Dark Matter: A Ghost Story by Michelle Paver

Well, this review was meant to be up for Halloween, but my computer decided to kick the bucket. I now have a new one which was a few years overdue anyways. The end result is that I’m back. I read a shorter Ghost Story called Dark Matter by Michelle Paver. When it comes to horror my preference is strong characters in a supernatural setting.  I went into this book blind; never heard of it. Let’s get going.

This story takes place in 1937 within a gloomy Britain which at this time is filled with rumors of war coming. Enter the journal of Jack Miller; a specialist wireless operator who works a menial dead end job. As he drops further into poverty and merely going through the motions, he has a chance to join an arctic expedition to Gruhuken on the northeast coast of Svalbard. It wasn’t long ago these lands were unclaimed with people looking for fortunes there. Now Gruhuken is oddly vacant of human life trying to find some way to make wealth there. Jack goes on this journey of course and this book is his journal Jack documents along the way.

This story starts off with so much excitement and hope then slowly gives a feeling of creeping dread. Michelle must have done some research or had experience in how it would be to live in the arctic in 1937. I believed this could be a real journal. It was interesting to get a real feeling of traveling to and surviving in such a cold and eventually dark desolate place. The party starts off with 5 people, but bad luck causes only 3 to actually make it to gruhuken and start the expedition. I’m sure there’s no ill omen in this right? I will say they did bring sled dogs with them so that actually pushed back some of the dread I was feeling. When it comes to ghosts, dogs are a great warning. 

The first sign something may be wrong is the Swedish captain tries to talk them out of going to Gruhuken and to land their expedition somewhere else. When this doesn’t work he tries to claim he wasn’t planning on going that far to drop them off. The man is clearly trying to look out for these scholarly Englishmen with no idea of the lands they are going to. Of course eventually they talk him into bringing them to their destination. His uneasy crew helps them set up a cabin then flee from there as fast as possible. The expedition is of course ill fated or else this book would just be a science journal of the arctic. 

Journal formats can be quite tricky to write. It needs to feel natural and you need to make the reader believe the writer knows how to wield words to fascinate us. Michelle is quite good at setting up Jack as an educated man of words despite his low standing in life and the prose feel natural. Jack makes the world around him feel wondrous, dangerous, beautiful, and deadly as the story unfolds. I believe this man could be writing like this as it goes from a mission of science to a mystery of what is happening to the expedition. I do not want to spoil too much, but something doesn’t want other people on these lands; not even for science. 

I cannot say this book felt like it did anything really new, but it did everything exceptionally well. I was invested in Jack’s journey and what his fate would be. There is definitely a point in the book when you really are not sure how the story will end. It certainly did not go the way I thought. The slow building of dread I thought could use a bit more payoff, but overall I was satisfied with the mystery of this land. Jack could have avoided much of what happens with different decisions, but his decisions made sense in the long run. It was not contrived to keep the story going. In fact it seemed realistic. 

Overall I feel like Michelle nailed the gloomy British ghost story in journal form. I was marveled by her attention to detail and making the world around Jack feel alive. The few characters in the story also felt distinct and real from Jack’s PoV. Even the sled dogs felt organic and believable in how Jack viewed their behavior. It would certainly take a lot of guts to go out in the arctic even nowadays not to mention in 1937. Jack definitely was stupidly brave. It was a fascinating shorter read in the world of ghost stories. 


Book Review: Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Welcome to my first addition to the site. The five people who read my blog may know me already, but if you do not, my name is William, a life long rural New Yorker in the United States. I love Fantasy, but am also a fan of Science Fiction & Horror. For my introduction here I bring you my review of Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. This is book one of Muir’s Locked Tomb series. I have to say, I’m impressed. Gideon the Ninth is such a unique story. It combines Soft Science Fiction, Necromantic Fantasy, and Punk Rock Insanity. I honestly cannot come up with a more suitable description than that. I had wanted to read this before it was even available. I only put it off so long because it seemed so insane and knew more books were going to follow it. Finally, needing something different to dive into, I give you my review of Gideon the Ninth.

“One flesh, one end, bitch.”

