Gravemaidens eARC Review

 

 

Gravemaidens (Gravemaidens, #1)

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GoodReads:
The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

Book Information:
Publisher: Delacorte Press/Random House
Pub Date: October 29, 2019
Formats: Hardback, Ebook, Audiobook
ISBN: 978-0-525-64782-9

Purchase Links

Amazon UK | Amazon US

[The purchase links above are Affiliated links, if you should purchase this book using one of those links then I will receive a small bit of money, but, this will cost nothing to you]

 

My Review

I finished my buddy read way quicker than I expected, I blame the author Kelly Coon for this. I was able to read the first eight chapters and have some semblance of self-control but after that, it was like I was gorging myself on cakes from the faerie realm, I could not put the book down.

Kammani was a really endearing protagonist, she had her faults, her passions, and the love for her family with her love of healing. And like any good big sister, she can be somewhat annoying and overbearing on her younger sister and brother.

Kammani wants to follow in the footsteps of her father, but the problem with that is that her Father has been just as tragically affected as the rest of the family and it has changed him.

I love that the characters were so real and flawed, no one was above making mistakes. There were so many moments where I was just holding my breath though because this is not only a great work of YA fantasy, it’s also got a murder mystery, AND YOU ALL KNOW HOW I LOVE MURDER MYSTERIES!

WHODUNNIT?!

This is mostly the question I was screeching through the novel.

Nanaea reminded me of how infuriating it can be to have sisters and though Kammani doesn’t always make the right choices, she makes them all out of love for Nanaea and her family. I loved getting to know more about both Nanaea and Kammani and the political intrigue in the palace made my dark little heart so happy! Not to mention the relationships that Kammani develops, the new friendships, well, it’s great and you really cheer on most of the characters, and there are times you’re just not sure who Kammani should trust.

Again….WHODUNNIT?

The fact that we’re not done with these characters is brilliant, the ending certainly had me lamenting the fact that I’ll have to wait to see what happens next.

Coon delightfully colors this vibrant world the characters live in, Alu just seems to come to life and jump right off the pages. She also doesn’t get too focused on small details, driving the plot and characters forward. \she also made me constantly hungry…seriously, where’s a damn honeycake when you need it??

Dagan was also a cute little cinnamon roll that I just wanted to protect half the time,m but the fact that he was always respectful of Kammani’s boundaries really made him such a great character, even when he thinks he’s pushed himself too far across a line, he’s quick to apologize and make amends as best he can.

[Disclosure: Nasu was my favorite, no regrets.]

I preordered this book because I mean, why wouldn’t I with a title like ‘Gravemaidens?’ But I’m super glad I did because I’ll be rereading this closer to the time of the second book’s release.

SO on that note, four massive cups of coffee from me for this amazing debut novel. Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this in exchange for my honest opinion!

 

About the Author

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Kelly Coon is a young adult author represented by Kari Sutherland of Bradford Lit, an editor for Blue Ocean Brain, a member of the Washington Post Talent Network, a former high school English teacher, and the author of two test prep guides, ACT STRATEGY SMART and ACE THE ACT.
Kelly was the test prep expert for About.com for seven years, and has been published with both Scholastic and MSN in the education arena. In the parenting realm, Kelly has been published in The Washington Post, Scary Mommy, ParentMap, Folks, and others sites, regaling tales of life in the trenches with her three boys. She adores giving female characters the chance to flex their muscles and use their brains, and wishes every story got the happy ending she’s living near Tampa with her sons, brilliant husband, and a rescue pup who will steal your sandwich. Gravemaidens is her debut novel.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Spooky Reads and Recs

 

So I took a couple of days off reading, sometimes, I need it, and let’s face it, that means a couple less books to add to my September Rewind tomorrow lol.

Today I wanted to do something fun that had nothing to do with writing a review lol so…

SOON IT WILL BE OCTOBER THE MONTH OF HALLOWEEN [And my birthday]

I’m going to give you all my recs to read for Halloween and which ones I plan to read in honour of this month!

First, my recommendations:

GoodReads:
“A fast-moving, eerie…tale set on Halloween night. Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin’s. Enhanced by appropriately haunting black-and-white drawings.”–Booklist

So this is my all-time favorite Halloween movie as a kid and my husband knew I’d been eying the book so this was the first birthday present he sent me when we were dating. It’s a bit of an educational read, and though targeted more towards YA/Older Middle Grade, it’s such a brilliant read. You learn about different cultures and Bradbury also manages to give you a really great plot along with it so it’s not just info-dumping.

 

GoodReads:
“Welcome to my house. Come freely. Go safely; and leave something of the happiness you bring.”

I couldn’t not add it, I love Dracula and always will, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s okay, but if you haven’t read it yet and like classics, maybe keep this in your thoughts.

 

GoodReads:
Every tree in the sacred Forest of Laida houses a soul. Though each of those souls will return to the mortal world for many future lives, not all of them deserve to.

