‘The Sisters Grimm’ spoiler-free review!

Hi lovelies! Today, I’m wishing the happiest of book birthdays to Menna van Praag and The Sisters Grimm ❤ I’ve been a fan of Menna’s books since my very early bookstagram days so I was thrilled to be sent an ARC of her newest book – and I’m thrilled to say, I loved this one as well!

sisters grimm


synopsis

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.


my thoughts

I’ve been reading a lot of books about magical doors and alternative worlds recently and I’m loving each and every one. This one had the added bonus of being grounded in the very real world of Cambridge, which is a fabulous setting in itself. But add in magical gates that only open at a certain time on a certain day each month, and I was captivated.

Right from the prologue, I had a feeling this book would be something special. And I was not wrong. I loved the entire concept – of four sisters, each with a different elemental magic, who need to find their way back to each other. It felt so unique.

And van Praag’s writing was superb. It was a perfect fit for this sumptuous, magical story she was telling, with that lyrical quality I always love in books. I felt totally transported by this book and whenever I wasn’t reading it, I wanted to be.

The book is written from a number of different perspectives and I have to say, these are done SO well. Each narrative voice was so distinctive and made each character stand out so strongly in my mind. Sometimes, when I read books with multiple perspectives, it can take me a moment after switching to catch up and remember which character I’m reading about. I had no such issues here; the switches in perspective were seamless and I never once got confused. I think this is a real testament to van Praag’s skill as a writer.

Naturally, there were some characters I preferred over others but I think that’s only natural in a book with so many perspectives. The important thing is that I still felt invested in each character’s individual story as well as the overarching plot. And just like the original Grimm fairytales, this book could be DARK in places. These girls face very real issues and I loved seeing how they coped with everything.

I’m saying nothing more – just go read this one! And try not to do what I did and keep saying “Neverwhere” instead of “Everwhere” 😉

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Are you a fan of magical realism? I know it’s not for everyone but I love it! Let me know in the comments if you have any favourites! xsignature (2)

 

‘Not So Pure and Simple’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Today, I’m wishing a happy book birthday to Lamar Giles and Not So Pure and Simple! I was kindly sent an ARC of this one by Harper 360 YA and I loved every second of it 😀 Read on to find out why…

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synopsis

Del has had a crush on Kiera Westing since kindergarten. And now, during their junior year, she’s finally available. So when Kiera volunteers for an opportunity at their church, Del’s right behind her. Though he quickly realizes he’s inadvertently signed up for a Purity Pledge.

His dad thinks his wires are crossed, and his best friend, Qwan, doesn’t believe any girl is worth the long game. But Del’s not about to lose his dream girl, and that’s where fellow pledger Jameer comes in. He can put in the good word. In exchange, Del just has to get answers to the Pledgers’ questions…about sex ed.

With other boys circling Kiera like sharks, Del needs to make his move fast. But as he plots and plans, he neglects to ask the most important question: What does Kiera want? He can’t think about that too much, though, because once he gets the girl, it’ll all sort itself out. Right?


my thoughts

I genuinely loved everything about this book! When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it which I always think is a sign of a great read. There were aspects of it that reminded me of the movie Easy A so if you enjoyed that, this is definitely a book for you 😉

The characters are one of this novel’s biggest strengths. If I’m being honest, protagonist Del comes across as a bit of a jerk at first but as the author says in his opening note, you will genuinely come to like him. The more you read, the more you see Del’s true nature and it really is quite lovely. You can’t help but root for him. The novel also features some wonderful side characters, particularly Jameer who is an absolute cinnamon roll and one of my new favourites.

Another huge strength of this one is its humour. I was giggling before the end of the first page and continued to enjoy the author’s fun style for the duration of the novel. I laughed out loud so many times and then the ending had me grinning like an absolute goofball 😀 It’s a great feel-good story!

Though there were moments in the story that were slightly predictable, I didn’t mind at all because the book was so genuinely fantastic. This is a book that will be helpful to so many young people growing up and I only wish it had been around when I was going through puberty myself!

I really do recommend this one highly and I’ll be looking out for more of this author’s work!

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Does this sound like the kind of book you’d enjoy? Let me know in the comments if you like the sound of it! xsignature (2)

 

Happy release day to ‘Across The Ice’!

