Reverie eARC Review

 

 

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

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GoodReads:
Inception meets The Magicians in the most imaginative YA debut of the year!

All Kane Montgomery knows for certain is that the police found him half-dead in the river. He can’t remember how he got there, what happened after, and why his life seems so different now. And it’s not just Kane who’s different, the world feels off, reality itself seems different.

As Kane pieces together clues, three almost-strangers claim to be his friends and the only people who can truly tell him what’s going on. But as he and the others are dragged into unimaginable worlds that materialize out of nowhere—the gym warps into a subterranean temple, a historical home nearby blooms into a Victorian romance rife with scandal and sorcery—Kane realizes that nothing in his life is an accident. And when a sinister force threatens to alter reality for good, they will have to do everything they can to stop it before it unravels everything they know.

This wildly imaginative debut explores what happens when the secret worlds that people hide within themselves come to light.

Purchase Links

Amazon US | Amazon UK

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

I know this is December, the year is almost at an end, but let me tell you, I think this may be one of the best books of 2020.

The LGBTQ rep in this was amazing!

It was a diverse and wonderful read and I would gift this to every single teen I know who likes to read, hands down, no matter their genre preference because this book defies genres. It is magical realism but it’s also the story of teenagers trying to work together and all the while we have Kane trying to figure out who he is. There’s intrigue, drama, love, diversity, magic, and the power of what the subconscious can do. I’m totally for this book, I loved it.

But, don’t be fooled, this is not. meant to be a deep soul searching novel for all the teenagers in this book. The focus of ‘soul searching’ is limited to Kane as he is the center of this story. This is also a very plot-driven book. So, if you’re one who likes the focus of a story to be on characters and their development, you may not love this as much as I did.

Or maybe you will because there’s a drag queen sorceress villain.

So. I mean, seriously, how could you not be at the very least a little excited?

I think this was really well-paced, I was a little hesitant seeing how long it was after having just finished another longer book, but then I read the first chapter and I was hooked. The story is always moving, even when they’re not in the midst of action, there’s still a purpose to it all.

Seriously, I was on the edge of my seat from like chapter 2 onward, it was crazy, and it’s so rare that I’m like that while reading a book. [Apparently reading a billion thrillers will numb you a little to things lol]

There’s romance, but it’s again not the focus, though, I did enjoy it every time it showed up because I shipped Kane and his LI so hard, they are adorable.

All the characters were cinnamon rolls and I loved them and you just want to protect them all…from the Author of course 😉

Seriously, give this book a chance, it shows you that sometimes your fantasies/daydreams/dreams are more powerful than you think, that there is a price to pay from lingering in them. And that just because you thought them up, doesn’t mean you’re safe from them.

It also shows you how friendships can be tested in the most extreme, and the power of trust.

Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC in exchange for my honest review

Pros:
-Kane is so amazingly gay, he has rainbow powers
-Kane is a really strong and sympathetic character
-Dean Flores is precious
-Ursala also precious
-Remember they are all cinnamon rolls that need our protection
-Reveries are pretty cool and dangerous
-Evil Drag Queen Sorceress
-Creepy monsters, or are they?
-Magic

Cons:
-Plot-driven, not character-driven
-The Reveries were slightly confusing at times
-I wanted to understand more how the magic worked
-You wanted things to be a bit more fleshed out before the ending happened
-Wish there would have been more of his family in it, I totally got why his sister was in as much/not as much as she was, it made total sense. Could have seen more of his parents though.
-Why is there not more??

Blood Heir eARC Review

 

 

Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao

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GoodReads:
In the Cyrilian Empire, Affinites are reviled. Their varied gifts to control the world around them are unnatural—dangerous. And Anastacya Mikhailov, the crown princess, has a terrifying secret. Her deadly Affinity to blood is her curse and the reason she has lived her life hidden behind palace walls.

When Ana’s father, the emperor, is murdered, her world is shattered. Framed as his killer, Ana must flee the palace to save her life. And to clear her name, she must find her father’s murderer on her own. But the Cyrilia beyond the palace walls is far different from the one she thought she knew. Corruption rules the land, and a greater conspiracy is at work—one that threatens the very balance of her world. And there is only one person corrupt enough to help Ana get to its core: Ramson Quicktongue.

A cunning crime lord of the Cyrilian underworld, Ramson has sinister plans—though he might have met his match in Ana. Because in this story, the princess might be the most dangerous player of all.

