‘She loved me as I loved her, fierce as a bloodied blade.’
When teenage queen Lia inherits her corrupt uncle’s bankrupt kingdom, she brings a a new spymaster into the fold…Xania, who takes the job to avenge her murdered father.
Faced with dangerous plots and hidden enemies, can Lia and Xania learn to rely on one another, as they discover that all is not fair in love and treason?
In a world where the throne means both power and duty, they must decide what to sacrifice for their country – and for each other…
I must apologise, wayfarers… It has been an insane few months! But I am back now, so welcome along to the journey once again! The dogs and family are doing well, so I can start reading properly again! Onto the review!
I recently DEVOURED Queen of Coin and Whispers! It’s been on my most anticipated since DeptCon last year and, man, was I blown away! This world is steeped in beauty and political intrigue, which is absolutely engrossing. Helen Corcoran has my heart and allegiance – long may she reign! She entwines the main characters all so perfectly with brilliant supporting characters to round them out. They’re such multi-faceted characters, but what I loved most was that you really got to experience their wonderful side relationships with friends and family members. And the romance!! My damn… Suffice to say, it is well worth the read for that alone – it’s done perfectly and I just loved them together. There’s a scene involving the parents, and that was definitely one of my favourite! Wait until you read it!!
There are so many healthy representations in this novel. M/M, F/F, bisexuality, step-parents, parents being present and involved yet not oppressing, parents refusing to continue allowing their children to be assholes (!!), lady spies, and much more.. Helen included so much in this novel that makes me want to dive back in – I actually woke up this morning hoping to get back into it, then reality crashed down around my ears when I realised I’d already finished the book! However, the ending more than makes up for the fact that there won’t be a sequel! …and I’ll probably read it again once the finished copy comes out in April!! Fair warning now…you won’t want to put it down once you start…
I felt SO MUCH while reading this – laughed, gasped, sadness, and adoration. It’s really refreshing to read a fantasy novel that doesn’t include magic once in awhile, and you know what, I don’t think I’ve read anything quite like this.
Thank you to The O’Brien Press for this review copy.
I thought it might be nice (for my own organisation) to start keeping a record of what books, and bookish items, I get from week to week! Hopefully, I can keep this up for awhile…but we shall see, indeed..
** BOOK POST **
Dark Age – Pierce Brown (signed Waterstones edition) – Of course, I had to get this big beauty! I have the rest of the Red Rising series bar Iron Gold, which I’ll have to find eventually. But I really just could not resist!
The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Morning Star returns to the Red Rising universe with the thrilling sequel to Iron Gold.
For a decade Darrow led a revolution against the corrupt color-coded Society. Now, outlawed by the very Republic he founded, he wages a rogue war on Mercury in hopes that he can still salvage the dream of Eo. But as he leaves death and destruction in his wake, is he still the hero who broke the chains? Or will another legend rise to take his place?
Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile, has returned to the Core. Determined to bring peace back to mankind at the edge of his sword, he must overcome or unite the treacherous Gold families of the Core and face down Darrow over the skies of war-torn Mercury.
But theirs are not the only fates hanging in the balance.
On Luna, Mustang, Sovereign of the Republic, campaigns to unite the Republic behind her husband. Beset by political and criminal enemies, can she outwit her opponents in time to save him?
Once a Red refugee, young Lyria now stands accused of treason, and her only hope is a desperate escape with unlikely new allies.
Abducted by a new threat to the Republic, Pax and Electra, the children of Darrow and Sevro, must trust in Ephraim, a thief, for their salvation—and Ephraim must look to them for his chance at redemption.
As alliances shift, break, and re-form—and power is seized, lost, and reclaimed—every player is at risk in a game of conquest that could turn the Rising into a new Dark Age.
Dark Age – Pierce Brown (Illumicrate edition) – Couldn’t pass up this snake-y special edition!!
As above, but with snake stenciled edges!