Happy October everyone! And a very happy book birthday to Dana Fraedrich and her latest release, Across the Ice!

Some of you may remember me reviewing Dana’s debut Out of the Shadows a couple of years ago. I also had the pleasure of interviewing Dana and later reviewed her standalone set in the Broken Gears universe, Raven’s Cry. So you could say I have been a champion of Dana’s writing from the beginning.

I was therefore delighted recently when Dana contacted me and asked me to be a member of her ARC team for her latest release, the conclusion to the Broken Gears trilogy! I’ll have a review coming your way soon but if you’re interested in reading the book for yourself, it’s available from today!

Look how good they look together:-

 

I don’t want to share the full blurb for this final book as it has spoilers for the previous instalments, but this bit is safe to show you:-

Across the Ice is the thrilling conclusion to Lenore’s storyline in the captivating Broken Gears YA steampunk fantasy series. For fans of Gail Carriger, Namoi Novik, and Garth Nix. If you like smart heroines, forgotten magic, and rich Victorian settings, then you’ll love Dana Fraedrich’s intriguing adventure.

So yes, if you enjoy steampunk books, you should definitely consider supporting this lovely author! And look out for my full series review soon!

Happy book birthday, Dana!


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Dana Fraedrich is an independent author, dog lover, and self-professed geek. Even from a young age, she enjoyed writing down the stories that she imagined in her mind. Born and raised in Virginia, she earned her BFA from Roanoke College and is now carving out her own happily ever after in Nashville, TN with her husband and two dogs. Dana is always writing; more books are on the way!

Blog Spot: ‘Mr Stoker & I’!

Happy Saturday everyone! A couple of years ago, when I was still super-new to the blogging scene, I read and reviewed two books by indie author Becky Wright. I also had the great pleasure of interviewing her as part of the promotion for her second book. And now I’m delighted to be back promoting her third book, which I’m so excited about… Mr Stoker & I!

I haven’t read this book yet as I’m saving it for October – both for the spookier Halloween vibes and because I want to actually read Dracula first 😉 But I have no doubt that this is going to be a fantastic story full of atmosphere and suspense.

Here’s what the story is about…

synopsis

My name is Miss Lucinda Meredith.
Please, come sit with me a while, let me tell you my story.

It was the Summer of 1890.
Theatre manager and writer, Mr Bram Stoker, arrived here in Whitby after an arduous theatre tour of Scotland. It was to be a welcome respite before his return to London.
What he discovered was far more intriguing.

We met at dawn on the East Cliff, in the shadow of Whitby Abbey, on a bench overlooking the sea. So at ease in his company, I felt compelled to share the events that had haunted my existence.

And after all these years, I wonder, could our chance encounter have inspired what would become, Bram Stoker’s legacy?

Sounds amazing, right?! And just feast your eyes on this stunning cover…

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Seriously, I am in love.

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Have I managed to intrigue any of you?! If so, you’ll be glad to know that Mr Stoker & I released today! It is available in both paperback and Kindle format from Amazon. Click on any of the images in this post to be redirected there 😉

I almost wish that I wasn’t saving this one for later in the year; creating this post has got me super hyped and wanting to read it immediately!

I do hope that some of you will give this one a try because Becky is a talented writer and a supremely lovely lady to boot. I wish her every success with the launch of Mr Stoker & I!

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‘A Version of the Truth’ spoiler-free review!

 
a version of the truth

Hey everyone! Today is release day for A Version of the Truth by B. P. Walter which was very kindly sent to me by Avon Books. Sadly, I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I’d hoped to. Read on to find out why!


synopsis

We all see what we want to see…

2019: Julianne is preparing a family dinner when her son comes to her and says he’s found something on his iPad. Something so terrible, it will turn Julianne’s world into a nightmare and make her question everything about her marriage and what type of man her husband is or is pretending to be.

1990: Holly is a fresher student at Oxford University. Out of her depth and nervous about her surroundings, she falls into an uneasy friendship with a group of older students from the upper echelons of society and begins to develop feelings for one in particular. He’s confident, quiet, attractive and seems to like her too. But as the year progresses, her friends’ behaviour grows steadily more disconcerting and Holly begins to realise she might just be a disposable pawn in a very sinister game.

