‘White Stag’ spoiler-free review!

Hello all! Today, I’m reviewing White Stag by Kara Barbieri which was one of my anticipated releases in 2019! Sadly, I felt a bit let down by it. Want to know why? Keep reading… 😉

white stag


synopsis

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.


my thoughts

First things first, I love a good goblin story. Tell me a book has goblins in it and I will immediately be interested. Add in a frozen wilderness and you can understand why I was so eager to read this one. And while I did like aspects of it, it didn’t work for me as a whole.

The setting was pretty good but didn’t feel 100% realised. I felt as if the random Norse elements were kind of thrown in and didn’t add anything to my enjoyment of the story; if anything, they felt jarring and unnecessary.

There was a quality to this book that I can’t quite put my finger on but it was one which held me back from giving a higher rating. It was a kind of immaturity? I don’t want to come across as judgemental but I could definitely tell that this book started out in life on Wattpad. I feel like it needed even more editing than what it would have received. The writing was very repetitive and juvenile.

But listen. It wasn’t all bad. I did appreciate the mental health themes (particularly as these are still pretty rare in fantasy novels). The exploration of Janneke’s PTSD and her journey of healing from that trauma were nicely done and it’s just a shame that the writing quality detracted from what could have been a very powerful book.

I feel like this review was so harsh! And I didn’t mean it to be. I always hate to criticise a book knowing someone put their heart and soul into it. But hey, maybe this one will work for you where it didn’t work for me – I know plenty of readers who loved it. We can’t enjoy them all!

white stag


What are you all reading these days? Are you enjoying it? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

 

‘The Starless Sea’ spoiler-free review!

Hi everyone! Today, I have the very difficult task of reviewing an incredible book by one of my favourite authors. I genuinely don’t know where to start. The Starless Sea was a complete joy from start to finish and I know I won’t be able to do it justice in this review – but if I can make it coherent, I’ll count that as a win!

the starless sea


synopsis

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.


my thoughts

“We are all stardust and stories…”

The Starless Sea is not just a book. It is an experience. Morgenstern is not afraid to divert away from her main plot and it felt wonderful as a reader to get lost in the conglomeration of stories she presented and to try and figure out how everything connected. Upon finishing, there were still things I was unsure of but the beauty is that this is a book which will only improve upon rereading; clues and connections that were missed the first time will fall into place and things will become even clearer.

I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I adore Morgenstern’s writing. The Night Circus is one of my favourite books and for years I thought it was going to be the only offering Morgenstern would bless us with. So you can imagine my excitement and soaring expectations when I heard about The Starless Sea. I can totally see why it won’t work for all readers; it’s flowery and perhaps a bit pretentious at times. It jumps around from one thing to another with seemingly no connection. But if you stick with it, you will be rewarded. The Starless Sea is a love letter to words and language, and the magic of stories. And when you realise how everything connects, it is nothing short of wondrous.

Morgenstern’s world building was exactly as I have come to expect: pure magic. I will take all of the purple prose, thank you, when this is the way it is used. I was enthralled while reading, ready to pack my bags and go off in search of a door to that wonderful underground library. I think any book lover will feel a connection to this story, even if they don’t necessarily gel with its style or execution.

Just like The Ten Thousand Doors of January which I read recently, this book filled me with that nostalgic feeling of childhood wonder, where you believe anything is possible and magic may be just around any corner. And that is all I ever want in a book. I cannot accurately convey how exquisite this book is and I hope you will all go and experience it for yourselves if you haven’t already!

the starless sea


Have you read The Starless Sea yet? Is it on your list? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

 

‘The Ten Thousand Doors of January’ spoiler-free review!

Hello my dears 🙂 Time for another review! I can’t believe the speed with which this year (and decade) is coming to an end!

Today, I’m reviewing The Ten Thousand Doors of January which I recently buddy read with the lovely Jenna @ Bookmark Your Thoughts. I’m fairly certain this book is going to make my best of the year list! Read on to find out why…

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synopsis

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.


my thoughts

The first thing that captured me about The Ten Thousand Doors of January was the writing. Every word feels expertly chosen to convey that gorgeous, magical feel. This book easily stands alongside some of my all-time favourites and it’s easy to see why readers are comparing Alix E. Harrow to the likes of Laini Taylor and Erin Morgenstern.