 

My Review

 

** I’m writing this review from the eARC I received last month.

I admit I don’t know what all changes had been made as I did not read it before it was pulled from publication and then put back, so, there’s a lot I cannot comment on.

I’m simply rating it four stars because I really had fun reading it, but, I will go in-depth with my review, and I also have to say I’m certainly not qualified to be critical of it on certain important matters but I am happy to read the other reviews and listen to others to better understand.**

So, let me get onto my review now.

We start off with this scared young woman, a princess without a kingdom in a lot of ways, afraid of herself and what she could do more than anything else. Why? Because not only is she has what they call an affinity but a blood infinity, capable of great and terrible things. Still, she intends to bring her father’s murderer to justice, to win back her own right to be a Princess and live in the palace and there’s a very long road to get there.

Ana’s story is a bit of an Anastasia Romanov story, but, also, its own unique tale of Affinites, and has a lot of Russian folklore/traditional influences for the Cyrilian Empire.

Ana has been presumed dead after the tragic incidences that lead to the point in time where you meet her, but this has helped thus far in her search for her Father’s killer.

Ramson is a bit of an ass, but, he is definitely the one that made me grin the most while reading. He is in a lot of ways really not a good person, BUT with the potential for it, and he’s not strictly a bad person either, I would say he’s selfish and in the grey area for a good chunk of this book, but his development was probably even more satisfying to read about than Ana’s and that’s saying something for me.

Ramson is NOT an Affinite, and that is a nice counterweight to Ana’s affinity. Though he’s from the underbelly of the crime world, he is still more accepted in society than Ana, as she has a power that sets her aside.

Most if not almost all Affinites are indentured servants, the thing that sets them apart from others, what should make them more powerful, has been there downfall as far as the Cyrilian Empire is concerned. So, this is of course, when boiled down, slavery.

Ana never dared to open her eyes to that fact when she was living in the palace as Princess, but now that she’s on her own in the ‘real world,’ Ana is forced to see the truth. I love that she went from seeing things from how only privileged tend to view them, to seeing things how they actually are, she is understanding how her Empire, and more importantly, her Father had faults. She knows now that there needs to be change and that wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t been accused of murdering her father.

Ana is naive in a lot of ways because until a year ago she led an incredibly sheltered life, and as an accused killer she’s also had to keep to the shadows, so, in this book we get to watch her have her eyes opened.

May was possibly my favorite character, Ana’s friend, a young indentured child looking for her mother, and though much younger than Ana, in a lot of ways, it was May who took care of Ana.

Ramson sees Ana as something to be used, she’s a means to an end and so he’s completely jaded and corrupt in comparison to Ana and yet the balance between them is so perfect and eventually, we do see this great development in him as we do in Ana.

The Affinites have been oppressed and enslaved and the Cyrilian Empire is to blame, the rest of the world has their own views of the Affinities but the moment they step foot into the empire, they’re forced into a ‘lawful’ employment contract. Now there could be a plot of bringing down every non-affinite, of making them pay for all the crimes that have been done against Affinites.

So the story’s focus is on the Affinites, and there’s more than just angry people wanting revenge, there’s the hint of revolution and Ana’s possible play in changing things if she can get her title back.

Now, for the bad parts, there were at times where Ana was so naive and impulsive that you did want to shake the crap out of her. And Ramson was a bit overly selfish, so again, wanted to shake him too.

But as far as the writing goes, there were a lot of stereotypes and cliches.

For me, that’s not a bad thing, but I know that it can be off-putting for many.

I’ve not read Six of Crows but I’ve heard there are some uncanny similarities to Ramson and…Inej? I think I’ve heard, so, that’s something to keep in mind.

Again, the cliches and stereotypes were probably the biggest issues with the writing style.

I thought this was actually a super enjoyable read, I felt that Ramson and Ana had great banter, and more than that, I felt like Ana went through a lot of character development.

Pros:
-Anastasia Vibes
-Slow Burn Romance ftw
-Magic
-Grumpy Cinnamon Roll
-Scary Bloody Cinnamon Roll
-Affinites are amazing
-The injustices are well done and heartbreaking
-Political Plots
-Revolution Plots
-Murder Plots
-ALL THE THINGS PLOTS
-Fun escapes

Cons:
-Similarities to other stories possibly therefore might be ‘overdone’
-Issues before it was pulled from publication and then put back out, not sure how well things were resolved as I didn’t read the other eARC
-Ramson may be too selfish
-Ana may be too naive
-Cliches in abundance
-Stereotypes in abundance
-At times Ana did feel a bit immature, but I would say that was because of her sheltered life.