A devastating secret has simmered beneath the surface for over twenty-five years. Now it’s time to discover the truth. But what if you’re afraid of what you might find?


my thoughts

This is a really hard one for me to rate. I so wanted to give a glowing review for release date but unfortunately, I found this one quite hard to swallow.

I was quite intrigued by the opening of this one but things quickly went downhill from that awful cliché hated by bookworms everywhere: “I let out a breath I only now realised I’ve been holding”. Later on, The Tenant of Wildfell Hall was incorrectly referenced as being written by Emily Brontë. I know this is nit-picking but the fact that little things like that grated on me so much shows how frustrated I was feeling for the duration of the book.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I was liking the book at first. I enjoyed the Oxford University vibes and I was suitably intrigued. However, the subject matter become more and more disgusting as the book progressed. I feel like the whole purpose was just to shock the reader.

This book features some of the most unlikeable characters I have ever had the misfortune of reading about. Unlikeable characters in themselves would not normally be enough to lower my opinion of a novel quite so much but, in this case, I just couldn’t bear reading about them. Not one of them had any redeeming qualities; even the Mary-Sue heroine annoyed me and I really struggled to feel any sympathy towards her despite the horrible ordeal she is put through.

Now I’m no prude but the amount of sex in this book was a little much for me. And it wasn’t even the fact that it was there, it was the way things were described. Every chapter got progressively more disgusting. Add to that some very questionable comments about gay men, bisexuals and AIDS and I was losing interest fast.

I pushed through A Version of the Truth since it had been gifted to me by a publisher but the ending was honestly the biggest cop-out I’ve ever read. I have never been so dissatisfied.

Wow, I had hoped I could give this review a slightly more positive spin but I guess writing it has made me realise just how much I disliked this book! It’s a real shame to have to give a negative review on release day. But hey, other readers might enjoy this one. I feel like it will certainly be divisive and, unfortunately, due to the subject material, I landed firmly in the negative camp.

a version of the truth

Are there any books that have made you have such a strong reaction whilst reading? Let me know in the comments! And thank you for reading x signature (2)

‘The Turnaway Girls’ spoiler-free review!

Happy release to day to Hayley Chewins and The Turnaway Girls! I was recently sent this book by the lovely people at Walker Books UK, in exchange for an honest review. The book is out today (January 3rd) in the UK (though I believe it has been out elsewhere for a couple of months already?) Anyway, read on to find out more about it!


What the book is about…

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On the strange, stormy island of Blightsend, twelve-year-old Delphernia Undersea has spent her whole life in the cloister of turnaway girls, hidden from sea and sky by a dome of stone and the laws of the island. Outside, the Masters play their music. Inside, the turnaway girls silently make that music into gold. Making shimmer, Mother Nine calls it. But Delphernia can’t make shimmer. She would rather sing than stay silent. When a Master who doesn’t act like a Master comes to the skydoor, it’s a chance for Delphernia to leave the cloister. Outside the stone dome, the sea breathes like a wild beast, the sky watches with stars like eyes, and even the gardens have claws. Outside, secrets fall silent in halls without sound. And outside, Delphernia is caught –between the island’s sinister Custodian and its mysterious Childer-Queen. Between a poem-speaking prince and a girl who feels like freedom. And in a debut that glimmers with hope and beauty, freedom – to sing, to change, to live – is precisely what’s at stake.


What I thought of it…

This delightfully feminist middle grade book was a great start to 2019. The prose is really quite lovely and the author uses metaphors masterfully to create vivid descriptions. The repetition of various motifs lend this book a quiet strength that I found really quite moving at times.

This book does require a large degree of suspension of disbelief at first but once you get into the flow of things, it becomes easier. The musical subject matter is a joy (is anyone really surprised that I loved it?)

The author succeeds in making this quite a diverse little book, with POC main characters. I also felt like an LGBTQ+ inclination was hinted at and I really hoped it would develop but I suppose it might not have been appropriate for the age of the book’s target audience. I could be reading too much into it but it’s where my brain went!

There were moments of surprising violence within the book, meaning it is not all sweetness and light. I thought the author struck a nice balance. Mother Nine is a great villain that readers will have no problem hating!

Overall, I’m really pleased I started the new year with this one and would recommend it to fans of whimsical writing and strong female characters, no matter their age.

the turnaway girls

Which book have you chosen as your first read of 2019? I hope, whatever it is, that you’re loving it! x 

‘Raven’s Cry’ spoiler-free review!

