The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea: Review

About the Book:

Title: The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea 

Author: Axie Oh

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release date: February 22, 2022

Pages: 336

Genre: YA Fantasy 

Synopsis:

Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering.download (22)

Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village—and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon—may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead.

Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin—as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits—Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all.

But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…
 

Review:

5

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher*

If I had to only choose one word to summarize The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh, it would be brilliant. It was magical and captivating, with amazing world building and beautiful imagery. This was one of my most anticipated releases for 2022, and it did not disappoint.

Mina’s village has been suffering. For generations, deadly storms have been happening and floods have swept away villages. There has been fighting among the people over their few remaining resources. The village believes that the Sea God who once protected them, has now cursed them, and to appease him they send him a beautiful bride each year. Their hope is that one day he will find his “true bride” and then their suffering will finally come to an end.

Mina loves her brother Joon and has always been close with him. So when his beloved Shim Cheong is chosen as the next bride, Joon goes after her as she heads out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a sentence of death. To save both her brother and Cheong, Mina jumps into the sea and sacrifices herself.

Mina is swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city with mythical beasts and lesser gods. She soon finds the Sea God, and learns that he is in an enchanted sleep. With the help of the curious young Shin, and other demons, gods, and spirits Mina works at waking the Sea God and bringing an end to the storms that have plagued her people for good.

She quickly discovers that she doesn’t have a lot of time as humans don’t live very long in a land of spirits, and there are those who don’t want the Sea God to wake.

This story totally read like a fairytale to me and I enjoyed the Korean folklore very much! The setting is just gorgeous and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole cast of characters. There is also slow burn romance, which is one of my favorite tropes. I think if you like any of the things I mentioned, you’ll definitely enjoy it. This book is releasing February 22, 2022 so be sure to add it to your TBR.

About the Author:

Axie Oh is a first-generation Korean American, born in New York City and raised in New Jersey. She studied Korean history and creative writing as an undergrad at the University of California San Diego and holds an MFA in Writing for Young People from Lesley University. 15243084

A River Enchanted (Elements of Cadence #1): Review

About the Book:

Title: A River Enchanted 

Author: Rebecca Ross

Publisher: Harper Voyager

Release Date: February 15, 2022

Pages: 476

Genre: Adult Fantasy 

Synopsis:

House of Earth and Blood meets The Witch’s Heart in Rebecca Ross’s brilliant first adult fantasy, set on the magical isle of Cadence where two childhood enemies must team up to discover why girls are going missing from their clan. IMG_6177

Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university. But when young girls start disappearing from the isle, Jack is summoned home to help find them. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.

As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. But with each passing song, it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than they first expected, and an older, darker secret about Cadence lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

With unforgettable characters, a fast-paced plot, and compelling world building, A River Enchanted is a stirring story of duty, love, and the power of true partnership, and marks Rebecca Ross’s brilliant entry on the adult fantasy stage.

Review:

5

* I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

A delightful adult debut by Rebecca Ross! A River Enchanted quickly drew me in with its alluring atmosphere and rich prose. A magical and winsome story that I did not want to put down.

Jack Tamerlaine has been on the mainland studying music at the university, and hasn’t set foot on the isle of Cadence in about ten years. When young girls begin disappearing on the isle, Jack is summoned home by the Laird to help the clan find them. Cadence is no ordinary isle, and enchantments run deep. Gossip is carried on the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut from a knife can instill unbelievable fear. The spirits that rule the isle are unpredictable and like to meddle in the lives of the humans that live there. Adaira, heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, hopes that Jack can use his gift of music to call the spirits forth and ask for their help in finding the missing girls.

Jack and Adaira strike a reluctant alliance, but as time passes, they see that they make better allies than rivals as their partnership develops into something more. With each passing song that Jack plays, they find that the trouble with the spirits is far more dire, and that an older and darker secret threatens them all.

This story is told from multiple points of view with Jack and Adaira at the forefront, but Sidra and Torin help bring everything together so beautifully. There’s an unforgettable cast of characters and I felt something for them all.