Overall, I give this four cups of…hot chocolate. [See what I did there? Cause it’s holiday season?]

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Voyager UK for the eARC in exchange for my honest review.

 

About the Author

Amélie Wen Zhao

Amélie Wen Zhao is a Paris-born Chinese national who fell in love with stories since she was old enough to hold a book. Raised in an international community in Beijing, she had the opportunity to grow up steeped in the values and teachings of three different cultures. Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Les Misérables, and Wuthering Heights were among her favorite works.

It wasn’t long before she wanted to tell her own tales. After graduating from New York University’s Leonard N. Stern School of Business in 2014, Amélie began working as a finance professional by day, and writing by night. Her young adult fantasy trilogy, BLOOD HEIR, debuts in 2019 from Delacorte Press / Penguin Random House.

Amélie hopes to empower young readers with messages of acceptance, strength, and love through her works, and to continue to push the boundaries of young adult literature by exploring new, cross-cultural themes.

Author Links

Webpage | Twitter | Instagram

Trail of Lightning eARC Review

 

 

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World Book 1)

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GoodReads:
2019 LOCUS AWARD WINNER, BEST FIRST NOVEL
2019 HUGO AWARD FINALIST, BEST NOVEL
2019 NEBULA AWARD FINALIST, BEST NOVEL
‘Someone please cancel Supernatural already and give us at least five seasons of this badass indigenous monster-hunter and her silver-tongued sidekick.” The New York Times
‘An excitingly novel tale.” Charlaine Harris
‘Fun, terrifying, hilarious, and brilliant.” Daniel José Older
‘Crafts a powerful and fiercely personal journey through a compelling postapocalyptic landscape’ Kate Elliott
While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last best hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much more terrifying than anything she could imagine.
Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel the rez, unravelling clues from ancient legends, trading favours with tricksters, and battling dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.
As Maggie discovers the truth behind the killings, she will have to confront her past if she wants to survive.
Welcome to the Sixth World.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

**The links to the book used in this post are Affiliated links, should you click on my links and use them to purchase this book, it will gain me some monies, and will cost you nothing, but gotta disclose this first.**

 

My Review

 

I’m sorry, please forgive me Bookish Universe for taking so long to read this book.

If you’re wondering why I’m reading an eARC of this not exactly new release, it’s because it’s about to be new to UK stores!

Anyway, onto the important stuff, I LOVE THIS BOOK IT IS A GIFT FROM ROANHORSE TO US LESSER BEINGS.

That first comment from ‘NY Times’ about cancelling ‘Supernatural’ and getting five seasons of this…let’s make that happen because I would crowdfund like a mofo to make that happen. [Side note: Absolutely adored ‘Supernatural’ seasons 1-6, liked 7-11, then just forgot to watch the rest.]

Mags is the utmost kick ass protagonist while also still being so flawed that you realize just how vulnerable she really is. She’s complex and layered [like an onion for you Shrek fans] and I like her shoot first ask questions later attitude. Sure it gets her into more trouble than anything else, but it makes for one hell of an adventure.

Parallel to her is Kai, he’s not afraid to be vulnerable or to use words instead of guns or fists. He’s the grandson of the Medicine Man Tah who has helped her pick herself up after being left by her mentor, and at Tah’s suggestion Kai and Mags team up to try and tackle the answer to these new monsters roaming the land.

It’s a bit of a monster hunting mystery adventure and I’m 500% there for it.

They run into cryptic signs that this is just the beginning of something larger than just a monster hunt, and with the words of the trickster Coyote guiding them at times, Mags finds the clues all pointing to someone she didn’t expect.

I loved the side characters as well as our main peeps and I think they were so well fleshed out.

But really, the most amazing part of this all is the World Building, culture focus, and creativity. Hands down one of the best fantasy books I have EVER read and I can’t wait to read book 2!