Happy book birthday to Dana Fraedrich and Raven’s Cry! A standalone set in the Broken Gears universe, this reimagining of Swan Lake is fab! Some of you may remember that I read the first book in Fraedrich’s series at the end of last year and then had the pleasure of interviewing her, so I was thrilled when she approached me again to ask if I would like to read an ARC of her latest book!

 

What the book is about…

A dark retelling of Swan Lake ~ Calandra is happiest when she’s surrounded by quiet, joined only by a book and a cup of tea, never around people and their insufferable need to make small talk. When Nicodemus, a magus with immense power, joins the royal court of Invarnis, Calandra’s life will change forever. As a terrible curse pursues her through the centuries, Calandra will have to overcome captivity, war, and loss.

In this standalone installment, set in Dana Fraedrich’s Broken Gears universe, readers will join Calandra in her battle for freedom, hope, and healing.

 

What I thought of it…

Having read Out of the Shadows at the end of last year, I was already familiar with the wonderful world Fraedrich has created. If possible, I loved it even more in this new standalone than in the first instalment. If you like fantasy creatures, then this is definitely a series to check out – filled to the brim with magi, dragons, vampyres and other magical beings, there is something for everyone here!

I’m delighted to say that the writing in this book is even BETTER than in Out of the Shadows (not that that was by any means bad!) I could really see an improvement! Fraedrich’s writing has become even more refined and it was an absolute pleasure to read. As I already mentioned, I loved the world-building in this book even more than the one I previously read and the descriptions were so cinematic!

I loved the protagonist Callandra’s character development; she starts out as a shy introvert but gradually gets a little bit more spice about her and ends up being a total badass. Her story is quite tragic but her handling of it felt realistic, and I really sympathised with her. I also really liked the supporting characters, though they didn’t always feel as fleshed-out as the MC.

It is important to emphasise that readers do not need to have tried the other books in the Broken Gears series; Raven’s Cry can be read as a standalone. However, I do think there is an extra level of depth that will be apparent to readers who have read Out of the Shadows. I had such an OMG moment when I worked out how the books were connected! It was very, very cool and really showed Fraedrich’s talent and the amount of work she has put into creating her fictional world.

My final word is a little bit of a fangirl moment… I’m mentioned in the acknowledgements!! I always make a point of reading the acknowledgements because it’s lovely to gain an insight into the author’s life – imagine my delight when Dana personally thanked me! Literally the coolest thing ever. It made my heart do a happy dance and reiterated what I already knew – which is that the author is not only a talented writer but a lovely human being.

Overall, I definitely recommend this one, even if you have never read Out of the Shadows. And you don’t need to know much about the plot of the original Swan Lake; while this is a retelling, the story stands up strongly in its own right.

 

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(All book covers taken from Goodreads)

 

Huge thanks to Dana Fraedrich for sending me an e-ARC of this one – happy book birthday Dana!

‘In for the Kill’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I was delighted to receive an ARC recently of In for the Kill, the fourth book in the DI Fenchurch series by Ed James. Today is it’s release day and I’m thrilled to be taking part in the promotional blog tour!

 

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What the book is about…

A university student is found strangled to death in her bedroom, but when the embattled DI Simon Fenchurch is called in to investigate, the case strikes dangerously close to home.

On the surface, the victim was a popular, high-performing student. But as secret grudges against her emerge, so too does evidence that she was living a double life, working on explicit webcam sites for a seedy London ganglord. Everyone Fenchurch talks to knows a lot more than they’re willing to tell, and before long he’s making new enemies of his own—threatening to push him and his family past breaking point.

With too many suspects and not enough facts, Fenchurch knows his new superiors are just waiting for him to fail—they want him off the case, and off the force for good. His family is in more danger than ever before. So how deep is he willing to dig in order to unearth the truth?

 

What I thought of it…

I struggle to jump into the middle of book series like this because there is invariably something I’ve missed (even when the books can be read as standalones, there are usually running threads). However, I didn’t find it to be too much of an issue on this occasion as the author did a good job of setting things out clearly and recapping things that had happened earlier in the series. Obviously, there are still some things that probably didn’t mean as much to me as someone who has read the series from the start but even without those nuances, I found this to be an enjoyable read.