This book aptly follows Gideon Nav, an indentured servant of the Ninth House within a Galactic Empire. She is the young adult ginger warrior of this series, complete with skull face paint, dark cloak, sword, and snarky attitude. Quite the picture painted for you there. Even as an indentured servant of a Necromantic space faring empire with an Immortal God Emperor, she gives zero shits about angering anyone. To say she is confident would be an underrepresentation of an amazing character.

“Why was I born so attractive?”

In the beginning of this, depending on your sense of humor, Gideon may overwhelm some readers. Her humor hits me just fine, but others maybe not. Do not fear though dear readers. Gideon has to adjust quite quickly, based on new circumstances that forces her to alter how she interacts with others. You will find much of her over the top attitude is directed toward our other major character, Harrow, the Ninth House’s Heir. While Gideon is a master with the sword. Harrow is a master of Necromancy. Quite the dysfunctional duo. What they do have in common is that they are both amazingly written. A servant and an heir. Completely different statuses. Different personalities. Different viewpoints. A great adventure for us.

“Because everyone would have throttled you within the first five minutes otherwise”

While this is a very character driven story there is much going on in the backdrop. This galactic empire has nine noble houses. The Ninth house guards a locked tomb for the empire and are essentially a death cult. You will get to meet and learn about all the houses in this book though. Muir does this without revealing much about the wider universe. She’s super tricky here. Another thing she is quite good at is there is not much future tech, or weapons in this book…yet you won’t care. The only thing that really lets you know there is space travel, are spaceships. Even then we do not get much of even them. This is a brave choice, but one that works exceptionally well in this book.

“I cannot conceive of a universe without you in it”

This space faring empire relies heavily on Necromancy and swords as their primary fighting tactic. Though how they wage war will be interesting to see. I cannot imagine other civilizations rely on necromancy and swords. We get teased that there is a war against someone out there, we will need to wait on that it seems. This intro book is mostly a complex mystery that takes place in a huge, haunted structure, perfect! All the heirs and their cavaliers (specially trained bodyguards) are invited to this place to seemingly compete to become a Lyctor.  Lyctors are powerful immortal Necromancers that work directly with the emperor. This is of course Harrow’s seemingly main goal and as for Gideon, well, she just wants her freedom. Well actually she also wants to be awesome. These characters grow exceptionally well throughout this mysterious place full of death and intrigue. You will be trying to figure out what is happening and every time you think you might know, you’re wrong!

“Yes you can, it’s just less great and less hot”

The fact that Muir combines fantasy and science fiction but doesn’t reveal too much about either while giving you amazing character work shows me that she is an author to watch. The characters in Gideon the Ninth feel extremely unique, special in their own right, they really come alive. You would think a bunch of noble necromancers would be similar, but they’re oddly not. Muir is able to break apart fields in necromancy and types of house personalities exceptionally well. I cannot wait to read book two to see how she expands on this. Of course, I should also warn people as a world of necromancers there will be a lot of gross descriptions of blood, sinew, corpses, bones…well you get the idea.

“Maybe it’s that I find the idea comforting…that thousands of years after you’re gone…is when you really live. That your echo is louder than your voice is.”

Personally, the most important thing I took from this book, is that we are not all so different. As a thirty-nine-year-old heterosexual male, I felt connected to this young gay warrior woman in a futuristic landscape. Representation in media is important for this very reason. We’re all not so different as we believe. I digress though. Gideon and Harrow are two characters that have shot up my favorites list. Not just as individuals, but as a duo. Book two I know will be from Harrow’s perspective and I’m betting it will be quite wild to get the PoV of a necromancer in this world. If you’re looking for something quite different in the SFF genre I highly recommend this book. I will be keeping an eye on Tamsyn Muir as her career grows.

Thank You for choosing to read my first write up for the site. If you wish to connect with me more I’m quite active on Twitter @thatdarkrogue.


COVER REVEAL | THE STONE GOD BY ERIN KELLISON

A massive thank you to the amazing Storytellers On Tour for arranging this cover reveal.

Hello Bookish Folks! I’m Sam from The Book in Hand!

It genuinely feels like a really long time since I have said hello, that I felt like I needed to introduce myself again! I have had some huge changes in my personal life with work and other projects recently so fell behind badly on the blog! However, I AM BACK!

I still have a lot do do away from The book in Hand but I’m going to make sure to get back to this!