This book was above and beyond my already high expectations considering my friends had all raved about it. They were all correct. Roanhorse gives us this lush and amazing world and background and history and magic and character development and lore, well, you get the point. This was a SUPERB read and I can’t believe I hadn’t read it before today. I would say that Mags is a completely complex and full protagonist, with wonderful flaws and an amazing spirit. The sub-characters were just as great, and though I did adore Kai, I think perhaps Tah was my favorite.

A flawless first book in The Sixth World.

Thanks to NetGalley and HodderBooks for an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

Pros:
– Worldbuilding
– Culture central lore, magic, and myth
– Awesome magic system
– Clans with unique powers and a unique distribution of them [see magic system point above]
– Perfect for Supernatural fans
– Tah is the best
– Fighting scenes that are GREAT
– Mythical creatures and beings running amok
– Monster Hunting
– Everything
Cons:
– You can’t function without knowing what happens in the next book.

 

About the Author

Rebecca Roanhorse

Rebecca Roanhorse is a Nebula and Hugo Award-winning speculative fiction writer and the recipient of the 2018 Campbell Award for Best New Writer. Her short fiction has also been a finalist for the Sturgeon, Locus and World Fantasy awards. Her novel Trail of Lightning was selected as an Amazon, B&N, Library Journal, and NRP Best Books of 2018, among others, and is a 2019 Nebula Finalist.

Her short fiction can be found in Apex Magazine, New Suns, and various other anthologies. Her non-fiction can be found in Uncanny Magazine, Strange Horizons, and How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation (Macmillan).

She lives in Northern New Mexico with her husband, daughter, and pug.

Author Links

Website | GoodReads | Twitter

 

 

A House of Rage and Sorrow eARC Review

Hey everyone! So, after recovering from the heartbreak of reading A House of Rage and Sorrow, I figured I would bring a review since it’s finally hit the shelves!

If you haven’t read the first book in this, The Celestial Trilogy, I’ve provided a review of that for you as well.

If you’ve read it already and don’t want to hear me fangirl scream about it, well, then, keep scrolling down past it to hear me fangirl about the second book.

This is also my first time using my affiliate links, so please note that they are used in this post, but they run no cost to you, simply makes me a happy caffeine riddled reader if you purchase a book using my link.

Also, Kal is completely to blame for me reading these, her amazing review of A Spark of White Fire made me buy the book and then I just had to read book 2, A House of Rage and Sorrowonce more because of her.

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GoodReads:
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.

Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.

It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.

Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review

This book is a siren among books, it drags you in the moment you read the first chapter, and that is it, you’re hooked. Your life? It’s over.

Seriously, I remained enthralled and entranced by Mandanna’s style and worldbuilding.

Do you like worldbuilding?

Then trust me when I say she’s a pro at it. She does it while never overwhelming you with details or deterring from the plot, or the characters.

It’s a world of gods, spaceships, and kingdoms.

The characters are great, you love every single one of the cinnamon rolls, and even those that are hard to love, I at least appreciated the work that went into them. Mandanna fleshes out her characters so that those who are ‘stars’ feel intimate to a reader.

Right away I was a huge fan of Esmae, but unfortunately, Rama stole her thunder for me. They have the type of best friend relationship that I at least aspire to keep up with, and not to mention that it is one built most importantly on mutual trust. Rama is a true friend.

And if I start talking about Titania now, I won’t stop until book three is released but she is a brilliant character in her own right if not the actual best character.

There’s so many complex familial relationships and it’s what sets it apart from other Space Operas in my opinion [That and I’ve never read one inspired by the Mahabharata]. It feels real because of the relationships between characters and the romance though present, doesn’t steal the spotlight from what Mandanna wants to convey to us.

And the inkling of foreshadowing about certain things is so well done, I see what you did there, Mandanna, with a certain scene with a certain ‘no longer relevant’ name.

I want to be more thorough but at this point my notes just say, and I quote, ‘AHH NO! *Spoiler which I won’t include* I cannot believe it! Just let me sob here int he corner’

If this doesn’t inspire you to read it, I don’t know what will.

I was able to finally take this off my tbr thanks to Kal having done her #Sparkalong

Honestly, it was perfection to read, and I don’t know how I managed to wait at all for the sequel.

 

Speaking of which, now for the main attraction of today

 

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GoodReads:
One kingdom. One crown. One family.

“Maybe it’s time the great House of Rey came to an end. After all, what are we now? Just a house of rage and sorrow.”