I really liked the scene-setting in this book and thought that the author created a perfect gloomy atmosphere to match his gritty story. This was a very modern thriller with lots of relevant cultural references which really added to my reading experience and gave an element of realism to the story.

I did find it hard to distinguish between characters at times as there were SO many to keep track of, but I found the protagonist Fenchurch very interesting. I also liked that the author included a transgender character, again making this very relevant to issues that are gaining more awareness in society of late.

I have mixed feelings about the ending of this book: some aspects were satisfying but other things were left open and will require the reader to continue with the series to get answers. At this point, I’d be more than happy to continue and find out what happens!

It did take me a little while to get used to the writing style of this book as the author seemed to want his sentences to be as short as possible; it seemed as though any little words or personal pronouns were dropped constantly!? But once I got used to this quirk, I found that it worked really well for the style of the book and the story the author was telling.

Overall, this was a fast and entertaining read that I would recommend to fans of police procedurals!

 

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In for the Kill released in the UK today (April 19th). Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour – and thanks for reading! 

 

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Interview with Holly Ducarte!

Hi everyone! Today, I’m wishing Holly Ducarte a happy book birthday as her debut novel The Light Over Broken Tide releases today! I had the privilege of reading an ARC of Holly’s debut and today I’m treating you to an interview with the lady herself!

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Hi Holly, thanks so much for agreeing to this interview! I loved The Light Over Broken Tide and it’s a pleasure to have you on my blog today.

Thank you so much for inviting me! I feel truly honoured you loved my book.

 

First of all, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Sure! I’ve lived in a small town most of my life in Alberta, Canada. I’ve got two sisters, one of which is my identical twin. I grew up around creative people and so it isn’t surprising that I am pursuing something within the creative arts. I enjoy travelling and being outside. I find my peace in nature. I’m a big family person. They’ve supported me in this endeavour to write and I really want to make them proud. I’ve been married for ten years to my best friend. I’m a mother of an amazing little girl, who is turning three soon. I collect books, antiques, and funko pops. Music and movies inspire me all the time. Coffee and tea are my writing fuel. I have a thing for birds. And last but not least, my Hogwarts House is Gryffindor.

 

Gryffindors unite! Great to find out more about you 🙂 When did you decide to start writing The Light Over Broken Tide? Was it a natural progression from your poetry?

I began writing it five and a half years ago. But writing, in general, has been a part of my life since I knew how to do it. Poetry seems to come to me immediately when inspiration hits. It’s concise, and yet one can say a lot with so few words. Novel writing is more complex in that it isn’t concise, and an idea doesn’t just fully form. You’ve got to plot-plan, do character sketches, research etc. I’m not sure it was a natural progression so much as poetry fused with my novel-writing style. It’s just a part of me. I hope that answers your question.

 

That fusion was something about your novel that I loved. How would you describe your writing process?

In a word: sporadic. I’m not one to hunker down and write every day. It’s not feasible. Besides, I have to feel the muse in the room. When it comes, though, I’m all in. I can stay at the computer for hours and write scene after scene. I’m quite the night owl, working best late. The house is quiet then and I can think and plan better. Sometimes I have music playing, depending on where I’m at with the novel. Lately, I’ve been at my kitchen table typing away on my laptop.

 

The setting in The Light Over Broken Tide was one of my favourite aspects of the book. Was it inspired by a real place?

Yes. Lunenburg, Nova Scotia exists, and a lot of the names of the stores and shops within the book aren’t fictional. It’s truly a gorgeous town with that quintessential sea-side appeal. I recommend looking it up online and viewing the pictures. It’ll be like stepping into my novel, I’m sure of it.

(I took the liberty of doing a Google search and Holly is not wrong. Look at the pretty!)

 

The Peter Pan connections in the novel were also lovely. Did you always intend to include these or did they sneak in as you were writing?

As Shawn developed as a character, they kind of snuck in. Peter Pan is one of my favourite classics, and while writing, I just felt the two shared similarities. Both had big dreams and weren’t in a hurry to grow up. When you consider “doesn’t want to grow up”, Peter Pan automatically springs to mind.

 

That’s true. So, who are some authors that inspire you?

