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.

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Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Book Review ‘Vengeful’ ~ V.E. Schwab

26856502.jpgVengeful by V.E. Schwab

Publication Date: September 25th 2018

Publisher: Tor Books

Series: Villains #2

Blurb: Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities.

They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then—Eli killed Victor, once and for all.

Or so he thought—but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit.

If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?

★ ★ ★ ★ ★/5

Continue reading “Book Review ‘Vengeful’ ~ V.E. Schwab”

Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Book Review ‘Luck in the Shadows’ ~ Lynn Flewelling

515YIGx3dmL._SX301_BO1,204,203,200_Luck in the Shadows by Lynn Flewelling

Publication Date: September 1996

Publisher: Bantam Spectra

Series: Nightrunner #1

Blurb: When young Alec of Kerry is taken prisoner for a crime he didn’t commit, he is certain that his life is at an end. But one thing he never expected was his cellmate. Spy, rogue, thief, and noble, Seregil of Rhiminee is many things–none of them predictable. And when he offers to take on Alec as his apprentice, things may never be the same for either of them. 

Soon Alec is traveling roads he never knew existed, toward a war he never suspected was brewing. Before long he and Seregil are embroiled in a sinister plot that runs deeper than either can imagine, and that may cost them far more than their lives if they fail. But fortune is as unpredictable as Alec’s new mentor, and this time there just might be…Luck in the Shadows.

★★★★★/5

Review

Luck in the Shadows follows Alec and Seregil after a chance meeting as cellmates sees the beginning of an epic adventure. Filled with intrigue, necromancers, wizards and betrayal, this was a wonderful read. Fantasy is my favourite genre and reading Luck in the Shadows felt like coming home.

There is a wealth of wonderful characters in this book but naturally the standouts are Alec and Seregil. Alec, a young man who’s life has hardly been noteworthy is swept off his feet and plunged into a whole new world by Seregil, a mysterious man with many secrets who senses there is more to Alec than meets the eye.

But Seregil and Alec couldn’t have done it all without the help of friends. Nysander, wizard and father figure to Seregil. Micum, friend and fellow spy. Beka, Alec’s friend and sword trainer.

What I loved best about Luck in the Shadows was that it had all the best parts about fantasy without the rampant homophobia and misogyny that continues to be annoyingly present in the genre. That and Seregil turning himself into a brick. Watching Alec and Seregil’s (very) slowly burgeoning feelings was so lovely and I can’t wait to follow them on their next adventure.

“Though you thrust a knife at my eyes, I will not flinch.”

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Book Reviews · Mini Reviews

Mini Review ‘Love, Hate & Other Filters’ ~ Samira Ahmed

Love hate & other filtersLove, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

Publication Date: January 16th 2018

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Blurb: Maya Aziz is torn between futures: the one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter (i.e.; staying nearby in Chicago and being matched with a “suitable” Muslim boy), and the one where she goes to film school in New York City–and maybe, just maybe, kisses a guy she’s only known from afar.

There’s the also the fun stuff, like laughing with her best friend Violet, making on-the-spot documentaries, sneaking away for private swimming lessons at a secret pond in the woods. But her world is shattered when a suicide bomber strikes in the American heartland; by chance, he shares Maya’s last name.

What happens to the one Muslim family in town when their community is suddenly consumed with hatred and fear?

Review

Love, Hate & other Filters is a short but powerful book that tackles Islamophobia, racism and the realities of growing up as an Indian-American Muslim in America.

Maya Aziz struggles between being the dutiful daughter for her parents and her desire to be her own person and follow her dreams. Maya longs to study film making in New York and then there’s Kareem, the man her parents would have her marry, and Phil the one she can’t help but love. But a terrorist attack will change everything.

This may have been short but it packed a real punch. Samira writes in such a cinematic way, Love, Hate & Other Filters in vividly brought to life. Though the book deals with Islamophobia and hate, a large part does focus on Maya’s passion for film and her love life, so it’s not all dark and there were some lovely elements of romance and fluff. Because of the subject matter this wasn’t always an easy read but it’s an important one and I’d recommend it to anyone and everyone.

“It’s selfish and horrible, but in this terrible moment, all I want is to be a plain old American teenager. Who can simply mourn without fear. Who doesn’t share last names with a suicide bomber. Who goes to dances and can talk to her parents about anything and can walk around without always being anxious. And who isn’t a presumed terrorist first and an American second.”

★★★★☆

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ARC reviews · Mini Reviews · Release Day Blitz

Release Day Blitz + Mini Review ‘Invitation to the Blues’ ~ Roan Parrish

InvitationtotheBlues-fInvitation to the Blues by Roan Parrish

Publication Date: March 28th 2018

Publisher: Monster Press

Series: Small Change #2

Content warning: depression, suicide, thoughts of worthlessness, food issues

Blurb: Eight months ago Jude Lucen fled his partner, his career, and a hospital in Boston after a suicide attempt. Now back in Philadelphia, he feels like a complete failure. Piano has always been his passion and his only escape. Without it, he has nothing. Well, nothing except a pathetic crush on the most gorgeous man he’s ever seen.

Faron Locklear came to Philly looking for a fresh start and has thrown himself into tattooing at Small Change. He’s only met Jude a few times, but something about the red-haired man with the haunted eyes calls to him. Faron is blown away by Jude’s talent. What he isn’t expecting is the electricity he feels the first time they kiss—and the way Jude’s needs in bed speak directly to his own deepest desires.

Jude and Faron fall fast and hard, but Jude has spent a lifetime learning that he can’t be what the people he loves need. So when the opportunity arises to renew his career in Boston, he thinks he has to choose: music, or Faron? Only by taking a huge risk—and finally believing he’s worthy of love just as he is—can he have the chance for both. Continue reading “Release Day Blitz + Mini Review ‘Invitation to the Blues’ ~ Roan Parrish”