Weapon (Whisper #2)|| Lynette Noni (minor spoilers)

Weapon by Lynette Noni

YA Sci-Fi

407 pages

Publisher: Pantera Press

Publication date: 4 November 2019

#2 of 2

 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

*Spoilers for first book!*

Synopsis

I already knew he was a psychopath. But now?
He’s more dangerous than ever.
And I have less than twenty-four hours to stop him.

After escaping Lengard and finding sanctuary with the Remnants, Alyssa Scott is desperate to save those she left behind ─ and the rest of the world ─ from the power-hungry scientist, Kendall Vanik. But secrets and lies block her at every turn, and soon Lyss is left questioning everything she has ever believed.

When long-lost memories begin to surface and the mysteries of her past continue to grow, Lyss battles to retain her hard-won control. Allies become enemies and enemies become allies, leaving her certain about only two things: when it comes to Speakers, nothing is ever as it seems… and the only person she can trust is herself.

My Thoughts

I almost never review sequels because I don’t want to give away spoilers, so this is all new territory for me.

I read almost the entire book in one day – it was completely addictive and so easy to read.  For me, it’s the mark of good book when I wouldn’t really change anything. My issues in the first book were resolved to my satisfaction. All loose ends were tied up, and conclusion was open ended enough that you can imagine the future you want.

Something I really like about Lynette Noni’s books is that she takes tropes and cliches inherent in the genre, and she does one of two things: she turns them on their head, or she acknowledges them and pokes fun at them in these meta moments.

She does a similar thing with the info and clues she lays down. Even though I sometimes wanted to shake Alyssa and point her to the answer, she got there not long after I did. It annoys me when a main character is completely oblivious when they have all the information. Alyssa was a breath of fresh air in that respect, because she was rational and acknowledged that there would be repercussions to her actions, and she admitted when she wasn’t sure about something. It’s like Lynette Noni has somehow read my list of things I hate in books and set out to address every single one of them.

Weapon had some genuinely surprising twists. While I predicted some things, there were others I never saw coming. The last couple chapters were what tipped it over to five stars, because all the foreshadowing was there, and I still did not see things coming. I like to be knocked off my feet like that.

I also liked that there was a hint of romance, but it was dealt with in a mature, subtle, and quite rational way. By that I mean that the main character didn’t just turn into a pile of goop whenever she even thought about possible love interest(s). I really appreciated that Alyssa’s feelings didn’t completely run the show, and her rational mind tempered those feelings when it was appropriate. (God it’s hard to be non-specific.)

I don’t feel like I can say a lot more about the characters, but I loved Arryn, and I really loved Smith’s backstory. And all I will say about Vannik, our resident psycho, is that by the very end he was given a bit more depth, which I appreciated.

I also liked the thought and research that had gone into the setting. It was nice to read about (semi) familiar landmarks in Sydney. And the whole underground tunnels is actually a real thing, which is so cool.

Here come the minor spoilers, so if you aren’t interested, stop reading now.

 

MINOR SPOILER

My one quibble is this:

It was completely unrealistic that the whole gang made it out alive and only some of the bad guys died. The stakes were too high for everyone to come out of it physically unscathed.

 

(Very Late) ARC Mini Review: Mirage|| Somaiya Daud

Mirage by Somaiya Daud

YA Sci Fi/Fantasy

320 pages

Publisher:

Publication: 28 August 2018

# 1 of 3

 ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis

In a star system dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated moon.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty—and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

My Thoughts

I finished this book three days before it’s publication date in August 2018, so this review is going to be pretty short. Somehow I managed to not write a review at the time (even though I was sure I did), and I have since misplaced the notes I took back then. So here goes:

The main thing I remember loving about Mirage was the world building. It had this mix of Middle Eastern/Moroccan culture, traditions and religion, which was rich and vibrant. It was particularly evocative because it was contrasted with the high tech space age setting. 

It explored themes of colonialism/imperialism, and cultural genocide in particular. The Vath have banned almost all of Andalaan traditions – including their religion and language, although the Andalaan people try to keep them alive in secret.

The plot itself wasn’t super original, and was quite predictable, but there were enough other elements that made the story as a whole different enough to be enjoyable.

Most of the main characters were well rounded, but all of the pure Vathek characters were all one dimensional and ‘evil.’ I wish there had been a little more subtlety in their characterisation.

I actually quite liked the love story from memory. It unfolded slowly, and was very sweet.

Overall, I think Mirage is a book I would recommend if you are interested in Middle Eastern/Moroccan traditions, and you want a bit of a twist on your space opera.

