Blog Tour: The Ballad of Perilous Graves – Alex Jennings

Blog Tour: The Ballad of Perilous Graves – Alex Jennings


Release Date:
June 23rd 2022
Publisher: Orbit Books
Pages: 480
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

Put on your dancing shoes and step into New Orleans as you’ve never seen it before in this vibrant and imaginative debut.

Nola is a city of wonders. A place where haints dance the night away, Wise Women keep the order and songs walk, talk and keep the spirit of the city alive. To those from Away, Nola might seem strange. To failed magician Perilous Graves, it’s simply home.

Then the rhythm of the city stutters.

Nine songs of power have escaped from the magical piano that maintains the city’s beat, and without them, Nola will fail. Unexpectedly, Perry and his sister, Brendy, are tasked with saving the city. But a storm is brewing and even if they capture the songs, Nola’s time might be coming to an end.

Review

The Ballad of Perilous Graves is one of those books that sucks you in right from the very first chapter and absolutely does not let you go. It was a joy to read, and I did not want it to end.

Set in a magical New Orleans, Nola is held together by nine songs of power – without these Nola will fall apart. When the songs escape Perry and his sister Brendy must do everything they can to save their city – but will it be enough?

The Ballad of Perilous Graves is without a doubt, unlike anything I’ve ever read. This story completely captured my attention and I still think about it even after finishing it a few weeks ago. This story felt like such a fresh take and I know this crazy, wild ride of a story is going to be adored by fantasy fans. The story is fast paced with multiple points of view and there were some moments where I had no idea where the story was going to go. Jennings has a brilliantly vivid writing style and the world of Nola absolutely lept off the page. I loved the amount of detail put into creating the world and the magic.

This complex story has absolutely tons going on, but it’s definitely one of those books you’re best going into blind. The Ballad of Perilous Graves is a compelling magical read full of incredibly crafted characters. I adored Brendy, Perry and Peaches and it was so entertaining to see the world through their eyes. If you’re looking for a book full of beautiful, lyrical writing with a world you cannot get enough of, this one is an absolute must read.

Book Review: Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian

Book Review: Ash Princess – Laura Sebastian


Series:
Ash Princess Trilogy #1
Release Date: April 14th 2018
Publisher: Macmillan
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this book from Waterstones
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess–a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn’t always won on the battlefield.

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.

Review

Ash Princess is the first in a YA fantasy trilogy that follows Theodosia, a young princess who lives at the mercy of the Kaiser who murdered her mother and stole her throne. For ten years she has suffered under his abuse and ridicule when she decides that enough is enough and will do everything in her power to reclaim her lost throne.

Ash Princess is a pretty standard YA story. It was a bit darker than I was expecting but it follows a similar plot to other YA fantasy stories. I have found myself reading less and less YA lately so I wasn’t really sure going in if this was going to be for me. In the end, I did actually enjoy this book immensely, I really liked Sebastian’s writing style and the fast paced, action driven storyline had me glued to the book for long periods of time.

As this is the first book in the series I’m really interested to see how the story develops. Theo does go through some character growth in the story but I felt like some of the other characters could have done with a bit more development. The story does end on a bit of a cliffhanger so I am intrigued to see where Sebastian will take things. This is a fun, fast read and if you’re looking for a YA fantasy tale to keep you hooked this one will be right up your street.

Book Review: The Lighthouse Witches – C J Cooke

Book Review: The Lighthouse Witches – C J Cooke


Release Date:
October 5th 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 432
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this book in a secondhand bookshop
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Upon the cliffs of a remote Scottish island, Lòn Haven, stands a lighthouse.

A lighthouse that has weathered more than storms.

Mysterious and terrible events have happened on this island. It started with a witch hunt. Now, centuries later, islanders are vanishing without explanation.

Coincidence? Or curse?

Liv Stay flees to the island with her three daughters, in search of a home. She doesn’t believe in witches, or dark omens, or hauntings. But within months, her daughter Luna will be the only one of them left.

Twenty years later, Luna is drawn back to the place her family vanished. As the last sister left, it’s up to her to find out the truth . . .

But what really happened at the lighthouse all those years ago?

Review

I was really excited to pick up The Lighthouse Witches after reading and loving The Nesting by C J Cooke. The Nesting is an addictive, eerie read and I was hoping for much the same with The Lighthouse Witches. What I got was one of the most unputdownable books I’ve ever read.

