Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Emperor – Andrea Stewart

Blog Tour: The Bone Shard Emperor – Andrea Stewart


Series:
The Drowning Empire #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: November 23rd 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Andrea Stewart returns with The Bone Shard Emperor, the second installment of this unmissable, action-packed, magic-laced fantasy epic.

The Emperor is Dead. Long live the Emperor.

Lin Sukai finally sits on the throne she won at so much cost, but her struggles are only just beginning. Her people don’t trust her. Her political alliances are weak. And in the north-east of the Empire, a rebel army of constructs is gathering, its leader determined to take the throne by force.

Yet an even greater threat is on the horizon, for the Alanga – the powerful magicians of legend – have returned to the Empire. They claim they come in peace, and Lin will need their help in order to defeat the rebels and restore peace.

But can she trust them?

Review

The Bone Shard Emperor is the stunning second instalment in Andrea Stewart’s The Drowned Empire series. Book one The Bone Shard Daughter was one of my favourite reads of 2020 (and all-time) so I was incredibly excited to get my hands on the sequel. Picking up where we left off in book one, Lin now sits on the throne, but her troubles are far from over. A rebel army of constructs is on the way, determined to take the throne, her alliances are far from strong and she is unsure who to trust. When the Alanga return to the Empire and claim to come in peace, Lin knows she will need their help if she has any hope of bringing peace to the Empire, but can she really trust them?

So many fantasy series struggle with that second book syndrome but that is definitely not the case with this series. I was captivated from the get-go and I thought Stewart did an excellent job continuing the story. There were so many things I loved about this book – we delve even deeper into the world and I was so fascinated by the level of detail Andrea puts in the worldbuilding. The story is quite slow-paced, giving the reader plenty of time to get to grips with this fascinating world and magic system.

Where the story really excels is the characters that we fell in love with in The Bone Shard Daughter. Stewart has created some really complex characters both dealing with so many things. The story is told in multiple perspectives, with the majority coming from Lin and Jovis. There are so many characters in this book that I loved. I really adored Lin and seeing her attempt to do the right thing and be a good ruler after her father’s reign.

The Bone Shard Emperor is an impressive sequel and one I did not want to end. I still have so many questions left unanswered and I am dying to find out how it all ends in The Bone Shard War. If you’re a fantasy fan this series is an absolute must-read and if you’ve already picked up book one, you are not going to want to miss book two!


Blog Tour: You’ll Be the Death of Me – Karen M. McManus

Blog Tour: You’ll Be the Death of Me – Karen M. McManus


Release Date:
December 2nd 2021
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received an E-ARC of this book via Netgalley
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Ivy, Mateo, and Cal used to be close. Back in middle school they were best friends. So, when Cal pulls into campus late for class, and runs into Ivy and Mateo, it seems like the perfect opportunity to turn a bad day around. They’ll ditch school and go into the city. Just the three of them, like old times. Why did they stop hanging out, anyway?

As soon as they pull out of the parking lot Cal knows why. Ivy’s already freaking out about missing class, and heartthrob Mateo is asleep in the backseat, too cool to even pretend like he wants to be there. The truth is they have nothing in common anymore.

At least they don’t until they run into the fourth student ditching school that day. Brian “Boney” Mahoney is supposed to be accepting his newly won office of class president. Which is why Ivy follows him into an empty building, only to walk into the middle of a murder scene. Cal, Ivy, and Mateo all know the person lying on the ground of that building, and now they need to come clean. They’re all hiding something. And maybe their chance reconnection wasn’t by chance after all.

Review

Queen of YA crime Karen M. McManus is back with a new thriller – You’ll Be the Death of Me. The story follows three students – Ivy, Cal and Mateo. They used to be close but have drifted apart. When the three run into each other in the school car park, it seems like the perfect opportunity to recreate the best day ever. They skip school, heading into the city for a day of fun. The three friends quickly realize they don’t have much in common anymore, but when they run into another student skipping, they decide to follow him. The three friends then find themselves wrapped up in a murder investigation and learn their random meet-up might not have been random at all.

So far I’ve read all of McManus’s books and each one has been a fast-paced, twisty read. You’ll Be the Death of Me is no exception. The story gripped me right from the beginning, with plenty of moments I just did not see coming. You’ll Be the Death of Me is an easy book to get caught up in and the short chapters had me turning pages quicker and quicker. Over the course of the book, I developed multiple theories about what was going on – all of which turned out to be wrong.

