Book Review: All the Wandering Light – Heather Fawcett

Book Review: All the Wandering Light – Heather Fawcett

July 23, 2019 (5)
Series:
Even the Darkest Stars #2 (Review of book one can be found here!)
Release Date: December 4th 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this online
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

After the terrifying events on Mount Raksha, the witches have returned, and River has betrayed Kamzin to regain his dark powers. The witches’ next step: march on the Three Cities and take over the Empire—led by River’s brother, Esha.

If Kamzin is to save Azmiri and prevent the fall of the Empire, she must find a star that fell in the Ash Mountains to the north. Fallen stars have immense power, and if Kamzin and Lusha can find the star, they can use its magic to protect the Empire. To get there, Kamzin has allied with Azar-at, the dangerous and deceptive fire demon, who can grant her great power—in exchange for pieces of her soul. But River wants the star too, and as their paths collide in dangerous and unexpected ways, Kamzin must wrestle with both her guilt and her conflicted feelings for the person who betrayed her.

Facing dark magic, a perilous journey, and a standoff against the witches, can Kamzin, Lusha, and Tem find the star and save their Empire?

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-07T212534.676Even the Darkest Stars was one of my favourite reads of 2017. I loved the beautiful world Fawcett created as well as the action packed plot and slow burn romance. I’ve been meaning to get around to the second book in the duology for a while and I finally picked it up this month.

The story picks up right after the events of book one, following Kamzin as she attempts to stop the witches from attacking the Emperor and destroying the world. Like book one the story is pretty faced paced, following both Kamzin and River in alternating POVs as we see them fighting for what they believe is right.

River is my favourite character in the series and I really enjoyed seeing him with the other witches, getting a chance to know more of his back story as well as getting to meet his brothers. The witches are really fascinating and I loved the dynamics between the characters in this book. Kamzin is also a brilliant character. She’s strong willed, fearless and determined to do what’s right. I was particularly fascinating with seeing Kamzin use Azar-at’s power, and the slippery slope of the demon’s power.

While I really enjoyed All the Wandering Light, I do think book one is a stronger story. All the Wandering Light has a bit more of a romance focus and I was more interested in how they were going to stop the witches than everyone pairing off. The story has a pretty satisfying ending however it did leave the reader with quite a few questions and I would really love for there to be a third book, giving us a chance to see the characters after the events in this duology.

All the Wandering Light is a wonderful story of magic, revenge and saving the world. If you’ve read Even the Darkest Stars you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for a new fantasy to binge read, this one is exactly what you need.
4 Stars

Blog Tour: Devil Darling Spy – Matt Killeen

Blog Tour: Devil Darling Spy – Matt Killeen

July 23, 2019 (4)
Series:
Orphan Monster Spy #2
Release Date: March 5th 2020
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The deadliest weapon is a girl with nothing to lose…

Sarah is used to spying in the champagne-fuelled parties of Nazi Berlin. But her new mission is infinitely more deadly – tracking a lethal disease across bullet-torn Africa, to uncover the monster who would use it to create fifty million corpses. Her enemies think she is a terrified little girl. But she is a warrior set to burn them all.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-06T062905.186I absolutely adored Orphan Monster Spy when it was released in 2018. It was the perfect YA thriller and I’ve been so excited about the release of sequel Devil Darling Spy. The story follows Sarah on a new mission, this time in West Africa, where she must help uncover a rogue doctor who has created a kind of germ warfare to wipe out millions of people. This time the stakes are even higher and Sarah will need every ounce of courage to face this new enemy.

This is a dark tale that focuses on a variety of heavy themes, particularly focusing on the idea of good versus evil. The story is well paced with plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Killeen deftly weaves a complex tale of espionage that will leave you hungry for more.

Sarah is a really brilliant protagonist and I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow as a character, particularly how she has changed from her beginnings in Orphan Monster Spy to her new mission. Devil Darling Spy could probably be read as a standalone adventure, but I would definitely recommend picking up book one in the series first to give yourself the opportunity to meet the wonderful cast of characters Killeen has created.

Devil Darling Spy is a gripping tale filled to the brim with action and adventure. If you’re looking for a YA thriller packed with suspense this is definitely the series you’ve been looking for. 

Blog Tour: The Golden Key – Marian Womack

Blog Tour: The Golden Key – Marian Womack

July 23, 2019 (1)
Release Date:
18th February 2020
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

London, 1901. After the death of Queen Victoria the city heaves with the uncanny and the eerie. Séances are held and the dead are called upon from darker realms.

Samuel Moncrieff, recovering from a recent tragedy of his own, meets Helena Walton-Cisneros, one of London’s most reputed mediums. But Helena is not what she seems and she’s enlisted by the elusive Lady Matthews to solve a twenty-year-old mystery: the disappearance of her three stepdaughters who vanished without a trace on the Norfolk Fens.

