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**

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:

Books2ReadAmazon UKAmazon US,

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.

WebsiteTwitterInstagram, Facebook

 

Blog Tour Schedule:

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Dark Shores eARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb:
High seas adventure, blackmail, and meddling gods meet in Dark Shores, the first novel in a new YA fantasy series.
In a world divided by meddlesome gods and treacherous oceans, only the Maarin possess the knowledge to cross the Endless Seas. But they have one mandate: East must never meet West.
A PIRATE WITH A WILL OF IRON
Teriana is the second mate of the Quincense and heir to the Maarin Triumvirate. Her people are born of the seas and the keepers of its secrets, but when her closest friend is forced into an unwanted betrothal, Teriana breaks her people’s mandate so her friend might escape—a choice with devastating consequences. 
A SOLDIER WITH A SECRET
Marcus is the commander of the Thirty-Seventh, the notorious legion that has led the Celendor Empire to conquer the entire East. The legion is his family, but even they don’t know the truth he’s been hiding since childhood. It’s a secret he’ll do anything to protect, no matter how much it costs him – and the world. 
A DANGEROUS QUEST
When an Empire senator discovers the existence of the Dark Shores, he captures Teriana’s crew and threatens to reveal Marcus’s secret unless they sail in pursuit of conquest, forcing the two into an unlikely—and unwilling—alliance. They unite for the sake of their families, but both must decide how far they are willing to go, and how much they are willing to sacrifice.

At first, I wanted to give it four stars as I felt like I’d been loving everything too much then decided, screw it, I loved it and I wanted to give it 5 stars.

I did receive this book as an eARC from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

This book really delivered!

I adored Jensen’s blend of the Roman-inspired Celendor Empire and the amazing Maarin traders.

Teriana is more than just a Maarin Sailor, she is an heir to the Maarin Triumvirate and best friend to the daughter of a Cel Senator.

In an attempt to save her friend, Teriana jeopardizes her people, their way of life, and the fate of multiple countries.

Forced to enter a bargain, Teriana’s fate, and the fate of the Maarin are now tied with Cel Legionnaire and Legatus, Marcus.

He is the reason she’s alive, and she’s the reason he’s escaped the eyes of the Senate but their voyage is a dangerous one and despite have their fates intertwined, it does nothing to give them a shared cause other than survival.

Jensen’s world building is great and if this weren’t a trilogy I’d be screaming for more in this novel but I’m rest assured there’ll be more to come and temporarily appeased though I’m still just as impatient for book two.

Teriana and Marcus seem quite tangible in their feelings and not just in romance but I mean their regard of one another and what is occurring around them. Not to mention they’re both faced with limited choices.

One could easily judge them but they have done what they have to protect those that matter to them. And really in the same situation what wouldn’t most do to protect those they care about. I love books that live in a grayscale world, it’s so much more believable when they make their choices, even if you might disagree with them.

Teriana is for appearances fearless but she runs deeper than that, she’s as complex as anyone would be in her situation and I love her all the more for it. She is a strong female character and not just because she’s brave or doesn’t cry, because she does, and she does show fear, it’s because she’s got such a good heart and makes choices out of love and I think that’s admirable.

Marcus definitely has you realizing not everything is quite so black and white but I think Teriana really steals the show for me. Her and the other Cel soldiers and her Maarin crew.

There’s so much to look forward to with regards to the Dark Shores and more lands to find out about. It’s like we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg and that makes me so incredibly happy!

I loved this adventure of the high seas and uncharted lands (well uncharted to the Cel!) and hope the wait isn’t too long for book 2!

The BeeKeeper of Aleppo eARC Review


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GoodReads: 
In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

What will you find from his story?

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.

Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling. 

This book is everything that a modern day work of literature should be. Lefteri has used a heartbreaking time in history to give us this amazing novel; today, the present. Nuri was a beekeeper in Aleppo, but the tragedy of Syria’s civil war has led him and his wife Afra to flee, there is nothing but heartache in Aleppo and Syria, but their journey is long and fraught with peril and the things that today’s society turns its eyes from, refugee camps and the situations of the countries that lead to those camps. Nuri and Afra’s tale is tragic and times and no less than that of our actual Syrian refugees but there is more to it, and who’s to say that the ending isn’t something to uplift your soul? (I’d say more but I’d hate to spoil it) If you’d like a book to reach your heart and soul and grip them tightly, I recommend reading this book which is sure to become a classic of modern literature.

I know I keep saying ‘literature’ but you read this and you think, this is the type of ‘modern’ classic that we need. There is such beauty in looking at the tragedies that through fiction reflect the lives of those living today. It’s so easy to scroll past the news of Syria, to forget about the bad things or focus on other things because there’s so much going on in the world [good and bad] but I just feel like this is a book that should be read, that should be given attention because I could think of nothing greater than to stir compassion through writing and basing it on factual turmoil and tragedy. I have read so many good books in the last couple of months and they’ve all be different, they all offer something that I didn’t know I needed until I read it and I get if this isn’t your sort of genre but if it is, and you find yourself intrigued in the slightest, please go look it up.