The story follows Liv, a single mum to three girls – Sapphire, Clover and Luna. Liv takes a job on the remote island of Lòn Haven, where she has been asked to paint a mural inside the old lighthouse. As the family get to know the island they soon learn about the history of witches on the island, and children going missing. Liv believes this to be nothing but superstitious nonsense until one night one of her daughters vanishes. Twenty years in the future, Liv’s youngest daughter Luna is drawn back to the place where her family was torn apart. This time she is determined to find out what happened to her sisters and her Mum.

The Lighthouse is an incredibly impressive book. It seamlessly weaves together a number of different storylines – we follow Liv in 1998 during their time on the island, Luna in the present-day as she attempts to discover the truth about what happened to her family and the grimoire of a witch living on the island hundreds of years ago. The story was utterly compelling and drew me in more and more as the story progressed. This is a dark and twisty tale and I was never sure what was going to happen next. The ending was something I never could have predicted and I thought it was delivered beautifully.

This is my second book from C J Cooke and I really enjoyed her writing style. This book is so easy to get lost in and there were a couple of really eerie moments that sent a shiver up my spine. The book is full to the brim with atmosphere and I loved every second of it. This is definitely a new favourite and I can’t wait to read more from C J Cooke.

Blog Tour: Misrule – Heather Walter

Blog Tour: Misrule – Heather Walter


Series:
Malice Duology #2 (See my review of book one here!)
Release Date: May 10th 2022
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

The Dark Grace is dead.

Feared and despised for the sinister power in her veins, Alyce wreaks her revenge on the kingdom that made her an outcast. Once a realm of decadence and beauty, Briar is now wholly Alyce’s wicked domain. And no one will escape the consequences of her wrath. Not even the one person who holds her heart.

Princess Aurora saw through Alyce’s thorny facade, earning a love that promised the dawn of a new age. But it is a love that came with a heavy price: Aurora now sleeps under a curse that even Alyce’s vast power cannot seem to break. And the dream of the world they would have built together is nothing but ash.

Alyce vows to do anything to wake the woman she loves, even if it means turning into the monster Briar believes her to be. But could Aurora love the villain Alyce has become?

Or is true love only for fairy tales?

Review

Misrule is the second book in Heather Walter’s Malice duology. I read Malice last year and absolutely adored this dark fairytale retelling. Misrule was one of my most anticipated releases and it absolutely did not disappoint. Following on from the events in book one, Briar has been destroyed and Nimara (Alyce) now rules the dark court. Despite searching for decades, she has been unable to find a cure for the curse placed on Aurora and she remains asleep. Nimara will do anything to break this curse becoming even more of a villain in search of the cure. As she battles the Fae courts in search of answers she begins to wonder when Aurora finally wakes will she still love the person Nimara has become?

This book was so incredibly addictive. It’s the sort of book you just cannot put down and I ended up having a few very late nights because I stayed up reading. Walter’s writing flows really well and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the story. I love the world Walter created in this duology and after reading this second book I’m going to read everything they publish. The story is quite fast-paced and there were plenty of twists and turns that kept me engaged. I loved that Misrule felt much darker than Malice and the vivid descriptions of the dark court captivated me.

Walter does a fantastic job of creating these really complex characters. There is so much character growth and development across the two books. It was so fascinating to see Nimara grow into her role as Mistress of the dark court and I loved how the dynamics changed between Nimara and Alyce as things progress. In Misrule we get to meet a whole host of different characters and creatures but my favourite has got to be the Imps – they’re so mischievous and added a touch of humour to the story.

Overall Misrule is a brilliant conclusion – Walter managed to bring all the different threads together into a really satisfying conclusion. If you’re looking for a beautifully written story with a morally grey protagonist this duology is definitely not to be missed.

Blog Tour: Equinox – David Towsey

Blog Tour: Equinox – David Towsey


Release Date:
12th May 2022
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Pages: 368
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Christophor Morden lives in a world where everybody changes with the rising and setting of the sun. For every person contains two distinct identities – a day brother and a night brother. One never sees the light, the other nothing of night.

One evening Christophor, one of the king’s special unit of witch hunters, is woken early by a call to the city prison. A young woman has torn her own eyes out, and the police suspect supernatural causes. The investigation takes Christophor far from home, to a village on the edge of the kingdom.

