REVIEW | The Wickerlight (The Wren Hunt #2) by Mary Watson

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Title: THE WICKERLIGHT

Author: MARY WATSON

Released: 30TH MAY 2019 by BLOOMSBURY YA

Genre: YOUNG ADULT FANTASY

TWs: Death, talk of divorce, talk of adultery, parental separation, abuse, torture – physical and mental.


Zara’s family moved to Kilshamble for a new beginning. But everything changed the night her sister was found dead on the village green.

Two months later, Laila’s death is a riddle that nobody wants solved. Where were her injuries? Why was she so obsessed with local folklore? And what does all this have to do with David, the boy who lives at the big house?

As Zara delves deeper into her sister’s secret life, she becomes entangled in an ancient magical feud. All too unwittingly she is treading the same dangerous path that led Laila to the village green.


I HAVE BEEN AWAITING THIS SINCE I FINISHED READING THE WREN HUNT LAST YEAR!! Set not long after the close of The Wren Hunt, we find a new family has moved to Kilshamble and one of them has stumbled upon a deadly secret. I love everything that is fantasy and set in Ireland, so it was no surprise that I loved this as much as I did. It was equal parts mystical, dark, and beautiful. Chock full of Irish mysticism with a little South African detail!! I highly enjoyed that Mary Watson utilised her own background to develop the main family in this story.

I adored Mary Watson’s writing style in The Wren Hunt and she did not let us down in The Wickerlight! Her ability to invoke such immediacy for the reader has only improved from The Wren Hunt to now. As I started reading, I was completely lost in the world of judges and augurs once again. The world building and character development is (…out of this world? 🤣) unreal – so freaking good! Mary Watson is a writing ninja and I love her!!

I found The Wickerlight to be slightly more interesting only because we get more into the judges and their community, rather than only focusing on the augurs. It nearly felt like the augurs were the villains in this story, but truly villainy nearly always depends on the narrator, doesn’t it? We readers really get a lot more information about the feud, etc. in this companion. Plus, the mystery of the introductory death adds a bit of excitement and enigma to this world that wasn’t quite there in The Wren Hunt.

I highly recommend you pick this beautiful story up with some gin spritzes and read it as soon as you can! Read The Wren Hunt first, though! They’re connected, even if The Wickerlight isn’t a direct sequel. You’ll love Kilshamble and its inhabitants.


Thank you to Bloomsbury UK for this review copy.

five stars

ARC REVIEW | Viper: Book 1 (Isles of Storm and Sorrow) by Bex Hogan

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Title: VIPER: BOOK 1 (ISLES OF STORM AND SORROW)

Author: BEX HOGAN

Released: 18TH APRIL 2019 by ORION CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Genre: YA FANTASY

Rep: LGBTQ+, DISABILITY, POC | TWs: CHILD ABDUCTION, BRUTAL MURDER, DEATH, TALK OF POTENTIAL SEXUAL ASSAULT

Respect has to be earned among Snakes, and I have done nothing to gain theirs yet

The world:

The story takes place in the Eastern Isles. There are 12 in all, but we only really get the eastern 6 in this story. Most of the tale is on The Maiden, Adler’s ship, but also on a few of the isles. My favourite was the Sixth Isle, but followed closely by the Fourth. The world was rich in detail and multi-faceted, so much so I could clearly visualize them. The isles sounded amazing – mostly – and there are a few I wouldn’t mind visiting. Everything is explained beautifully and I am hooked on Hogan’s writing!

The characters:

Marianne has lived her whole life on a ship under her father’s command. He’s the Viper, which is basically the King’s hand of justice on the sea. Marianne has been pretty oppressed her whole life because she’s not a killer like the rest of the crew. Her compassion and capacity for forgiveness is inspirational and I really loved her. She had loads of depth and was flawed, but so well-written. Definitely a favourite heroine. Her best friend (if you can call her that), Grace, is the best woman on the ship. She’s a highly skilled assassin who is usually assigned to look after Marianne. Grace is also in charge of Marianne’s training, so they are as close as can be on a ship full of secrets. Torin, the prince, is also a pretty major character, interestingly enough. I really loved his role in the whole story and look forward to getting more of him in the next installation. Bronn, Marianne’s ex-best friend, and also a Snake, was surprising! Hogan wrote him so well! I really didn’t like him in the beginning, which is exactly what she wanted, I believe, but then my opinion of him changed. The Viper, Adler, was such a phenomenal villain. I actually hated him! So well done, Hogan! Amazing writing.

