Title: A Curse of Ash and Embers (Tales of the Blackbone Witches #1)
Author: Jo Spurrier
Publication date: November 3rd, 2018
A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic.
Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters.
But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess.
When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep.
Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not.
And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.
A Curse of Ash and Embers was a very interesting read. I really enjoyed the world Jo Spurrier created, and how she was able to give information about it without openly world-building or info-dumping. The MC leaves her family home to take a job with a witch, which she didn’t know at the time. In her tasks for the witch, she learns of magic and plots and evil and gets drawn into the world, somewhat against her will.
I liked the characters, the plot was fast paced and unique, and the magic system wasn’t confusing. It isn’t fully explained, but you don’t feel like you need more information to understand the plot. I am excited to continue in this series and read more Tales of the Blackbone Witches.
Thank you to Voyager and Edelweiss for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Warriors of Wing and Flame (Sisters of Shadow and Light #2)
Author: Sara B. Larson
Publisher : Tor Teen
Publication date: October 27th, 2020
The doorway between the magical Visempirum and the human world has been reopened. Paladin are once more living in the citadel where Zuhra and Inara grew up completely isolated by the magical hedge that trapped them there. Amidst the brewing conflict between the Paladin and humans looms the threat of Barloc, who has stolen Inara’s immense power and continues to elude the Paladin who are desperately searching for him.
In this sequel to Sisters of Shadow and Light, Inara and Zuhra must navigate the treacherous paths of self-discovery, their love for each other, and for the boys who have captured their hearts. Together, they search for the strength within themselves to bridge the divide between the two worlds they inhabit, even as war threatens to destroy everything—and everyone—they love.
Warriors of Wing and Flame is the gripping conclusion to the Sisters of Shadow and Light duology, starting shortly after Sisters ended. Inara and Zuhra are back trying to save Vamala and Visimperum, while trying to figure out life, romance, and the boys they have given their hearts to. In Warriors, we get redemption, excitement, and new adventures for our two favorite sisters.
I rated this book using my heart, not so much a rating scale. I adore Zuhra and Inara and love how their characters are developing and growing throughout this book. The supporting characters; i.e. their love interests, their parents, grandparents, and team are all amazing characters that add something special to the story. This book is action packed and will keep you on your toes with twists and turns.
I also really enjoyed the writing style. For a YA fantasy, it read more like an adult fantasy book in terms of language and plot – which I enjoyed. It reminded me strongly of the Strange the Dreamer duo by Laini Taylor. The writing style is smooth and I believe this book was even better paced than the first. I had one tiny issue with Inara’s age, she seemed too young for a lot of her plot line to be realistic. I also didn’t particularly enjoy the redemption arc for an abusive parent, though it wasn’t as large of a redemption as I was expecting.
Overall, I very much enjoyed reading this duo and gave both book 5 stars. I love when books just rip emotions and feelings out of you and leave you wanting more. I was swept up in this book and wouldn’t have it any other way.
**Thank you to Turn the Pages Tours and Tor Teen for including me in the blog tour for this title. A copy was provided to me in exchange for an honest review**
Sara B. Larson is the best-selling and critically acclaimed author of the YA fantasy DEFY trilogy (DEFY, IGNITE, and ENDURE) and the DARK BREAKS THE DAWN duology. Her next YA fantasy, SISTERS OF SHADOW AND LIGHT, comes out November 5th from Tor Teen. She can’t remember a time when she didn’t write books—although she now uses a computer instead of a Little Mermaid notebook. Sara lives in Utah with her husband, their four children, and their Maltese, Loki. She writes in brief snippets throughout the day and the quiet hours when most people are sleeping. Her husband claims she should have a degree in “the art of multitasking.” When she’s not mothering or writing, you can often find her at the gym repenting for her sugar addiction.
A compulsive debut thriller about motherhood, obsession and how far we’d go to protect the ones we love.
Five-year-old Ava Boone has been missing for six months. There have been no leads, no arrests, no witnesses. The only suspect was quiet, middle-aged Leland Ernest.
And Grace Wright has just bought the house next door. Recently divorced, Grace uprooted her two small children to start again and hopes the move will reset her crippling insomnia. But now she understands bargain-price for her beautiful new house.
With whispered neighbourhood gossip and increasingly sleepless nights, Grace develops a fierce obsession with Leland and the safety of her children. Could she really be living next door to a child-kidnapper? A murderer?
