ARC reviews · Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Mini Review Wrap-Up ~ A Dowry of Blood and Winter’s Orbit

Hello, long time no see! It’s been a little while *checks notes* ok maybe a couple of months since I last updated, but I am here now. Life has been chaotic and very busy recently and it’s meant that my reading and energy for blogging has taking a bit of a dive. I am trying to practise some selfcare and part of that is finding a way back to enjoying reading because I definitely miss sinking into a good book and leaving our world behind.

Whilst my reading has slowed down I have managed to read some books during this time. One of which was an arc of A Dowry of Blood by ST Gibson and the other being Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell as part of a buddy read with the wonderful Laura @ The Book Corps. So I’m here with some review (albeit very brief) so that I can a least share some of what I’ve managed to read with you!

A Dowry of Blood by ST Gibson

Publication Date: January 31st 2021

Publisher: Nyx Publishing

Blurb: A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A DOWRY OF BLOOD is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation.

Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.

With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.


A Dowry of Blood is an atmospheric, haunting and ultimately beautiful story of survival. Constanta lays of the brink of death when her world is changed forever. Constanta is drawn in by her mesmerising husband, but as the years past and Constanta strays further and further from the girl she was, she begins to realise that her husband’s love comes with a dangerous cost.

I loved A Dowry of Blood, it is simply gorgeous and Gibson’s writing is just beautiful. It will destroy you and so too will the characters. The story is written as a letter from Constanta to Dracula and in it we see her journey from the brink of death to her new life as a bride of Dracula and her path to freedom as she comes to know her own worth and strength. Alexi and Magdalena will also break your heart as Constanta’s fellow brides. A Dowry of Blood isn’t light reading but it will leave you in awe.

Find A Dowry of Blood
Goodreads ~ Dymocks ~ Booktopia ~ Book Depository

Find ST Gibson
Website ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads Author Page

Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Publication Date: February 2nd 2021

Publisher: Tor

Blurb: While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have begun to chafe under Iskat’s rule. When tragedy befalls Imperial Prince Taam, his Thean widower, Jainan, is rushed into an arranged marriage with Taam’s cousin, the disreputable Kiem, in a bid to keep the rising hostilities between the two worlds under control.

But when it comes to light that Prince Taam’s death may not have been an accident, and that Jainan himself may be a suspect, the unlikely pair must overcome their misgivings and learn to trust one another as they navigate the perils of the Iskat court, try to solve a murder, and prevent an interplanetary war… all while dealing with their growing feelings for each other.


Winter’s Obit, put very simply, was an absolute delight to read. I had very high hope for what this novel would bring when it was announced and it was everything I had hoped it would be. Full of trope-y goodness, it was the most fun I have had with a book for a while now. It was a balm to the state of the world and my own going-ons.

Kiem and Jainan are the ultimate OTP and following them and all their shenanigans and misunderstandings and fumblings in love brought so much joy. Winter’s Orbit is a must read and even though it hasn’t been that long since I read it, I am already hanging out for a reread.

Find Winter’s Orbit
Goodreads ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia ~Dymocks

Find Everina Maxwell
Goodreads Author Page ~ Twitter

ARC reviews · Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

ARC Review ‘The Route of Ice and Salt’ ~ José Luis Zárate

The Route of Ice and Salt by José Luis Zárate

Translator: David Bowles

Publication Date: January 19th 2021 (first published 1998)

Publisher: Innsmouth Free Press

Blurb: A reimagining of Dracula’s voyage to England, filled with Gothic imagery and queer desire.

It’s an ordinary assignment, nothing more. The cargo? Fifty boxes filled with Transylvanian soil. The route? From Varna to Whitby. The Demeter has made many trips like this. The captain has handled dozens of crews.

He dreams familiar dreams: to taste the salt on the skin of his men, to run his hands across their chests. He longs for the warmth of a lover he cannot have, fantasizes about flesh and frenzied embraces. All this he’s done before, it’s routine, a constant, like the tides.

Yet there’s something different, something wrong. There are odd nightmares, unsettling omens and fear. For there is something in the air, something in the night, someone stalking the ship.

The cult vampire novella by Mexican author José Luis Zárate is available for the first time in English. Translated by David Bowles and with an accompanying essay by noted horror author Poppy Z. Brite, it reveals an unknown corner of Latin American literature.


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Book Reviews

Book Review ‘The Throne of the Five Winds’ ~ S.C. Emmett

The Throne of the Five Winds by SC Emmett

Publication Date: October 15th 2019 

Publisher: Orbit

Series: Hostage of Empire #1

Blurb: Two queens, two concubines, six princes. Innumerable hidden agendas. Yala, lady-in-waiting to the princess of a vanquished kingdom, must navigate their captors’ treacherous imperial court.

The Emperor’s palace — full of ambitious royals, sly gossip, and unforeseen perils — is perhaps the most dangerous place in Zhaon. A hostage for her conquered people’s good behavior, the lady Komor Yala has only her wits and her hidden maiden’s blade to protect herself — and her childhood friend Princess Mahara, sacrificed in marriage to the enemy to secure a tenuous peace.

But the Emperor is aging, and the Khir princess and her lady-in-waiting soon find themselves pawns in the six princes’ deadly schemes for the throne — and a single spark could ignite fresh rebellion in Khir.

And then, the Emperor falls ill, and a far bloodier game begins…

The Throne of the Five Winds is the first installment of the Hostage of Empire series, an intricate and ruthless East Asia-inspired epic fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of George R. R. Martin, Ken Liu, Kate Elliott, and K. Arsenault Rivera.


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ARC reviews · Book Reviews

Book Review ‘Hollow Empire’ ~ Sam Hawke

Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke

Publication Date: November 26th 2020 

Publisher: Bantam Press

Series: Poison Wars #2

Blurb: It started with poison and rebellion. It continues with war and witchcraft.

The deadly siege of Silasta woke the ancient spirits, and the city-state must find its place in this new world of magic.

But people and politics are always treacherous, and it will take all of Jovan and Kalina’s skills to save the city-state when witches and assassins set their sights to domination.

Poison was only the beginning . . . 


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Book Reviews

Book Review ‘The Stone Knife’ ~ Anna Stephens

The Stone Knife by Anna Stephens

Publication Date: November 26th 2020

Publisher: HarperVoyager

Series: Songs of the Drowned #1

Blurb: For generations, the forests of Ixachipan have echoed with the clash of weapons, as nation after nation has fallen to the Empire of Songs – and to the unending, magical music that binds its people together. Now, only two free tribes remain.

The Empire is not their only enemy. Monstrous, scaled predators lurk in rivers and streams, with a deadly music of their own.

As battle looms, fighters on both sides must decide how far they will go for their beliefs and for the ones they love – a veteran general seeks peace through war, a warrior and a shaman set out to understand their enemies, and an ambitious noble tries to bend ancient magic to her will.


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