I always find this a tough one to answer, because I’m an eclectic reader and there are so many great authors that I love for different reasons. The ones that I thought of first, and in no particular order, are JK Rowling, JRR Tolkien, CS Lewis, JM Barrie, William Shakespeare, Gaston Leroux, Arthur Conan Doyle, Oscar Wilde, Bram Stoker, Mitch Albom, Harper Lee, Kim Edwards, Erin Morgenstern, Jeannette Walls, Emma Donoghue, and recently Leigh Bardugo, Lang Leav, and John Green. Honestly…I could go on and on.

 

That’s a fantastic list! We share a lot of favourites. Do you have any hobbies (besides writing) that help you to unwind?

Probably too many to be honest. Is reading books considered a hobby? I do lots of that. I also like to write music, sing, and strum a guitar. It’s very meditative. I paint or draw from time to time. I do crafts here and there, like rustic, wooden sign boards or sewing. I recently purchased a paddle-board and am looking forward to using it a lot this later Spring and in Summer. I’m not one to sit idle for too long.

 

Do you have any current projects in the works? Can you give us any teasers?!

I do. It’s quite the jump from contemporary fiction, which is The LOBT. I am working on a historical suspense. I don’t want to give away too much, but I can say it takes place during the Victorian Era. The main character is a precocious young woman of eighteen named Deidre Pryor who becomes a woman scorned by her fiancé. She seeks out the spirits in the woods the children around town are calling Di Inferi, and she means to request their counsel on the perfect revenge.

It’s riddled with drama, suspicion, and thrill. Its theme is: “Vengeance is like a rose. Appealing until we are pricked by its thorn.” It also has another theme underlying about “the masks we wear”.

I will share the excerpt I’ve put on Instagram, but of course in the process of editing, it is subject to change: “Miss Pryor, we cannot simply allow you to leave and take your word alone that you will not tell a soul about us. As I said, assurance must be made. Now, do not become too alarmed at this…but I am going to cut you. Nothing big, mind, about Twopence in size. It is a sharp knife and I am very skilled.”

 

Well, that sounds amazing! I’m looking forward to it already. How can readers find out more about you and your work?

All of my social media links can be found on my website www.hollyducarte.com under the Contact section, and they can read further info on me, my work, author visits, and press.

 

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview!

It’s me who is thankful for your support.

 

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Well, I hope you all enjoyed that! It was a pleasure to interview Holly; I find her so inspiring. If you’re interested in reading my review of The Light Over Broken Tide, you can find it here. And the book is available now! 

‘The City of Brass’ spoiler-free review!

“Often the mightiest things have the humblest beginnings…”

– S.A. Chakraborty, The City of Brass

 

Hey guys! Today is release day for S. A. Chakraborty’s debut novel The City of Brass! My lovely bestie sent me an ARC of this book for my birthday recently and I absolutely loved it.

 

What the book is about…

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep, past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for…

 

What I thought of it…

I don’t even know where to start with this review. This is one of the most fantastic debuts of recent years! I adored the Egyptian-inspired fantasy setting; Chakraborty’s attention to detail was superb, resulting in a stunningly realised world with complex religious and political history. The whole thing felt so cinematic and I’d be amazed if the movie rights weren’t snapped up before too long. I mean, it was full of djinn and ghouls and all sorts of funky creatures and magic. Ugh. Amazing.

There were moments when this book felt reminiscent of Laini Taylor’s writing, in that the author completely sweeps you off your feet and captivates you; even though the chapters were fairly long, I couldn’t put it down! I absolutely raced through it. The pacing was perfect, with a super fast start and crazy action-packed ending (which omg I cannot deal with and I need the next book immediately).

Other things about this book that I loved:-

  • Slow-burning romance – no insta-love here sir, not today
  • Some amazingly delicious foody descriptions
  • Morally grey characters! Nahri is great but fully admits that she is not perfect. Quite frankly, I’ve been getting so tired of all these badass females in YA books that have no personality but can kill anything that moves and ride horses/dragons and cook delicious meals. That’s just not realistic. Nahri is a breath of fresh air.
  • The dialogue! The conversations are all so easy to read and part of the reason I flew through the book so quickly.

To sum up, I am completely in awe of this own voices Muslim fantasy! It’s so brilliantly written and absolutely blew me away. Definitely recommend!

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Is anyone else planning on picking this one up? Or was anyone else lucky enough to get an ARC? I’d love to discuss it with you!