ARC Review: The Will and the Wilds|| Charlie N. Holmberg

The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

Expected Publication Date: 21 January 2020

Publisher: 47North

Genre: YA Fantasy

Pages: 267

Series: Standalone

⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis

Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.

Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.

Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

I received an e-ARC from the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

My Thoughts

I’m going to say straight out that I enjoyed reading The Will and the Wilds. It was a comfortable, easy read for me, and it came at the perfect time. It is very much a Beauty and the Beast type of story, and plays on similar riffs and tropes. And I adore them. It causes Enna to question the nature of humanity and the soul, but she doesn’t dwell too much on the philosophical, because there are demons coming for her, man.

The Will and the Wilds revolves around two main characters – Enna, a human, and Maekallus, a mysting (basically a demon.) That was both a pro and a con for me, because while the Beauty and the Beast thing essentially only involves two people, which I am okay with, there were bigger stakes, and I didn’t really feel the urgency because we were so focused on Enna and Maekallus.

The writing was super easy to read. Most chapters were from Enna’s point of view, and we really get to know her and the kind of person she is. Curious, smart, practical, and considered a bit of an outsider. She loves learning, has a near obsession with mustangs, and wants to go to university, but can’t because she’s female. Sadly, this angle wasn’t explored in the book and was more of a footnote. Enna goes on learning on her own, so I suppose it doesn’t matter? Every so often we got a chapter in third person limited from Maekallus’ perspective, which I enjoyed.

The magic and the worldbuilding were pretty solid, and there were some interesting points, but it wasn’t the focus of the novel, so I still have a lot of questions.

The one thing that really bothered me was the way Enna gaslighted her father all the time. I won’t go into a lot of detail here, but basically her father has symptoms of dementia, and Enna uses his memory loss in order to lie to him. It just didn’t sit right with me.

For me, The Will and the Wilds was a good read, and one I would recommend. It wasn’t exactly groundbreaking, but I enjoyed reading it. If you like Beauty and the Beast, Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno Garcia, or the K-Drama ‘A Korean Odyssey,’ you may enjoy The Will and the Wilds. 

ARC Review: Lady Hotspur|| Tessa Gratton

Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton

Fantasy

592 pages

Publisher: Tor Books

7 January 2020

⭐️

DNF 32%

Synopsis

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Lady Hotspur continues the saga of Innis Lear, centuries later, as revolution, love, and a betrayal corrupt the descendants of two warring kingdoms.

Hal was once a knight, carefree and joyous, sworn to protect her future queen Banna Mora. But after a rebellion led by her own mother, Caleda, Hal is now the prince of Lionis, heir to the throne. The pressure of her crown and bloody memories of war plague her, as well as a need to shape her own destiny, no matter the cost.

Lady Hotspur, known as the Wolf of Aremoria for her temper and warcraft, never expected to be more than a weapon. She certainly never expected to fall in love with the fiery Hal or be blindsided by an angry Queen’s promise to remake the whole world in her own image—a plan Hotspur knows will lead to tragedy.

Banna Mora kept her life, but not her throne. Fleeing to Innis Lear to heal her heart and plot revenge, the stars and roots of Innis Lear will teach her that the only way to survive a burning world is to learn to breathe fire.

These three women, together or apart, are the ones who have the power to bring the once-powerful Aremoria back to life—or destroy it forever.

My Thoughts

Lady Hotspur was a mistake on my part, for many reasons. The first of which is I don’t really love Shakespeare, I know nothing about his play Henry IV, and I have only come across one retelling I actually liked. The second reason was that I requested this while still reading The Queens of Innis Lear (my second attempt). I ended up DNFing both.

So Lady Hotspur is a genderbent retelling of Henry IV, featuring queer characters, and three strong female leads. Sounds good right? I thought so too.

One of the biggest reasons I wanted to love this book is because of Tessa Gratton’s writing. It is absolutely beautiful. It has a kind of lilting, lyrical quality to it that I enjoy reading.

And her worldbuilding usually has an ethereal, otherworldly feel that completely mesmerises me. Lady Hotspur had less of it than The Queens of Innis Lear, and I really missed it.

One of the big problems for me was the fact that the book is so huge, and the pacing is so slow. The start is a jumble of names and details and relationships that was hard to untangle. While I applaud using terms that have traditionally been assigned to males (such as duke and prince) for female characters, it did add somewhat to the confusion.

I also found it hard to connect to the characters, despite this being quite a character driven book. I don’t feel any emotional investment in Prince Hal, Lady Hotspur, or Banna Mora. I didn’t care enough about any of them to finish. I also didn’t think the prior relationships between the characters was established enough to be believable. It was very much a case of ‘telling, not showing.’