No matter what the author was writing about, I am sure I would have loved it; the word choice and sentence structure all had that effortless feel to them. However, I loved this book even more for its concept. The idea of magical doors to other worlds is one that will surely capture the imagination of any book lover and I was no exception. This is the kind of story I have always loved but one that was also incredibly unique and special in its own right.

I also loved the book-within-a-book device which was used (although I must admit to being slightly confused when it was first introduced because I was being incredibly slow on the uptake). There was never a chapter where I didn’t feel 100% invested in what was happening.

January is a plucky heroine and a new favourite character of mine. I loved how she faced the challenges presented to her with courage and dignity and how she never gave up despite being faced with numerous obstacles.

I want to give further praise to the author for writing one of the best depictions of grief I have ever read. There are passages near the beginning of the novel that feature some wonderfully powerful imagery and I felt genuinely moved.

I could sing this novel’s praises all day. It is slow-burning and magical and suffused with a real sense of hope. I love it when a book makes me feel that way. The Ten Thousand Doors of January hits so many of my buzzwords with its stunning execution and I can see myself returning to it many more times in the future. I will definitely be watching out for more from this author.

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Have you read this one? I’d love to discuss it with you! Or is it on your TBR list? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

 

‘Angel Mage’ spoiler-free review!

Hey guys! First of all, I want to be real. I’m struggling right now. I’m approaching my course deadlines and the work is so intense. I’ve also just started a new job and while I’m really liking it so far, it’s been a full-on learning curve this week. I’ve not been sleeping well and I just really feel like my body and mind are taking a battering at the moment. So that’s why I’m having to step back from blogging a little. I hope you’ll bear with me while I get through this ❤

With all of that said, there’s no way I can let down the publishers who have been kind enough to send me review copies. So I’m going to keep on top of those as much as I’m able. It will just be slower than I would like.

Anyway! Today, I’m on the blog tour for Angel Mage, the new adult fantasy from Garth Nix! Thank you Gollancz for sending me an ARC 😀

angel mahe


synopsis

More than a century has passed since Liliath crept into the empty sarcophagus of Saint Marguerite, fleeing the Fall of Ystara. But she emerges from her magical sleep still beautiful, looking no more than nineteen, and once again renews her single-minded quest to be united with her lover, Palleniel, the archangel of Ystara.

A seemingly impossible quest, but Liliath is one of the greatest practitioners of angelic magic to have ever lived, summoning angels and forcing them to do her bidding.

Liliath knew that most of the inhabitants of Ystara died from the Ash Blood plague or were transformed into beastlings, and she herself led the survivors who fled into neighboring Sarance. Now she learns that angels shun the Ystaran’s descendants. If they are touched by angelic magic, their blood will turn to ash. They are known as Refusers, and can only live the most lowly lives.

But Liliath cares nothing for the descendants of her people, save how they can serve her. It is four young Sarancians who hold her interest: Simeon, a studious doctor-in-training; Henri, a dedicated fortune hunter; Agnez, an adventurous musketeer cadet; and Dorotea, an icon-maker and scholar of angelic magic. They are the key to her quest.

The four feel a strange kinship from the moment they meet, but do not know why, or suspect their importance. All become pawns in Liliath’s grand scheme to fulfill her destiny and be united with the love of her life. No matter the cost to everyone else…


my thoughts

I have to say, this is a difficult one for me to review. I recently binge-read two exceptional adult fantasy trilogies and I feel like my brain might be a bit over-saturated? So please take everything I say with a pinch of salt! Any issues I have with this book could be all me.

But let’s talk about what I enjoyed first, shall we? This book is billed as a reimagining of The Three Musketeers and although I haven’t read that, I really liked the premise of this. And the fact that it was so female-heavy was fantastic. I really liked the different portrayals of women, from Liliath to Rochefort to Agnez (my personal favourite) and Dorotea. It was wonderful to watch the interactions and power dynamics unfolding as the book progressed. Though I will admit, Liliath very much became a stereotype at times.