So today I am partnering with the brilliant and hard working Storytellers On Tour to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for The Stone God by Erin Kellison.

If you have seen the cover already through some of the other amazing bloggers featuring this cover reveal you will see how fabulous it is! It is so beautiful!

This book cover is by cover artist Story Wrappers. My word…they have some INCREDIBLE art on their website, so definitely go and check them out, and if you are an author in need of cover art then save their name!

A few things about the author first…

eRIN KELLISON

Erin Kellison is the bestselling author of the Dragons of Bloodfire series, the Reveler series, and the Shadow series.

She writes fantasy, paranormal romance, and science fiction rOmance. She loves other worlds and visits them as often as possible via movies and books and her kids’ imaginations. When not daydreaming or writing, she’s goofing off with her family in sunny Arizona.


SOCIAL MEDIA AND CONTACT LINKS…


SYNOPSIS:

Terah Crane knows not to tempt the gods. A happy life—or at least an uncomplicated one—involves no gods at all. And since her loving grandfather bought her an Indulgence that ex-empts her from their service, she can focus on her other problems of being recently di-vorced, broke, and unemployed.

Seeking a fresh start, Terah packs everything she owns into her beat-up car and moves to her family’s empty country cottage—never mind that deadly firedrakes occasionally wan-der into the garden. When an unlikely flood carries a cracked pillar of stone from a nearby shrine right to Terah’s doorstep, it seems the gods demand her service after all.

Urban Fantasy/Dark Fantasy

PRE-ORDER HERE!

Release Date: 24th May 2021


Ok.

Time.

For.

The.

Cover.

Feast Your Eyes Upon

.

.

.

The Stone God.




KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK ELEVEN

Hello and welcome back to Keep It or Cut It!

It is Thursday AGAIN! And that means me very slowly going through my TBR, ten books at a time.

As you can see by the title this is the 11th Keep It or Cut It post and you know what…MY TBR IS BIGGER THAN WHEN I STARTED! No lie. Though I don’t actually mind, I feel like the more recent additions are better suited to my tastes than some of the books in the early levels of my TBR, and you can never have to many books to read.I mean, yes, finding the time is problematic but still…I will die trying!

I have also been adding a few more books of the nonfiction variety lately, and on top of that I want to try a few horrors and more historical fiction so growth is as inevitable as Thanos. I love Thanos he is such a great villain! Just saying.

AS USUAL, The Method

  • Go to the HUGE TBR list on Goodreads
  • Gather ten books of the week
  • See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
  • Check out the reviews of those I trust
  • Maybe read the sample if I still cant decide

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

NAMELESS QUEEN by REBECCA MCLAUGHLIN

Goodreads Link

One girl must make a name for herself–or die trying –in this royal fantasy where an unknown peasant becomes the ultimate ruler. But how long can she keep the crown if everyone wants her dead? Perfect for fans of Furyborn, Red Queen, and Everless.

Everyone expected the king’s daughter would inherit the throne. No one expected me. 

It shouldn’t even be possible. I’m Nameless, a class of citizens so disrespected, we don’t even get names. Heck, dozens of us have been going missing for months and no one seems to care.

But there’s no denying the tattoo emblazoned on my arm. I am queen. In a palace where the corridors are more dangerous the streets, though, how could I possibly rule? And what will become of the Nameless if I don’t?

Do I Already Own It? No

Hardcover

Reasons & Thoughts:

I have had this on the TBR for a while now and I haven’t ever looked at it since I added it soooo…Take from that what you will. Reading it again for this post, and I don’t really feel sad about that.

BOOK #2

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by ALLISON GOODMAN

Goodreads Link

Swordplay, dragon magic–and a hero with a desperate secret

Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye–an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. 

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic…and her life.

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I was quite close to tossing this on the drop it pile tbh, bu the reviews saved it for me. It sounded interesting but I was thinking is it any different than the others? Well, anyway the reviews show that this is quite a fun feeling book, one where you can easily love the characters and It has asian influences, which I love.

BOOK #3

THE MERCIFULCROW BY Margaret Owen

Goodreads Link

A future chieftain.

Fie abides by one rule: look after your own. Her Crow caste of undertakers and mercy-killers takes more abuse than coin, but when they’re called to collect royal dead, she’s hoping they’ll find the payout of a lifetime.

