ARC reviews · Book Reviews

Book Review ‘The Electric Heir’ ~ Victoria Lee

theelectricheir-victorialeeThe Electric Heir by Victoria Lee

Publication Date: March 17th 2020

Publisher: Skyscape

Series: Feverwake #2

Blurb: Six months after Noam Álvaro helped overthrow the despotic government of Carolinia, the Atlantians have gained citizenship, and Lehrer is chancellor. But despite Lehrer’s image as a progressive humanitarian leader, Noam has finally remembered the truth that Lehrer forced him to forget—that Lehrer is responsible for the deadly magic infection that ravaged Carolinia.

Now that Noam remembers the full extent of Lehrer’s crimes, he’s determined to use his influence with Lehrer to bring him down for good. If Lehrer realizes Noam has evaded his control—and that Noam is plotting against him—Noam’s dead. So he must keep playing the role of Lehrer’s protégé until he can steal enough vaccine to stop the virus.

Meanwhile Dara Shirazi returns to Carolinia, his magic stripped by the same vaccine that saved his life. But Dara’s attempts to ally himself with Noam prove that their methods for defeating Lehrer are violently misaligned. Dara fears Noam has only gotten himself more deeply entangled in Lehrer’s web. Sooner or later, playing double agent might cost Noam his life.

★★★★★/5

Continue reading “Book Review ‘The Electric Heir’ ~ Victoria Lee”

Book Reviews

Book Review ‘Impossible Causes’ ~ Julie Mayhew

9781408897027Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew

Publication Date: November 5th 2019

Publisher: Raven Books (Bloomsbury)

Blurb: The Crucible meets The Craft in this brilliantly dark thriller about isolated communities, rumours and suspicion.

The arrival of three strangers on Lark, a remote island with a population of 300, is the cause of much speculation. The first, a young teacher – the only male teacher on the island – the other two, a mother and her teenage daughter. What have they come to escape? And what will they find waiting for them on Lark?

In Julie Mayhew’s mesmerising and compelling thriller, an isolated and deeply religious island with a history of paganism is riven when a man is found dead in a stone circle. As rumours spread and tensions rise, three Lark teenage girls and the new arrival from the mainland find themselves accused of witchcraft – and murder.

★★★/5

Continue reading “Book Review ‘Impossible Causes’ ~ Julie Mayhew”

Book Reviews · Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday…The House in the Cerulean Sea

45046567The House in the Cerulean Sea

Publication Date: March 17th 2020

Publisher: Tor Books

Blurb: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.

Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.

When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.

But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.

An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

Few authors are as capable as making me Feel Feelings™ as TJ Klune. His writing is phenomenal and so the excitement for The House in the Cerulean Sea cannot be contained. I expect tears! I expect laughter! I expect joy! I expect TJ to once again crush my heart in front of my eyes!

Also this will be TJ’s first book with Tor – so there are bonus excitement points to see one of my favourite authors with one of my favourite publishers. (Not to mention after the hell he’s been through with {redacted} – may they burn in the fiery pits of hell – it’s what he deserves!)

Also I am in fucking love with that cover 😍😍

Is House in the Cerulean Sea on your tbr? I highly recommend it and that you check out the rest of his books in the mean time (though make sure they’re published by BOATK Books or RR Bowker).

Find The House in the Cerulean Sea
Goodreads ~ Dymocks ~ Book Depository

Find TJ Klune
Website ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads Author Page

Bookish Discussions

Bookish Discussions ~ Rep Searches

Welcome to my first Bookish Discussion post! Every now and then I find myself ruminating on different things about books and all things related, so I’ve decided to create the Bookish Discussions post as a place to share them. It’s not necessarily going to be a regular scheduled series, I’ll post as the inspiration finds me.

For the first discussion I wanted to post some thoughts I’ve been having around rep searches (primarily run on Instagram) by bookish companies. I’d like to start out by saying this isn’t about one particular company or rant – more just a talk about the things I’ve noticed and have been on my mind. Full disclaimer I have entered rep searches and not been successful but this is not me speaking from a place of bitterness. 

The main element that sparked this post is that most companies when they hold rep searches – somewhere in the announcement – will have something along the lines of ‘follower counts don’t matter this is about passion and creativity’ and ‘don’t be discouraged from applying if you’re a small account’. But here’s the thing – I have never seen a company actually apply this when picking rep.

No I’m not naive – I am aware that rep searches are a business-based decision. Obviously a company is going to want to maximise their reach and the more followers a rep has the more business you are potentially going to bring in. My issue is this – don’t say follower counts don’t matter if they clearly fucking do and you are never going to give a smaller account a chance (for the record I don’t consider follower counts above 1000 to be small).

An unspecified amount of time ago I entered a rep search for a local business. This was their first rep search and at the time I had already made multiple purchases from them (my follower count I believe would have been between 550-600). Now given they were an an emerging aussie business – as opposed to one of the establish UK/US big bookish companies a la Owlcrate etc – there weren’t countless entries so I had the opportunity to go through them after.

Here’s what I found: I was not the only one with a smaller account and had purchased items from the company and yet we were all passed over in favour of those with large accounts. I’m not saying buying from a company means you’re entitled to be a rep but this isn’t the only time or company I’ve seen this happen. And so if you are going to ignore people that support your business in favour of those with 5000+ followers why bother saying it’s about passion and creativity not follower counts? Surely someone who buys your stuff and loves it matters just as much as someone who hasn’t ever bought your stuff outside a rep discount but has a large reach?

It’s your business and you can do what you want but perhaps if you’re never going to consider people with under 5000 followers just drop the ‘follower counts don’t matter’ line. Otherwise you’re just going to get people getting their hopes up that maybe – just maybe – this time they’ll be chosen and yet they never are.

‘But Ashleigh if someone has a small follower count and can’t grow it they’re clearly not good at building a brand and creating content?’ Miss me with that bullshit because the reality of bookstagram is that no matter how passionate someone is, no matter how much work they put into it and how great their content is some people will never get the following they deserve. We can’t all be conventionally attractive white people, with a Nikon camera or latest iPhone and an ever-evolving fancy spread, getting book mail and arcs every second day. The reality is bookstagram is weighted in favour of those who are those things, in favour of those who have the money to be on top of new releases. It’s also fucking terrible are acknowledging this, instead liking to act as though it was all just hard work and there isn’t a strong element of privilege involved.

Not to mention that being a rep can boost someone’s following. I know I’ve followed people after discovering them through the company they rep for. It can be a mutually beneficial relationship.

My point in this post, I guess, is to say that whilst companies can run rep searches how ever they want, there’s something to say for a) given the smaller accounts a go and b) being honest – if you aren’t going to pick smaller accounts as reps why say followers don’t matter because it’s about passion? Because in my experience in bookstagram there are so, so many people with small followings that are some of the nicest people to interact with and are so passionate about what they do.

 

 

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