Wow – I have so many feelings and things to say but I CAN’T SAY ANY OF THEM. As I so politely messaged Shelby “I’m pretty sure you based Morgane le Blanc on yourself because YOU’RE EVIL!”. All I got was cackling in return. *sigh*

It’s no secret Shelby Mahurin blew me away with Serpent & Dove (you can read my review of that one here). Since then, I’ve been basically yelling at anyone who comes within a 6-foot radius of me that they should read it. Thankfully most people do, and then they begin yelling at others – so hey, my strategy works.

Blood & Honey was hands down my most anticipated read of 2020 and I was so thrilled to be *blessed* with an ARC of it from Edelweiss. Well, it’s safe to say it lives up to the hype. It’s heartbreaking, intense, and hilarious in the best ways. The whole time I read this book, I felt as if I was peeking through my fingers and on the edge of my seat just waiting for the other shoe to drop… and then another shoe… and then another… then I wanted to throw all the shoes at Shelby.

While a lot of series suffer from sophomore slumps, there’s no slumping here. It’s action-packed from start to finish and each chapter you see forward movement in the story as well as massive character growth. Both Lou and Reid suffer some very high highs and extremely low, lows. While everything was mostly sunshine at the end of Serpent & Dove everyone is now stuck in less than ideal circumstances, on the run, and (mostly) out of wine – so things get a bit dicey and people are TESTY.

I love how Shelby pushes both Lou and Reid to grow. I relate to Lou’s ‘fly by the seat of her pants’ attitude but she quickly realizes in Blood & Honey that she can’t stumble through or magic her way out of every situation when she now has a lot of other people to care for. While she’s always been willing to sacrifice herself – now it means sacrificing others and she’s not okay with it. Reid on the other hand is having a massive crisis. He’s married to a witch, basically, everyone around him is a witch and now HE’S a witch. Shelby does a fantastic job of really capturing Reid struggle with rectifying prejudices that have been ingrained since birth.

There’s a lot of new characters in Blood & Honey, and while I find that most characters that come later in the series just fall flat for me because I want more of the OGs – that’s not the case here. Shelby gives them all such great personalities that I always want to know more about who they are. Then we have Beau. While I know he was in Serpent & Dove – I don’t feel like he really stood out. He’s a witty, charismatic masterpiece in Blood & Honey. He was hands down my favorite character with his one-liners.

Suffice to say I love it. If I had to give one critique it would honestly just be that I have to wait until book three. Prepare yourself now for the hangover that awaits with lots of hydration… and maybe some wine.