I can’t even put into words how this book moved me, everything seems pale and inadequate when I try to type it up. I am excited because I’ll be going to Edinburgh to listen to Christy Lefteri talk about The Beekeeper of Aleppo on May 6, and I’ll update you all about that.

The release date for this book is May 2, 2019

I received this book from Zaffre Books via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Crown of Feathers eARC Review


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GoodReads: 

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken.

This book was intoxicating from the first chapter and to be fair I was ready to dive in after reading the blurb, no swaying needed.

I couldn’t believe just how complex and diverse a world Preto built, and I don’t mean just the characters I mean the lush history and even topography and geography. Preto has an amazing eye to detail and one that I really want to harp on while I write this. I love world building. I adore it, so, to me the building of the world and showing things off She used details from the past to enhance the present and interweaving them together flawlessly. We have a history of fierce queens and a past tale of sisters that mirrors a present tale.

I was nothing short of impressed. She made my heart drop to my stomach and soar back up, and it was the best emotional roller coaster I have ever ridden. I would certainly categorize this as one of the best books of 2019 and one of the best reads of the year for myself/ With books like this and Descendant of the Crane coming out this year, my GoodReads favorite shelf is going to be massive by December. 

You want to cheer for the Phoenix Riders and you are sitting on the edge of your seat when danger lurks near -and let me tell you that happens quite often-. You are given multi-faceted views of characters, and no one is left 2D, Preto has given us full characters, they may not always be relatable in what they do but their intentions are; well that’s debatable with Val but I won’t judge you if you uh, find yourself identifying with her…just…remind me not to upset you ever. Not to mention Preto had me nearly crying before I even really hit the 15% mark, I mean, seriously, that’s unheard of. 

Unable to put down the book, I stayed up until dawn, I needed to find out what would happen to ‘Nyk’ or Sev, to know what would happen next in the world,  to wonder what in the world Val was up to. And the ending had my jaw dropping to the floor. I don’t know how I am supposed to wait for book 2.

Seriously, one of the best fantasy reads for 2019 and one to go out and read if you have any inkling too.

U.K. Release Date: April 25, 2019, through B&W Publishing.

Pros:
– Well developed characters
– Amazing and expansive world building
– A perfect person that you love to hate
– Characters that are not always what they seem
– Great character growth as well, seriously, it’s impressive
– Phoenixes
– Baby Phoenix
– TWISTS. SUCH TWISTS.
– Phoenix Riders
– Magic

Cons:
– It’s so hard to not want to scream ‘NO’ or ‘WHY’ while reading
– This will cause you to stay up super late
– You will probably at least get teary-eyed if not full on ugly cry.
– You may not like how much world building there is, so I’ll say beware now
– This is not a relaxing read, please look to points 1 & 3 again.
– WHAT WAIT IS THIS FOR BOOK 2?!

Content Warning: There is the death of animals and people, and violence.

**I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion.**

The House on Rosebank Lane eARC Review


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GoodReads Blurb: 

Edinburgh, 1953.

Kirsten Mowat, eighteen years old and with a joyful spring in her step, couldn’t be more in love with her sea-faring sweetheart Duncan Armstrong.

But, seven years later – after a hasty wedding, a twist of lies and wrenching loss – Duncan and Kirsten’s relationship has faded to tatters. When those closest to her turn their backs, Kirsten – alone, with a young family to care for – must gather all her spirit and strength if they are to survive.

From much-loved Millie Gray, The House on Rosebank Lane is an Edinburgh story of families entwined, of sorrow and hopefulness . . . and of a young mother’s love for her children and a transforming quest for happiness.

Millie Gray does a great job giving us a look back at Edinburgh through the 50s toward the 70s, not only that but she gives you a truly heartstring tugging and simultaneously heartwarming tale of not just one woman but the others in her life. At first, I found it difficult to feel sympathy for Kirsten but that soon changed once you saw the radiance of her love as a mother. After that, I may not have approved of everything she did or didn’t do, but I gained respect for our main protagonist. I also greatly enjoyed the look back into the pasts of some of the other characters. Kirsten’s love for a mother isn’t just radiant but it’s real, she makes mistakes and deals with lasting consequences but you never once question the fact that she loved her children, and I think that’s what really drew me to this story, the heart of it all. You wanted to cheer them on, Kirsten, Dixie, Stella, Eddie, Jane, even Jessie! I was not expecting this to make me tear up, but it did and it was a satisfying read that I really didn’t want to put down until I’d finished it.

I would recommend for anyone who reads these sort of heartwarming and tear-inducing tales, Millie Gray has certainly done a brilliant job with it!

The object of this story wasn’t the romance but that did fit in nicely [and a good ‘slow burn’ if I may!] it was about the love of Motherhood, and even a bit of Fatherhood at one part. I can honestly say I don’t usually want to read ‘mushy’ or emotional reads but I wanted to read this one as it was a story located in Edinburgh.

This doesn’t drag on, and I think one of my few complaints besides that I didn’t always like Kirsten (and I wouldn’t say that was a complaint) was that I felt it was unresolved where Stella was concerned but I still greatly enjoyed it. I cried a little, got exasperated, sighed in frustration and smiled at the end. Makes for a pretty great read if you ask me.