But the Fens are a liminal land, where folk tales and dark magic still linger. With locals that speak of devilmen and catatonic children found on the Broads, Helena finds the answer to the mystery leads back to where it started: Samuel Moncrieff.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-20T070030.450When I first read the synopsis of The Golden Key (and saw that stunning cover) I was completely intrigued. The story follows Samuel-Montcrieff, a young man recovering from a recent tragedy and residing in Victorian London. He encounters a lady named Helena Walton-Cisneros, who finds herself caught up in solving the mystery of three young women who disappeared in the Norfolk Fens twenty years ago – but all is not as it seems, and the Fens are a remote and wild place. 

I really enjoyed this blend of Gothic horror and mystery story. It was such a fascinating tale and I was completely captivated by Womack’s beautiful writing style. Her writing was so vivid and evoked a really strong sense of setting in the Norfolk Fens. This strange wild place really came alive within the story. Womack’s writing is almost lyrical and it was so easy to just become completely absorbed in the story.

The Golden Key is multi-layered tale and I enjoyed the pacing of the story. I did feel the story jumped around a little between people and what was going on, which did make some aspects a little difficult to follow but overall I found this to be an incredibly engaging story. I thought the characters were well fleshed out and the slightly eerie/ sense of other world-ness of the Fens really created a sense of atmosphere within the story. 

If you’re a fan of gripping mystery stories with a touch of the Gothic supernatural, this will be a book you absolutely adore. The Golden Key is an impressive debut, and I can’t wait to see what Marian Womack writes next.  

4 Stars
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Blog Tour: Witness X – SE Moorhead

Blog Tour: Witness X – SE Moorhead

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-02-05T141533.791
Release Date:
February 6th 2020
Publisher: Orion Books
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC in exchange for an honest review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

“Silence of the Lambs meets Blade Runner. A dark and gripping crime novel set in a convincing near future – SE Moorhead is the future of crime writing.” STEPHEN BAXTER

“Set in the near-future, Witness X is an intelligent and highly inventive take on the traditional serial killer thriller.” ASHLEY DYER, author of Splinter in the Blood

From one of the most original new voices in fiction comes a startling vision of a world where hero Kyra must fight the past to save our future. A genre-bending thriller for the Netflix generation, for fans of Altered Carbon, Dark and Mindhunter.

She’s the only one who can access the truth…

Fourteen years ago, the police caged a notorious serial killer who abducted and butchered two victims every February. He was safe behind bars. Wasn’t he?

But then another body is discovered, and soon enough, the race is on to catch the real killer. Neuropsychologist Kyra Sullivan fights to use a new technology that accesses the minds of the witnesses, working with the police to uncover the truth. Will Kyra discover the person behind the murders, and if so, at what cost? And how far will she go to ensure justice is served?

An addictive futuristic thriller, perfect for fans of Stranger Things.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-02T170502.146Witness X is a fast paced thriller set in the future, the story follows a neuropsychologist named Kyra Sullivan as she races to uncover who is behind a recent murder. Using technology that allows Kyra to access the memory of those who were witnesses, she must work to uncover the truth – but at what cost?

This was such an addictive read! It’s tagged ‘Silence of the Lambs meets Blade Runner’ and I think that’s a really apt description. It’s the perfect blend of technology filled future and fast paced crime mystery. It will appeal to fans of both genres, and it certainly had me turning pages faster and faster to know what was going to happen next.

The world is built incredibly well and I really enjoyed Moorhead’s writing style – it was so easy to sink into this world and I really liked the unique and engaging premise. Moorhead does a great job ramping up the tension in this atmospheric read and it will definitely have you on the edge of your seat for the ending.

Kyra is a really interesting protagonist and the characters are well fleshed out and realistic. She’s a really intelligent, determined character and it was fascinating to see her become more and more obsessed as she sought the truth behind the murders fourteen years ago.

If you’re looking for something that is fast paced, compulsively readable and will leave your heart pounding, Witness X is exactly the book you’re looking for.
4 stars
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Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-01-14T223658.642
Release Date:
November 1st 2019
Publisher: Write Plan
Pages: 314
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.  Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-14T223454.977As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I was dying to know more. The concept really intrigued me – a world where the majority of the population have altered their DNA? It was such a fascinating idea. When I picked up the book I completely fell in love with this world and these characters, a unique and engaging tale, one that is perfect for fans of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Emily Suvada’s This Mortal Coil.

The story follows Silver Melody, a young girl living in a dystopian future where the majority of people have taken nanite pills to alter their DNA. Silver’s parents are the inventors of these pills and after some people die from taking them Silver’s mother refuses to make them and is taken as a political prisoner. When President Bear announces that all unadjusteds are now required to take nanite pills, Silver knows she has to flee, but with a price on her head and hellhounds closing in on her – will she survive?