With reality and dream blurring more each day, Grace desperately pursues the truth – following Ava’s family, demanding answers from the police – and then a body is discovered…
She Lies Close follows a single mother of two, recently divorced, who also has mental health issues and is just trying to keep her kids safe. Unfortunately, her new house is next door to the man who is suspected of kidnapping a young child in the neighborhood, and this sends Grace into a tailspin. She tries to solve the disappearance of Ava while struggling with insomnia and paranoia. But when her next door neighbor turns up dead and she dreamt of killing him the same way, that same night, she starts to wonder if she is the killer….
So, I found the concept of She Lies Close to be compelling, but there was something lacking in the execution. I don’t mind irredeemable characters, but Grace had nothing positive going for her so it was hard to root for her. Parts of the story were unbelievable, as she continued to spiral and did more illegal things without getting caught. Also, her kids were brats and rude and it was just hard to read.
I appreciated the twist ending (as most thrillers/mysteries boast). One tiny detail of the ending was a let down, but overall it was a satisfying conclusion.
Thank you to Titan Books and Edelweiss for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Budding photographer Josie Saint-Martin has spent half her life with her single mother, moving from city to city. When they return to her historical New England hometown years later to run the family bookstore, Josie knows it’s not forever. Her dreams are on the opposite coast, and she has a plan to get there.
What she doesn’t plan for is a run-in with the town bad boy, Lucky Karras. Outsider, rebel…and her former childhood best friend. Lucky makes it clear he wants nothing to do with the newly returned Josie. But everything changes after a disastrous pool party, and a poorly executed act of revenge lands Josie in some big-time trouble—with Lucky unexpectedly taking the blame.
Determined to understand why Lucky was so quick to cover for her, Josie discovers that both of them have changed, and that the good boy she once knew now has a dark sense of humor and a smile that makes her heart race. And maybe, just maybe, he’s not quite the brooding bad boy everyone thinks he is…
**Thank you to Simon Pulse, Netgalley, and Jenn Bennett for a copy of this ebook in exchange for an honest review**
I will always adore Jenn Bennett’s books. Her YA Contemporary storytelling is unmatched, and Chasing Lucky is no different. Josie Saint-Martin has been moving around the East Coast since she turned 12. Her mom doesn’t have much luck with men or jobs or family in life, so they are continuously looking to go somewhere new. The latest move is back to where Josie grew up, a small town named Beauty in Rhode Island where the Saint-Martin’s are known for their terrible luck with men. In fact, it’s widely considered to be a curse placed on all the women in the family, several generations back. When Josie moves back, she’s immediately confronted with the sight of her long lost best friend, Lucky, who she hasn’t spoken to since she moved away. Now he’s 17 and… hot?! But Josie has no plans on sticking around Beauty longer than necessary.
I love a bad boy. And I will swoon forever over a bad boy persona covering a tormented and soft cinnamon roll of a boy. This is basically Lucky. In terms of characters, I prefer him over Josie our MC, as I feel Josie just makes terrible decisions half the time? That trope just gets irritating the more you read it. Lucky and Josie are basically polar opposites, and you know what they say… opposites attract.
I enjoy the small town life setting, it really reminded me of Nicholas Sparks books (just the setting, none of the heart-wrenching) with the idea of everyone knowing everyone’s business. Also, I love that Josie’s family runs a bookstore and has for a very long time. Small town life makes for some great contemporary novels.
The writing is just beautiful, I mean Jenn Bennett almost isn’t capable of doing anything but write beautifully. Her ability to weave stories and backgrounds for characters is amazing. If you’re a Jenn Bennett fan, I would say Chasing Lucky relates most closely to Starry Eyes.
Bree Leake doesn’t want to be tied down. She’s had more jobs than she can count, and she plans to move as soon as the curtains fall on her less-than-minor stage role at The Barter—the oldest live performance theater in the US. But just when it’s time to move on again, Bree’s parents make her an offer: hold steady for a full year, and they will give her the one thing she’s always wanted—her grandmother’s house. Her dreams are coming true . . . until life at the theater throws her some curve balls.
And then there’s Chip McBride—her handsome and infuriating next-door neighbor.
Chip just might be the only person whose stubborn streak can match Bree’s. She would move heaven and earth to have him off her cul-de-sac and out of her life, but according to the bargain she’s struck, she can’t move out of her house and away from the man who’s making her life miserable. So begins Bree’s obsessive new mission: to drive Chip out of the neighborhood—and fast.
Bree isn’t the only one who’s a tad competitive, and Chip is more than willing to fight fire with fire. But as their pranks escalate, the line between love and hate starts to blur—and their heated rivalry threatens to take a hilarious, heartwarming, and romantic new turn.