Esmae once wanted nothing more than to help her golden brother win the crown of Kali but that dream died with her best friend. Alexi broke her heart, and she vowed to destroy him for it. And with her sentient warship Titania beside her, how can she possibly fail?

As gods, beasts, and kingdoms choose sides, Alexi seeks out a weapon more devastating than even Titania. Past lives threaten the present. Old enemies claim their due. And Esmae cannot outrun the ghosts and the questions that haunt her. What really happened to her father? What was the third boon her mother asked of Amba? For in the shadows, lurking in wait, are secrets that will swallow her whole.

The House of Rey is at war. And the entire galaxy will bleed before the end.

Purchase Link

Amazon UK | Amazon US

My Review

Do you want to know how you know a book is an excellent read? When you call the author a breeder of heartache.

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She has no shame, look at her, liking all the heartache she’s caused me lol.

Anyway!

This book picks up shortly after where we left off, anything that happened between the end of the first book and the start of the second is run over, and she doesn’t give you a huge time gap either so all in all it’s a really tidy start to the road of broken hearts.

The complex amazing familial relationships only get more complex, though, I mean I hold a torch for Bear, who I just want to sign up for baking classes and let him be happy.

Esmae’s ties to her immediate family are strained, Alexi has destroyed his golden child image, yet she feels as if she’s the only one who cares that he’s proven himself unhonourable. She’s been put on a path of revenge and not even Max or Titania can stop her.

Realizing that revenge has tainted her in a way, she pulls away from relationships both friendly or otherwise and it hurts so much to watch her do that.

Watching her try to comprehend what’s happened and what she’s become is enough to make your eyes a tad leaky, and Amba proves to be just like … words can’t describe it without spoiling it, so I won’t. But my eyes are leaking again.

Also.

Kyra can go fly a kite. I hated her in book one, the hate DOES NOT lessen in this book. *Looks at Kyra* YOU KNOW WHAT YOU DID.

We find out so much more about Max, and even about Esmae’s family. There are enough shocking points in this book that I wrote ‘holy shit’ more than once. A couple of things were verified but they were so tiny in the grand scheme of at least one or two plot twists.

Also, there’s more Titania which, let’s face it, who doesn’t need more Titania in your life. And her character development is done so well. SO WELL.

The war loomed in the background in the previous book but it pushes its way forward, though some have hoped that it wouldn’t come to it, there was no other way.

Esmae will take drastic measures, she will stop at nothing to achieve what she thinks should be done. She goes so much further than I ever thought possible. Again, having to be vague to avoid spoilers.

This ending is EPIC and it will RUIN YOU. DO YOU HEAR ME?! RUIN YOU!

I’m not sure what I’m meant to do with myself until book 3, but here we have it, I’m shattered and this book was amazing.

I probably sound like some overlyhyped junkie trying to push some drugs, but, guys, this was perfection and I loved it.

**Thank you to NetGalley and the Publisher for an eARC of this in exchange for my honest opinion.**

 

About the Author

Sangu Mandanna was four years old when an elephant chased her down a forest road and she decided to write her first story about it. Seventeen years and many, many manuscripts later, she signed her first book deal. Sangu now lives in Norwich, a city in the east of England, with her husband and kids.

Author Links

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

 

 

We Hunt The Flame eARC Review

Another review, I know, I know, I promise guys, non-review posts are coming! I just want to get some of these out before the books are out there. [In this case, before it hits UK shelves]

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GoodReads:

People lived because she killed.
People died because he lived.

Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. 

Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be.

War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.

Set in a richly detailed world inspired by ancient Arabia, We Hunt the Flame is a gripping debut of discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands.

Glossary & Pronunciation Guide

 

This book was built upon layers and layers of lush landscapes, history, and culture. This was a work we all needed to help diversify the pool of fantasy, and the writer’s style is strong and enchanting. I found myself really pulled into this world, there was such a darkness in the shadows and in the characters that I loved and I praise them for not being always good or always sure, they were not just morally grey as people so often are but conflicted and constantly striving to do right [or wrong/what they think is right] and that’s important in a YA fantasy. It’s not a quick light read but engrossing and dependent on the reader’s desire or ability to get lost in its words.

I would have rated it five stars but there were times where I felt the pacing was a bit skewered, not necessarily in the plot but within the love interests and their personal journies. That and I do feel like some parts stretched on, but honestly, that could easily be attributed to me being impatient while reading this because I really wanted to know how things were going to turn out. I will be waiting -impatiently of course- for the next book.