Sadly, this book was a bit of a miss for me. When I get the time I will definitely go back to The Queens of Innis Lear, but I probably won’t give Lady Hotspur another go.

Thanks to Netgalley and Tor for giving me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Let’s Chat!

Have you read any of Tessa Gratton’s books? Do you like slower paced books? Any other thoughts? Let me know in the comments below!

Akarnae|| Lynette Noni

Akarnae by Lynette Noni

YA Fantasy

436 pages

Publication date: February 2015

Pantera Press

#1 of 5 in the Medoran Chronicles

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Synopsis

With just one step, sixteen-year-old Alexandra Jennings’s world changes—literally.

Dreading her first day at a new school, Alex is stunned when she walks through a doorway and finds herself stranded in Medora, a fantasy world full of impossibilities. Desperate to return home, she learns that only a man named Professor Marselle can help her… but he’s missing.

While waiting for him to reappear, Alex attends Akarnae Academy, Medora’s boarding school for teenagers with extraordinary gifts. She soon starts to enjoy her bizarre new world and the friends who embrace her as one of their own, but strange things are happening at Akarnae, and Alex can’t ignore her fear that something unexpected… something sinister… is looming.

An unwilling pawn in a deadly game, Alex’s shoulders bear the crushing weight of an entire race’s survival. Only she can save the Medorans, but what if doing so prevents her from ever returning home?

Will Alex risk her entire world—and maybe even her life—to save Medora?

My Thoughts

This was a strange one for me, but not in the way you might think, so hear me out. I could pull this book apart had I the inclination. But here’s the thing. I actually really enjoyed it. It has quite a few debut issues in terms of plot and character development. It’s not that they’re terrible flaws, it’s more that things don’t feel quite as finished as they could be. That being said, this is the first of five books, so there’s plenty of time to sort things out.

I will say up front that this book is inspired by Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia (I reckon there’s a bit of X-Men and The Librarians (tv show) in there as well.) I would almost call this a love letter to Harry Potter. You’ll have to judge for yourself whether that is a pro or a con. I just thought it was important to know that going in.

Now, on to my review!

I think the interactions between the characters was amazing. I loved the banter, and the sarcasm. While Alex is the only character that really gets any development, there were quite a few that I really liked and have the potential to be really interesting in future books. My favourites were DC and Lady Mystique. I also really loved the Library.

The ‘magic’ system, which is apparently ‘science’ is intriguing. It’s sort of high tech magic, crossed with x-men-style personal abilities. There were some scientific explanations in there regarding some of the tech, albeit brief, so I was happy.

It was equal parts exciting and frustrating trying to work out what Alex’s gift is. I’m still not one hundred percent sure how I feel about the big mystery, but I definitely facepalmed because there was plenty of foreshadowing. I like to be surprised like that, so big tick for the author there.

The worldbuilding as a whole was solid, but not overpowering. There were a lot of hints toward future directions the plot could take that were revealed when Alex was learning about the history of Medora, and judging by the titles of future books, I’d say we’re in for an adventure.

There were two things that really bugged me about Akarnae:

The first is Alex herself. She’s extremely naive and kind of wilfully ignorant, and she just accepts whatever comes her way. I found it hard to connect with her because she was so… flippant about the weird things going on around her. Like: ‘Oh, my PE teacher is using a cattle prod on me. That’s weird, but I’ll just accept it.’ *paraphrased* Seriously? I would have been terrified, or bloody livid, possibly both. And I certainly would have been going to another authority figure to voice my complaints about some guy abusing children. She also makes strange logical leaps that don’t make sense to me, but obviously are there to advance the story/misdirect the reader.

The thing that bothered me the most was the narrative style. Lynette Noni used third person limited, and I don’t think it was very successful. I mean, it’s easy to read, but I think that also contributed to the point above. It really disconnected me from Alex’s character, and since we only follow Alex, and we can only hear her thoughts, I think first person would have been a better choice.

Nevertheless, I was hooked. Akarnae was fast paced, fun, and easy to read. There’s a lot of potential for future book, and about a million directions this could go, so I’m looking forward to continuing this series.

 

Let’s chat!

Have you read Akarnae? Are you more or less interested in it knowing that it was heavily inspired by Harry Potter? Let me know in the comments below!

ARC Review: Havenfall Extract|| Sara Holland

Havenfall by Sara Holland

YA Fantasy

320 pages

Publication Date: 3 March 2020

Bloomsbury YA

# 1 in series

Synopsis

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

My Thoughts

I only got to read an extract of the first two chapters, so my thoughts only reflect the portion I read.