There he will find his witch – and his night brother will find himself desperate to save her. And as this battle of the self rages, the witch’s ancient and apocalyptic ritual comes ever closer to completion…

Review

Equinox is an intriguing book that lured me in for a number of reasons. Firstly it has an absolutely stunning cover and second it’s a fantasy standalone – something I definitely don’t read enough of. The story also has such a fascinating concept that I couldn’t resist diving straight into it.

Equinox tells the story of Christophor Morden. Christophor lives in a world where everyone has two identities – one for the day and one for the night. One only ever sees the darkness and the other the day. Christophor is a member of the king’s special unit, whereas his day brother Alexsander is a musician. When Christophor is called to the city prison to witness a prisoner who has torn out their eyes. The cause is thought to be supernatural in origin, sending Christophor and his day brother on a quest to find the witch responsible.

Equniox is such a unique story – it felt like such a fresh take on the fantasy story. It felt wholly original and unlike anything I’ve read before. It was so fascinating to see these two characters who lead completely different lives and have completely different personalities inhabit one body. I really liked Christophor as the main protagonist and felt the story was well-paced. It did take me a little while to get into the story but after the first quarter of the book, I was completely invested in the story.

Towsey does a really brilliant job of creating that tense atmosphere, particularly as the mystery begins to unfold. The magic in this story is pretty dark and it was probably the thing that intrigued me most about this book. There are some moments that are on the creepy/gory side and Towsey doesn’t shy away from scenes that send a shiver down your spine. Equinox is a brilliantly told dark fantasy story that I thoroughly enjoyed. If you’re looking for some dark, gripping fantasy this should definitely be on your reading list. Whilst this is my first book from David Towsey, I cannot wait to read more from this author!

Book Review: The Shadow Glass – Josh Winning

Book Review: The Shadow Glass – Josh Winning


Release Date:
March 22nd 2022
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 400
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

Jack Corman is failing at life. Jobless, jaded and facing the threat of eviction, he’s also reeling from the death of his father, one-time film director Bob Corman. Back in the eighties, Bob poured his heart and soul into the creation of his 1986 puppet fantasy The Shadow Glass, but the film flopped on release and Bob was never the same again.

In the wake of Bob’s death, Jack returns to his decaying childhood home, where he is confronted with the impossible — the puppet heroes from The Shadow Glass are alive, and they need his help. Tipped into a desperate quest to save the world from the more nefarious of his father’s creations, Jack teams up with an excitable fanboy and a spiky studio exec to navigate the labyrinth of his father’s legacy and ignite a Shadow Glass resurgence that could, finally, do Bob proud.

Review

The Shadow Glass is a fun fantasy adventure that tells the story of Jack Corman. Jack is struggling to make ends meet and is trying to cope with the death of his father – the director of the cult film classic The Shadow Glass. Jack returns to the family home he hasn’t been to in many years, planning to sell off one of the film props to a collector and clear his debt. What Jack finds is the puppets from the film are much more than they seem. Jack soon finds himself embarking on an adventure to save the world if Iri and everything his father loved.

The Shadow Glass is the sort of book you can’t help falling in love with. It’s an action-packed adventure and really well-paced. I sat down to read a few chapters one evening and before I knew it I had been sitting there for hours, completely sucked into the story. The story is very nostalgic of 80’s movies like The Neverending Story and I thought it was executed perfectly.

The Shadow Glass features some really great characters and I loved seeing them go on this epic adventure. Jack is a really fascinating protagonist – he’s coming to terms with what happened in his childhood and is starting to let people in again. The characters in The Shadow Glass are the sort you can’t help but root for. I also thought the villains in the story were well crafted too and while I liked all the characters, Toby was my favourite.

The Shadow Glass is definitely a new favourite and a book I can’t wait to reread in the future. If you’re a fan of old fantasy films, this is an absolute must-read and I’m already looking forward to what Josh Winning writes next.