A fugitive prince.

When Crown Prince Jasimir turns out to have faked his death, Fie’s ready to cut her losses—and perhaps his throat. But he offers a wager that she can’t refuse: protect him from a ruthless queen, and he’ll protect the Crows when he reigns.

A too-cunning bodyguard.

Hawk warrior Tavin has always put Jas’s life before his, magically assuming the prince’s appearance and shadowing his every step. But what happens when Tavin begins to want something to call his own? 

Do I Already Own It? Yes

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ohhh, so I actually have this book, and in Hardback form no less. Fugitives, chieftains and a dash of romance. Honestly, reading the blurb for this again I am wondering why I haven’t read it yet! Might have to sneak this in somewhere. I love spirit animals so castes associated with birds works for me.

BOOK #4

FIREBORNE by ROSARIA MUNDA

Goodreads Link

Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.

Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.

But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.

With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.

From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Dragons. I want more dragons. I love them but I don’t actually read too much dragon fantasy. not really sure why, so in order to rectify this I am going to keep this.

BOOK #5

All the Stars and Teeth by ADALYN GRACE

Goodreads Link

Set in a kingdom where danger lurks beneath the sea, mermaids seek vengeance with song, and magic is a choice.

She will reign.

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer — the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder — and more peril — than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever.

I am the right choice. The only choice. And I will protect my kingdom. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I think I added this to the TBR when it was being hyped, I actually read a few articles about how this book and a few others had reimagined the genre for a modern reader and writer. I’m not sure if it does or not but I kind of want to find out. Plus, its pirates, romance and mastery of a magic. so we shall see how it goes.

BOOK #6

SHERWOOD by MEAGAN SPOONER

Goodreads Link

Robin of Locksley is dead.

Maid Marian doesn’t know how she’ll go on, but the people of Locksley town, persecuted by the Sheriff of Nottingham, need a protector. And the dreadful Guy of Gisborne, the Sheriff’s right hand, wishes to step into Robin’s shoes as Lord of Locksley andMarian’s fiancé.

Who is there to stop them?

Marian never meant to tread in Robin’s footsteps—never intended to stand as a beacon of hope to those awaiting his triumphant return. But with a sweep of his green cloak and the flash of her sword, Marian makes the choice to become her own hero: Robin Hood. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Audible | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I actually read some of this authors other work, though it was really early in my reading life. I read her book Hunted and I enjoyed it then but I am not to sure how it will hold to my tastes now.

BOOK #7

THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS by KATY ROSE POOL

Goodreads Link

The Age of Darkness approaches.
Five lives stand in its way.
Who will stop it… or unleash it? 


For generations, the Seven Prophets guided humanity. Using their visions of the future, they ended wars and united nations―until the day, one hundred years ago, when the Prophets disappeared.

All they left behind was one final, secret prophecy, foretelling an Age of Darkness and the birth of a new Prophet who could be the world’s salvation . . . or the cause of its destruction. As chaos takes hold, five souls are set on a collision course:

A prince exiled from his kingdom.
A ruthless killer known as the Pale Hand.
A once-faithful leader torn between his duty and his heart. 
A reckless gambler with the power to find anything or anyone.
And a dying girl on the verge of giving up.

One of them―or all of them―could break the world. Will they be savior or destroyer? Perfect for fans of Throne of Glass, Children of Blood and Bone, and An Ember in the Ashes. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Paperback | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ok, can I just say how much I love this cover! I think this book could either be incredible or so bad! The characters sounds super interesting, and I am hoping it is an epic character driven fantasy with some great romance in its pages. So…

BOOK #8

POISON PRINCESS by KRESLEY COLE 

Goodreads Link

She could save the world–or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline”Evie” Greene leads a charmed life–until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future–and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally trust Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

In Poison PrincessNew York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces a dark and intriguing world, full of unspeakable danger and irresistible romance.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ok, Trin this one is safe because of you, girl! Five stars and the most riveting read…

BOOK #9

THE DEMON KING by CINDA WILLIAMS CHIMA

Goodreads Link

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I love the idea of this book, and it sounds great but even a great story can fall flat and from the review (of those I trust) this doesn’t have the best characters, and I love my characters deep.