Please do me a favor and pick up this endearing story which is coming out on Tuesday, February 15th! It will warm your soul on these cold winter days. I can not wait for the sequel, which gives me something to look forward to.

About the Author:

Rebecca Ross writes fantasy novels for teens and adults. She lives in the Appalachian foothills of6nvcov73iutm8og51qhs57v841._SY600_ Northeast Georgia with her husband, their lively Australian Shepherd, and an endless pile of books. THE QUEEN’S RISING, THE QUEEN’S RESISTANCE, SISTERS OF SWORD & SONG, and DREAMS LIE BENEATH are her titles for young adult readers. A RIVER ENCHANTED is her adult fantasy debut, publishing February 15, 2022 with a sequel to follow. When not writing, she can be found reading or in her garden, where she grows wildflowers and story ideas. Find her on Instagram @beccajross or online at www.rebeccarossauthor.com

How to Love Your Neighbor: Review

About the Book:

Title: How to Love Your Neighbor

Author: Sophie Sullivan

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Pages: 352

Genre: Adult Romance, Adult Contemporary, New Adult

Synopsis:

“Sophie Sullivan’s writing feels like a warm hug.” —Rachel Lynn Solomon, bestselling author of The Ex Talk

Most Anticipated for 2022 by: PopSugar * Buzzfeed * USA Today

Enemies-to-lovers meets HGTV in this frothy, effervescent romantic comedy from Sophie Sullivan, author of Ten Rules for Faking It.


Interior Design School? Check. Cute house to fix up? Check.

Sexy, grumpy neighbor who is going to get in the way of your plans? Check. Unfortunately.

Grace Travis has it all figured out. In between finishing school and working a million odd jobs, she’ll get her degree and her dream job. Most importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something her harsh mother could never make. When an opportunity to fix up—and live in—a little house on the beach comes along, Grace is all in. Until her biggest roadblock moves in next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make a deal. As a real estate developer, he knows when he’s found something special. Something he could even call home. Provided he can expand by taking over the house next door–the house with the combative and beautiful woman living in it.

With the rules for being neighborly going out the window, Grace and Noah are in an all-out feud. But sometimes, your nemesis can show you that home is always where the heart is.

“This is a novel you’ll want to read over and over again.” – USA Today

Review:

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and St. Martin’s Griffin in exchange for an honest review*

This was my first Sophie Sullivan book, and it definitely won’t be my last! It was just what I needed to help me get out of a reading slump. How to Love Your Neighbor is a standalone contemporary romance novel, with one of my favorite tropes, hate to love. For anyone looking for a funny, sweet, clean story, this one is for you!

Grace Travis has her plans figured out. She’s going to design school and working several jobs, and she’ll eventually get her degree and her dream job. More importantly, she’ll have a place to belong, something that her mother could never give her. When an opportunity arrives to live in, and fix up a small home on the beach, Grace is all for it. However, her biggest roadblock lives next door.

Noah Jansen knows how to make deals. As a real estate developer, he knows that he’s found something special and maybe even a place to call home. His plans include expanding his property by taking over the house next door, until he meets the headstrong and beautiful woman living in it.

The rules for being neighborly wind up going to the wayside as Grace and Noah go into “battle.” But, sometimes your rival can show you what really makes a house a home.

I really enjoyed watching Grace and Noah grow throughout this story. It definitely wasn’t an instant love between them. They were both dealing with toxic relationships with their parents and knowing when to ask others for help. I really loved the side characters in this one as well. They both have some great friends!

If you like romance, humor, home makeover shows, and hate to love, I definitely think you’ll enjoy this one! It’s out now wherever books are sold.

About the Author:

SOPHIE SULLIVAN is a Canadian author as well as a cookie-eating, Diet Pepsi-drinking, Disney enthusiast who loves reading and writing romance in almost equal measure. She writes around her day job as a teacher and spends her spare time with her sweet family watching reruns of Friends. Ten Rules For Faking It is her romcom debut novel, but she’s had plenty of practice writing happily ever after as her alter ego, Jody Holford.