Blog Tour: Crimson Reign – Amélie Wen Zhao

Blog Tour: Crimson Reign – Amélie Wen Zhao


Series
: Blood Heir #3
Release Date: March 3rd 2022
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 496
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

The Red Tigress, Ana Mikhailov, has returned to Cyrilia, but the country she once called home has fallen under a dark rule. Across the land, the Empress Morganya is tightening her grip on Affinites and non-Affinites alike. Ana dealt a blow to the Empress when she and her allies turned back Morganya’s troops in Bregon, but she couldn’t stop Morganya from gaining possession of the last remaining Bregonian siphon: a dangerous new weapon with the power to steal Affinities.

Ana’s forces are scattered, and her tenuous alliance with the Cyrilian rebel group, the Red Cloaks, is becoming more frayed by the day. What’s worse, she’s lost her Affinity to blood and without it, Ana barely knows who she is anymore–or if she has the strength to defeat Morganya.

Morganya’s reign of terror is close to crushing the nation Ana was born to rule. And now Ana will finally face the sinister empress, but will she survive? Will anyone? And will her Empire welcome her back to the throne, or turn her out to survive on her own.

The Affinites and Non-Affinites of Cyrilia will determine Ana’s future, if Morganya doesn’t kill her first.

Review

Crimson Reign is the third and final installment in Amelie Wen Zhao’s heart pounding Blood Heir trilogy. Continuing where things left off in Red Tigress, Ana has returned to Cyrilia, fresh from fighting back Morgana’s troops in Bregon. Morgana is determined to solidify her rule and spread fear through Ana’s country. With her troops scattered is she strong enough to stop her?

The Blood Heir trilogy is a brilliant example of a compelling YA fantasy series. There’s something for everyone and each book in the series has gone from strength to strength. Crimson Reign is probably my favourite of the trilogy and Zhao does a brilliant job of rounding things off and bringing the story to a satisfying conclusion.

Like the previous installments, Crimson Reign is pretty fast-paced and I raced through it. The world is really intriguing and I love seeing the different affinite abilities. There is of course plenty of action and battle scenes and there were more than a few moments I was on the edge of my seat. I really enjoyed Zhao’s writing style and I’m really looking forward to reading more from this author.

My favourite thing about this series has to be the characters. If you like plenty of banter between your main characters this series has you covered. Ana is a compelling protagonist, trying to make the right decisions for her people. Ramson very much steals the show but I also really liked Linn and the rather terrifying Sorsha. Crimson Reign is a highly addictive fantasy tale and if you’ve read the first two books in this series then this is definitely a must-read. If you haven’t picked up Blood Heir yet this is the perfect series to binge read.

Book Review: A River Enchanted – Rebecca Ross

Book Review: A River Enchanted – Rebecca Ross


Series:
Elements of Cadence #1
Release Date: February 3rd 2022
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 480
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

Enchantments run deep on the magical Isle of Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armour, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The capricious spirits that live there find mirth in the lives of the humans who call the land home, but that mischief turns to malevolence as girls begin to go missing.

Adaira, heiress of the east, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, enticing them to return the missing girls. But there’s only one bard capable of drawing the spirits forth by song: her childhood enemy Jack Tamerlaine.

He hasn’t stepped foot on Cadence in ten long years, content to study music at the mainland university, but as Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together it becomes apparent the trouble with the spirits is far more sinister than first thought and an older, darker secret lurks beneath the surface, threatening to undo them all.

Review

A River Enchanted is the first in an all new fantasy duology from Rebecca Ross, author of The Queen Rising. The story follows Jack Tamerlaine, once a resident of the isle of Cadence, he has left that life behind to become a musician at the university on the mainland. When Jack is mysteriously summoned back to Cadence by his laird, he has no choice but to go. Jack returns home to discover that young girls are going missing and no one can figure out where they have gone. Jack’s old nemesis Adaira believes the spirits are taking them and only a bard can save the girls. Jack and Adaira will have to put aside old feelings and work together to uncover the truth.

A River Enchanted is a really intriguing story and I thought the premise was a really captivating idea. I was fascinated by the Scottish mythology elements in this and it felt like the story was well researched. I was really interested in the magic and world-building in this and it is definitely something I hope we get to see a bit more of in book two. The story is well-paced, with the tension increasing as the story progressed. This is my first book from Rebecca Ross and I really enjoyed her writing style. I did think the book felt more YA than adult, despite centering on older characters.