BOOK #10

REBEL OF THE SANDS by ALWYN HAMILTON

Goodreads Link

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mythical beasts still roam the wild and remote areas, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinn still perform their magic.  For humans, it’s an unforgiving place, especially if you’re poor, orphaned, or female.

Amani Al’Hiza is all three. She’s a gifted gunslinger with perfect aim, but she can’t shoot her way out of Dustwalk, the back-country town where she’s destined to wind up wed or dead.

Then she meets Jin, a rakish foreigner, in a shooting contest, and sees him as the perfect escape route. But though she’s spent years dreaming of leaving Dustwalk, she never imagined she’d gallop away on mythical horse—or that it would take a foreign fugitive to show her the heart of the desert she thought she knew.

Rebel of the Sands reveals what happens when a dream deferred explodes—in the fires of rebellion, of romantic passion, and the all-consuming inferno of a girl finally, at long last, embracing her power. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I’m pretty sure this is in the same article about doing things for modern fantasy so I gotta see what that is all about.


THREE CUT AND SEVEN KEPT…

Ohh good lord again!!

Thank you for reading, as always, I hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to comment or have a natter with me over on Twitter.


KEEP IT OR CUT IT | WEEK TEN

Hello and welcome back to Keep It or Cut It

Another Thursday has approached, out of nowhere too, so that means it is time to look at ten books on my Goodreads TBR pile and decide if I want to keep them! Because it feels good to cleanse the TBR of sorts, even though some weeks I don’t get rid of any, but…

AS USUAL, The Method

  • Go to the HUGE TBR list on Goodreads
  • Gather the ten books of the week
  • See if the blurb/synopsis still tickles my fancy
  • Check out the reviews of those I trust
  • Maybe read the sample if I still cant decide

THE BOOKS…

BOOK #1

FOUR DEAD QUEENS by ASTRID SCHOLTE

Goodreads Link

Seventeen-year-old Keralie Corrington may seem harmless, but in fact, she’s one of Quadara’s most skilled thieves and a liar. Varin, on the other hand, is an honest, upstanding citizen of Quadara’s most enlightened region, Eonia. Varin runs afoul of Keralie when she steals a package from him, putting his life in danger. When Varin attempts to retrieve the package, he and Keralie find themselves entangled in a conspiracy that leaves all four of Quadara’s queens dead.

With no other choices and on the run from Keralie’s former employer, the two decide to join forces, endeavoring to discover who has killed the queens and save their own lives in the process. When their reluctant partnership blooms into a tenuous romance, they must overcome their own dark secrets in hopes of a future together that seemed impossible just days before. But first they have to stay alive and untangle the secrets behind the nation’s four dead queens.

An enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences, Four Dead Queens heralds the arrival of an exciting new YA talent.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Hardcover | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

This is a pretty solid sounding book you know! I mean for started the title is fairly cool, Four Dead Queens…I meant that alone has you asking questions. then we move onto the blurb and straight away I see we have a thief, and I love their stories, as many of you do. Then throw in some political intrigue and plots of murder…It sounds pretty good!

BOOK #2

THE GIRL KING by MIMI YU

Goodreads Link

In an empire of flames, they must rise from the ashes.

Sisters Lu and Min have always known their places as the princesses of the Empire of the First Flame: assertive Lu, will be named her father’s heir and become the dynasty’s first female ruler, while timid Min will lead a quiet life in Lu’s shadow. Until their father names a new heir—their male cousin, Set.

Determined to reclaim her birthright, Lu goes in search of allies, leaving Min to face the volatile court alone. Lu soon crosses paths with Nokhai, the lone, unlikely survivor of a clan of nomadic wolf shapeshifters. Nok never learned to shift—or to trust for the empire that killed his family—but working with Lu might be the only way to unlock his true power.

As Lu and Nok form a tenuous alliance, Min’s own power awakens, a forbidden magic that could secure Set’s reign . . . or allow her to claim the throne herself. But there can only be one emperor, and the sisters’ greatest enemy could very well be the other.

This sweeping fantasy set against a world of ancient magic and political intrigue weaves an unforgettable story of ambition, betrayal, and sacrifice.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ohh I am doomed! I love wolf shifters, so to see one not in a paranormal setting but more of a high fantasy setting I am so interested! Ok, I’m not going to lie this blurb has sold it to me. I’m reading this!