 

 

Bound By Firelight (Wickery #2):Review

About the Book:

Title: Bound By Firelight (Wickery #2)

Author: Dana Swift 

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Pages: 448

Genre: YA Fantasy

Synopsis:

After a magical eruption devastates the kingdom of Belwar, royal heir Adraa is falsely accused of masterminding the destruction and forced to stand trial in front of her people, who see her as a monster. Adraa’s punishment? Imprisonment in the Dome, an impenetrable, magic-infused fortress filled with Belwar’s nastiest criminals—many of whom Adraa put there herself. And they want her to pay.download (21)

Jatin, the royal heir to Naupure, has been Adraa’s betrothed, nemesis, and fellow masked vigilante… but now he’s just a boy waiting to ask her the biggest question of their lives. First, though, he’s going to have to do the impossible: break Adraa out of the Dome. And he won’t be able to do it without help from the unlikeliest of sources—a girl from his past with a secret that could put them all at risk.

Time is running out, and the horrors Adraa faces in the Dome are second only to the plot to destabilize and destroy their kingdoms. But Adraa and Jatin have saved the world once already… Now, can they save themselves?

The heart-pounding sequel to Cast in Firelight, perfect for fans of epic, sweepingly romantic fantasy by Sabaa Tahir, Susan Dennard, and Mary E. Pearson.

Review:

4

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

There may be spoilers for book one in this review.

Bound By Firelight is the conclusion to the amazing Wickery duology. This was a really good sequel, it was fast-paced, and the new setting in the Dome was much more than I expected. There’s such an awesome magic system in this world that is further explored in this book, and lots of character development. I also loved all the twists and turns along the way!

The story picks up right after the aftermath of the volcano explosion in book one. Adraa is wrongly accused of being the mastermind behind the destruction and has to stand trial in front of the people of the kingdom of Belwar, who do not look on her favorably. Her punishment is imprisonment in the Dome, which is impenetrable, infused with magic, and full of the creme de la creme of the criminals of Belwar. Some of the prisoners Adraa put in the Dome herself, and they want her to pay.

Jatin has been waiting to ask Adraa the biggest question of their lives, but now he has the impossible task of breaking her out of the Dome. He won’t be able to do it without the help of his team, and a girl from his past with a secret that may put them all at risk.

The clock is ticking, and the atrocities that Adraa faces at the Dome are second to the plot that has been hatched to destroy and destabilize their kingdoms. Adraa and Jatin have saved the kingdom once before, now will they be able to save themselves?

Adraa is such a wonderful heroine, and I loved watching her overcome her own self doubts. Jatin also learned so much about himself on his journey. I would be remiss if I didn’t share that I wish that Jatin and Adraa had more scenes together in this book, as that’s what I really loved in the first book, their witty banter. I do understand though that due to plot they had to be separated and grow and develop as characters on their own. The ending was satisfying and wrapped everything up well, but I feel like there’s a lot more that could be explored, and I’m sad that it’s not going to be a trilogy. I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to these characters or this world.

If you read Cast in Firelight, you don’t want to miss Bound By Firelight out January 18, 2022!

About the Author:

Dana Swift started making up fantasy worlds when she was eleven years old and hasn’t stopped since. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned degrees in English and Advertising. While in college, Dana competed as a saber fencer and learned a thing or two about fighting, parrying and how it feels to fall in love with your sparring partner. She currently lives with said husband in Miami, Florida.19510928

Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves:Review

About the Book:

Title: Cold the Night, Fast the Wolves 

Author: Meg Long

Publisher: Wednesday Books 

Release Date: January 11, 2022

Pages: 368

Genre: YA Sci-Fi, YA Fantasy, YA Dystopian 

Synopsis:

After angering a local gangster, seventeen-year-old Sena Korhosen must flee with her prize fighting wolf, Iska, in tow. A team of scientists offer to pay her way off her frozen planet on one condition: she gets them to the finish line of the planet’s infamous sled race. Though Sena always swore she’d never race after it claimed both her mothers’ lives, it’s now her only option.71MEgT4MabL

But the tundra is a treacherous place, and as the race unfolds and their lives are threatened at every turn, Sena starts to question her own abilities. She must discover whether she’s strong enough to survive the wild – whether she and Iska together are strong enough to get them all out alive.