I also thought the magic system was very cool, with angels being called upon via icons to do a mortal’s bidding. I haven’t read many angel-based stories but I thought this was very unique and interesting.

Sadly, I did have some issues with the world building. I’ve seen a lot of reviewers saying that the world building was one of their favourite aspects so I’m almost convinced that this is a personal issue with me. I just found it so confusing and really difficult to picture? I couldn’t get my head around this world at all. I’d like to revisit it at a point in the future when I have less going on in my head because I just really struggled and I feel like I could appreciate it so much more.

There were so many names to try and keep track of and complicated hierarchies and rules, I just couldn’t keep it all straight in my head. And that made it difficult to feel invested in what was unfolding or to properly connect with it.

So to round off this extremely incoherent and unhelpful review, I would just say – it wasn’t really for me ON THIS OCCASION. At another time, I might have loved this. And I hope that if YOU decide to read it, you will find a new favourite!

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If you’re interested in finding out more about this book and what early readers are thinking of it, check out the other stops on the blog tour!

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Are you a Garth Nix fan? Is this one that you’ll be picking up? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

 

‘Finale’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Two posts in one day, you lucky ducks 😉

Here’s my spoiler-free review of the last instalment in Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series.

finale review


synopsis

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finally, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything.


my thoughtsIt devastates me to say it, but I’m a little disappointed by this one 😦 I adored the first book and really liked the second one (though it didn’t top the beginning of the series for me). However, this one really didn’t have the same magic in my opinion.

Before I get into what I thought was wrong with this one, I’ll talk about what I liked. The purple prose was once again divine and totally recognisable as Garber; I was giving it heart eyes by the end of page one. So I definitely can’t fault it in that respect. The flowery writing that I loved from the first two books was still present in abundance.

I also love the magic in these books. It’s mysterious and a little bit dark, and I just think it’s divine. I want a wardrobe full of magical dresses please and thank you.

However. I struggled with this book because it honestly felt a bit plotless? I would find it quite difficult to describe this book to someone as it didn’t seem to have a proper structure. For the final instalment in a trilogy, it definitely felt a bit weak.

There were also a LOT of characters to keep track of in this book, and not just those we met in the previous two books but newly introduced characters as well. I thought it was a brave choice on Garber’s part to introduce these new characters, in particular a new big bad villain, in the last third of her series – and sadly, I don’t think it paid off. I didn’t feel quite invested because the story was going off in a different direction to what I had been used to in the previous two books. I hadn’t had time to get to know this villain so I wasn’t feeling the high stakes tension that I should have been while reading a concluding book.

I also have to say that I didn’t mind Scarlett too much as a character in the first book (I know a lot of readers had issues with her). Unfortunately, as the trilogy has progressed, she has seriously gone down in my estimations. Her behaviour in this book was childish and quite honestly baffled me. She came across as very self-centred much of the time.

I’m genuinely so sad about how this trilogy has wrapped up. None of the big ‘shocks’ really impacted me, I didn’t feel as emotionally invested, it just didn’t do it for me. I feel bereft.

finale stephanie garber caraval

If you have read this series, please comment down below so we can discuss it! x

‘The Kingdom of Copper’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! I’m really excited to be reviewing what was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019 – The Kingdom of Copper! My review will contain no spoilers for either this book or book one, The City of Brass, though do be careful as the synopsis for this one reveals the ending of the first book! ❤

kingdom of copper


synopsis

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabadand quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her familyand one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the maridthe unpredictable water spiritshave gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.


my thoughtsThis was exactly the sequel I was hoping for! Chakraborty’s gorgeous world-building continues after her stunning setup in The City of Brass, with elaborate levels of detail lending a realness to the world she has created. Her writing is as flowing and wonderful as ever, totally sweeping me up in the story. Honestly, everything felt so cinematic; I could visualise everything playing out in my head so clearly and I could properly picture the characters (this is something I can’t always do so I see it as a sign of a great book!)

While the book was a tiny bit confusing at first, opening with a five-year jump ahead in time, I quickly settled back into the rhythm of things. As in the first book, I enjoyed the different perspectives, though I would have liked a little more of one of them!

Chakraborty again displays her talent for writing realistic dialogue. I don’t know how she does it but the conversations just flow so naturally and before you know it, you’re in deep! It really helps with the emotion of it all.