The Cul-de-Sac War grabbed and kept my attention very well. It does not follow the normal outline of a Contemporary Romance, which might be why I was so intrigued by it. This book is very much enemies to lovers, where neighbors get into a prank war with each other after not seeing eye to eye on well… anything. To be fair, it is mostly instigated by the female MC, Bree, but Chip definitely strikes back frequently. It’s all mostly based on a misunderstanding, but it is very entertaining to read.
I felt there were some scenes unnecessary to the book, but overall I felt like this book was well written, well paced, and stayed true to the characters. I enjoy when two characters are in relationships, but end up realizing they aren’t who they are meant to be with BUT don’t engage in cheating or toxic behaviors. I am happy this story didn’t include any of that and allowed the romance to happen when both parties were unattached.
The epilogue was chaotic. I generally love epilogues in romance stories, because it gives you a glimpse into the future to see how the love story is working out. But I feel like this epilogue created more questions than it answered. I left the story feeling like things were not wrapped up and it was very confusing. Not normally how I feel after reading epilogues.
I did truly enjoy this book, and it reminded me of You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle so if you enjoyed that book, you will enjoy this one. It is also somewhat pitched as Christian fiction/romance, but it is not in any way overtly religious – there is just some brief mention of faith. There is also a minor storyline that is more serious, childhood cancer, so be aware of content that might trigger you.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Happy November! November is one of my favorite months because Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. However, we must all get through the election tomorrow first! The anxiety is real friends. It’s been a weird year so I could really use a win tomorrow.
So without further ado, below is my TBR for November. I went back to making a pretty long TBR to see if I can get back into reading this month. I fell behind on Netgalley ARC’s and I’m looking to catch back up this month, while also reading a few physical books that have been on my shelf for awhile.
What are you all reading this month?
The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1), Kiersten White
Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1), Sara B. Larson
Warriors of Wing and Flame (Sisters of Shadow and Light #2), Sara B. Larson
Furyborn (Empirium #1), Claire Legrand
Kingsbane (Empirium #2), Claire Legrand
Lightbringer (Empirium #3), Claire Legrand
Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2), Neal Shusterman
The Toll (Arc of a Scythe #3), Neal Shusterman
Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6), Sarah J. Maas
The Grace Year, Kim Liggett
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V. E. Schwab
The Iron King (The Iron Fey #1), Julie Kagawa
The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey #2), Julia Kagawa
The Camelot Betrayal (Camelot Rising #2), Kiersten White
Truth, Lies, and Second Dates, MaryJanice Davidson
She Lies Close, Sharon Doering
Shipped, Angie Hocking
Enjoy the View (Moose Springs, Alaska #3), Sarah Morgenthaler
Like I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I did not read a lot in the month of October. I was in a funk for a lot of the month, so I didn’t come close to hitting my TBR target for the month – and that’s okay. It’s OKAY. 2020 has been such a whirlwind and we all need our downtime, and this month was mine. All I could really do was binge TV sitcoms on Hulu and Netflix and didn’t have the brain space for books.
I hope to be back at it next month though, because I do miss reading and falling in love with fictional worlds. But, we’ll see. I have a TBR post that will be coming tomorrow, but who knows if I’ll stick to it throughout the month or just read whatever I want.
So, below is what I read this month!
Home Before Dark, Riley Sager – 4/5 stars
Fix Her Up (Hot & Hammered #1), Tessa Bailey – 4.5/5 stars (reread)
The Other Mrs., Mary Kubica – 3/5 stars
Winterwood, Shea Earnshaw – 4/5 stars
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5), Sarah J. Maas – 5/5 stars
The Perfect Escape, Suzanne Park – 3/5 stars
Grey (Fifty Shades As Told by Christian #1), E. L. James
Darker (Fifty Shades As Told by Christian #2), E. L. James
99 Percent Mine, Sally Thorne – 3.5/5 stars
Kiss My Cupcake, Helena Hunting – 4/5 stars
A Curse of Ash and Embers (Tales of the Blackbone Witches #1), Jo Spurrier – 4/5 stars
If you haven’t noticed, I took a long break from my blog. I haven’t been reading much, and it’s been really stressful trying to maintain a blog, bookstagram, reading goals, and well… LIFE. So I took a break. I might be back, but I also might not be back. I want to revise my goals for this blog, because I think I was putting too much pressure on myself. I started this page for fun, but it feels more like work.
But, I find these posts easier than reviews! So I’m back for Haul, Wrap Up, and TBR for next month over the next few days! Below are the books I obtained in the month of October.