Seycia’s father told her this story as a child — a story of the most holy place in the Underworld, The Forest of Laida, where all souls go to rest before embarking on a new life. But Seycia’s father is dead now, and his killer has put a target on her back.

After being chosen for her village’s human sacrifice ritual, Seycia is transported to the Underworld and must join forces with Haben, the demon to whom she was sacrificed, to protect the family she left behind from beyond the grave. In this story of love, survival, and what it means to be human, Seycia and Haben discover that the Underworld is riddled with secrets that can only be unlocked through complete trust and devotion, not only to their mission, but also to one another.

I adore this book so much and I plan on. featuring it on one of my Thriller Thursday slots this month, I’ve been holding this review back since its release month because I wanted it to a have a spooky spot that it so richly deserves. Kerin knocks it out of the park with this, and also leaves you emotionally devastated, so, good times.

 

GoodReads:
A teenage murder witness is drowned in a tub of apples… At a Hallowe’en party, Joyce—a hostile thirteen-year-old—boasts that she once witnessed a murder. When no-one believes her, she storms off home. But within hours her body is found, still in the house, drowned in an apple-bobbing tub. That night, Hercule Poirot is called in to find the ‘evil presence’. But first he must establish whether he is looking for a murderer or a double-murderer…

Okay, I mean, Agatha Christie is just a fall mood for me, but this one, in particular, is a really fun read for the spooky holiday coming upon us! It’s also a pretty quick read, it’s not as good as some of the others, I’ll freely admit this but it certainly puts one in the Halloween mood.

 

GoodReads:

A serial killer leaves one dancing shoe on a foot of the victims who answer his personal ads. When Erin dies, her best friend places ads to entice the villain already targeting her next. New York police detective Vince D’Ambrosio takes a personal interest. New boyfriend Dr Michael Nash is supportive. A stalker may surprise everyone.

Alright, so apparently this book may be really disliked, but hear me out, this was the very first thriller I ever read, so it’s a really sentimental read for me. This scared the pants off me as a sixth-grader, like I would rush around to the turn on the light on my way to the bathroom in case there was a murderer as if perhaps the light would scare him and make him go away. Oh to be young again. Anyway, I think it’s one of those reads that’s perfect to have in your bag to read during waiting times for an appointment or on the train. Definitely spooky.

 

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. 

If you all don’t know, this is one of my favorite reads for this year so far. I ADORE THIS BOOK and if you want to know why you should read it and why it’s the PERFECT spooky read for this month, I direct you to my review of this amazing spooky book, here.

 

 

GoodReads:
A big, friendly dog chases a rabbit into a hidden underground cave – and stirs a sleeping evil crueler than death itself. A terrified four year-old boy sees his bedroom closet door swing open untouched by human hands, and screams at the unholy red eyes gleaming in the darkness. The little Maine town of Castle Rock is about to be invaded by the most hideous menace ever to savage the flesh and devour the mind.

This is my only Stephen King novel so far that I’ve read, and I feel it’s only appropriate to add a Stephen King novel to a spooky reads list. Not to mention, this is a pretty intense read though it is also shorter than most his books, so if you don’t have time for the 1000+ pages for ‘It‘ then this might be a good option to look at. Unless you’d rather not be scared senseless by a dog lol.

 

GoodReads:
When The Alienist was first published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies. This modern classic continues to be a touchstone of historical suspense fiction for readers everywhere.

The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.

Okay, I really loved how creepy and scary this was, but remember it is pretty gory. Here’s my review of it. I thought it was a really creepy read, but, I also know it’s pretty huge, so, be forewarned. There’s always the series to watch instead if you decide you’re interested enough!

 

GoodReads:
Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

Another book that’s a fave for this year and one I’ve been seriously raving about. GO FORTH AND READ THIS AMAZING BOOK. It’s another darker YA fantasy, and Barron is like out to break hearts and take names. You’re left wanting to reread this the moment you put it down, especially since we’re going to have to wait on book two. My review for this is here.

 

GoodReads:
New Orleans, 1919. As a dark serial killer – The Axeman – stalks the city, three individuals set out to unmask him…

Though every citizen of the ‘Big Easy’ thinks they know who could be behind the terrifying murders, Detective Lieutenant Michael Talbot, heading up the official investigation, is struggling to find leads. But Michael has a grave secret – and if he doesn’t find himself on the right track fast – it could be exposed…

Former detective Luca d’Andrea has spent the last six years in Angola state penitentiary, after Michael, his protégée, blew the whistle on his corrupt behaviour. Now a newly freed man, Luca finds himself working with the mafia, whose need to solve the mystery of the Axeman is every bit as urgent as the authorities’.

Meanwhile, Ida is a secretary at the Pinkerton Detective Agency.Obsessed with Sherlock Holmes and dreaming of a better life, Ida stumbles across a clue which lures her and her trumpet-playing friend, Lewis ‘Louis’ Armstrong, to the case and into terrible danger…

As Michael, Luca and Ida each draw closer to discovering the killer’s identity, the Axeman himself will issue a challenge to the people of New Orleans: play jazz or risk becoming the next victim. And as the case builds to its crescendo, the sky will darken and a great storm will loom over the city…

I mean, do I really need to say more when we look at that spooky cover? And I know I didn’t really include reads with ghosts, but that’s because they’re mostly short story collections that I’ve read where ghosts are concerned and I cannot remember their titles lol. So, here we go, more murder and mayhem.