I will say that the book felt quite slow in pace until around the last 150 pages, at which point the drama really ramped up. However, I actually enjoyed getting immersed in the building political schemes so I didn’t mind the pace dragging a little.

I wholeheartedly recommend this adult fantasy series! I’ll just be over here slowly dying while I wait for book three…!

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Have you tried this series yet? What are some of your favourite fantasy stories? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)

‘The Hand, The Eye & The Heart’ blog tour! A very special Music Monday

Hello lovely people! I am absolutely DELIGTHED to be kicking off the Walker Books blog tour for The Hand, The Eye and The Heart by Zoë Marriott! When I heard that this book was a reimagining of the story of Mulan, I just knew that the beautiful ‘Reflection’ from the original Disney movie would pair with it perfectly.

First of all, take a look at what the book is about…

the hand the eye the heart.jpgZhilan was assigned female at birth; despite an unusual gift for illusions, they know they will live out their life in the perfumed confines of the women’s quarters. But when civil war sets the country aflame, Zhilan is the only one who can save their disabled Father from death on the battlefield.

By taking his place.

Surviving brutal army training as a male recruit – Zhi – is only the first challenge. Soon Zhi’s unique talents draw them into an even more perilous fight, in the glittering court of the Land of Dragons, where love and betrayal are two sides of the same smile. The fate of an Empire rests on Zhi’s shoulders. But to win, they must first decide where their loyalty, and their heart, truly belongs.

I am so excited to be reading a book about a non-binary character and I think this concept will lend itself perfectly to the story of Mulan. I’m so happy to be promoting this book!

The lyrics of ‘Reflection’ talk about being unable to realise your true self and the pressures to conform to what other people expect of you. So this post is sending a lot of love to anyone struggling with these feelings – I hope you enjoy the song and that you will consider picking up Zoë’s book ❤


Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour – there is some real talent being showcased! x

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‘Sherwood’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! After reading and loving Hunted in January, I was delighted to receive an ARC of Sherwood by Meagan Spooner from Harper 360! The opinions expressed here are my own and are in no way influenced by the publisher.

Sherwood review


synopsisRobin of Locksley is dead.

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

Who is there to stop them?

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


my thoughtsI’m really liking the way Meagan Spooner writes! This is the second book of hers that I’ve read and I’ve been impressed both times. There is some lovely lyrical writing, realistic dialogue and a good amount of world-building. I could really picture Sherwood forest and I particularly liked the sensory detail that was included, such as the autumn smells of rain and bonfires (heart eyes everywhere!)

One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was the portrayal of Marian’s grief and anxiety. Maybe enjoyed is the wrong word? What I mean is that I found it highly believable and appreciated its inclusion. It is wonderful to see more fantasy books exploring mental health topics as this is something that has previously been neglected.

There were some really great feminist vibes throughout the book, with both Marian and her maid Elena fighting for girl power! It was impossible not to root for them.

I also loved the found family aspect of the book. ‘Robin Hood’ and the band of merry men form a fantastic group contributing both humour and poignancy to the story. And there were some very interesting moral questions raised.

There was a slightly strange enemies-to-lovers trope that I wasn’t too sure about, though it certainly added an interesting dynamic to the story. It just wasn’t really where I wanted things to go. I did, however, find the ending to be quite satisfying; I wasn’t sure how Spooner would be able to wrap things up but I think she did a good job.

Overall, this was a fun read and I would recommend both this and Hunted to any fans of retellings!

4 notesA final rating of 4 musical notes! 

sherwood

Sherwood releases in the UK on April 18th.

Harry Potter 10 Years On: The Prisoner of Azkaban

Hi everyone! You may remember that towards the end of last year, I began a reread of the Harry Potter series, my first in 10 years in fact! I thought it would be fun to do a series of posts reacting to the books from an adult perspective. As always, I’ve tried to keep this as spoiler-free as possible but do proceed with caution as your idea of spoilers might be different from mine.

If you missed the first two posts, you can find my reactions to Philosopher’s Stone here and Chamber of Secrets here.


Initial Thoughts…

So bloody excited. This is my favourite book in the series. I used to take it EVERYWHERE with me.