BOOK #3

SHADOW FROST BY COCO MA

Goodreads Link

IN THE KINGDOM OF AXARIA, a darkness rises.

Some call it a monster, laying waste to the villagers and their homes. 
Some say it is an invulnerable demon summoned from the deepest abysses of the Immortal Realm. 
Many soldiers from the royal guard are sent out to hunt it down.

Not one has ever returned. 


When Asterin Faelenhart, Princess of Axaria and heir to the throne, discovers that she may hold the key to defeating the mysterious demon terrorizing her kingdom, she vows not to rest until the beast is slain. With the help of her friends and the powers she wields — though has yet to fully understand — Asterin sets out to complete a single task. The task that countless, trained soldiers have failed. 

To kill it. 

But as they hunt for the demon, they unearth a plot to assassinate the Princess herself instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves. With no one else to turn to, they are forced to decide just how much they are willing to sacrifice to protect the only world they have ever known. 

That is, of course… if the demon doesn’t get to them first.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I’m just not feeling this book, it has so many good reviews and is even more impressive because I’m pretty sure the author wrote it at an incredibly young age! But alas my reader soul is not feeling it unfortunately.

BOOK #4

KINGDOM OF SOULS by RENA BARRON

Goodreads Link

A girl with no gifts must bargain for the power to fight her own mother’s dark schemes—even if the price is her life. 

Heir to two lines of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. Yet she fails at bone magic, fails to call upon her ancestors, and fails to live up to her family’s legacy. Under the disapproving eye of her mother, the Kingdom’s most powerful priestess and seer, she fears she may never be good enough.

But when the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, Arrah is desperate enough to turn to a forbidden, dangerous ritual. If she has no magic of her own, she’ll have to buy it—by trading away years of her own life.

Arrah’s borrowed power reveals a nightmarish betrayal, and on its heels, a rising tide of darkness that threatens to consume her and all those she loves. She must race to unravel a twisted and deadly scheme… before the fight costs more than she can afford. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Oh I really love the cover of this book! I also really love the idea of witchdoctors and priestesses but something is bugging me and I don’t know what. I think it could be the whole disappointing child trope, they can be such frustrating reads because they do dumb shit!

BOOK #5

RELIC by BRONWYN ELEY

Goodreads Link

In the city of Edriast, there is no deadlier duty than to serve as the Shadow.

As the personal servant of the powerful Lord Rennard, the Shadow’s life is all but forfeit. Rennard possesses one of five rare and dangerous Relics – a jewel that protects his bloodline, but slowly poisons everyone else in its proximity. When the current Shadow succumbs to its magic, nineteen-year-old blacksmith Kaylan is summoned to take his place.

It’s an appointment that will kill her.

As the time Kaylan has left ebbs away, hope begins to fade… That is, until she discovers a plot to destroy all five bloodlines in possession of the Relics.

A rebel force plans to put an end to Rennard’s rule and Kaylan suddenly finds herself embroiled in a cause that might just be worth fighting for. But no cause is without its costs…

As her life hangs in the balance and rebellion bears down on Edriast, Kaylan must decide where her loyalties lie – and how she’ll leave her mark on the world.

Relic is the absorbing first novel in The Relic Trilogy, a thrillingly dark YA fantasy series. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

Ok, I am a sucker for rebel causes! There is something about them I just can not get enough of, so I guess it means this book stays.

BOOK #6

LEVIATHAN by SCOTT WESTERFELD

Goodreads Link

Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.

Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.

With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I’m going to keep this one because I haven’t read much steampunk and I love historical reads, so its the simple.

BOOK #7

THE DARKEST MINDS by ALEXANDRA BRACKEN

Goodreads Link

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Audiobook | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

This has a fairly kick ass sounding blurb…I need more dystopia in my life.

BOOK #8

WINTERSONG by S. JAE-JONES 

Goodreads Link

Dark, romantic, and unforgettable, Wintersong is an enchanting coming-of-age story for fans of Labyrinth and The Cruel Prince.