Deeplight – Frances Hardinge (uncorrected proof copy) – thanks, Macmillan Kids! I hadn’t heard of this title before it arrived, but now I am so excited for it (and that release dates)! Deeplight is going to be a Halloween baby! Coming to shelves near you 31st October!
For centuries the gods of the Undersea ruled the islands of the Myriad through awe and terror: they were very real, and very dangerous. Sacrifices were hurled into the waters to appease them, and every boat was painted with pleading eyes to entreat their mercy. They were served, feared and adored. Then, thirty years ago, the gods rose up in madness and tore each other apart.
Now, none remain. The islands have recovered and the people have patched their battered ships and moved on.
On one of these islands live Hark and his best friend Jelt. To them, the gods are nothing but a collection of valuable scraps to be scavenged from the ocean and sold.
But now something is pulsing beneath the waves, calling to someone brave enough to retrieve it.
Wonderland anthology (review copy) – a massive thank you to Titan Books for sending me a copy of this beauty! I cannot wait to jump down this rabbit hole..
From the greatest names in fantasy and horror comes an anthology of stories inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.
Join Alice as she is thrown into the whirlwind of Wonderland, in an anthology that bends the traditional notions of Lewis Carroll’s classic novel. Contributors include the bestselling M.R. Carey, Genevieve Cogman, Catriona Ward, Rio Youers and L.L. McKinney.
Within these pages you’ll find myriad approaches to Alice, from horror to historical. There’s even a Wild West tale from Angela Slatter, poetry, and a story by Laura Mauro which presents us with a Japanese folklore-inspired Wonderland.
Alison Littlewood, Cavan Scott and Catriona Ward make the more outlandish elements their own, while James Lovegrove instead draws on the supernatural. Cat Rambo takes us to a part of Wonderland we haven’t seen before and Lilith Saintcrow gives the legend a science-fiction spin. The nightmarish reaches of the imagination are the breeding ground for M.R. Carey’s visions, while Robert Shearman, George Mann, Rio Youers and Mark Chadbourn’s tales have a deep-seated emotional core which will shock, surprise and tug on the heart-strings.
So, it’s time now to go down the rabbit hole, or through the looking-glass or… But no, wait. By picking up this book and starting to read it you’re already there, can’t you see?
** BOOK BUYS **
So, on Tuesday I went to the launch of All the Bad Apples in Eason’s O’Connell St and picked up a few new beauties to love. It was amazing and I am hoping to write a post about it soon, but bear with me as life isn’t currently being very kind to me… The titles were all Moïra’s, of course!
The Accident Season – Moïra Fowley-Doyle
A bewitching, dark and beautiful debut novel about a girl living in the shadow of a mysterious curse.
It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.
The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.
But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?
Spellbook of the Lost and Found – Moïra Fowley-Doyle
One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.
Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.
When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .
All the Bad Apples – Moïra Fowley-Doyle
The day after the funeral all our mourning clothes hung out on the line like sleeping bats. ‘This will be really embarrassing,’ I kept saying to my family, ‘when she shows up at the door in a week or two.’
When Deena’s wild and mysterious sister Mandy disappears – presumed dead – her family are heartbroken. But Mandy has always been troubled. It’s just another bad thing to happen to Deena’s family. Only Deena refuses to believe it’s true.
And then the letters start arriving. Letters from Mandy, claiming that their family’s blighted history is not just bad luck or bad decisions – but a curse, handed down through the generations. Mandy has gone in search of the curse’s roots, and now Deena must find her. What they find will heal their family’s rotten past – or rip it apart forever.
TWs: Death, abuse, sexual molestation, animal abuse, alcoholism, familial abuse/dysfunction, child death
“Finely observed, beautifully written” Daily Mail on The Secrets of Life and Death
“The victim had been buried in a carved hollow in the grass and shrouded in fallen leaves…”
Archaeologist Sage Westfield has her first forensics case: investigating the murder of a teenage girl. Hidden by holly leaves, the girl’s body has been discovered on the grounds of a stately home, where another teenage girl went missing twenty years ago – but her body was never found. The police suspect the reclusive owner, Alistair Chorleigh, who was questioned but never charged. But when Sage investigates a nearby burial mound – and uncovers rumours of an ancient curse – she discovers the story of another mysterious disappearance over a hundred years ago. Sage will need both her modern forensics skills and her archaeological knowledge to unearth the devastating truth.