When Harry feels like he is being watched, it’s actually a little bit creepy.

The world-building in this book is phenomenal.

I really love the darker feel to this book.

The dementors are honestly one of the creepiest monster creations in any book EVER.

I love Hermione’s reaction to divination classes. LOL

Lupin’s Defence Against the Dark Arts lessons sounds absolutely amazing. Also, I forgot how much I love him.

Can you imagine if every case of depression in our world was caused by dementors that we’re unable to see?!

The twists towards the end of this book are WILD, I just love where Rowling takes this story.

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Thoughts Upon Finishing…

Wow. I always talk about this as my favourite book in the Harry Potter series and one of my favourite books EVER but I had forgotten just how flipping amazing it is. You know when you call something a favourite for so long that you start to take it for granted? That’s what happened to me with this book.

I seriously love that this is the point when the series starts to get WAY darker and acquires a much more mature feel. The new characters introduced are some of my absolute favourites; I had forgotten how much love I have for Sirius and Remus.

Even the more mundane stuff in this book, like the descriptions of lessons or Quidditch matches, is so much more exciting to read than it was in the first two books. This is the book that made my childhood self lament not getting a Hogwarts letter.

It was fantastic to revisit this book and remember what I love about it, and I cannot wait to carry on with my series reread!

harry potter and the prisoner of azkaban

Which is your favourite Harry Potter book and why? Let me know in the comments! 

February 2019 Anticipated Releases!

 

February

Well, it’s the start of another month, which means it’s time for a look at some more anticipated releases, yay! And February is looking to be an incredible month for books. I couldn’t keep this list to just ten books so let’s not waste any more time and jump straight in!

Once again, covers and synopses are taken from Goodreads and I am using UK release dates.


White Stag by Kara Barbieri

Release date: February 1st

white stag

The first book in a brutally stunning series where a young girl finds herself becoming more monster than human and must uncover dangerous truths about who she is and the place that has become her home.

As the last child in a family of daughters, seventeen-year-old Janneke was raised to be the male heir. While her sisters were becoming wives and mothers, she was taught to hunt, track, and fight. On the day her village was burned to the ground, Janneke—as the only survivor—was taken captive by the malicious Lydian and eventually sent to work for his nephew Soren.

Janneke’s survival in the court of merciless monsters has come at the cost of her connection to the human world. And when the Goblin King’s death ignites an ancient hunt for the next king, Soren senses an opportunity for her to finally fully accept the ways of the brutal Permafrost. But every action he takes to bring her deeper into his world only shows him that a little humanity isn’t bad—especially when it comes to those you care about.

Through every battle they survive, Janneke’s loyalty to Soren deepens. After dangerous truths are revealed, Janneke must choose between holding on or letting go of her last connections to a world she no longer belongs to. She must make the right choice to save the only thing keeping both worlds from crumbling.

Why I’m interested: I have a bit of a thing for Goblin King stories and this one sounds perfectly wicked. Plus, Cait gave it a positive review and, honestly, that’s all I need to know.


The Familiars by Stacey Halls

Release date: February 4th

the familiars

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn’t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.

When she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife, Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong.

When Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the North-West, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her. But is there more to Alice than meets the eye?

As the two women’s lives become inextricably bound together, the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake.

Only they know the truth. Only they can save each other.

Why I’m interested: I’m fascinated by books about witch trials and this one sounds similar to Widdershins, which I loved. And it’s blurbed by Jessie Burton so it’s practically guaranteed to be overflowing with atmosphere.


A Danger to Herself and Others by Alyssa Sheinmel

Release date: February 5th

danger to herself and others

Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape…

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

Why I’m interested: I read Sheinmel’s novel Faceless a few years ago and enjoyed it. Her latest novel sounds very interesting and all the ARC reviews I’ve read so far have had nothing but good things to say.


The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

Release date: February 7th

glass woman

1686, ICELAND. AN ISOLATED, WINDSWEPT LAND HAUNTED BY WITCH TRIALS AND STEEPED IN THE ANCIENT SAGAS.

Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.

But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.

The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?

Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim . . .

Why I’m interested: Another book about witch trials but this one is set in Iceland?! This honestly sounds so Gothic and amazing, I need it in my life.


Sea monsters by Chloe Aridjis

Release date: February 7th

sea monsters

Pulsing to the soundtrack of Joy Division, Nick Cave, and Siouxsie and the Banshees, Sea Monsters offers an intoxicating portrait of Mexico in the late 1980s.

One autumn afternoon in Mexico City, seventeen-year-old Luisa does not return home from school. Instead, she boards a bus to the Pacific coast with Tomás, a boy she barely knows. He seems to represent everything her life is lacking—recklessness, impulse, independence.

Tomás may also help Luisa fulfil an unusual obsession: she wants to track down a traveling troupe of Ukrainian dwarfs. According to newspaper reports, the dwarfs recently escaped a Soviet circus touring Mexico. The imagined fates of these performers fill Luisa’s surreal dreams as she settles in a beach community in Oaxaca. Surrounded by hippies, nudists, beachcombers, and eccentric storytellers, Luisa searches for someone, anyone, who will “promise, no matter what, to remain a mystery.” It is a quest more easily envisioned than accomplished. As she wanders the shoreline and visits the local bar, Luisa begins to disappear dangerously into the lives of strangers on Zipolite, the “Beach of the Dead.”

Meanwhile, her father has set out to find his missing daughter. A mesmeric portrait of transgression and disenchantment unfolds. Sea Monsters is a brilliantly playful and supple novel about the moments and mysteries that shape us.

Why I’m interested: This sounds quite different to the kind of books I would usually read but there’s just something about this that’s calling to me. It sounds a bit weird and wonderful, but I’m definitely intrigued.


The Dreamers by Karen Thompson Walker

Release date: February 7th

dreamers

In an isolated college town in the hills of Southern California, a freshman girl stumbles into her dorm room, falls asleep—and doesn’t wake up. She sleeps through the morning, into the evening. Her roommate, Mei, cannot rouse her. Neither can the paramedics who carry her away, nor the perplexed doctors at the hospital. Then a second girl falls asleep, and then another, and panic takes hold of the college and spreads to the town. As the number of cases multiplies, classes are cancelled, and stores begin to run out of supplies. A quarantine is established. The National Guard is summoned.

Mei, an outsider in the cliquish hierarchy of dorm life, finds herself thrust together with an eccentric, idealistic classmate. Two visiting professors try to protect their newborn baby as the once-quiet streets descend into chaos. A father succumbs to the illness, leaving his daughters to fend for themselves. And at the hospital, a new life grows within a college girl, unbeknownst to her—even as she sleeps. A psychiatrist, summoned from Los Angeles, attempts to make sense of the illness as it spreads through the town. Those infected are displaying unusual levels of brain activity, more than has ever been recorded. They are dreaming heightened dreams—but of what?

Why I’m interested: The first time I heard about this book was over on Rachel’s blog and I was immediately intrigued. So many ARC reviews have compared this one to Station Eleven, which is one of my favourite ever books, and I definitely want to see for myself what it’s like!


On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Release date: February 7th

on the come up

Sixteen-year-old Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Or at least make it out of her neighborhood one day. As the daughter of an underground rap legend who died before he hit big, Bri’s got big shoes to fill. But now that her mom has unexpectedly lost her job, food banks and shutoff notices are as much a part of Bri’s life as beats and rhymes. With bills piling up and homelessness staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it—she has to make it.

On the Come Up is Angie Thomas’s homage to hip-hop, the art that sparked her passion for storytelling and continues to inspire her to this day. It is the story of fighting for your dreams, even as the odds are stacked against you; of the struggle to become who you are and not who everyone expects you to be; and of the desperate realities of poor and working-class black families.

Why I’m interested: I’ve only just read The Hate U Give but I’m definitely impressed with Thomas’ writing ability and I want to see where she goes with her second novel.


The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

Release date: February 12th

night tiger.jpg

They say a tiger that devours too many humans can take the form of a man and walk among us…

In 1930s colonial Malaya, a dissolute British doctor receives a surprise gift of an eleven-year-old Chinese houseboy. Sent as a bequest from an old friend, young Ren has a mission: to find his dead master’s severed finger and reunite it with his body. Ren has forty-nine days, or else his master’s soul will roam the earth forever.

