Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Blog Tour: Unspeakable Gothic Queer Anthology

Hello everyone!

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour where I will be giving a review on the anthology that I was gratefully given in exchange for an honest review.

This anthology was so wonderful! It was creepy, eerie and featured haunted homes, vampires, werewolves, and lots of other weird and wonderful creatures. I enjoyed reading all of the stories within this anthology and I didn’t want it to end! There were some stand out pieces which I will outline below :)

The White Door- there were so many great lines that stood out to me, in particular:
‘The grand piano, so neglected its coating of dust had congealed into something like skin, beckoned me.’
‘they wore the identical uniform of ugly death. Like the bride in the second coffin, they were emaciated, skin peeling like old paper from their bones.’ 
‘I smiled at him, thinking that once he was used to me bringing him tea in the morning, I’d start slipping poison into it.’ 
‘His skin hung from his face like a once luxurious suit, now threadbare.’
How great are these ?! I loved this creepy Bluebeard-esque tale.

Another tale that I enjoyed is: Laguna and the Engkanto, this was eerie and the atmosphere and characters leapt from the page. I particularly enjoyed this paragraph:
Laguna hated the sea. The crashing of the waves kept her awake at night, a cacophony of breaking 
and shushing, which swept through the house, permeating the thin wooden walls gapped with clay to keep in the cool. The brine would cloy in her throat and the sea salt bristled her skin. She was always restless during the full orb of the moon, when the glow would glare through the woven roof and the waves seemed the most intense.’

The next story that caught my eye was Moon in the Glass:
They found her body on my wedding night. She was floating face-up, they said, her unbound hair spreading around her like flames.’ this opening line hooked me in right away and I knew this would be interesting! Another quote is: ‘I dreamed of her that night. My hands tangled in her fiery hair, the silken curve of her waist, and the exhalation of her breath that carried my name with it like a prayer.’ This line was just *chefs kiss*

Another tale is Brideprice, this was so intriguing and a great story! I didn’t want it to end. Here’s some quotes that I loved:
My grandmother had whispered stories of a demon who roamed the battlefields after the killing had ended, a night creature, so unholy the devil never invited him in for dinner. I suppose I half expected you.
Beauty depreciates in value faster than any coinage, but in Russia in 1934, it was all that was keeping me fed.’
‘In a lifetime populated with society's poorest wretches, you stood out like black blood on new snow.’  Great imagery that put a spin on the whole red blood on snow thing. Adored this story.

Lure of the Abyss featured a siren monster creature and a pirate who form a bond. It seems weird to call this cute but it made me laugh and worry in equal parts and this captivated me. Here’s some
quotes I loved:
The first time she came in the dead of night, the sky as black as her tail. The second time she came in 
the middle of a storm, wind howling through the rigging and rain lashing the deck, making the world 
slippery and precarious.’ 
‘She was beautiful, in the way that the raging storm around us was beautiful. Wild and raw.’ How great are these lines!

The next story that I really enjoyed is Hearteater:
“Men and women have been going missing here for years; when they find them, they find them in the woods, their bodies torn to shreds and their ribs cracked open. They say whatever is responsible is eating their hearts."' 
'It made something inside me scream; I couldn't stand to look at her. I wanted to cling to her borrowed waistcoat, to chew through her ribcage and live insider her heart forever.'
'gazed up at her with devotion so strong it sacrilegious.'

From Quicksilver Prometheus:
'Henry spent a restful enough night in the attic room. The roar of the sea lulled him to sleep, but when he dreamt, it was of sailors on great ships being tossed about on fathomless, choppy waters, clinging for dear life to the deck. Of great creatures swimming in the depths below, huge beasts with tentacles and blind eyes waiting for an unfortunate soul to tumble overboard.' 
'Alan on fire, the skin of his lovely face blistered and bubbling or Alan lying bloated and fish-nibbled on the seabed.' 