That being said, those first few chapters completely drew me in. Havenfall has a lot of promise: Mystery, politics between worlds, and magic for starters.

Havenfall (the inn, not the town, or the book) exists at a magical crossroads between adjacent worlds. Only four worlds are know. To exist now and one has been magically closed due to conflict one hundred years ago, but trouble is still brewing. Haven, the only world without magic, is essentially neutral territory.

We seem to have a pretty cool heroine, Maddie, and she has an encounter with a mysterious woman on a motorcycle in the middle of the night. At the moment their relationship seems to lean heavily toward the enemy/rival side of things, so I’m interested to see where that goes in the future.

I’m also interested to explore more about her brothers death, and why her mother is on death row, and how it all ties in to Havenfall.

All in all, I’m looking forward to reading Havenfall in its entirety this coming March!

Mini Review: The Weight of a Soul || Elizabeth Tammi

The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

YA Fantasy

320 pages

Publication date: 3 December 2019

Standalone

Synopsis

When Lena’s younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should’ve lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.

Still, with her sister’s life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She’s willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?

My Thoughts

I’m just going to say it upfront. I really didn’t enjoy this book. I thought the synopsis sounded cool, the cover was pretty, and I’m interested in Norse mythology, so it seemed like it was going to be amazing. I was wrong.

It was easy enough to read, but I felt a real disconnect. I think this was partly due to the use of third person limited narration. Even if it was told in first person from Lena’s perspective there were other things that bothered me.

For starters, the characters were superficial. None of them had any depth. It felt a bit more like a draft than a polished novel, outlining where everyone was, and roughly what they were doing, and saying. It suffered from the whole ‘telling not showing’ the reader what was happening thing.

The internal chronology was also a bit off. Time jumped all over the place, with absolutely no indication that it had done so.

My biggest problem was Lena herself. I couldn’t understand her choices, because no sane person would make them. Everything seemed like an over-reaction, and completely out of proportion with whatever precipitated it.

And the ending? The biggest cop out ever. I understand why the author decided to go in that direction, and it seems like it is supposed to be edgy, but I think it was a bad choice.

Have you read The Weight of a Soul? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!

 

Mini Review: Whisper || Lynette Noni

Whisper by Lynette Noni

YA Science Fiction

320 pages

Pantera Press

Published: May 2018

#1 of 2

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

Synopsis

“Lengard is a secret government facility for extraordinary people,” they told me.

I believed them. That was my mistake.

There isn’t anyone else in the world like me.

I’m different. I’m an anomaly. I’m a monster.

For two years, six months, fourteen days, eleven hours and sixteen minutes, Subject Six-Eight-Four — ‘Jane Doe’ — has been locked away and experimented on, without uttering a single word.

As Jane’s resolve begins to crack under the influence of her new — and unexpectedly kind — evaluator, she uncovers the truth about Lengard’s mysterious ‘program’, discovering that her own secret is at the heart of a sinister plot … and one wrong move, one wrong word, could change the world.

CW: PTSD, torture, medical experiments

My Thoughts

I read this book for my book club, and oh wow. Whisper is completely addictive. It was honestly hard to put down. The first half is psychological thriller, and the mystery had me completely enthralled. The second half is more action thriller. It was exciting, fast- paced, and easy to read.

Jane’s character development was believable and I was happy to follow her, as she learned more about Lengard, and the reason why she is there. I also really enjoyed the friendships between Jane and the other characters.

One of the big themes of Whisper is the power of words – their ability to harm, or to change the world.

I picked some of the twists (that’s not a criticism) and some blew me away. However, I do wish some of the big reveals had a little more foreshadowing. There was a major info dump toward the end of the book, and I wish it had unfolded a bit more slowly.

My only other big issue was related to the ‘bad guy.’ He lacks depth, and things were attributed to him that seemed utterly impossible, and that really took me out of the story.

Whisper definitely has X-Men vibes, so if you’re a fan of the comics or the movies, you may enjoy this book. It also reminded me of This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada, and Lexicon by Max Barry.

 

 

 

December Wrap Up

December was, as always, absolutely nuts. I got another lingering cold/infection, that took me out for six weeks. And then there were the obligatory four days of Christmas that seem to be necessary for my family to participate in.

And to top it all off I participated in Blogmas. I posted something every single day for 25 days. To be completely honest, I’m going through a bit of a writing slump after that. It’s going to be a miracle if I manage to get this post up on time.

To that end, I’m doing a very abbreviated wrap up on my phone with basically zero editing.