I LOVED THIS BOOK! If I’m really honest, it reminds me of the Bones TV series with Dr. Temperance Brennan, which was always one of my favourite shows. I remember binge watching that because I loved the characters and storyline SO much. This novel had everything from that TV series that I loved about it – banter, drama, thrills, and mystery. Plus, the personal character arc only adds to my interest!
Rebecca Alexander is a supremely talented writer. She has the ability to draw you into the story itself and hold you captive until its conclusion. A Shroud of Leaves is steeped in folk history, psychology, and scientific study. Sage and the rest of the cast are all highly individual and you can nearly feel their various motives, fears, and dreams. Their individual plots all interact so well to create this poignant story about finding the root of the crimes committed covered up by individual stories. I really couldn’t put it down and highly recommend this to anyone who loves murder mysteries or crime thrillers!
A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don’t simply move into a haunted house–they build one . . .
In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate have abandoned the comforts of suburbia to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this beautiful property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the local legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. With her passion for artifacts, Helen finds special materials to incorporate into the house–a beam from an old schoolroom, bricks from a mill, a mantel from a farmhouse–objects that draw her deeper into the story of Hattie and her descendants, three generations of Breckenridge women, each of whom died suspiciously. As the building project progresses, the house will become a place of menace and unfinished business: a new home, now haunted, that beckons its owners and their neighbors toward unimaginable danger.
This was an interesting tale, as I’ve never before read one about people building their own haunted house. The build up was a bit boring, but it improved massively about halfway in! I had to put it down for awhile and come back to it, but I’m one of those that always wonders how a story ends if I don’t read it through. I am glad I read the whole thing, but the conclusion left a bit to be desired for my tastes. I found the characters mostly boring or irritating, bar Hattie. Her story was the only thing that really kept me reading. I really struggled to read Olive’s POV chapters. The twist at the end slightly shocked me, but I kind of had a sneaking suspicion it might end that way. I can see the appeal for some, but it wasn’t really my thing. The writing and scenery itself kept me mildly interested, so I would likely read another McMahon story.
I’m heading off this weekend for my first EVER YALC! I am brimming with all the excitement! And you know my main motivation for getting there was to meet Adrienne Young on Sunday, so stay tuned to hear all about that and (hopefully) see photos!
I feel like this is going to be a life-changing weekend in London…dunno why. Maybe because I get to meet so many authors and Twitter friends! Or maybe it’s the opportunity to be around so many books and like-minded people..? Either way, I am very much looking forward to this weekend of wonder. I’ll be tweeting loads over the weekend, I’m sure, but look for a wrap up here on Monday or Tuesday once I’m home!
And if you have any tips for me regarding YALC or other conventions, drop them in the comments! You can never be too prepared, right?
The spellbinding tale of six queer witches forging their own paths, shrouded in the mist, magic, and secrets of the ancient California redwoods.
Danny didn’t know what she was looking for when she and her mother spread out a map of the United States and Danny put her finger down on Tempest, California. What she finds are the Grays: a group of friends who throw around terms like queer and witch like they’re ordinary and everyday, though they feel like an earthquake to Danny. But Danny didn’t just find the Grays. They cast a spell that calls her halfway across the country, because she has something they need: she can bring back Imogen, the most powerful of the Grays, missing since the summer night she wandered into the woods alone. But before Danny can find Imogen, she finds a dead boy with a redwood branch through his heart. Something is very wrong amid the trees and fog of the Lost Coast, and whatever it is, it can kill. Lush, eerie, and imaginative, Amy Rose Capetta’s tale overflows with the perils and power of discovery — and what it means to find your home, yourself, and your way forward.
if you want to do big magic, you don’t mess around, even if you think you have good reasons. you trust your friends, your sisters, your coven.