A captivating debut about survival, found family, and the bond between a girl and a wolf that delivers a fresh twist on classic survival stories and frontier myths. 

 

 

 

 

Review:

4

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

A solid debut from Meg Long. This was fun from start to finish. It’s perfect for fans of sci-fi/dystopian stories, and anyone with a sense of adventure. 

Seventeen-year-old Sena has been coping with the grief of losing her mothers and has been pick pocketing to try to buy her way off her frozen planet of Tundar. After upsetting a local gang boss, Sena finds that she must flee with a wounded fighting wolf, as their lives depend on it. A team of scientists offer her a way off of Tundar on the condition that she gets them to the finish line of the planet’s infamous sled race. Sena never wanted to race as it had claimed her mother’s lives, but she sees no other option, so she accepts their offer. 

The tundra where the race takes place is extremely treacherous, and their lives are threatened at every turn along the way. Sena begins to question her abilities and if she’s strong enough to do this. She must do everything she can, along with the wolf, to get them out of the race alive.

Sena is a great protagonist as she is definitely stubborn and headstrong. I loved watching her relationship with Iska, the wolf evolve through the story. I also like how the story explored the impact of exploiting natural resources and colonialism. 

A great wintry read, perfect for this time of year! Be sure to check this one out. 

About the Author:

Meg originally wanted to be a spy. Instead she somehow found herself teaching overseas in China and Malaysia before ending up in Colorado, where it snows entirely too much.ecvqqsh7vrvit5m8g5odo3d2pt._SY600_

She taught middle and high school for eight years before jumping into the tech industry as a content designer. Her debut novel, COLD THE NIGHT, FAST THE WOLVES, will be released in 2022 from Wednesday Books. She was a Pitch Wars mentee in 2018 and a mentor in 2020-21.

When not reading or writing, she’s kicking things at her Muay Thai gym with her boyfriend, playing video games, or obsessing over Sailor Moon fanart.

Fun Facts: Meg likes Oxford commas, bossing her Roomba around, and people-watching at airports.

A Spell of Rowans: Review

About the Book:

Title: A Spell of Rowans

Author: Byrd Nash

Publisher: Rook and Castle Press

Release Date: October 26, 2021

Pages: 308

Genre: Adult Fantasy, Adult Contemporary 

Synopsis:

Raised by a narcissistic mother, the Rowan children’s magical talents were twisted to fit her needs. When Rachel dies, her children must confront the past to have a future.a-spell-of-rowans

Rachel Rowan could sniff out secrets and her antique shop, Rosemary Thyme, was a front to torment the residents of Grimsby. When she dies, her children are faced with the deadly fallout of blackmail, murder, and magic.

Victoria, whose empathic talent knows everyone’s hidden feelings; Philippa, whose glamour can bewitch; and Liam, the brother who touches objects to reveal their secrets, all find themselves in danger.

When her autistic brother is arrested, Vic needs to discover the truth to set him free.

A successful art restorer in the big city, Vic’s made a career of ignoring her past and hiding her strange powers. But with Rachel’s death, she must gamble away her secrets to face down forces determined to destroy her and her siblings.

And that hometown boy she dumped way back? He’s in Grimsby, and knows the truth about her.
 

Review:

5

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I’ve read and enjoyed a few of Byrd Nash’s books, but this one is definitely a new favorite! I didn’t really read a synopsis before starting this one, and just dove in. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I loved it.

Some tragic events drove Victoria “Vic” Rowan from home about 15 years ago. She’s been living in the big city all these years as an art restorer, ignoring her past, and hiding her powers. With the death of her mother, she’s forced to return back to her hometown of Grimsby. Her sister Phillipa, the obedient daughter, had been caring for their sickly mother. Their brother Liam had been forced to stay in town.