The story is well-paced and it has a really intriguing premise. I’ve seen it described as ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off with murder’ and if that doesn’t intrigue you I don’t know what will. I really liked all three of our main protagonists and it was fascinating watching how the group dynamic changed as their secrets were revealed. Ivy was probably my favourite of the three, however, all of them were really interesting and well fleshed out.

If you’re looking for a fast-paced YA thriller to keep you hooked on a long winter night, You’ll Be the Death of Me absolutely has you covered. This was a hugely enjoyable read and I cannot wait to see what McManus writes next.

Blog Tour: Blue Running – Lori Ann Stephens

Blog Tour: Blue Running – Lori Ann Stephens


Release Date:
December 2nd 2021
Publisher: Moonflower Books
Pages: 334
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Blue Running is a gripping coming-of-age thriller set in post-secessionist Texas.
Fourteen-year-old Bluebonnet Andrews is on the run across the Republic of Texas. An accident with a gun killed her best friend but everyone in the town of Blessing thinks it was murder. Even her father – the town’s drunken deputy – believes she did it. Now, she has no choice but to run.

In Texas, murder is punishable by death. There’s no one to help her. Her father is incapable and her mother left the state on the last flight to America before the secession. Blue doesn’t know where she is but she’s determined to track her down. First she has to get across the lawless Republic and over the wall that keeps everyone in. On the road she meets Jet, a pregnant young woman of Latin American heritage. Jet is secretive about her past but she’s just as determined as Blue to get out of Texas before she’s caught and arrested.

Together, the two form an unlikely kinship as they make their way past marauding motorcycle gangs, the ever watchful Texas Rangers, and armed strangers intent on abducting them – or worse. When Blue and Jet finally reach the wall, will they be able to cross the border, or will they be shot down in cold blood like the thousands who have gone before them? Some things are worth dying for.

Review

Blue Running is the moving story of fourteen-year-old Blue. Blue lives in the small town of Blessing, which is part of the Republic of Texas. When an accident occurs and Blue’s friend Maggie is fatally wounded by a gunshot, everyone believes Blue did it. With Blue’s father being the drunken town deputy and her Mother abandoning them when she was little, Blue has no choice but to go on the run. Whilst on the run Blue meets Jet – a pregnant Latin American woman just as desperate to escape her past. The two must work together if they have any hope of surviving the motorcycle gangs and Texas Rangers out looking for them. But will they make it to the wall and be able to escape Texas forever?

Blue Running is unlike anything I’ve read before. It was a gripping story that drew me in right from the very first page and I found myself thinking about this book long after I finished reading. I really enjoyed the writing style and the short, sharp prose really kept me hooked. I ended up reading this over the course of a single day, it was a fascinating and terrifying read – the idea of guns being so common that even children carry them every day.

This story is very much a coming-of-age tale and I really felt for our main protagonist Blue. She has gone through so much in her short life – her father is a drunk and she doesn’t have any friends at school. In the beginning, she’s incredibly naive and it was so interesting watching her grow as a person. She forms an unlikely friendship with Jet and the two were both well-developed characters. Blue Running is an incredibly engaging read and one you do not want to miss.

Blog Tour: Cytonic – Brandon Sanderson

Blog Tour: Cytonic – Brandon Sanderson


Series:
Skyward #3 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: November 23rd 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Spensa’s life as a Defiant Defense Force pilot has been far from ordinary. She proved herself one of the best starfighters in the human enclave of Detritus and she saved her people from extermination at the hands of the Krell—the enigmatic alien species that has been holding them captive for decades. What’s more, she traveled light-years from home as an undercover spy to infiltrate the Superiority, where she learned of the galaxy beyond her small, desolate planet home.

Now, the Superiority—the governing galactic alliance bent on dominating all human life—has started a galaxy-wide war. And Spensa’s seen the weapons they plan to use to end it: the Delvers. Ancient, mysterious alien forces that can wipe out entire planetary systems in an instant. Spensa knows that no matter how many pilots the DDF has, there is no defeating this predator.

Except that Spensa is Cytonic. She faced down a Delver and saw something eerily familiar about it. And maybe, if she’s able to figure out what she is, she could be more than just another pilot in this unfolding war. She could save the galaxy.

The only way she can discover what she really is, though, is to leave behind all she knows and enter the Nowhere. A place from which few ever return.

To have courage means facing fear. And this mission is terrifying.

Review

Cytonic is the early awaited third instalment in Brandon Sanderson’s epic Skyward series. The story follows Spensa as she has gone from life as a space cadet to one of the best pilots in the Defiant Defence Force. Now an undercover spy infiltrating the Superiority, she has seen the Delvers the Superiority plan to use in the war. Spensa much discover what she truly is if she has any hope of saving the galaxy from destruction.