The plot:

Essentially, this was a coming-of-age tale about a girl who discovers things are not all they seem on the surface. Once she begins to uncover the truth, there’s a lot more hiding than she initially expected and it turns out her entire world is upended. It’s a really good thing she has so many great friends at her back. The Viper expects her to succeed him one day, but only if she can get over her aversion to brutal murder. The real question is: will Marianne find her strength in time to save the isles and avoid getting herself killed?

Final thoughts:

This wasn’t what I expected at all. In fact, it’s absolutely 100 times better than I ever could have imagined! It has an amazing heroine, pirate life on the high seas, betrayal and deceit, and phenomenal supporting characters. The story is well-paced and such a fast read, but it was never boring and everything contributes to furthering the story. I was shocked by one of the scenes at the end and was highly upset about it, but won’t tell you why because that would be a spoiler! WAH! Anyway, I really loved this story and cannot wait to get more of Marianne and the gang.


Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life – to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles – but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father.

An immersive and swashbuckling new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas and Leigh Bardugo.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He’s the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne’s father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves – and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

Thank you so much to Bex Hogan and Hachette Children’s Group/Orion Children’s Books via Netgalley for the ARC.

five stars

ARC REVIEW | The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala

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Title: THE TIGER AT MIDNIGHT

Author: SWATI TEERDHALA

Releases: 23RD APRIL 2019 by KATHERINE TEGEN BOOKS

Genre: TEENS + YA/FANTASY

🐯Never greet a tiger at midnight, for they are the manifestations of your past misdeeds🐯

GIVE ME MORE REBEL ASSASSIN LADIES, NOW, PLEASE!

To say I loved this is an understatement, this story took my breath away. It’s so unlike most of what I’ve been reading lately, and I’ve always been fascinated by Indian culture and history. I really enjoyed the connection between the two MC’s, Esha – the Viper – and Kunal – the soldier. They were so well written and relatable! Both have flaws, but are still such wonderful people. They’re actually a lot alike, yet still on separate sides of a conflict.

The story is told through alternating POV’s chapter to chapter, so you get a lot of information regarding each side. I really loved that sometimes you would read one chapter and go through an entire scene from one POV, but then the next chapter would backtrack a bit to the beginning of the same scene. So you would get the other character’s POV and oftentimes more information that explained motivations and actions you wouldn’t have gotten from just the one POV. It made for a more complete picture of what was happening.

Now, I don’t know if you know this about me, but I absolutely love multi-dimensional characters. Especially when their various sides seem mildly incompatible. For example, KUNAL – THE SOLDIER – LOVES TO PAINT! He’s an artist, not a killer, forced into the solider life because of events in his childhood. My heart is crying for this child and I want to cuddle him. Although, I think Esha is taking care of that quite nicely! And Esha, she is just one of my favourite characters ever! She’s so wily and slippery like a snake (see what I did there?) hehehehe

There’s also a huge connection between Esha and Kunal, which I loved. They wrecked my heart and I enjoyed every minute! The connection goes deeper than just romance and I really adored the way Swati Teerdhala approached their story. It wasn’t the focus, but added nicely to the rest of the story.

100% a FIVE STAR read for me, and I wish I could rate it higher!

There’s also a pre-order campaign at swatiteerdhala.com/preorder


Esha is a legend, but no one knows. It’s only in the shadows that she moonlights as the Viper, the rebels’ highly skilled assassin. She’s devoted her life to avenging what she lost in the royal coup, and now she’s been tasked with her most important mission to date: taking down the ruthless General Hotha.

Kunal has been a soldier since childhood, training morning and night to uphold the power of King Vardaan. His uncle, the general, has ensured that Kunal never strays from the path—even as a part of Kunal longs to join the outside world, which has been growing only more volatile.