I did adore all the characters though and cannot wait to read the next book, their zumra was amazing and there was not one character I disliked in the book, not even the villain. Faizal did a great job creating these characters and such an enriching world.

The worldbuilding as I mentioned earlier was ‘lush’ and that would even be an understatement. There’s such a history and knowledge in her writing that it’s hard to believe these lands don’t actually exist and the journey of the characters is much like every good fantasy, one of adventure and for a noble cause, well in a way a noble cause. There are many trials for them all and bonding in a land that holds more power than anyone could imagine.

We Hunt the Flame switches between the POVs of Zafira and Nasir, and I’m hoping that we’ll get to know more about Kifah. She was by far my favorite character though, I loved them all and Altair was definitely a hoot!

On a whole there was little to no fault in this read for me, I give it four full cups of coffee

Thank you to NetGalley and PanMacMillan for an egalley in exchange for my honest review.

House of Salt and Sorrows Review

Hey guys

Just gonna start August by dropping this review.

You’re welcome btw.

 


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GoodReads:

In a manor by the sea, twelve sisters are cursed.

Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods.

Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

When Annaleigh’s involvement with a mysterious stranger who has secrets of his own intensifies, it’s a race to unravel the darkness that has fallen over her family—before it claims her next.

 

My Review

 

This was everything this spooky bitch wants in a YA gothic retelling of 12 Dancing Princesses. [Pardon my language]

First off let me tell you all the gowns and slippers made me want to rush out and make a Pinterest board, Craig does a fantastic job of describing the clothing and without going overboard. [Can you even go overboard with fantastic pretty slippers and gowns though?]

I loved the cast of sisters, as someone who is one of three girls, I may not have 11 other sisters but I definitely felt the sibling relationships on a spiritual level. There are times where you just want to take a poke at your sister who can also be your best friend. It did take me a couple of chapters to get everyone organized in my head as there are so many, but then again in the original tale they didn’t really bother with names so this is already an improvement in the story in my opinion.

Craig also kept the magical heart of the story, all the favorite parts of the original tale were weaved into Craig’s and you would think she may have written both tales, and considering this is one of my favorite tales, that’s high praise from me. [I need to know, Erin, did you write the original under a false name, is this you in a past life?]

Annaleigh was our narrator, the middle of the sisters, well, middle of the 12. I adored her and rooted for her the whole time, and at times I was protective of her and wanted to give Camille a nudge and say ‘quit it.’

I enjoyed Fisher, their childhood friend. I won’t’ say any more on that.

And uh, Cassius is now probably one of my favorite characters, ever.

There were special bonds with some of the sisters and each relationship was different between them and Annaleigh which was important, Verity was adorable and as one of the three graces she stood out the most to me after Annaleigh, and then Camille.

Personally, I loved the pacing but I can see where it may not be everyone’s cup of tea. This isn’t a fly by the seat of your pants book, she takes time to build intricacies within the world she’s built you and let me tell you, someone better say ‘return to the salt’ when I go out of this world lol. But really, this has moments of all actions and lulls between and I loved the lulls, the periods where everything was quietly built up and brought to this peak that I won’t talk about because, well, spoilers.

The descriptions of Churning (a bit like a yuletide festivity) were some of my favorites, the lanterns and puppets described made me ache to see them in real life.

Craig was a master at descriptions in general, the world, the clothes, the creepy parts, and omg there was so much creepy in this book it made my dark little heart so happy. It gives you the chills a bit, especially in the first half of the novel when it’s all shrouded in mystery.

There is a bit of a whodunnit element, so you have that, mixed with beautiful gothic vibes, paranormal creepiness, and dancing princesses and you have a ‘five cups of coffee’ read for this girl.

I preordered months ago and if you’re interested there’s still time to preorder, this book comes out August Sixth!

**I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion…so…Thanks for the free book, @PRHGlobal

Pros:
-Pretty clothes
-Dancing
-Gorgeous world building
-Creepiness galore
-Mystery and intrigue
-Sisterly love

Cons:
-Can be a slow build up for those looking for a quicker paced read
-You may not love the spooky vibes as much as I do
-The book isn’t longer lol, I WANT MORE!!!!!