Homesick was another great tale that I enjoyed! Ghosts who meet and fall in love over reading is ideal.
'She had met other ghosts on her travels. Not everyone who died became a haunting presence. Else the world would be full of shades. As it was, you could travel for miles without seeing another dead soul. They made poor company though. They were always obsessed with something - a loss, a betrayal, revenge, despair...'
'Marion hadn't forgotten the currency of smiles, how they spoke a language of their own.' 

My last tale I'll focus on is The Ruin which has one of the best opening lines:
'We met at a book club that only reads books about the end of the world.' How great is that!
Special mention goes to this line- '"Nice cottage," he called, "did you have to eat a Granny to get it?''


There is my review of this incredible anthology full of amazing tales by creative writers and I urge you to get a copy! It will not be a waste and there is really something for everyone in these tales. I loved them and wanted to see many of them as full length novels!

5 out of 5 stars.

Be sure to carry on with the tour tomorrow!

Friday, 15 November 2019

Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

My Review:

Serpent and Dove was one of my most anticipated reads of 2019 and it definitely lived up to the hype. It has enemies to lovers, witchcraft and magic, girls supporting girls, loyal friendships, a badass heroine and positive character growth. There were snarky comments, sass, rude humour and a saucy sex scene that I’d recommend for mature readers.

Lou and Reed were wonderful central characters and I enjoyed the split narrative and delving into Reed’s mind. It was easier to understand his views on why he disliked witchcraft so much etc. The character arcs were believable and realistic; the journey that they all went on changed them for the better.

I loved the humour in Serpent & Dove; the Big Tiddy Liddy song was funny! I liked how the dynamic was different with Lou being more dominant than Reed when it’s usually the other way around.
I would recommend this book to fans of magic, romance, forbidden romance and forced marriage.

5 out of 5 stars

[ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!]

Thursday, 31 October 2019

Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim 

Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.

My Review:

"Ask me to spin the finest yarn or threat, and I can do it faster than any man -even with my eyes closed. Yet ask me to tell a lie, and I will stumble and falter to think of one. I have never had a talent for spinning tales."

Pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway, this instantly captured my attention. I read this three months ago (I'm so behind with writing reviews its unbelievable!) I finished this in two days, it would have been faster if I didn't have university work to complete, but it left me thinking about it and yearning to read it -which is always a sign of a great book.

The writing style was lyrical and flowed, the mythology that was included was extremely interesting! The Legend of the God of Thieves was magical. I enjoyed the plot, there were twists that I both expected and didn't expect. I loved the idea of crafting the magical garments, "One woven with the laughter of the sun, another embroidered with the tears of the moon, and lastly, one painted with the blood of the stars." The journey that the characters had to undertake to collect these objects was exciting, interesting and gripping.

Maia and Edan were my favourite characters, I enjoyed the trope of slow-burn fake romance turned into real romance. The romance was believable and swoon-worthy.

This was a book well-deserving of the hype and I'd recommend for lovers of romance, fantasy, mythology and magic. 

5 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday #CWW #WOW

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

My WOW this week is 'What Monstrous Gods' by Rosamund Hodge. I think this sounds incredible, unfortunately we have to wait two years for it to come out! 

Kristin Rens at Balzer + Bray has acquired a YA fantasy novel by Cruel Beauty author Rosamund Hodge. 

The book, What Monstrous Gods, starts where “Sleeping Beauty” leaves off, as Lia, a girl chosen by the gods of Runakhia, releases the royal family from 500 years of enchanted sleep and kills the heretic sorcerer who trapped them—only to find that the gods are not as benevolent as they appear, and the ghost of the sorcerer she killed may be her only help to protect her life and country. 

Publication is planned for early 2021; Hannah Bowman at Liza Dawson Associates did the deal for world rights.

-How amazing does this sound?! 
Add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf here.

