Mini Reviews: ARCs #2

*I received all of these books from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

1. Fable- Adrienne Young

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This is the story about Fable, daughter of the most powerful trader of the Narrows. She has only known the sea as her home. It has been four years since her mother died, and four years since she watched her father leave her on the legendary island of Jeval, full of thieves and little food. Here she struggles to make a life for herself with only herself and the skills her mother taught her when she was still alive. Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.

I wasn’t a HUGE fan of this one at first. I struggled to get into it and to care at all about the characters. I found Fable to be naive and ignorant about the ways of the world, especially seeing as she had literally been relying on her and only herself to survive. She was an annoying perspective to read from and I felt like the side characters were more enjoyable to hear about. That being said, they weren’t really fleshed out at first and felt rather flat. This definitely changed as the story went on and as we learned more about them. I feel like part of it was that the characters were unwilling to open up to Fable, so we only learned as much as she did. I liked how there was that found family aspect as well. The romance came a little bit out of nowhere and I don’t feel like there was much development in that regard either. I’m interested to see how this will develop later on in the series.

That being said, about 75% into the book I really started to care for the characters and for Fable. She really grew into her role as the protagonist. The ending really had me curious for the next book and I plan on reading the rest of the series. I also really appreciated the pirate stories. Also, the cover is gorgeous. This book should be released on September 1st, and I highly recommend you check it out if you love found family and pirate stories!

Places to Buy: Amazon || Bookshop (support local bookstores!)

2. A Curse of Ash & Embers- Jo Spurrier

Rating: 3 out of 5.

This book was certainly unexpected. Not necessarily in a bad way. I didn’t love this one too much, but I didn’t hate it. I felt like there is a romance that was starting up, but it kind of came out of nowhere? There was no real… development of that relationship. The conflict fell a little flat for me, at least until the very end. That being said, there were some twists and turns that left me reeling in a good way. I mentioned the conflict being flat until the end, because the book felt like there was no pacing until the last 30% or so.

The characters were okay. I didn’t feel one way or another about them. I felt like the main character, Elodie was a little bit… naive. That being said, I think she was SUPPOSED to be naive. This is a girl who has never left the family home, leaving home and being thrust into this new world that was very very unexpected, and new to her. The witch in the story, Aleida Blackbone can step on me. I would LET her step on me and thank her for it.

All that being said, if I get the opportunity to read the sequel, I will. I think that the story has some potential!

Places to Buy: Amazon

3. Firefrost- Camille Longley

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ll be honest here, I wasn’t expecting to love this one. Especially in the beginning, the writing felt a little clunky, but as it went on, it got SOOO much better. The writing isn’t super flowery, but it’s also not clinical. It’s that perfect mix of poetic and descriptive.

The pacing was good and the plot felt real and believable. The romance was also paced well. I don’t feel like it was over the top rushed or anything. The magic was also really interesting. The idea was something that I had never really seen before and it was nice to see a new concept being implemented the way that Firefrost did.

The characters, Kelan and Sol were interesting to read the perspective from and I loved them as a couple. The changes that they underwent together and their falling in love was wonderful to read about. The romance is an enemies to lovers and it had some angst and build up that I was 100000% here for. This is a prequel to the first book in the Flameskin Chronicles and I plan on reading the next in the series, Flameskin.

Places to Buy: Amazon || Bookshop (support local bookstores!)

4. Black Sun – Rebecca Roanhorse

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Black Sun is the first book in the Between Earth and Sky series by author Rebecca Roanhorse. Her prose and writing is gorgeous and impeccable. It’s beautiful and lyrical without taking itself too seriously. This is a book that takes place in pre-Columbus America (Fuck Christopher Columbus to Hell) with rich cultures and even richer people. The characters are all so multi-faceted and fun to read from the perspective of. We follow the perspectives of Naranpa, the Sun Priest in the city of Tova. We also follow Xiala, a disgraced Teek, a sea captain who can calm the waters with her voice and Serapio, a young blind man who is seeking passage on Xiala’s ship, they make their way to the city of Tova, days before a holy celestial event that is set to change the course of the world. Once these characters collide, everything changes. The journey getting there was beautiful and heartbreaking. Roanhorse writes unforgettable characters with clear and undeniable skill. I highly recommend this one and cannot wait to read the next book in the series.

Places to Buy: Amazon || Bookshop (support local bookstores!)

5. Ignite the Sun- Hanna C. Howard

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book. This F–KING book. Ignite the Sun by Hanna C. Howard was amazing. When I first started this I was unsure. The writing felt clunky, but the world building was amazing. My God, it was so great. The world and culture and subsequent magic system was amazing. It was all so well written and built in such a way that it made me love the world that much more. The magic really made this world and was new and the fact that it had it’s limitations made me love it all that much. That being said, there were moments where this deviated away from that, but I could ignore that mostly because of how much I loved the characters. Each nymph and magical species had their own strengths or weaknesses and I was here for it.

The characters were also pretty wonderful and varied. There was definitely a degree of found family here which is another of my favorite tropes. The romance was always enjoyable to read and I was rooting for them to be together from the start.

The plot was believable and woven in a way where it felt real. Nothing there felt like it was out of the norm for the world and I was having a really good time while reading it. I did have to suspend my sense of belief alot more than I usually do in fantasies, but this was a wonderful book filled with magic, hope and found families and the power of friendship and light.

The one thing that kind of detracted from my enjoyment of this was that the formatting for the e-book that I received was not good. I had a hard time reading it at times due to the formatting. This is probably just a me thing and is not something that affects the finished copy! (I checked with Amazon’s e-book preview.

Places to Buy: Amazon || Bookshop (support local bookstores!)


Book Review: Mooncakes (ARC)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Brief Description

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

A Spoiler Free Review

I wanted to thank Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this wonderfully heartwarming story.

For starters, this book had wonderful representation for hard of hearing and LGBTQ rep. Nova is hard of hearing and wears a hearing aid. Tam is non-binary and goes by they/them pronouns. They are referred to as such for the duration of the story as well. Nova had two grandmothers who were in a relationship and this wasn’t questioned and there was no homophobia in this respect, or any other.

The friendship between Tam and Nova is pure and wonderful. Their relationships is even more so. I fell in love with their characters and found myself rooting for them and crying with them as well.

The art in this story is GORGEOUS. The drawings are cute and it’s very colorful and pleasing to the eye. I found it very engaging and it kept me wanting more. Most of the ARC I received had color but the last few chapters were not, but either way, the art style still kept me engaged.

The plot felt high stakes and engaging as well. It felt believable and I loved the characters and how they stood up for each other.

I highly recommend this story to anyone and everyone who wants a heartwarming coming of age story about queer witches set in New England in the months of autumn. This book comes out October 15th, 2019 and can be found below:

Goodreads || Amazon (US)