Ji Lin, an apprentice dressmaker, moonlights as a dancehall girl to pay her mother’s debts. One night, Ji Lin’s dance partner leaves her with a gruesome souvenir that leads her on a crooked, dark trail.

As time runs out for Ren’s mission, a series of unexplained deaths occur amid rumours of tigers who turn into men. In their journey to keep a promise and discover the truth, Ren and Ji Lin’s paths will cross in ways they will never forget.

Why I’m interested: This sounds like a gorgeous historical fiction with possible magical realism elements and I’ve heard reliably from one of my book club ladies that it’s very good!


The Problem of Susan and Other Stories by Neil Gaiman

Release date: February 12th

the problem of susan

From Hugo, Eisner, Newbery, Harvey, Bram Stoker, Locus, World Fantasy, and Nebula award-winning author Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell (The Sandman, The Giver), Scott Hampton (American Gods), and Paul Chadwick (Concrete) comes a graphic novel adaptations of the short stories and poems: The Problem of Susan, October in the Chair, Locks, and The Day the Saucers Came.

Two stories and two poems. All wondrous and imaginative about the tales we tell and experience. Where the incarnations of the months of the year sit around a campfire sharing stories, where an older college professor recounts a Narnian childhood, where the apocalypse unfolds, and where the importance of generational storytelling is seen through the Goldilocks fairytale. These four comic adaptations have something for everyone and are a must for Gaiman fans!

Why I’m interested: It’s Neil Gaiman. ‘Nuff said. I’ve never read any of the four stories/poems featured here but I’m sure they’ll be fantastic, as usual. And it will be really interesting to see them in graphic novel format!


The Great Unknowable End by Kathryn Ormsbee

Release date: February 19th

the great unknowable end.jpg

Slater, Kansas is a small town where not much seems to happen.

Stella dreams of being a space engineer. After Stella’s mom dies by suicide and her brother runs off to Red Sun, the local hippie commune, Stella is forced to bring her dreams down to Earth to care for her sister Jill.

Galliard has only ever known life inside Red Sun. There, people accept his tics, his Tourette’s. But when he’s denied Red Sun’s resident artist role he believed he was destined for, he starts to imagine a life beyond the gates of the compound…

The day Stella and Galliard meet, there is something in the air in their small town. Literally. So begins weeks of pink lightning, blood red rain, unexplained storms… And a countdown clock appears mysteriously above the town hall. With time ticking down to some great, unknowable end they’ll each have to make a choice.

If this is really the end of the world, who do they want to be when they face it?

Why I’m interested: I love the sound of the supernatural/magical elements in this one, not to mention the mental health rep!


The Kingdom of Copper by S. A. Chakraborty

Release date: February 21st

kingdom of copper.jpg

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of the battle that saw Dara slain at Prince Ali’s hand, Nahri must forge a new path for herself, without the protection of the guardian who stole her heart or the counsel of the prince she considered a friend. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family and one misstep will doom her tribe.

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid, the unpredictable water spirits, have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.

Why I’m interested: This is definitely the most anticipated book on this list! The City of Brass was one of my favourite reads of 2018 and I am so bloody excited for book two!!


Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Release date: February 21st

enchantee

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

Why I’m interested: As soon as I heard of this one last year, I knew I wanted to read it. It sounds magical and fantastical and everything I love in a book. I’ve since heard mixed reviews about it but I’d still like to give it a try!


The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Release date: February 26th

priory of the orange tree

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Why I’m interested: This book has been getting hype for the longest time and if I’m totally honest, I wasn’t interested at first. However, a couple of recent reviews have really convinced me that this is going to be awesome. And I’m definitely in the mood for some epic fantasy in 2019.


The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper by Hallie Rubenhold

Release date: February 28th

the five

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers.
What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.

Why I’m interested: I’ve always had a bit of a morbid fascination with Jack the Ripper and combining that with my desire to read more non-fiction this year, I’ve definitely got this one on my wishlist!


So those are some of the February releases I’ve got my eye on! Are you looking forward to any of these? Let me know in the comments! xsignature (2)