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Rich with music and magic, S. Jae-Jones’s Wintersong will sweep you away into a world you won’t soon forget. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle (Free on Kindle Unlimited) | Paperback

Reasons & Thoughts:

I love wintery books, they always make for really atmospheric read, which is something I love! also want to read a few more retellings, plus we have romance too!

BOOK #9

SPIN THE DAWN by ELIZABETH LIM

Goodreads Link

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

Steeped in Chinese culture, sizzling with forbidden romance, and shimmering with magic, this young adult fantasy is pitch-perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas or Renée Ahdieh. 

Do I Already Own It? No

Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

I have wanted to read this for a while now, it is such an interesting sounding book.

BOOK #10

CROWN OF CORAL by MARA RUTHERFORD

Goodreads Link

For generations, the princes of Ilara have married the most beautiful maidens from the ocean village of Varenia. But though every girl longs to be chosen as the next princess, the cost of becoming royalty is higher than any of them could ever imagine…

Nor once dreamed of seeing the wondrous wealth and beauty of Ilara, the kingdom that’s ruled her village for as long as anyone can remember. But when a childhood accident left her with a permanent scar, it became clear that her identical twin sister, Zadie, would likely be chosen to marry the Crown Prince—while Nor remained behind, unable to ever set foot on land.

Then Zadie is gravely injured, and Nor is sent to Ilara in her place. To Nor’s dismay, her future husband, Prince Ceren, is as forbidding and cold as his home—a castle carved into a mountain and devoid of sunlight. And as she grows closer to Ceren’s brother, the charming Prince Talin, Nor uncovers startling truths about a failing royal bloodline, a murdered queen… and a plot to destroy the home she was once so eager to leave.

In order to save her people, Nor must learn to negotiate the treacherous protocols of a court where lies reign and obsession rules. But discovering her own formidable strength may be the one move that costs her everything: the crown, Varenia and Zadie.

Do I Already Own It? No

Audible | Kindle | Paperback | Bookshop.Org

Reasons & Thoughts:

Reading the blurb I just don’t really want to read this. What can you do?


THREE CUT AND SEVEN KEPT…

That seems to be a bit of a running theme.

What do you think are there any books I really should have cut and didn’t or are you screaming at me internally because of the ones you cant believe I cut..

Thank you for reading, as always, I hope you enjoyed the post and feel free to comment or have a natter with me over on Twitter.


COVER REVEAL | KATY OF CLAY BY U.L. HARPE

A massive thank you to the amazing Storytellers On Tour for arranging this cover reveal.

Hello Bookish Folks!

Today I am partnering with the brilliant and hard working Storytellers On Tour to bring you a beautiful cover reveal for U. L Harper’s book, Katy of Clay.

Yeah? Good. Let’s go then.

This book cover is by cover artist Daniel Iglesias.

A few things about the author first…

U.L. Harpe

U.L. Harper is a speculative fiction and literary author, influenced by magical realism. A former journalist from Long Beach, California, he now resides in Tacoma, Washington with his wife and daughter. He is an avid Dodgers fan.

U. L Harper started off doing poetry. Every now and again the poetry influence enters his novel writing. His latest work, The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe, meshes fantasy and horror with magical realism.


SOCIAL MEDIA AND CONTACT LINKS…

Email: ulharper1@gmail.com


Synopsis:

It’s typical to acknowledge how your parents have shaped you. But what if they shaped you out of clay? 

When Katy visits her father, she questions why she can no longer remember the face of her mother who died nine years ago. 

What’s more is that recently her body has been going through strange changes. 

It’s these changes that force her father to reveal an old family secret—she’s made from clay and will be catapulted into another world because of it. 

Shortly thereafter, she finds herself in a frightening parallel world where ghosts indefi-nitely relive their deaths, a land where she will discover the secret that cost her the memory of her mother’s face, and it’s a place where she’ll journey to find the insidious truth about what she’s destined to become.

PRE-ORDER HERE.


Ok.

Time.

For.

The.

Cover.

Katy of Clay




BOOK REVIEW | THE ONCE AND FUTURE WITCHES BY ALIX E. HARROW & NARRATED BY GABRA ZACKMAN

Hello Bookish Folk!

Today I’m happy to be sharing with you my review of Alix E. Harrow’s second book The Once and Future Witches. I would firstly like to thank Orbit for approving an eArc of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You can order this book through any of the affiliate links attached to this page, in case you don’t know Bookshop.Org is a great store that supports independent book stores from all over.