 

GoodReads:

Here are the confessions of a vampire. Hypnotic, shocking, and chillingly erotic, this is a novel of mesmerizing beauty and astonishing force — a story of danger and flight, of love and loss, of suspense and resolution, and of the extraordinary power of the senses. It is a novel only Anne Rice could write.

Another vampire read to get you in the mood, and I mean, a little Anne Rice never hurt anyone, and if you’re looking for something that’s not Dracula related but also maybe outside the YA genre, this is my recommendation.

 

GoodReads:
Mary Shelley began writing Frankenstein when she was only eighteen. At once a Gothic thriller, a passionate romance, and a cautionary tale about the dangers of science, Frankenstein tells the story of committed science student Victor Frankenstein. Obsessed with discovering the cause of generation and life and bestowing animation upon lifeless matter, Frankenstein assembles a human being from stolen body parts but; upon bringing it to life, he recoils in horror at the creature’s hideousness. Tormented by isolation and loneliness, the once-innocent creature turns to evil and unleashes a campaign of murderous revenge against his creator, Frankenstein.

Frankenstein, an instant bestseller and an important ancestor of both the horror and science fiction genres, not only tells a terrifying story, but also raises profound, disturbing questions about the very nature of life and the place of humankind within the cosmos: What does it mean to be human? What responsibilities do we have to each other? How far can we go in tampering with Nature? In our age, filled with news of organ donation genetic engineering, and bio-terrorism, these questions are more relevant than ever.

I had to add one more classic read for this. And Frankenstein is another one I hold dear. I only read it just last year, but it really made an impression on me and I can understand why Shelley is Queen and known as the creator of Sci-fi to many.

Alright, we’re done with my recs, but what am I reading this season to get into the spooky mood?

 

GoodReads:
Welcome to Derry, Maine …

It’s a small city, a place as hauntingly familiar as your own hometown. Only in Derry the haunting is real …

They were seven teenagers when they first stumbled upon the horror. Now they are grown-up men and women who have gone out into the big world to gain success and happiness. But none of them can withstand the force that has drawn them back to Derry to face the nightmare without an end, and the evil without a name.

I talked about the read-along I joined for this, here.

 

GoodReads:
The start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.

In the walled city-state of Alu, Kammani wants nothing more than to become the accomplished healer her father used to be before her family was cast out of their privileged life in shame.

When Alu’s ruler falls deathly ill, Kammani’s beautiful little sister, Nanaea, is chosen as one of three sacred maidens to join him in the afterlife. It’s an honor. A tradition. And Nanaea believes it is her chance to live an even grander life than the one that was stolen from her.

But Kammani sees the selection for what it really is—a death sentence.

Desperate to save her sister, Kammani schemes her way into the palace to heal the ruler. There she discovers more danger lurking in the sand-stone corridors than she could have ever imagined and that her own life—and heart—are at stake. But Kammani will stop at nothing to dig up the palace’s buried secrets even if it means sacrificing everything…including herself.

I’m doing a buddy read of this, and can’t wait!! [Hi Kal and Ruby!] Seriously, I’m so excited for this book.

 

GoodReads:
Gothic, intoxicating, feminist, darkly provoking and deeply romantic – this is the breathtakingly imagined untold story of the brides of Dracula, by bestselling author Kiran Millwood Hargrave in her much-anticipated YA debut.

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

I bought the beautiful Waterstones edition of this with the sprayed edges and all, and I mean, it’s Dracula related but feminist and has f/f love. Why would I pass this up?

 

GoodReads:
Paul Sheldon. He’s a bestselling novelist who has finally met his biggest fan. Her name is Annie Wilkes and she is more than a rabid reader – she is Paul’s nurse, tending his shattered body after an automobile accident. But she is also his captor, keeping him prisoner in her isolated house.

Another Stephen King, let’s see if I get a chance to read this, It is one thick book.

 

GoodReads:
More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.

Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.

But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.

The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else.

I was so lucky to get a chance to participate in the blog tour for this that’s coming up in October, it just seems like a perfect read for fall in general!

 

GoodReads:
The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic.

I found this at a charity shop this year, and it’s time I finally see what this is like compared to the movie that I’ve come to love as a Halloween staple to my watchlist.

 

GoodReads:
The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

I have some horrible truths to lay down. I’ve yet to read anything by Bardugo, but I plan to heavily rectify this, starting with this one. I’ll be going to her Edinburgh Event with the hubs as well, so I’ll get a cool edition signed by her. I’m pretty excited about this one too.

 

Alright guys, that’s it from me!  NOW

Your turn. What are you planning on reading in October? Do you have any recs? What about videogames or movies/shows? LET ME HEAR OF ALL THE SPOOKIES.