The story does have some surprise moments I wasn’t expecting and I am looking forward to seeing where the story goes in book two. I really liked the main characters, each trying to find their place on Cadence. Normally with fantasy stories, there are one or two characters I am more interested in but I was really engrossed in the story of all the characters. I did think this was going to be a five-star read but I wasn’t a massive fan of the romance. I felt like it needed a bit more tension to make it believable that they were once enemies. Despite this A River Enchanted is a beautifully told story and I am definitely going to pick up book two.

Book Review: Scorpica – G. R. McAllister

Book Review: Scorpica – G. R. McAllister


Series:
The Five Queendoms #1
Release Date: February 22nd 2022
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 464
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

A centuries-long peace is shattered in a matriarchal society when a decade passes without a single girl being born in this sweeping epic fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Circe.

Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. As the Drought of Girls stretches across a generation, it sets off a cascade of political and personal consequences across all five queendoms of the known world, throwing long-standing alliances into disarray as each queendom begins to turn on each other—and new threats to each nation rise from within.

Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughter’s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own ends—and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive.

Review

Scorpica is an epic fantasy tale that follows multiple characters across the five Queendoms. The Queendoms have had peace for hundreds of years, but this is soon thrown into uncertainty when no new baby girls are born. As the drought causes tensions to erupt, new alliances are drawn and old scores will be settled.

Scorpica is one of those books that hooks you in right from the very beginning. The plot was instantly gripping and it felt like such a unique story. I also found myself becoming invested in the characters and the fate of the five Queendoms. Scorpica has such an intriguing world and I was fascinated by the magic system, which is powered by sand. I really enjoyed seeing the different abilities and how the characters choose to use them. I feel like I’ve only seen a small part of the world in this book and I can’t wait to see where McAllister takes the story next.

Where I think Scorpica really excels is the well-crafted characters. There are a number of different POV characters and each one has their own motivations and ambitions. I was never sure who to trust, or who was going to survive. There’s tons of political intrigue and there were more than a few moments that had me on the edge of my seat. Tamura was particularly fascinating as she strives to navigate being queen and I really liked Eminel too. Scorpica is an incredible start to a new fantasy series and if you’re looking for a fresh and engaging fantasy read, this one should definitely be on your TBR.

Book Review: All of Us Villains – Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman

Book Review: All of Us Villains – Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman


Series:
All of Us Villains #1
Release Date: November 9th 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I received a Netgalley copy of this and then I bought a physical copy from Waterstones.
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

After the publication of a salacious tell-all book, the remote city of Ilvernath is thrust into the spotlight. Tourists, protesters, and reporters alike flock to its spellshops and historic ruins to witness an ancient curse unfold: every generation, seven families name a champion among them to compete in a tournament to the death. The winner awards their family exclusive control over the city’s high magick supply, the most powerful resource in the world.

In the past, the villainous Lowes have won nearly every tournament, and their champion is prepared to continue his family’s reign. But this year, thanks to the influence of their newfound notoriety, each of the champions has a means to win. Or better yet–a chance to rewrite their story.

But this is a story that must be penned in blood.

Review

All of Us Villains was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. I absolutely love Amanda Foody’s Shadow Game series and I was so intrigued by the premise of this. Set in the city of Ilverneath, the story follows the champions of seven families that must fight to the death in order to win control of the city’s high magick. The Lowe family are infamous and are the favourite to win every year, but when a book is published revealing the secrets of the tournament, the city is overrun with reporters and tourists desperate to know who will win. When things start to change in the tournament the champions might have the chance to destroy the curse that has plagued their families for generations.

All of Us Villains was exactly what I was looking for. It was dark and addictive – once I started reading I absolutely could not put it down. It had a few twists and turns did not see coming and it was gorier than expected. It was an exciting read, one I thought was well executed. I did feel the pacing was a little off, with it being quite slow to start with and much faster towards the end.

The world in this story is fascinating and I loved learning about the magic in this world – curserings, spell shops, and a centuries-old curse – I wanted to know more and more. Where I think this book really excels are the compelling characters. Whilst there are seven champions, we get POV chapters from four of them – Alastair, Isobel, Gavin, Briony. All of the POV characters were really intriguing with complicated histories and motivations for entering the tournament. I loved that the characters were so villainous and determined to succeed. Alastair and Isobel were probably my favourite – though I did really like Gavin too.

All of Us Villains is a book I haven’t stopped thinking about since I finished it. If you’re looking for a new YA fantasy book to get hooked on, this is a must-read.