Cytonic was one of my most anticipated releases and as soon as it arrived I dived straight in, reading long into the night and finishing it in a single day. The story was action-packed and I did not want it to end. Picking up after the events of Starsight, we follow Spensa on her quest to Nowhere. I won’t say too much about the plot because this is the third book in the series, but this installment felt a bit different because Spensa was on her own personal mission. We also meet a new character in this book named Chet and I thought he was a brilliant addition to the fascinating cast of characters Sanderson has created in this series.

Spensa is the perfect protagonist and over the course of the three books, I have really grown attached to her. It’s fascinating to watch as she continues to grow and learn. Like the previous books, there is loads of humour and banter that kept me hooked to the story. Cytonic is a fast-paced story – there’s just something about Sanderson’s writing that makes you so absorbed in the story that you don’t release hundreds of pages have flown by.

Cytonic is an incredible installment in the Skyward series and readers will be on the edge of their seats till the very last page. If you haven’t yet had the chance to try this series, it’s an absolute must-read!

Blog Tour: The Year of the Reaper – Makiia Lucier

Blog Tour: The Year of the Reaper – Makiia Lucier


Release Date:
November 9th 2021
Publisher: Hodder Books
Pages: 336
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 past never forgets . . .

Before an ambush by enemy soldiers, Lord Cassia was an engineer’s apprentice on a mission entrusted by the king. But when plague sweeps over the land, leaving countless dead and devastating the kingdom, even Cas’ title cannot save him from a rotting prison cell and a merciless sickness.

Three years later, Cas wants only to return to his home in the mountains and forget past horrors. But home is not what he remembers. His castle has become a refuge for the royal court. And they have brought their enemies with them.

When an assassin targets those closest to the queen, Cas is drawn into a search for a killer…one that leads him to form an unexpected bond with a brilliant young historian named Lena. Cas and Lena soon realize that who is behind the attacks is far less important than why. They must look to the past, following the trail of a terrible secret—one that could threaten the kingdom’s newfound peace and plunge it back into war.

Review

Year of the Reaper first caught my eye because of that absolutely beautiful cover. The story follows Cassia, a member of one of the most trusted families in the kingdom. When Cas is taken prisoner by a rival kingdom, he is forced to reside in a prison cell for three years. On returning home he finds the villages and towns destroyed by plague. His family castle has become a sactuary for the king and queen, desperate to escape the plague. When an assassin begins to target those closest to the queen, Cas must team up with historian Lena to uncover the truth behind the attacks. As the delve deeper into the mysteries of the past, what they uncover could destory the peace between the two kingdoms.

Year of the Reaper is one of those books that captivates you right from the very first page. Lucier has a brilliant, vivid writing style and I was immediately caught up in the story. The plot was well-paced and I was completely glued to the book for the latter half of the book. The world was really fascinating and I loved learning about the history of these kingdoms that have been so affected by the plague.

Where Year of the Reaper really excels is the characters. Cas is a compelling protagonist and it was so interesting seeing him grow as he adapts to once again living in the castle. There was a really intriguing cast of secondary characters and I similarly really liked Lena. Year of the Reaper is a marvelous read, one with a few surprise reveals that I did not expect. I loved that this was a standalone story and whilst this is my first time reading a book from Makiia Lucier, this will definitely not be my last.

Book Review: Under the Whispering Door – T J Klune

Book Review: Under the Whispering Door – T J Klune


Release Date:
September 21st 2021
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 373
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

When a reaper comes to collect Wallace Price from his own funeral, Wallace suspects he really might be dead.

Instead of leading him directly to the afterlife, the reaper takes him to a small village. On the outskirts, off the path through the woods, tucked between mountains, is a particular tea shop, run by a man named Hugo. Hugo is the tea shop’s owner to locals and the ferryman to souls who need to cross over.

But Wallace isn’t ready to abandon the life he barely lived. With Hugo’s help he finally starts to learn about all the things he missed in life.

When the Manager, a curious and powerful being, arrives at the tea shop and gives Wallace one week to cross over, Wallace sets about living a lifetime in seven days.

Review

Under the Whispering Door is the beautifully told story of Wallace Price, who wakes up one day at his own funeral. When a reaper comes to take him to meet the Ferryman, Wallace begins to suspect he might be dead. When Wallace meets Hugo he begins to reflect on the life he has lived and he realizes he may not have lived the life he had hoped for. Wallace decides he is not ready to give up on his life, but when the Manager arrives and gives Wallace a deadline of seven days to cross over, Wallace must use the time to learn about all the things he missed in life.