The Unadjusteds throws you in right in the middle of the action and doesn’t stop till the very end of the book. It’s a fast paced read and as the tension mounted I found myself turning the pages quicker and quicker to find out what was going to happen next. The ending was a bit of a surprise but the cliffhanger has definitely made me hopeful that their might be a sequel in the works.

The world is really fascinating in The Unadjusteds and I loved seeing all the genetic modifications. Fairy wings, impenetrable skin, invisibility and everything in between. I also really liked the mix of politics and action, it added another layer to this cleverly executed story. It also really delves into the themes of technology and greed – with nanite pills curing so many known diseases, humanity takes it one step further by beginning to alter their DNA – but at what cost?

Silver is a really interesting main character, she’s strong willed, determined to succeed and sticks by her beliefs to remain unadjusted. I really liked her as a protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her character develop as she tries to survive. There is also quite an interesting love triangle in the story, it’s a nice addition to the story without taking away from the main plot. It was fascinating to watch Silver attempt to understand her feelings on top of everything else that’s going on. She’s certainly a powerful main character, and one I was rooting for the whole way.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, fresh take on the dystopian novel, The Unadjusteds should definitely be your next read. A compulsively readable book that will definitely leave you wanting more from this world.
4 stars

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-01-11T144551.170
Release Date:
September 19th 2019
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this book in Waterstones
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

Review

book cover - 2019-05-01T094307.932When I first heard that Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s YA debut would be based on the Brides of Dracula I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love Dracula and all things related, and his brides are characters are definitely characters I would love to see more of. The story follows twin sisters Lil and Kizzy as their lives are ripped away from them and they become slaves of the vicious Boyar Valcar. As the harsh reality of their new life sets in they hear about the infamous Dragon, a bloodthirsty ruler who takes girls as gifts. When Kizzy is taken to the Dragon, Lil along with the help of her new friend Mira, must fight to save her sister.

The Deathless Girls is a really beautiful and engaging take on the Brides of Dracula. It’s a compelling tale and I found it so easy to fall into this story of evil rulers and bloodthirsty monsters. I had sort of expected this story to be about the lives of the vampires, but instead it is focused on the story that leads to them becoming the deathless girls. It wasn’t quite what I had thought it was going to be, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Hargrave’s writing is incredibly beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed every book of hers I’ve read previously – The Deathless Girls is no exception. It’s a cleverly plotted tale and I really liked going on this adventure with the characters. I similarly thought the characters were really interesting and complex – Kizzy is the beautiful one is often in the limelight, with Lil being in her shadow. I liked seeing the dynamics between the two sisters and watching them grow as characters as they race to the Dragon’s castle.

I’m not particularly a big romance person but I really enjoyed the romance in this story. I thought it was really well executed – the tentative, nervous beginning of the relationship to something much stronger. The Deathless Girls has some dark themes and also explores quite a wide range of topics. It’s a clever and intense story, one I think a lot of readers will really fall in love with. If you’ve read Hargrave’s other works too I think you’re definitely going to want to pick this one up.
4 stars

Book Review: Blood Countess – Lana Popovic

Book Review: Blood Countess – Lana Popovic

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-01-09T231125.490
Release Date:
January 28th 2020
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula

In 17th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-09T230850.338As soon as I heard the premise of this book I was dying to read it. A YA historical novel about Elizabeth Bathory? Where do I sign up!? Blood Countess is the gripping tale of a young girl named Anna Darvulia, who’s life becomes tangled with that of infamous Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Starting out as a scullery maid in the castle, Anna quickly becomes her chambermaid and friend and as they spend more and more time together Anna finds herself completely under the spell of the countess – but how much of what Anna sees is an act and Anna soon learns Elizabeth will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

This dark, addictive story is one that I completely flew through. It’s a very compelling story one of love, friendship, murder and revenge. Popovic sets quite a quick pace and the story definitely ramps up the tension as the plot thickens. I loved the vivid 17th Century setting, Popovic’s writing really brought the time period to life and I fell in love with the isolated castles and ornate ballrooms of this story.

The thing that really made this story for me is the characters. Anna is a fascinating protagonist, she’s a kind and loyal girl – she’s trying to provide and protect her family and it’s so interesting watching her fall under the spell of the Countess, attempting to justify her actions and understand who she is under the surface. Similarly Elizabeth is a brilliant character, she’s deeply flawed, manipulative and power hungry. Blood Countess really gives you the opportunity to delve deep into the two characters and get to know them. It made for a truly addictive and exciting read, and one I enjoyed from beginning to end.

Blood Countess is a gripping, bloody tale with brilliant characters and plenty of atmosphere. If you’re looking for a binge-worthy story you won’t be able to put down, this is definitely one to pick up.
4 stars