Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Mini Review ‘Serpent & Dove’ ~ Shelby Mahurin

40024139Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Publication Date: September 3rd 2019

Publisher: HarperTeen

Series: Serpent & Dove #1

Blurb: 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.

As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage.

Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all.

★★/5

Review

I went into Serpent & Dove expecting to love it. It had a lot of hype, I’d seen a lot of great reviews and I had even put it on my 5 Star Book Predictions post. In the end I did not enjoy it.

At first I was enjoying it, the writing was lovely and it was something easy to sink into. However, there were several elements that no amount of lovely writing could erase.

  1. The bioessentialism. Whilst I get that the author was probably trying to say witches are human, that’s not how it reads. “Witches can give birth, Reid.”…”That’s what makes them female.” Being able to give birth isn’t what makes someone a woman. Trans men, genderfluid and non-binary people exist. Plenty of women can’t give birth for various reasons.
  2. Can we not refer to fat people walking as waddling. For the love of god.
  3. There was a noticeable difference between how white characters were described (very detailed) and how the characters of colour (barely) were described.
  4. I do love a good enemies to lovers storyline but I don’t know this one made me iffy. When the ‘enemy’ in this case is a straight, white, Christian-coded guy who uses ‘it’ to refer to a group of people and murders them without regret before he meets Lou, it’s less a fun trope and more like – I could walk outside to find people like this. I get that he grows and learns etc etc. but it just left a bad taste in my mouth.

These things culminated in me just not being able to enjoy it and part of me is wondering if I should bump it down to one star while writing this.

Find Serpent & Dove
Goodreads

Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Mini Review ‘Magic For Liars’ ~ Sarah Gailey

41555947Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Publication Date: June 4th 2019

Publisher: Tor Books

Blurb: Sharp, mainstream fantasy meets compelling thrills of investigative noir in this fantasy debut by rising star Sarah Gailey. 

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

★★★★/5

Review

Magic for Liars is a short, sharp book about worlds that could have been, the dangerous things you do for the people you love and broken relationships – set against a backdrop of magic.

What I loved about Magic for Liars was how mundane the magic is – yes there are fantastical things you can do with it but the wielders are very human and Gailey nails this. Ivy is a wonderful character to follow, she’s messy, flawed and wants gloriously. It was both uncomfortable and wonderful.

It was a little slow to start but overall a thoroughly inventive and wonderful book that I’ll definitely be rereading in the near future. And finally I cannot leave without a mention to Rahul – bi cinnamon roll extraordinaire.

“Fucking Mages.”

Find Magic for Liars
Goodreads ~ Dymocks ~ QBD ~ Book Depository ~ Booktopia

Find Sarah Gailey
Website ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads Author Page

 

 

Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Mini Review ‘Across the Void’ ~ SK Vaughn

46291403._SY475_Across the Void by S.K. Vaughn

Publication Date: June 11th 2019

Publisher: Sphere

Blurb: Commander Maryann “May” Knox awakes from a medically induced coma alone, adrift in space on a rapidly failing ship, with little to no memory of who she is or why she’s there.

Slowly, she pieces together that she’s the captain of the ship, Hawking II; that she was bound for Europa—one of Jupiter’s moons—on a research mission; and that she’s the only survivor of either an accident—or worse, a deliberate massacre—that has decimated her entire crew. With resources running low, and her physical strength severely compromised, May must rely on someone back home to help her. The problem is: everyone thinks she’s dead.

Back on Earth, it’s been weeks since Hawking II has communicated with NASA, and Dr. Stephen Knox is on bereavement leave to deal with the apparent death of his estranged wife, whose decision to participate in the Europa mission strained their marriage past the point of no return. But when he gets word that NASA has received a transmission from May, Stephen comes rushing to her aid.

What he doesn’t know is that not everyone wants May to make it back alive. Even more terrifying: she might not be alone on that ship. Featuring a twisting and suspenseful plot and compelling characters, Across the Void is a moving and evocative thriller that you won’t be able to put down.

★★/5

Continue reading “Mini Review ‘Across the Void’ ~ SK Vaughn”

Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Mini Review ‘King of Fools’ ~ Amanda Foody

37545571King of Fools by Amanda Foody

Publication Date: June 6th 2019

Publisher: HQ Young Adult – US

Series: The Shadow Game #2

Blurb: Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all…

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive…

Or die as legends.

★★★★/5 Continue reading “Mini Review ‘King of Fools’ ~ Amanda Foody”

Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Mini Review ‘Ash Princess’ ~ Laura Sebastian

38126009Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Publication Date: April 24th 2018

Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia

Series: Ash Princess Trilogy #1

Blurb: Princess. Prisoner. Orphan. Rebel.

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia’s land and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess – a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She’s endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword.

And power isn’t always won on the battlefield. 

★★★★★/5

Review

You know those books that sound amazing but sit on your tbr pile for ages until you finally pick it up and it’s like HOW HAVE I NOT READ THIS BEFORE?! Ash Princess is one of those.

In the wrong hands Ash Princess could have ended up being a generic YA fantasy about a princess and her stolen crown but in Sebastian’s hands it was an epic tale of survival imbued with magic.

What makes Ash Princess so amazing is how character focused it is and how well it handles what the characters have faced. Theo has PTSD, she watched her mother die, she has been tortured by the Kaiser, the only one to have shown her any kindness is the daughter of the man who killed her mother. The Prinz isn’t let off the hook for the things he has done under his father’s commands simply because he’s a handsome, royal love interest. All of these things are examined with a depth and complexity that isn’t always seen in these types of fantasies.

Ash Princess is a dark tale of invasion and igniting the embers of a rebellion, the cost of staying alive and the desire to fight back. It’s about hope and persevering when all odds are against you.

“We are not defined by the things we do in order to survive. We do not apologize for them,’ she says quietly, eyes never leaving mine. ‘Maybe they have broken you, but you are a sharper weapon because of it. And it is time to strike.”

Content Warnings: reference to torture & one on-page whipping scene, unspoken threat of rape against the main character towards the end, mention of war atrocities, invasion.

Find Ash Princess
Goodreads ~ Pan Macmillan Australia ~ Dymocks ~ QBD ~ Booktopia ~ Readings

Find Laura Sebastian 
Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads Author Page