Then Esha’s and Kunal’s paths cross—and an unimaginable chain of events unfolds. Both the Viper and the soldier think they’re calling the shots, but they’re not the only players moving the pieces. As the bonds that hold their land in order break down and the sins of the past meet the promise of a new future, both rebel and soldier must make unforgivable choices.

Drawing inspiration from ancient Indian history and Hindu mythology, the first book in Swati Teerdhala’s debut fantasy trilogy captivates with electric romance, stunning action, and the fierce bonds that hold people together—and that drive them apart.

Thank you so much to Swati Teerdhala and Katherine Tegen Books for the ARC.

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Can’t Freakin’ Wait Wednesday 20/03/19

Can't Wait Wednesday

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!

Gay. Feminist. Immigrant. Arthurian retelling! Sounds refreshingly unique and utterly amazing! I am feeling all the things while waiting for this to be in my hands… I don’t have the words to adequately explain how much I want this and I’m definitely not the only one. This is a much needed tale for many of our modern society. It’s so great to see such diversity in YA novels. It does get tiring reading the same themes all the time, so I am very happy to find out about more books such as this. And it’s a space opera? What more could we ask for? Plus, I for one cannot wait to see how Merlin is done, as Merlin is generally my favourite in any Arthurian tale. 

Have you read this yet or is it on your TBR? What do you think of the description?

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A new King Arthur has risen and she’s got a universe to save

Coming to terms with your identity is always difficult. But for Ari, the 42nd reincarnation of King Arthur, it just got a whole lot more complicated. Gender-bending royalty, caustic wit and a galaxy-wide fight for peace and equality all collide in this epic adventure.

With an awkward adolescent Merlin and a rusty spaceship, this is the Arthurian legend as you have never before seen it.

ARC REVIEW | The Cold is in Her Bones by Peternelle van Arsdale

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Title: THE COLD IS IN HER BONES

Author: PETERNELLE VAN ARSDALE

Released: 7TH MARCH 2019 by SIMON & SCHUSTER CHILDREN’S UK/22ND JANUARY 2019 by MARGARET K. MCELDERRY BOOKS (US)

Genre: TEENS + YA/FANTASY

The Cold is in Her Bones is a decent Medusa-inspired read, but wasn’t for me, if I’m honest. I liked it well enough, but found the overall story to be boring and I couldn’t relate to the MC at all. She seemed weak and tedious and a ‘boo hoo baby’ like her mother. The world and characters were very well written and realistic, but I couldn’t get over the pace of the story. I really wanted more from this novel. The prologue was truly the best part of the novel and I thought we’d get more of Hulda’s story or that maybe she’d feature in it a bit more. No such luck. Also, Gitta and Jakob are just terrible people, which actually made me like the writing a bit more than I would have otherwise because I love when an author can make me hate a well-developed character. I guess you could argue that the mother was just trying to not get so attached in the case her own daughter wound up cursed, but I found that a massive character flaw for her. Gitta nearly redeems herself in one of the end scenes, but I needed more from it. The last 15% of the story was pretty good, though. I liked the way it wrapped up.

I really loved that this focused more on friendships and there was the allusion to love, but romance was never the main focus of the book. The themes of desire to be accepted for who you are and overcoming your demons were also great! We need more books that explore those and other hard themes that teens struggle with.

All that said this was just a THREE STAR read for me. I would recommend picking it up from your local library if you’re interested in trying it out.


One girl must uncover secrets of the past to save her friend from a terrible curse in this dark and mesmerizing story of love, revenge, and redemption inspired by the myth of Medusa.

Milla knows two things to be true: Demons are real, and fear will keep her safe.

Milla’s whole world is her family’s farm. She is never allowed to travel to the village and her only friend is her beloved older brother, Niklas. When a bright-eyed girl named Iris comes to stay, Milla hopes her loneliness might finally be coming to an end. But Iris has a secret she’s forbidden to share: The village is cursed by a demon who possesses girls at random, and the townspeople live in terror of who it will come for next.

Now, it seems, the demon has come for Iris. When Iris is captured and imprisoned with other possessed girls, Milla leaves home to rescue her and break the curse forever. Her only company on the journey is a terrible new secret of her own: Milla is changing, too, and may soon be a demon herself.

The Cold Is in Her Bones is a novel about the dark, reverberating power of pain, the yearning to be seen and understood, and the fragile optimism of love.