Also, congratulations to Hamad from Reader Prescription, who won Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes in my Blogmas giveaway!

What I Read

Wonderland edited by Marie O’Regan and Paul Kane

⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was an eclectic range of short stories, and I have to admit to being genuinely confused by a lot of them. It’s not that I didn’t understand them, I just didn’t see the point. But there were a couple that truly stood out. M. R. Carey’s There Were No Birds to Fly and Genevieve Cogman’s The White Queen’s Pawn were absolutely amazing (I rated both 5 stars.) They both held just the right amount of creepiness, cleverness, and mystery to keep me completely captivated.

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️💫

I was completely sucked in to the world Chupeco created, filled with magic and goddesses and climate disasters. There is so much I want to say, but I think this is the kind of book you need to experience for yourself.

Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

⭐️⭐️

I DNFd this book earlier in the year, and had no real intention of going back to it. I only did it to finish my 2029 Retellings Reading Challenge bingo card. While I admit that the book picked up in the second half, I was still pretty underwhelmed. The pacing had problems. The characters were pretty one dimensional, and

Akarnae.jpg

The Weight of a Soul by Elizabeth Tammi

💫

I basically DNFd this, then skimmed the last part to find out what happened. There were too many things that bothered me, the biggest of which was the use of third person limited narration. I felt completely disconnected from the characters, and the story jumped around a lot, both in terms of pacing, as well as Lena’s internal monologue. I just couldn’t understand how her thoughts or actions connected to anything that preceded them.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Here is another book that almost hit the DNF pile this month. The first half was very very slow. I was kind of curious, and yet bored at the same time. I pushed through because there was nothing particularly bad about it. The writing was lovely, and the threads in the first half eventually led to a satisfying conclusion (with the promise of more to come in books 2 and 3.)

Akarnae by Lynette Noni

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Akarnae is a book I read for book club, and I really enjoyed it. It’s got very strong Harry Potter vibes, so that might be considered a pro or a con for different people. This is a debut novel, so there were inevitably problems that I could pick apart for hours. My biggest problem was the disconnect because of the use of third person limited. However, I loved the sarcasm and banter between the characters. There was also a lot of scope for future books to explore the world of Medora – it’s people, it’s history, and the magic. There’s also plenty of room for the characters to grow.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

 ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This was my last completed read of the year, and oh my god. It jumped straight to the top of favourites list. The world and the themes and the plot in this book just left me spinning. It was pretty fast paced (or maybe I was just reading like a speed demon?) and I could not put it down.

What I Watched

Downsizing

Glow Up

Sugar Rush Christmas

Zumbo’s Just Desserts (season 2)

The Good Witch (season 5)

My Favourite Blog Posts from Blogmas

Curating an Imaginary Fantasy Book Box

Best Books of 2019

The Never Tilting World|| Rin Chupeco

The Grace Year|| Kim Liggett

The Candle and the Flame|| Nafiza Azad

The Downstairs Girl|| Stacey Lee

Favourite Characters of 2019

Looking Up Endings to Books I DNFd

The Bear and the Nightingale|| Katherine Arden

December Book Haul

I hadn’t planned to buy so many books in December, but here we are. Again. Enjoy!

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

The second book in the Orisha Legacy, it continues Zélie’s story. If you want to know more you can click the link above to go the the GoodReads page.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms: The Secret of the Realms by Walt Disney Company

This dazzling novel will not only retell the moving story from The Nutcracker and the Four Realms, but half of the book will expand and explore the world of the Walt Disney Studios film with brand-new, exclusive content. Complete with beautiful full-page chapter opener illustrations and never-before-seen details that add new depth to the story, this novel will have readers eager to step into the resplendent world of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms for generations to come.

Wild Savage Stars by Kristina Perez

The second book in the Sweet Black Waves trilogy. For more info click the link to go to GoodReads.

Ninth House by 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.

Assasin's Apprentice.jpg

Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobbs

In a faraway land where members of the royal family are named for the virtues they embody, one young boy will become a walking enigma.

Born on the wrong side of the sheets, Fitz, son of Chivalry Farseer, is a royal bastard, cast out into the world, friendless and lonely. Only his magical link with animals – the old art known as the Wit – gives him solace and companionship. But the Wit, if used too often, is a perilous magic, and one abhorred by the nobility.

So when Fitz is finally adopted into the royal household, he must give up his old ways and embrace a new life of weaponry, scribing, courtly manners; and how to kill a man secretly, as he trains to become a royal assassin.

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Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

What happens when America’s First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales?

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse.

Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through?

Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic.

The Hand, The Eye and the Heart by Zoe Marriott

Zhilan was assigned female at birth; despite an unusual gift for illusions, they know they will live out their life in the perfumed confines of the women’s quarters. But when civil war sets the country aflame, Zhilan is the only one who can save their disabled Father from death on the battlefield.

By taking his place.

Surviving brutal army training as a male recruit – Zhi – is only the first challenge. Soon Zhi’s unique talents draw them into an even more perilous fight, in the glittering court of the Land of Dragons, where love and betrayal are two sides of the same smile. The fate of an Empire rests on Zhi’s shoulders. But to win, they must first decide where their loyalty, and their heart, truly belongs.

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The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

The second book in the Winternight trilogy, The Girl in the Tower continues Vasilisa’s story. If you want more info click the link about to go to the GoodReads page.

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The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

The third, and final, book in the Winternight trilogy, The Winter of the Witch continues Vasilisa’s story. If you want more info click the link about to go to the GoodReads page.

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Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

The second book in the Arc of the Scythe trilogy, Thunderhead continues to follow Citra and Rowan. If you want more info click the link about to go to the GoodReads page.

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The Toll by Neal Shusterman

The third, and final, book in the Arc of the Scythe trilogy, The Toll continues to follow Citra and Rowan. If you want more info click the link about to go to the GoodReads page.

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Crier’s War by Nina Varela

After the War of Kinds ravaged the kingdom of Rabu, the Automae, designed to be the playthings of royals, usurped their owners’ estates and bent the human race to their will.

Now Ayla, a human servant rising in the ranks at the House of the Sovereign, dreams of avenging her family’s death…by killing the sovereign’s daughter, Lady Crier.

Crier was Made to be beautiful, flawless, and to carry on her father’s legacy. But that was before her betrothal to the enigmatic Scyre Kinok, before she discovered her father isn’t the benevolent king she once admired, and most importantly, before she met Ayla.

Now, with growing human unrest across the land, pressures from a foreign queen, and an evil new leader on the rise, Crier and Ayla find there may be only one path to love: war.

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Smoke and Summons by Charlie N. Holmberg

As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally.

A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs.

Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…

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Veins of Gold by Charlie N. Holmberg

Desperate to save her siblings from poverty, a young woman discovers magic fueled by gold . . . and a love for the man who wields it.

Abandoned by their father for the gold rush, Gentry and her siblings labor to survive alone in the inhospitable west. When bizarre natural disasters begin wreaking havoc on the land, Gentry discovers a world of magic. Desperate for help, she accepts aid from a mysterious stranger.

Winn not only sees the magic, but controls its hunger by feeding it gold—the very thing Gentry’s father left to acquire. But the earth’s unrest only grows worse, and Gentry’s fear leads her to a terrible choice: marry a wealthy man she does not love, or trust in Winn’s unpredictable power to save her family.

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Followed by Frost by Charlie N. Holmberg

Seventeen-year-old Smitha has the wealth, status, and beauty that make her the envy of her town—until she rejects a strange man’s marriage proposal and disastrous consequences follow. Smitha becomes cursed, and frost begins to encompass everything she touches. Banished to the hills, hunted by villagers, and chilled to the very core of her soul, she finds companionship with Death, who longs to coax her into his isolated world. But Smitha’s desire for life proves stronger than despair, and a newfound purpose gives her renewed hope. Will regrets over the past and an unexpected desire for a man she cannot touch be enough to warm Smitha’s heart, or will Death forever still it?

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The Glass Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

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The Master Magicianby Charlie N. Holmberg

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The Fifth Doll by Charlie N. Holmberg

The bestselling author of The Paper Magician Series transports readers to a darkly whimsical world where strange magic threatens a quiet village that only a courageous woman can save.

Matrona lives in an isolated village, where her life is centered on pleasing her parents. She’s diligent in her chores and has agreed to marry a man of their choosing. But a visit to Slava, the local tradesman, threatens to upend her entire life.

Entering his empty house, Matrona discovers a strange collection of painted nesting dolls—one for every villager. Fascinated, she can’t resist the urge to open the doll with her father’s face. But when her father begins acting strangely, she realizes Slava’s dolls are much more than they seem.

When he learns what she’s done, Slava seizes the opportunity to give Matrona stewardship over the dolls—whether she wants it or not. Forced to open one of her own dolls every three days, she falls deeper into the grim power of Slava’s creations. But nothing can prepare her for the profound secret hiding inside the fifth doll.

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The Navigator by Erin Michelle Sky & Steven Brown

The second book in the Tales of the Wendy trilogy. If you want more information click the link above to go to the GoodReads page.

