other tour dates!*

synopsis header
Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, this enthralling fantasy adventure follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.

Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.

All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing: a death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish—and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end—will ascend to the throne and be granted unparalleled abilities.

With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.” (Goodreads)

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t2YaY_xANatalie Mae is an ex-programmer, dessert enthusiast, and author of young adult novels. She has also been a freelance editor and Pitch Wars mentor, and feels it notable to mention she once held a job where she had to feed spiders.She now writes full-time at home with a bag of dark chocolates in one hand and a leopard cat on her lap. She is most definitely not checking Instagram right now.


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I had seen the cover circling for this one on every social media I have. The purple and gold together are amazing and it just has that dazzle that captures the eye. Even though I was a bit hesitant about picking it up, I’m glad I signed up for this blog tour because within in the first chapter I immediately fell in love with this story!

Zahru relies a lot on others. She tries to be brave and tries to be optimistic about the situations she gets in. She is kind, caring, and truly wants to see the good in others. Zahru reminds me a lot of me and that is why it was so easy to feel for her and really connect with her character.

There are quite a few characters that are present for a lot of the book. There was nothing minor about them and some had intense plot points that just left me shocked. I love when smaller characters don’t feel so minor and this was a nice surprise to see. There is a bit of background for a couple and it was easy to understand their motives.

Three of these characters were siblings: Kasta, Sakira, and Jet. These siblings each had their own personality. I liked getting to know each one (a couple more than others, ha) because they each had a different perspective of the race and what they wanted to get out of it. Plus, you all know how I like brothers and these two didn’t disappoint.

This is a unique plot and one that I haven’t read about before. I wasn’t sure how I would like the whole race aspect but it really brought an interesting take to sibling rivalry/capturing the throne. It had it’s fast paced moments and there really wasn’t much downtime. If it wasn’t for bed calling my name, I would have read it all in one sitting since I got to 55% on the first night. Oops, ha.

Overall, I really enjoyed this one. The characters were easy to connect with and the plot was a thrilling ride. Plus, that ending was not expected! I’ll be waiting for book two because I need to know what happens.


“Then we float around a bend, and I’m not the only one who gasps. It’s like spending your whole life knowing only candlelight, then looking upon your first wildfire.”

“Sometimes the promise of something is more powerful than the act.”

“Being compassionate doesn’t make you weak.”

“True monsters wouldn’t put someone else first.”


Win (1) of (5) copies of The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae (US Only)

Starts June 10th, 2020 and ends June 24th, 2020

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I hope you enjoyed my blog tour spot for The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae! Be sure to check out the other reviews and Instagram tour!

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-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)