Rachel Rowan, the mother of the three siblings was narcissistic and abusive, and used her children’s magical talents for her own needs. Rachel could sniff out secrets, and used her antiques shop, Rosemary Thyme to torture the residents in town. Upon her passing, her children face the fallout of blackmail, murder, and magic. They must confront the past in order to have any kind of future.

Vic is an empath and knows everyone’s hidden feelings; Phillipa has glamour that can bewitch; and Liam can touch objects and reveal their secrets. Liam is arrested, and Vic needs to discover the truth, to help her autistic brother. She also must confront the boy she dumped when she fled town, as he’s back in Grimsby and seems to know the truth about her.

I really enjoyed these characters and the small town setting. As grownups, they must come to grips with the abuse they faced as children, and also with their special abilities. They just want everything to be “normal” now that their mother is dead, but one mystery leads to another, and they find themselves in a conundrum. You may think that you have it all figured out, but there are some great plot twists.

I highly recommend this book for fans of fantasy, magical realism, and mysteries. A great story about family, love, and forgiveness. Please note the following trigger warnings: discussion of child abuse and trauma, an assault scene, and suicide.

About the Author:

Spinning tales of subtle magic with unexpected twists, Byrd writes the book you need, not the one you expected.19182817

As one reviewer wrote: “When I get a Byrd story, I know I’m in good hands.”

Whether it is a Doppelgänger who was once a medieval knight now working in college administration, or an updated Red Riding Hood escaping a post-WWI wolf pack, her characters all feel real.

That Celtic goddess at the pet store? She’s someone you know. A medieval queen fleeing an abusive marriage? You experience her pain and triumph.

With a B.A. in journalism, she’s worked in the writing field for over thirty-five years. Her hobbies include reading, nature hikes, photography, and traveling when she has the money. She seldom has the money.

She is married, with two adult children who never read her books. Byrd has cats which makes her a legit author.
 

A Rush of Wings: Review

About the Book:

Title: A Rush of Wings

Author: Laura E. Weymouth

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: November 16, 2021

Pages: 320

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Retelling

Synopsis:

Rowenna Winthrop has always known there’s magic within her. But though she hears voices on the wind and possesses unusual talents, her mother Mairead believes Rowenna lacks discipline, and refuses to teach her the craft that keeps their Scottish village safe. When Mairead dies a sinister death, it seems Rowenna’s one chance to grow into her power has passed. Then, on a fateful, storm-tossed night, Rowenna rescues a handsome stranger named Gawen from a shipwreck, and her mother miraculously returns from the dead. Or so it appears. 51RtPh7J7xL._SX337_BO1,204,203,200_

This resurrected Mairead is nothing like the old one: to hide her new and monstrous nature, she turns Rowenna’s brothers and Gawen into swans and robs Rowenna of her voice. Forced to flee, Rowenna travels to the city of Inverness to find a way to break the curse. But monsters take many forms, and in Inverness Rowenna is soon caught in a web of strangers who want to use her raw magic for their own gain. If she wishes to save herself and the people she loves most, Rowenna will have to take her fate into her own hands, and unlock the power that has evaded her for so long.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review:

5

 

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

A beautifully written and soul-stirring YA Fantasy, that is a retelling of the Wild Swans by Hans Christian Andersen set in beautiful Scotland. I loved how Laura took bits of the original story and interweaved Scottish folklore. It was so fascinating to me, and I found myself looking up stories online. 

Rowenna Winthrop knows that she has magic, as she hears voices on the wind and has some peculiar talents. Her mother Mairead however, feels that Rowenna lacks discipline and each time she asks her mother to teach her her craft to keep their village safe, she is denied. Rowenna fears that she may have lost the opportunity to learn her craft after her mother dies a sudden and rather mysterious death. Rowenna and her father and brothers find themselves consumed with grief and just surviving. One ill-fated stormy night, Rowenna rescues a stranger named Gawen from a shipwreck, and her mother miraculously appears to have returned from the dead. All is not as it seems. 