BARNES AND NOBLE
My honey took me to Barnes and Noble for my birthday and let me pick out books!
House of Dragons (House of Dragons #1), Jessica Cluess
The Kinder Poison (The Kinder Poison #1), Natalie Mae
My future MIL bought me a birthday present!
Vicious Spirits (Gumiho #2), Kat Cho
Ties That Tether, Jane Igharo – BOTM
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, V. E. Schwab – BOTM
Legendborn (Legendborn #1), Tracy Deonn – Owlcrate Special Edition
Thank you to the publishers for copies of these books! I am participating in a blog/booksta tour in November for the Sisters duo and I also received an ARC (my first one!!!) this month!
Sisters of Shadow and Light (Sisters of Shadow and Light #1), Sara B. Larson
Warriors of Wing and Flame (Sisters of Shadow and Light #2), Sara B. Larson
Two weeks before her wedding, a stranger stops Amy in the street and warns her she’s in danger. Then that night, Matt, her fiancé, doesn’t come home. Desperate, Amy calls the police – but when Matt fails to emerge, she’s forced to call off her wedding day.
Then another man is reported missing, by a woman called Fiona – a man meeting Matt’s description, who was about to leave his fiancée for her. He was supposed to be moving in with her – but instead, he’s vanished.
Amy refuses to believe Fiona’s lover can be her Matt – but photos prove otherwise, and it soon becomes clear that Matt has been leading a double life. As the police dig deeper, two conflicting, yet equally plausible stories emerge from two women who allegedly have never met.
The wedding day never happened. But the funeral might.
The Vow is a twisty, back and forth mystery that kept me guessing up until the very end. Written in alternating POV’s with several characters, you learn the life of Amy and Matt, a couple who are meant to be married in two weeks. But one day Matt disappears, and the evidence begins to point to Amy as you learn Matt was having an affair and was going to call off the wedding. You begin to get Fiona’s perspective, the woman Matt was cheating with. Back and forth, you can’t tell which woman is responsible for the disappearance. Just when you think you know what’s happening, guess again…
Truly, I had no idea how this book would end until well, the ending. The author did an amazing job of burying the lead in several interesting subplots that kept turning the story on it’s head. It was a wild ride to get to the ending, but so very worth it. I’ve only recently begun to really get into mystery/thrillers but I have to say this is one of my favorites. There is a somewhat psychological hint to this thriller, so if you enjoy that you will enjoy this one.
In terms of characters, this is not a book with redeemable characters. Everyone has a backstory, hidden motives, and you won’t see it coming. As this is somewhat usual for the genre, I don’t imagine this is much of a surprise. But, this helps the plot go on because you could see any one of the characters having a part in Matt’s disappearance, because they all have something that keeps them from being redeemable. The book is fairly evenly paced, it never really felt like it was dragging or going too fast in any parts.
I highly recommend Debbie Howell’s new mystery, The Vow, for all my mystery lovers out there!
Thank you to Avon Books UK and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.
While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of a revolution looming, Thea is sent to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.
But there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.
A Golden Fury is a historical fiction/fantasy involving alchemy in the 1800’s. Thea, our MC, has worked her whole life under her mother as she chases the holy grail, the Philosopher’s Stone. But, just as her mother makes the stone, she goes mad and tries to kill Thea. She smashes the stone and Thea must flee her French patron’s house to live with her father in England, who doesn’t know she exists. Thea is determined to recreate her mother’s success in order to heal her of the madness. But as she continues on in her journey, Thea realizes there is a curse on the person who attempts to create it, and the people around her start to go mad. Thea is then caught between her friend Will and a high ranking noble as she is kidnapped and forced to create the stone herself. Will Thea be able to create it, or will she go mad as well?
I liked Thea as a MC, she was strong-willed, especially for the time she was living in. She had so much sass and wasn’t afraid to stand up for herself, even against men or when she was being told she couldn’t do something because she was a woman. I also really enjoyed that there was no overt romance plot line. She and Will had a slight involvement prior to the story starting, but there was no romance told during the book. It truly focused on her journey independently.
I wasn’t thrilled with the ending. I felt it could have been wrapped up better, especially her last conversation with her mother. There were some parts of the book that I couldn’t see coming, which was fantastic. But the ending just fell flat. I wanted an epilogue or something to round out the story more. See where the characters ended up. It just sort of stops.
If you enjoy historical fiction or the Discovery of Witches books, I think you’ll enjoy this standalone about alchemy.
Thank you to Wednesday Books and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.