Trigger/Content Warnings: Violence, death, murder, mention of suicide, gore, loss.

 

Hallow Review

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Synopsis: 
Being one of the most formidable archangels with the power to end the world doesn’t serve you well if you don’t know how to use it.
Thrown into a battle of courts and factions, tangled in a web of intrigues and palatial games, naïve Ariel is surrounded by powerful angels, chasing their own agendas.
There’s no one she can trust. Everyone stands to gain something from her death.
To avoid the bloody battle that Baza brought to her door at Uras, Ariel retreats back to Apkallu (Earth) to find her sister, but the Heavenly battles and intrigues she flees follow her, as Baza’s immense hold on Apkallu forces Ariel and Rafe to make uncomfortable choices.
Ariel’s fight for survival is far from over and it looks like it’s going to be a deadly one.

Find it:

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My Review:

Hallow is book 2 in the Celestial Creatures quartet. Ariel is a teen burdened with being part of a world that until recently she knew nothing about. While grappling with her humanity, she’s having to deal with Archangels and a battle that could shake the world. When faced with her options, Ariel goes back to earth, wanting know part of a battle for a world she barely knows but the one thing that she wanted to protect on earth seems to be continually just out of her reach.

I’ll be including my review for Heavenward at the end too so you can glance at it if you want. The first book was great, a fun read, and one that I read in one sitting because I just wanted to keep turning the page to find out what happened next! Now this same energy was in Hallow and I also read this one in one setting. Although Heavenward was a fun read I just want to say that the growth between it and Hallow is impressive to say the least. Gibbs gives us such a beautiful prose in Hallow and we get to really enjoy Ariel as we already know her backstory. While Hallow has a returning cast, we also are starting to get a real sense of just what poor Ariel has been thrown into.

Even with an Angel protector, Rafe, Ariel is still struggling and it’s more than just accepting what she is, it’s accepting who she is and that’s something she has to try and handle all on her own, not even Rafe can help her in that.

Fleeing to Earth cannot save Ariel or those she cares for and she’s faced with a lot of hard choices, and that’s not to say she hasn’t been through the runner already! The message is clear though, Ariel cannot runaway and we’re left wondering with what her next move will be.

Just as in Heavenward, Gibbs is making us wait until the next book and has me waiting on pins and needles. There are some nice twists and unexpected turns, and I love that Ariel is such a believable teenager. People can forget as they grow older that being a teen is not easy and more than that some teens have problems that others will never even have to deal with as adults.

I have no regrets in saying that Sam is a favorite character of mine in the series, and to point out that this really is a darker fantasy for YA.

Content/Trigger Warnings: Suicidal thoughts, suicide ideation theme (briefly, in chapter 2).

Heavenward:

First off I really enjoyed this book. I thought the pacing was great and that the ideas were fun! Gibbs really knows how to capture her target audience and I swear, 15 years old me would be eating this book up in an hour and demanding more, and thankfully there is more! I received a digital copy for this as I’m doing the blog tour for the second book Hallow, and I’m so glad I got a chance to read this and that I have the next book ready because that’s quite the ending! The book has you holding your breath at times and you just want to know more. I think my reason for not giving this four stars would only because I would have wanted Gibbs to do just as I stated, you just want to know more. The pacing may have been a bit too fast, but, I can’t argue that that is just personal opinion and you can bet this is not a ‘con’ but a pro for some so if you want something quick paced, this is definitely your book!

Ariel is relatable enough and well, who doesn’t swoon over Sam?

I do need to know more about Tabby most of all though.

Anyway, I can’t wait to read the next one! I just have another book to get through and then I’m diving back into Gibbs Celestial Creatures and plan on enjoying every moment of it!

Content warning: Mention of rape/sexual assault while being held against will entirely. Also, mental health is a delicate subject.

Where to Find it:

Books2Read

Olga Gibbs is amazing and has made Heavenward free! So click on the link to get your copy!

About the Author:

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Olga Gibbs lives in a leafy-green town, nestled amongst the green fields of West Sussex, England. She was writing from the age of fifteen, mainly short stories and novellas and was a guest columnist for a local newspaper. When she is not dreaming up new adventures for her imaginary friends, she does outreach work with teenagers.
She is currently writing a second book in the “Celestial creatures” series and another stand-alone psychological crime thriller book.

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Blog Tour Schedule:

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