T J Klune’s The House in the Cerulean Sea is a book I’ve always wanted to read but haven’t had the chance to pick up. Going into Under the Whispering Door I had no idea what to expect. This book captivated me right from the very beginning with its intriguing premise and gorgeous writing style.

Under the Whispering Door has quite a slow-moving plot, but where it really excels is the well-crafted characters. Wallace was a fascinating protagonist who goes through so much growth in the book. You really fall in love with the characters as the story develops and I completely fell in love with Hugo, Mei, and the other residents of Charon’s Crossing. I’m never a big fan of romance in books but I thought it was so well done in this book and I was completely rooting for the characters to get together.

Books with happy, hopeful messages aren’t my typical kind of read but I completely fell under the spell of Under the Whispering Door. It spent a large part of the second half of the book holding back tears and cried a lot towards the end. This was such a brilliant read and I cannot wait to read more from T J Klune.

Book Review: Coldmaker – Daniel A. Cohen

Book Review: Coldmaker – Daniel A. Cohen


Series:
The Coldmaker Saga #1
Release Date: November 2nd 2017
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 337
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I listened to this on Scribd.
Rating: 3/5 stars

Synopsis

Eight hundred years ago, the Jadans angered the Crier. In punishment, the Crier took their Cold away, condemning them to a life of enslavement in a world bathed in heat.

Or so the tale goes.

During the day, as the Sun blazes over his head, Micah leads the life of any Jadan slave, running errands through the city of Paphos at the mercy of the petty Nobles and ruthless taskmasters.

But after the evening bells have tolled and all other Jadans sleep, Micah escapes into the night in search of scraps and broken objects, which once back inside his barracks he tinkers into treasures.

However, when a mysterious masked Jadan publicly threatens Noble authority, a wave of rebellion ripples through the city.

With Paphos plunged into turmoil, Micah’s secret is at risk of being exposed. And another, which has been waiting hundreds of years to be found, is also on the verge of discovery…

The secret of Cold.

Review

Daniel A. Cohen’s Coldmaker is an intriguing story set in the city of Paphos – a place where the sun burns bright and Cold is the most valuable commodity. Micah, a Jadan slave, is forced to run errands all over the city, enduring beatings and criticisms from the nobles and taskmasters. As Micah spends his nights sneaking out in search of bits and pieces to tinker with, he encounters much more than he expects. When rebellion begins sweeping through the Jadan barracks, Paphos is soon rife with tension. Will Micah be able to survive the rebellion and discover the secrets of the Cold?

Coldmaker has a really intriguing premise and I was fascinated by the world and the idea of cold being the most valuable thing in the city. The story was engaging and I enjoyed learning more about the world and the power structure in place. Micah is an interesting protagonist – he’s a very likable character who wants to help make the lives of his fellow Jadans easier. Whilst I really liked Micah I didn’t really connect with any of the secondary characters and I wasn’t the biggest fan of Shilah who I found a bit on the irritating side.

Coldmaker is an enjoyable read, one that ends on a bit of a cliffhanger and I’m intrigued to see where the series will go from here. If you’re a fan of dystopian YA books like The Hunger Games this will be a book you absolutely fall in love with.

Blog Tour: The Ash House – Audrey Chin

Blog Tour: The Ash House – Audrey Chin


Release Date:
July 27th 2021
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 256
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The Tjoa ash house originally intended for the family’s ancestral tablets has stood at the top of Kota Cahaya’s exclusive Green Hill for a century. Now, it is all drooping lintels and sagging roof; a haunted house with a haunted heir in it – Arno Tjoa, a Barbie-doll fixated cripple whom Sister Mary Michael, the clairvoyant nun, has been sent to set free.

Arno believes that Bing-Fa — the fascinating spirit of a pipa-diva trapped by a ghost marriage to Arno’s grandfather — is the key to solving the misfortunes plaguing the house. All will be well with Girl, the comatose maid he is obsessed with, Irene Tjoa his controlling aunt, and the Tjoa fortunes if Bing Fa is released from her doll-house prison.

However, as the family’s skeletons are unearthed, the nun realizes it is not in her power to save everyone or everything. Who or what must be sacrificed? What must be left to turn to dust?

Set in a 21 st century South-East-Asian port city where spirits still linger, The Ash House is the story of an overseas-Chinese merchant family haunted by the legacy of love gone wrong, with an ending both unexpected and heartbreaking.