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The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Britain, the not-too-distant future.
Idir is sitting the British Citizenship Test.
He wants his family to belong.

Twenty-five questions to determine their fate. Twenty-five chances to impress.

When the test takes an unexpected and tragic turn, Idir is handed the power of life and death.
How do you value a life when all you have is multiple choice?

eARCs

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The Hive by Barry Lyga & Morgan Baden

Cassie McKinney has always believed in the Hive.

Social media used to be out of control, after all. People were torn apart by trolls and doxxers. Even hackers – like Cassie’s dad – were powerless against it.

But then the Hive came. A better way to sanction people for what they do online. Cause trouble, get too many “condemns,” and a crowd can come after you, teach you a lesson in real life. It’s safer, fairer and perfectly legal.

Entering her senior year of high school, filled with grief over an unexpected loss, Cassie is primed to lash out. Egged on by new friends, she makes an edgy joke online. Cassie doubts anyone will notice.

But the Hive notices everything. And as her viral comment whips an entire country into a frenzy, the Hive demands retribution.

One moment Cassie is anonymous; the next, she’s infamous. And running for her life.

With nowhere to turn, she must learn to rely on herself – and a group of Hive outcasts who may not be reliable – as she slowly uncovers the truth about the machine behind the Hive.

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The Raven and the Dove by Kaitlyn Davis

Four fates collide in this avian-inspired, epic fantasy retelling of Tristan and Isolde perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, Sabaa Tahir, and Leigh Bardugo!

A princess longing to be free…

On the dawn of her courtship trials, Princess Lyana Aethionus knows she should be focused on winning her perfect mate, yet her thoughts wander to the open sky waiting at the edge of her floating kingdom. One final adventure calls. Upon fleeing the palace, the last thing she expects to find is a raven prince locked in a death match with a dragon.

A bastard aching to belong…

Reviled son of a dead king, Rafe would do anything for his beloved half-brother, Prince Lysander Taetanus, including posing as him in the upcoming courtship trials. When a dragon interrupts their secret exchange, he orders his studious sibling to run. After suffering a fatal blow, Rafe is saved by a beautiful dove who possesses forbidden magic, just like him.

Fate brought them together, now destiny will tear them apart…

Unknown to the world above, on the foggy sea ten thousand feet below, a young king fights a forgotten war. He believes Lyana is the queen prophesied to save the world, and with the help of his favored spy, hidden deep in the highest ranks of the dove royal house, he will stop at nothing to have her.

Three shocking betrayals. Two star-crossed lovers. One unforgettable journey. If you like fierce heroines, brooding heroes, forbidden romance, and action-packed magical adventures with twists you’ll never see coming, don’t miss The Raven and the Dove!

Wicked as You Wish by Rin Chupeco

Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated…

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Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton

Inspired by Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Lady Hotspur continues the saga of Innis Lear, centuries later, as revolution, love, and a betrayal corrupt the descendants of two warring kingdoms.

Hal was once a knight, carefree and joyous, sworn to protect her future queen Banna Mora. But after a rebellion led by her own mother, Caleda, Hal is now the prince of Lionis, heir to the throne. The pressure of her crown and bloody memories of war plague her, as well as a need to shape her own destiny, no matter the cost.

Lady Hotspur, known as the Wolf of Aremoria for her temper and warcraft, never expected to be more than a weapon. She certainly never expected to fall in love with the fiery Hal or be blindsided by an angry Queen’s promise to remake the whole world in her own image—a plan Hotspur knows will lead to tragedy.

Banna Mora kept her life, but not her throne. Fleeing to Innis Lear to heal her heart and plot revenge, the stars and roots of Innis Lear will teach her that the only way to survive a burning world is to learn to breathe fire.

These three women, together or apart, are the ones who have the power to bring the once-powerful Aremoria back to life—or destroy it forever.

The Will and the Wilds by Charlie N. Holmberg

A spellbinding story of truce and trickery from the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Paper Magician series.

Enna knows to fear the mystings that roam the wildwood near her home. When one tries to kill her to obtain an enchanted stone, Enna takes a huge risk: fighting back with a mysting of her own.

Maekallus’s help isn’t free. His price? A kiss. One with the power to steal her soul. But their deal leaves Maekallus bound to the mortal realm, which begins eating him alive. Only Enna’s kiss, given willingly, can save him from immediate destruction. It’s a temporary salvation for Maekallus and a lingering doom for Enna. Part of her soul now burns bright inside Maekallus, making him feel for the first time.