This book was everything I wanted! I so enjoyed reading it. I requested this very shortly after reading Once & Future because I loved the Capetta/McCarthy storytelling duo. I surmised I must love them individually, as well. Well, I wasn’t wrong!! This story was dark and compelling, while simultaneously exploring various themes of sexuality, family relationships, friendship, and finding your space in the world. I appreciated the representation of various sexualities and the focus on female friendships rather than romance. We may need people in our lives to help us through the hard times, but it doesn’t always need to be a romantic tie.
but it wasn’t as simple as that. this love begged, too. it wanted me to step closer, to learn how solid the trees felt under my fingertips, but i got the sense that if i did, they would pull me deeper into the woods, and i would never be heard from again.
The storyline really drew me in and then the execution felt perfect to me. It kept me guessing and I never felt as if I knew what was coming next! I really found no fault in The Lost Coast. I loved Amy Rose Capetta’s lyrical writing style as it made the whole thing flow and sound so beautiful. She really added weight to the scenes. The spookiness of the forest was my favourite and the kind of shiftiness of various situations throughout. I would highly recommend this to anyone who loves a good mystery or highly descriptive stories.
the trees feel it. the trees feel everything.some secrets stay close to the trunks of the redwoods. others have been carried away. like the bones. the bones are gone, and the trees fear that an important story left with them.
First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?
Pick a book (or a few) off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
Finally… reveal the book!
This seems like a fun meme, so I’ve been thinking I’ll give it a go! Let’s see what we think in a few weeks. And feel free to let me know in the comments if there are memes or tags you’d like to see me complete in future. Thanks for reading, Wayfarers!
i liked being ridden, and offered the chance to pretty much every guy in Video II. i guess it made me feel as if I had something to contribute to the group.
the first time I saw a redwood, I had a brand new feeling – like discovering a new color you’ve never seen before, or smelling snow for the first time if you were raised in a world without cold. mom and I were driving up Highway 101 in a mostly good mood.
Released: 9TH JULY 2019 by KNOPF BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
Genre: TEENS + YA/FANTASY
REP: Asian Culture | TWs: violence, death (of loved ones), blood, imprisonment, war themes
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.
Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she’ll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There’s just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.
Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia’s task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.
And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor’s reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.
ask me to spin the finest yarn or thread, and I can do it faster than any man–even with my eyes closed. yet ask me to tell a lie, and I will stumble and falter to think of one.
i have never had a talent for spinning tales.
WHAT A STORY!! I was actually worried this wasn’t going to live up to the hype of the reviews I’d seen around, but was still intrigued by the plot which is why I requested it on Netgalley. AND I am SO glad I did!!
Maia is the ‘obedient one,’ but really she is the glue that keeps her family together. Like her mother told her, she will be the salvation of them in the end. Maia is such a strong heroine. During her journey to become the imperial tailor, a post only held by men, she will come to find what it really means to be their salvation. She also goes through a lot of internal turmoil on this journey, which allows her to determine what matters to her most. She has to make a lot of hard decisions, but it only increased my love for her. As her story progressed, I found myself cheering her on and hoping things work out for her as best as possible!! This being a series, of course we don’t have an entire resolution; however, a lot of the situations surprised me! I never figured out how the journey would end before Elizabeth told us, which doesn’t happen to me all that often. Several of the other characters are also amazing! Specifically Edan, the Emperor’s Enchanter….
he broke his promise to me. at first I thought it was because the war and magic had blackened his heart, but that is just the way of men. for what is a promise if it’s made to a women?
The writing is absolutely stunning! It draws you in and holds you close while you wind your way through a wonderful tale of adventure, sacrifice, and the beauty of relationships. Elizabeth has given us a stunning tale and I am so appreciative to have received it. One of my favourite scenes is near the end – 88% mark or thereabouts – when Maia and Edan visit a monastery. The conversation between Maia and the monk beside Amana’s spring is beautifully written and heartrending. Pay special attention!