Thank you so much to Peternelle van Arsdale and Simon & Schuster Children’s UK (via Netgalley) for the ARC.


3 stars

ARC REVIEW | Sherwood by Meagan Spooner

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Title: SHERWOOD

Author: MEAGAN SPOONER

Released: 19TH MARCH 2019 by HARPERTEEN

Genre: TEENS + YA/FANTASY/RETELLING


Robin of Locksley is dead.

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

Who is there to stop them?

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


I very nearly loved this book. Now, I really enjoyed it, but there were a couple of things that irked me. Don’t fret, we’ll start with the positives! First of all, the characters and world building! So amazing… Meagan knows how to bring them to life! They all felt so vivid and real – I loved them so. The complexity was unreal and just calls to attention the complexity of the real world. There are usually things going on for people we may not always see for various reasons and said things may colour their motivations. The world is painted in shades of grey, and we always need to keep that in mind.

The writing itself is beautiful! I loved Meagan’s storytelling ability and it just drew me in and kept me reading! Now, I’m really sad Robin had to die for this story to happen, but he’s still a massive part of the overall story. And I love him. There are flashbacks to his memory of their childhood together and it’s so wonderful to read those bits. Marián gets a real shock about halfway in, and it really brings to attention the fact we don’t always know why things are the way they are, but there might be a good reason. The whole lawful vs. morally right conversion is very well done!

There’s a particular character I actually hate. And that for me, as I think I’ve mentioned in previous reviews, is a huge sign of an amazing author. If you can write a character that I hate, but is realistic and honest, you’ve got me hooked. I’ll definitely be reading her next releases. Oh, and have to read Hunted ASAP. Now, the reason I didn’t completely love this book was the ending…

🚨🚨MASSIVE SPOILER ALERT🚨🚨 DO NOT CONTINUE IF YOU DONT WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING

 

 

I would have rather seen Marián end the story alone than agreeing to marry him! Ugh, I am a fan of HEAs, but I don’t think she needs him in her life. I don’t feel that he’s worthy of her hand, and I felt it really detracted from the story. I’m so sad about that. There was no real romance and it felt very arranged… they had no connection or chemistry and I hate it… ugh. ANYWAY

END SPOILER

 

I have to say this was a FOUR STAR read for me, but I still think you should all add it to your TBRs!

Thank you so much to Meagan Spooner and  HarperTeen for the ARC.


Thank you & T10T – Most Anticipated

My dearest Wayfarers,

 

I am so very sorry for the unexpected hiatus these last few weeks. If you read my last post, you’ll know I was going through a rough time with the family… Well, his mom passed later that day and her funeral was last week. It’s been a struggle to say the very least and there are days it doesn’t feel real. It’s like a nightmare we all have to learn to live with, but we’re supporting each other and we WILL get there..eventually. So, thank you all for sending your positivity and kind thoughts our way. ❤

 

Right! So, let’s get back to business with my top 10 most anticipated releases coming soon!

  1. Kingdom of Ash by SJM (because duh – if you’ve read ToG, you get me! coming at the end of October)
  2. Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor (releases TODAY! I’m loving Strange the Dreamer)
  3. The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody (I got an ARC of this from my friend who went to YallWest just for me and it was SO GOOD!)
  4. The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke (because OMG it’s so freaking amazing! I loved the 4 girls and their journey..also, have you seen the UK cover? Absolutely stunning!)
  5. Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand (I read an ARC of Furyborn by Legrand and loved her writing style, so have been itching to get my hands on this for ages. It’s also on my spooky Halloween TBR – it’s out today so BRB:reading)
  6. Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa (also releasing today – looks like it’ll be a great story)
  7. Damsel by Elana K. Arnold (Just got an ARC of this in Book Box Club September box – did you say dragons? Count me in!)
  8. The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth (Europe, siblings, witchery? Yup, *adds to list*)
  9. Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan (I’ve heard loads of wonderfully amazing things, so can’t wait to get into this world)
  10. Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean (Slated as fairytales and folklore so I’m definitely reading this soon!)

 

Thanks for reading! Is there anything you’re really looking forward to this season? Tell me in the comments