What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments :)

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Spoiler-Free Review: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) and Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Schusterman


Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

My Spoiler-Free Review:

I was first came across Scythe after reading tons of positive reviews raving about the concept and characters on Goodreads. Initially I was sceptical, the hype was hugeeee and I had tons of other books to read first so it ended up drifting to the sidelines. I then did a Twitter poll on what to read next and Scythe won so I thought I'd give it a whirl and boyyyy... it did not disappoint! This will be a joint review of both books in the series as I practically inhaled both of these straight after the other so my thoughts and feelings are all jumbled together.

Scythe and Thunderhead were incredible! The concept, the characters, the plot twists, the world building. Everything was spot on and I loved this novel. I've previously read Shusterman's Dry and I thought that was pretty great with a tense plot and believable characters but Scythe is truly where his writing shines.

The characters Citra and Rowan were well-crafted, they were never perfect and faultless instead they had their own quirks and bad decisions and this made them more believable. I enjoyed reading from both of their perspectives as this opened up their thoughts and feelings on their situations. In Thunderhead, we are introduced to new perspectives and I thought this was great!

The concept of no death was extremely interesting and I enjoyed how it looked at immortality and life in a completely different way. There were MAJOR plot twists I did not expect, the ending of Thunderhead left me shocked and confused and full of questions. I'm excited to see where this will all go in the next instalment The Toll (#3).

Overall, I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys adventure, mystery and sci-fi.

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Review: Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1) by Bex Hogan

Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life - to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles - but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father. A new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.

Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He's the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne's father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves - and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.

My Review:


--Viper has the perfect ingredients of magic, pirates, assassins, romance and action! It was a wild, thrilling ride that had me on the edge of my seat rooting for Marianne. 
--Lots of tension, drama and suspense!
--The world building was great! I loved the idea of the Isles and the Maiden ship stalking the seas.
--The characters were believable (Crying gifs for all the great characters who died! :( Hogan kills her darlings, don’t get attached to anyone!)
--Grace was a sweetheart, Torin was a brave cutie pie, and Tomas was an angel!
--The romance was a slow-burner and utterly perfect.
--Exciting, fast-paced plot with a great ending. Looking forward to Venom, I enjoyed the snippet at the end. 

--The magic system wasn’t explained a lot, but I’m guessing that’s because Marianne didn’t really know much about it. 
--I wanted to know more about the Western Isles and what made them so great. 

Overall, incredible! 5 out of 5 stars!

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Review: Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

Girls with Sharp Sticks

The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.

My Review:

“‘It’s dangerous to leave girls unprotected,’ a professor told me once. ‘Especially pretty girls like you.” 

This was such an intriguing and creepy read, I requested it on NetGalley because when I read the summary it sounded similar to Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill where there are girls who have been contained and have to remain obedient and ‘perfect’ for males. I’ve never read any of Suzanne Young’s other novels, however I enjoyed the writing style so I will definitely consider picking up some of her other books. 

The pace was great, it kept me on edge and I was reading until the early morning desperate to know what would happen! The plot wasn’t predictable, I didn’t know what the ending would be like –whether happy or sad. 

The main characters were the highlight of this book for me, their friendship was powerful and they truly cared for one another. I enjoyed reading the poem ‘Girls with Sharp Sticks’, this was inventive and rebellious and I could see it sparking a fire about their mistreatment and controlled lives. I wish that we’d seen more of Jackson and his side but that’s just a problem with first person narratives I guess. The villains were pretty straightforward, we found out who they were pretty early on and I was rooting for them to suffer! There was however, a twist that I didn’t see coming that was clever! This is explained more towards the end of the narrative and I enjoyed it a lot! 

I’ve seen there will be a second instalment entitled ‘Girls with Razor Hearts’ which sounds like a pretty cool title and I will definitely be reading this in 2020 when it’s released. 

Overall, this was a great read and kept me hooked! I’d recommend to fans of technology, feminism, friendships, revenge and romance. 

5 out of 5 stars. 

[Thank you to Simon & Schuster UK Children’s for giving me access to a copy on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!]

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