I guess I kind of see the comparison with Mulan – being a story of a girl striving to bring honour to her family in the guise of a man – but Spin the Dawn is a story all its own, as well. I hope you pick it up and love it just as much as myself!
and with that, i fell asleep with the saddest of smiles on my lips.
Thank you so much to Knopf Books for Young Readers via Netgalley for the ARC.
Released: 11TH JULY 2019 by MACMILLAN CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Genre: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY SCI-FI
TWs: Death, allusion to rape/sexual assault, abuse, self harm.
Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.
Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom(TM) is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.
Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.
But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.
how do you define real anyway?
This tale is told through Ana’s POV, as well as trial testimony and her interview with Dr. Foster. Obviously, she’s been accused of murdering a staff member, which shouldn’t be part of her programming as a half-human, half-android, but it quickly becomes evident that Ana may be more than her programming. The style of the chapter arrangement reminded me a bit of Sadie solely for the way it was constructed. The plots are obviously very different. I loved the alternation between story telling styles because you got details to fill in some gaps and then a bit of intrigue to create more from each bit, which only made your compulsion to keep reading grow by the chapter!
i can control my own ocular lenses. i can control a feature on my own body.
It was very different to books I’ve read this year, but still had some similar themes exploring how we treat other people and women as a commodity rather than being treated as people. Now, in this story, due to the Fantasists being created by The Kingdom(TM)’s scientists, they are considered things rather than proper beings. There is a lot wrong with the Investor’s, guards, and some other staff’s morals regarding how the Fantasists are treated (massive trigger warning for anyone who needs it regarding the mention and allusion to rape). Several of the situations and a lot of the dialogue is basically a discussion on locker room culture and the boys club. Meaning, guards and staff are allowed use the Fantasists whichever way they like and and say terrible, abusive things. Remember that quote, where happily ever after is not just a promise, but a rule? Yeah, they’re programmed to go along with things, even if they don’t like it or agree because your happiness is my happiness… I found myself struggling with some of the more difficult situations Ana faces and her conflict within herself to decide what is right, even when it goes against her programming and how The Kingdom(TM) has told her to behave. There is a lot to break down, but I’m not going to go that far into the analysis. Feel free to message me if you want to discuss, though!
that’s just how guards behave. it has always been this way.
The characters and world were extremely well developed! I loved learning more about this futuristic theme park/fantasy land. The world is rich in detail and I could clearly picture the different scenes in my mind. It is definitely the characters that bring this story to life, though! Their interaction with the world and each other is beautifully written. Jess Rothenberg has worked in YA fantasy for awhile and it shows through very clearly in her own story. This has been one of the most compelling stories I’ve read in a long time and I urge you to give it a try.
sometimes it is hard, not quite knowing what i am.
Can’t Wait Wednesday is hosted by Tressa over at Wishful Endings and was based on Waiting on Wednesday’s, which is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She created it to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released, but that’s not always the case. I happen to have pile upon piles of books I am excited to read, so thought this would be a fun meme in which to partake!
Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve done a CFWF! I have been really busy lately and had to take a step back from blogging for awhile. I’m hoping to make more time for it going forward now that I think I’ve found my balance, so I’m back to a couple of my weekly memes!
I chose Vow of Thieves because it releases next month and I haven’t gotten a review copy yet! Since I haven’t gotten to read it and loved the first in the series, I’m really looking forward to picking this up as soon as I can get it!! It’s going to be really good, I think. Plus, the cover is just amazing!
Have you read this yet or is it on your TBR? What do you think of the description?
Kazi and Jase have survived, stronger and more in love than ever. Their new life now lies before them―the Ballengers will be outlaws no longer, Tor’s Watch will be a kingdom, and the two of them will meet all challenges side by side, together at last.
But an ominous warning mars their journey back, and in their rush to return to Tor’s Watch, just outside the fortress walls, they are violently attacked and torn apart―and each is thrust into their own new hell.
Unsure whether the other is alive or dead, Kazi and Jase must keep their wits among their greatest enemies and unlikeliest allies. And all the while, Death watches and waits.