The resurrected Mairead is not like Rowenna’s mother at all. To hide her true identity, she turns Rowenna’s brothers and Gawen into swans, and robs Rowenna of her voice. The boys return to their human forms only at night, and Rowenna can speak only at night as well. She is forced to leave home quickly, and travels to Inverness with her brothers and Gawen to try and find a way to break the curse. She discovers that monsters take many forms, and that there are those who would take her magic for their own gain. In order to save herself and those she loves most in the world, Rowenna must take matters into her own hands, and unlock the magic within herself that has always been there.

Rowenna is such an amazing character that I absolutely adored. She is fiercely loyal and protective of her family, and will do anything to help them, even if it means hurting herself in the process. I loved watching her grow throughout the story. She had so much self-doubt and felt that she didn’t fit in, and that there was only darkness inside her. Rowenna perseveres and finds that along with the darkness, there is light and that she is enough, just as she is. 

I really loved this story and I hope that everyone picks this one up! The writing is just so descriptive and I felt as though I were transported to the Highlands. Perfect for fans of folklore, fairytale retellings, and Scotland! 

 

About the Author:

Laura Weymouth is a Canadian living in America, and the sixth consecutive generation of her family to immigrate from one country to another. Born and raised in the Niagara region of Ontario, she now lives at the edge of the woods in western New York, along with her husband, two wild-hearted daughters, and an ever-expanding menagerie of animal friends. She is represented by the inimitable Lauren Spieller of TriadaUS. 16706932

Within These Wicked Walls: Review

About the Book:

Title: Within These Wicked Walls 

Author: Lauren Blackwood

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: October 19, 2021

Pages: 336

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Retelling 

Synopsis:

What the heart desires, the house destroys… A1CIOXJ616L

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.

Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

 

 

 

 

Review:

4

* I received an e-arc from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

A solid debut for Lauren Blackwood! I really enjoyed this fantasy and loosely based Jane Eyre retelling, which was quite fast paced and kept me intrigued by the magical elements and Ethiopian mythology.

Andromeda or “Andi” is a debtera, an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. She is so desperate for a job, that she takes an offer from the young heir Magnus Rochester to cleanse his house, which is something much bigger than she has dealt with before. She quickly realizes upon arriving at the castle that she is in way over her head. There are lots of horrifying manifestations at every turn, and Magnus has been hiding more than she has been trained for. She begins to understand that death is the most likely outcome if she stays in the castle, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone is not an option. He has begun to worm his way into her heart.

Andi is a great main character. She is strong and determined, loyal and passionate, despite her rough upbringing. Andi has a complex relationship with Jember, her father figure in the book and I like how this was explored. There was also some romance in the book which I enjoyed, but I like that it wasn’t the main focus of the story. It was more about Andi working on cleansing the house.

I definitely recommend this one, and I think it’s perfect for fall! Just the right amount of spooky.

About the Author:

Lauren Blackwood is a Jamaican American New Yorker living in Virginia who writes Romance-heavy Fantasy for most ages. When not writing, she’s a PTA and violinist who really doesn’t know how to settle on one career field. Within These Wicked Walls is her debut novel. 20175761

Vespertine: Review

About the Book:

Title: Vespertine

Author: Margaret Rogerson 

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Release Date: October 5, 2021

Pages: 400

Genre: YA Fantasy 

Synopsis:

The dead of Loraille do not rest. 41jan1VC5bL

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.

Review:

4

* I received an e-arc from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review*

I loved Sorcery of Thorns, so I was super excited to read Vespertine! It did not disappoint, and it’s the perfect fall read. Rogerson’s writing is so spooky and atmospheric and her world building is fabulous! I was quite fascinated from the beginning in this well paced, dark fantasy. 

Artemesia is training to be a nun as she has been blessed with the sight, and this leaves her vulnerable to being possessed by spirits. Her job is to cleanse the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on from this world. If the nuns do no perform this ritual, the souls will rise starving for the living. Artemesia finds that she would rather deal with the dead than the living, as she has a troubled past.