Review

Audrey Chin’s The Ash House is the dark and compelling story of the Tjoa family. Sister Mary Michael is sent to the family home to rid Arno Tjoa of the spirit haunting him. Arno believes the spirit of Bing-Fa, who was trapped in a ghost marriage to his grandfather is the key to solving all his problems. All he wants is to be with Girl, the family maid lying in a coma. With his controlling Aunt circling with a view to taking control of the Tjoa fortune, Sister Mary Michael soon begins to unearth the secrets of the family’s past.

The Ash House is a relatively short read, but one that captivated me from the very first page. This Gothic ghost story was beautifully written and I really enjoyed Chin’s writing style. This is my first time reading Audrey Chin’s books, but it definitely won’t be the last. The story was well-plotted, hooking the reader deeper and deeper into the secrets of the Tjoa family. Whilst this is a ghost story it also tackles some complex issues, namely around how women and migrant workers are treated.

Chin has created some really fascinating and complex characters in The Ash House. All the characters felt well created and I particularly felt for Girl and all that she goes through. The Ash House is a dark and atmospheric read. If you’re looking for a haunting, captivating story that will keep you captivated till the very last page, this should definitely be your next read.

Book Review: The Last Graduate – Naomi Novik

Book Review: The Last Graduate – Naomi Novik


Series:
Scholomance #2
Release Date: September 28th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey Books
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

A budding dark sorceress determined not to use her formidable powers uncovers yet more secrets about the workings of her world in the stunning sequel to A Deadly Education, the start of Naomi Novik’s groundbreaking crossover series.

At the Scholomance, El, Orion, and the other students are faced with their final year–and the looming specter of graduation, a deadly ritual that leaves few students alive in its wake. El is determined that her chosen group will survive, but it is a prospect that is looking harder by the day as the savagery of the school ramps up. Until El realizes that sometimes winning the game means throwing out all the rules . .

Review

The Last Graduate is the eagerly awaited second installment in Naomi Novik’s Scholomance series. A Deadly Education was one of my favourite books of last year so I was incredibly excited to continue the series. The story follows El and her peers as they battle through their final year in the Scholomance. As graduation looms, El discovers there might be a way to help other students survive, but will she make it out alive?

Book one ended on a massive cliffhanger and The Last Graduate picks up right where A Deadly Education finished. The reader is immediately transported back into the world of the Scholomance and I was immediately hooked. The story did feel a bit slower-paced than the previous installment but I was completely engaged with seeing El and the other students work to figure out how they will survive graduation. I really enjoyed Novik’s writing style and it was so easy to get completely wrapped up in the story for hours at a time.

My favourite thing about this series is the characters and I absolutely love El and Orion. El is such a grumpy, prickly character but she’s still determined to do what’s right. Orion is also brilliant and the way their relationship developed was really well executed. Like A Deadly Education, this book ended on a massive cliffhanger and I cannot wait to see where Novik takes the final book in the series. If you’ve been intrigued about this series I’d definitely recommend picking it up as it’s definitely one of my favourite books of the year.

Blog Tour: Far From the Light of Heaven – Tade Thompson

Blog Tour: Far From the Light of Heaven – Tade Thompson


Release Date:
October 26th 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

The colony ship Ragtime docks in the Lagos system, having traveled light-years from home to bring thousands of sleeping souls to safety among the stars.

Some of the sleepers, however, will never wake – and a profound and sinister mystery unfolds aboard the gigantic vessel as its skeleton crew make decisions that will have repercussions for the entire system – from the scheming politicians of Lagos station to the colony of Nightshade and the poisoned planet of Bloodroot, poised for a civil war.

Review

Far From the Light of Heaven is the beautifully told story of the spaceship Ragtime, which is bringing a thousand souls from Earth to a colony among the stars. This should be a routine journey, captained by an AI. When Shell wakes she discovers the AI has failed and thirty-one of the thousand souls on board have been murdered. As the mystery unfolds it soon becomes clear that there is much more going on, with secrets that could have repercussions far bigger than anyone could imagine.

This book captivated me right from the very first page. Thompson has a beautiful writing style that kept me hooked on this story throughout. The bleak, loneliness of space was so vividly captured and I found myself completely hooked. The story is well paced, with lots of surprise moments that I absolutely did not expect.

The story contains multiple points of view and it was interesting seeing the story unfold from different perspectives. I really liked Shell, a woman thrust into the responsibility of looking after a spaceship and all the people aboard on her first interstellar flight. I enjoyed the mix of mystery and politics that Thompson created in this book and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever read a whodunnit set in space.

Far from the Light of Heaven is an incredibly addictive read, one that sci-fi fans will completely adore. If you’re looking for something that will keep you guessing but also keep you on the edge of your seat, this is definitely one to get reading.