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??

Sorcery of Thorns eARC Review

 

 

DO NOT JUDGE ME, I KNOW THIS IS A VERY LATE REVIEW.

I…I just got busy and finally, I read it. It’s part of my attempt to slay the crap out of my NetGalley list so I can go into 2020 not feeling overwhelmed lol.

We’ll see how that goes hahaha.

Onto the book!

Sorcery of Thorns

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GoodReads:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.

Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.

As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.

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 decided I couldn’t let 2019 pass without having read this. book. Rogerson has nailed down such an awesome magic system and the libraries are definitely my favorite part. I mean, magical grimoires, magisters who get their magic from a demon bond, and librarians who are absolutely kick-ass? YES TO ALL THAT.

Silas and Magister Thorn were hands down my favourites but Elisabeth had so much heart and sincerity it was impossible not to care for our protagonist. She’s a cinnamon roll with amazing strength [physically and internally] and I adored that she was tall.

As a short person, I want to be tall. I want to be able to look over people’s heads and I think that so often we associate female characters with being fierce and dainty, but, what’s wrong with being tall and fierce and with a kind heart? We need all sorts of different looking characters.

The complexity of the bond with demons and magisters is so unique. One provides magic, one provides years. I loved watching Elisabeth learn more about magisters, to realize maybe learning from the Library, where magic is held as a sinister danger, could have led to some biased views on her part. But, she’s not above learning to adjust her views.

Elisabeth and Silas’s interactions were some of my favorite to read, they had such a unique bond and the honesty between them is what I enjoyed most. But I definitely appreciated the friendship between Katrien and Elisabeth and I want Katrien to have a book of her own lol.

The banter that came from Nathaniel was A++ stuff, and I loved him so much, but this is where I give you all my grievances.

The only reason I did not rate this five stars is because, despite how much I absolutely LOVED this book, I just felt like something was missing from Nathaniel and Elisabeth’s interactions and relationship in general. I just wanted them to have a more genuine connection than we got. I did feel as if Silas and Elisabeth had better interaction, not romantically, just for a genuine friendship.

There are more moments of Silas and Elisabeth interacting than Nathaniel and Elisabeth and because of the lack of interaction, and the shallow level of their interactions, I found it hard to believe they were connected so deeply.

The ending was on point!! I definitely found myself going ‘WHY’ even though I had a feeling I knew what was coming, it didn’t make it any less enjoyable or impactful.

The pacing was well done, Silas and Elisabeth well fleshed out, and great development in Elisabeth. We needed more Katrien, but, I can live with the awesome moments she did have, and Nathaniel’s snark/sarcasm was amazing and aspirational lol.

There was a superb villain, and I could have read about the libraries all-day long.

As many have asked, why is this a standalone?! I NEED MORE!

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

Pros:
-Unique Magic System
-Magical Libraries
-Kick-ass Librarians
-Katrien
-Silas’s fashion sense
-Nathaniel’s wit
-Elisabeth’s heart
-Devious villain with devious plotting
-Books with thoughts and souls
-Magical Books

Cons:
-Not Enough Katrien
-Not many moments with Elisabeth and Nathaniel
-Not enough magical library moments
-Sometimes could be too predictable
-Shallow feeling to the relationship between Elisabeth and Nathaniel
-Wanted More World Building because it seemed awesome
-It’s a standalone

 

About the Author

Margaret  Rogerson

Margaret writes fantasy for young adult readers. She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when she’s not reading or writing she enjoys drawing, watching documentaries, making pudding, gaming, and exploring the outdoors in search of toads and mushrooms.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Tumblr

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

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

 

The Return of King Lillian Review


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GoodReads:
The Return of King Lillian is a mythic journey tale – a metaphysical fantasy for dreamers and nonconformists of all ages.
So, why the manly moniker in tandem with the womanly name?
“The Firstborn Child of The Emperor-King Inherits the Ruling Crown, the Title of Emperor-King and All Powers Thereof.” (Item 37, The Royal Manual)
Enter Lillian, the firstborn child of said Emperor-King. Cast out of her Kingdom by malevolent forces, mysteriously waylaid by Destiny, the spirited, self-reliant Lillian sets off on an exuberant journey to find her way home and claim her birthright. As she travels through marvelous and mystical lands in search of her origins, Lillian encounters and befriends a kaleidoscopic cast of characters. Most of the tale is told by Lillian herself, as she chronicles her extraordinary adventures.
The audiobook of The Return of King Lillian is performed by the author, Suzie Plakson.
This is probably one of my favorite retellings ever now. I do have a soft spot for retellings in general but Plakson just knocks it out of the park for creativity. Lillian is such a bright, enigmatic, and innocent character with a heart so full and pure that I cheered her on from page one. This has a bit of a ‘Princess Bride’ meets ‘Wizard of Oz’/’Alice in Wonderland’ feel. It’s whimsical in all the best ways and though beautiful and lush with some darker moments it can fit a wide range of ages as far as reader audience goes.

Honestly, this was an incredible read.

Lillian writes in her book, and to her book, so as you read it’s as if she’s writing to you. She writes as she speaks so that makes from some creative spelling and word choice and it’s a lot of fun in that way. Also, this has a feel of the old fantasies and tales, there’s a character going on a long quest with a bunch of adventures along the way and a great slew of companions and character interactions.I’ll expand on this more when I write up a review on my blog but needless to say I completely love this book.

^ This was my GoodReads review, and to expand on it, this book really stuck with me. I mean I think about it randomly when someone asks about retellings. Obviously, there are some great ones out there but I just felt this was one of the more creative ones and it left me yearning in a pretty nostalgic manner. This harkened me back to again The Princess Bride [in terms of style, not content] where I chuckled, but more than that fleeting style comparison, it reminded me of the older books such as The Wizard of Oz, or Alice in Wonderland as I stated in the GoodReads review. There’s this sense of exploration of new lands and adventures, and a hero travelling through a world but instead of focusing on the world, we see bits of it as we go, piecing it together and focus on the adventures.

Lillian is a great protagonist and I loved her, and it’s not completely without heartache but it was little enough to be almost refreshing in that sense. She overcame quite a few things, and there was sadness, but that wasn’t the main focus of Lillian’s thoughts, she was carrying forward most of the time, toward a goal.

Not to mention, how many times can we recount a retelling or adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes and Plakson just completely blows me away. [I’m a HUGE Andersen fan so I can be picky]

I was also lucky enough to be gifted an audiobook copy from the Maestro herself, and I’ve delighted in listening to it with my daughter. In fact, this was an audiobook first and the fact that she has turned it into an equally beautiful novel on paper, that there’s no difference and they both flow flawlessly says a lot about her talent with words.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for a chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

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.