When Artemesia’s convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, she is forced to defend the convent the only way she knows how, by awakening an ancient spirit that is bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a powerful being that threatens to possess her the moment she puts her guard down. Brandishing the revenant’s power almost completely overtakes her, but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess that is trained to wield a relic, has any chance of stopping it. All the knowledge of vespertines has been lost over the years, and Artemesia must turn to the revenant itself for help if she has any chance of saving Loraille at all.

I think my favorite part of this book was the unlikely relationship that develops between Artemesia and the revenant. I thoroughly enjoyed their banter back and forth. The revenant is super sassy, and I love sass in my fictional characters! There is also good anxiety and PTSD rep in this book which I really appreciated. I could really relate to Artemesia as I am quite introverted myself.

Overall, a book I really enjoyed! I look forward to Rogerson’s next book, and I hope to read her first book soon as well. 

 

About the Author:

Margaret writes fantasy for young adult readers. She lives near Cincinnati, Ohio, and when she’s not reading or writing she enjoys drawing, watching documentaries, making pudding, gaming, and exploring the outdoors in search of toads and mushrooms. 15455603

Crown of Cinders (Wings of Fury #2): Review

About the Book:

Title: Crown of Cinders 

Author: Emily R. King

Publisher: 47 North 

Release Date: October 5, 2021

Pages: 267

Genre: NA Fantasy 

Synopsis:

Althea’s head is still spinning from her discovery that she’s Hera, daughter of Cronus, the terrible Titan king. After Althea failed to cast Cronus down into the deepest pit of Tartarus, the king calls upon his powerful allies, the elder Titans who reign supreme over the heavens, earth, and seas. To force Althea to surrender, the elder Titans rain down wrath upon the mortal world with earthquakes, famine, pestilence, hurricanes, and all manner of destruction. Lukas, Althea’s friend and confidant, hides her and her godly siblings, but they can’t run forever. She must recruit allies from the younger Titans before the afflicted mortals turn them into Cronus in exchange for peace.91RXb41xheL

Poseidon and Hades are also in hiding. Althea sets out to find her brothers, but hunting them down without getting caught and persuading them to stand against their all-powerful father will be next to impossible. Althea has a lot to learn about
her newly restored crown and Titaness powers. She must divide heaven and earth to protect her mortal home and friends and unite her brothers and sisters in the war to end all wars.

 

Review:

5

*I received an e-arc from Netgalley and the author in exchange for an honest review*

This review may contain spoilers for the first book, Wings of Fury.

After reading Wings of Fury, I was so ready for this sequel! I wound up enjoying it even more than the first book. If you’ve read and enjoyed the first book, you’re going to love this one!

Althea still can’t quite come to grips with the fact that she’s Hera, daughter of Cronus, the abominable Titan king. After Althea failed in casting Cronus down into the deepest pit of Tartarus, he calls upon his powerful allies to come against her. In order to force Althea to surrender, the elder Titans strike the mortal world with earthquakes, famine, pestilence, hurricanes, etc. Althea and her siblings have been hiding, but alas they can’t hide forever, and they begin recruiting the younger Titans to their cause. They hope to win them to their side, before the mortals who are suffering turn them over to Cronus to gain peace.

Poseidon and Hades have also been in hiding, and Althea goes on a quest to find her brothers. Tracking them down, and getting them to take her side might prove to be impossible. She finds she has much to learn about her crown and her Titaness powers. She is determined to do all that she can to protect her mortal home and friends, and unite her brothers and sisters in the war to end all wars.

A series perfect for fans of mythology, fierce female characters, action and adventure. I am hoping for another book in the series after that ending! I loved these characters so much and would love more in this world.

About the Author:

Emily R. King is a reader of everything and a writer of fantasy. Born in Canada and raised in the USA, she has perfected the use of “eh” and “y’all” and uses both interchangeably. Shark advocate, consumer of gummy bears, and islander at heart, Emily’s greatest interests are her four children. She’s a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and an active participant in her local writers’ community. She lives in Northern Utah with her family and their cantankerous cat. download (20)