A few facts about this book:

  • Title: The Once and Future Witches
  • Author: Alix E. Harrow
  • Narrated by: Gabra Zackman
  • Series: Standalone
  • Published by Orbit
  • Pages: 516
  • Narration Length: 16 hrs and 3 mins

Synopsis:

Add It To Your Goodreads!

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

ORDER HERE: Audible | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Bookshop.Org

Review:

Here are a few things you can expect from :

  • A lush and powerful historical fantasy;
  • The most engaging and fascinating trio of sisters you could read about;
  • Themes of family, sisterhood, love, forgiveness and so much more;
  • An incredibly immersive and atmospheric setting; and
  • An amazing story which is winding, wonderful and a pure delight to read.

On to the full review…

I must confess I actually avoided this book like the plague, I read the blurb and was sold, I though yes I want to read this but every time I was choosing my next read I reread the blurb but never chose it. I don’t know why but alas I picked it up and I am so sooo glad I did. I think I enjoyed this as much as I did because it was totally fitting to my mood at the time, though that isn’t to say this book isn’t incredible in its own right. See being a mood reader isn’t always bad because when you do it correctly you find books like this and enjoy the experience of reading it so much.

I always love the idea of a historical setting in a book and get so excited for them, but they are not always done well. This is not the case for The Once and Future Witches at all. Harrow has done incredible work to really give you that feeling you are in New Salem in the 1890’s, you feel the injustice in the air and the fear of witches. Though, that is not all, Harrow has also done exceptionally well to build a solid setting through the factories, the houses and less than lavish accommodations some people were forced to live in, and the mindset of the people at that time. 

This book is a tale about gaining the vote for women and what happens when these women stood up and said they wanted change, but it is also empowering, and witchy and ohh so good. Harrow has done such an incredible job in The Once and Future Witches at blending the magical and the historical while infusing it with folklore and a whole lot of witchy. Every page of this books is written superbly, it is a very enchanting read, though not in a whimsical and magical way but in a hypnotic and addictive way. It fully immerses you into its world and its people. It is so vivid and thought provoking too.

The pace of this book, in my opinion was great, Harrow knows how to continually raise the stakes. I loved the way this story was laid out in it entirety. It is by no means a fast paced plot but with such incredible character development and world-building the slower pace is by no means problematic nor lacking in tension, suspense or anticipation. It is a winding and wonderful story.

This book follows three incredible sisters; Beatrice Belladonna Eastwood, Agnes Amaranth Eastwood and James Juniper Eastwood. All of whom are utterly distinctive and have their own voices. Harrow has done an incredible job at making sure you, as a reader, can tell who is talking without mention of a name! They are so distinctive and each is so fun. No one falls beneath the other, there isn’t a boring one or one you like the least, they all stand up in their own rights. The sisters and the people they slowly come to form relationships with go from strength to strength in this book, even the side/support characters are memorable and a joy to be around.

The Once and Futures Witches has themes of family, sisterhood, love, forgiveness and so much more. It is a powerful novel and a wonder to read. Harrow has also written some lovely romantic interests in this book, I won’t say whom because they enters spoiled territory in my eyes but know they are wholesome and you will be rooting for them! It is subtle and well presented.

I really loved the insertion of common fairytales into this book. At the start of each chapter you have a tale, one you may know of or one you may not. Some are reimagined and some stand as we know them but it was so fun to see them as spells. 

Also, hats off to the cover art on this one, it is so appropriate to the tale and reminds me of the little herbal grimoire pictures of fresh lavender sprigs and nettle. It is the perfect start of your reading journey and sets the tone of the book brilliantly.


THE RANKS: 

BUY THE HARDBACK | BUY THE PAPERBACK | BUY THE EBOOK | LIBRARY RENTAL OR SALE PURCHASE

I wold most definitely grab this book in HARDBACK and I have even spotted a copy on BookShop.Org (its cheaper than Amazon, so winning). The Once and future Witches is an amazing historical fantasy book that is so much more than the words on its pages. It is a book with big themes and so much to show you.


AGAIN Thank you for reading AND SEE YOU SOON!