Enna shares Maekallus’s suffering, but her small sacrifice won’t last long. If she and Maekallus can’t break the spell binding him to the mortal realm, Maekallus will be consumed completely—and Enna’s soul with him.

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The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer

A gilded menagerie rules a Gilded Age: Bears and Bulls are not only real, but dominate humanity in The Glass Magician, an amazing historical fantasy by Caroline Stevermer

What if you could turn into the animal of your heart anytime you want?

With such power, you’d enter the cream of New York society, guaranteed a rich life among the Vanderbilts and Astors, movers and shakers who all have the magical talent and own the nation on the cusp of a new century.
You could. If you were a Trader.

Pity you’re not.

Thalia is a Solitaire, one of the masses who don’t have the animalistic magic. But that is not to say that she doesn’t have talent of another kind—she is a rising stage magician who uses her very human skills to dazzle audiences with amazing feats of prestidigitation. Until one night when a trick goes horribly awry…and Thalia makes a discovery that changes her entire world. And sets her on a path that could bring her riches.

Or kill her.

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The Language of Cherries by Jen Marie Hawkins

When Evie Perez is cut off from everything she loves and forced to move to Iceland for the summer, she takes her canvas and paintbrushes into the picturesque cherry orchard behind her guesthouse. She stains her lips with stolen cherries in the midnight sun and paints a boy she’s never met.

Oskar is startled to discover Evie in his family’s orchard, and even more surprised to see himself on her canvas. Too ashamed to reveal his stutter, he remains silent as Evie returns day after day to paint, spilling confessions she wouldn’t even tell her priest.

As Evie’s life back home unravels, Oskar wants to comfort her with words, but he knows he’s waited too long, so he uses music instead. But when it all comes to the surface, he knows that if Evie can’t forgive him for lying, he may never forgive himself for surviving.

The Mercies by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

After a storm has killed off all the island’s men, two women in a 1600s Norwegian coastal village struggle to survive against both natural forces and the men who have been sent to rid the community of alleged witchcraft.

Finnmark, Norway, 1617. Twenty-year-old Maren Bergensdatter stands on the craggy coast, watching the sea break into a sudden and reckless storm. Forty fishermen, including her brother and father, are drowned and left broken on the rocks below. With the menfolk wiped out, the women of the tiny Northern town of Vardø must fend for themselves.

Three years later, a sinister figure arrives. Absalom Cornet comes from Scotland, where he burned witches in the northern isles. He brings with him his young Norwegian wife, Ursa, who is both heady with her husband’s authority and terrified by it. In Vardø, and in Maren, Ursa sees something she has never seen before: independent women. But Absalom sees only a place untouched by God and flooded with a mighty evil.

As Maren and Ursa are pushed together and are drawn to one another in ways that surprise them both, the island begins to close in on them with Absalom’s iron rule threatening Vardø’s very existence.

Inspired by the real events of the Vardø storm and the 1620 witch trials, THE MERCIES is a feminist story of love, evil, and obsession, set at the edge of civilization.

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The Other Bennet Sister by Janice Hadlow

Mary, the bookish ugly duckling of Pride and Prejudice’s five Bennet sisters, emerges from the shadows and transforms into a desired woman with choices of her own.

What if Mary Bennet’s life took a different path from that laid out for her in Pride and Prejudice? What if the frustrated intellectual of the Bennet family, the marginalized middle daughter, the plain girl who takes refuge in her books, eventually found the fulfillment enjoyed by her prettier, more confident sisters? This is the plot of The Other Bennet Sister, a debut novel with exactly the affection and authority to satisfy Austen fans.

Ultimately, Mary’s journey is like that taken by every Austen heroine. She learns that she can only expect joy when she has accepted who she really is. She must throw off the false expectations and wrong ideas that have combined to obscure her true nature and prevented her from what makes her happy. Only when she undergoes this evolution does she have a chance at finding fulfillment; only then does she have the clarity to recognize her partner when he presents himself—and only at that moment is she genuinely worthy of love.

Mary’s destiny diverges from that of her sisters. It does not involve broad acres or landed gentry. But it does include a man; and, as in all Austen novels, Mary must decide whether he is the truly the one for her. In The Other Bennet Sister, Mary is a fully rounded character—complex, conflicted, and often uncertain; but also vulnerable, supremely sympathetic, and ultimately the protagonist of an uncommonly satisfying debut novel.

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The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

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Havenfall Extract by Sara Holland

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost. New York Times bestselling author Sara Holland crafts a breathtaking new contemporary fantasy perfect for fans of Melissa Albert and Holly Black.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .