Friday, June 07, 2024

REVIEW: The Persephone Code by Julia Golding

The Persephone Code
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

In the midst of the early 19th century, a captivating tale unfolds, drawing readers into a world of mystery and intrigue. The courageous and unconventional Dora takes center stage, embarking on a journey filled with unexpected twists and turns to uncover the dangerous truth behind her brother's unexpected death. As she and the enigmatic Dr. Jacob Sandys begin to unearth details surrounding both her brother's and a series of other perplexing deaths in the small parish of West Wycombe, a perilous adventure unravels, shrouded in secrecy and danger.

The Persephone Code was an absolute page-turner! The character development and historical context made it a truly enriching experience. The slow start set the tone perfectly for the time period, and once the action picked up, it was impossible to put down. A fantastic read that I highly recommend to anyone looking for a compelling historical novel with elements of secret societies and a dash of romance.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, One More Chapter, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. While I received it free of charge, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

#ThePersephoneCode #NetGalley

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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

REVIEW: The Familiar by Leigh Bardugo

The Familiar
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

Step back in time to the bustling streets of Madrid, Spain, during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. Meet Luzia, a young and resourceful scullion in the employ of Valentina and Marius Ordoño. Luzia possesses a remarkable gift for performing milagritos, or small miracles. But as word of Luzia's extraordinary talent gets around, she draws the attention of some very influential individuals who would seek to exploit her talents for their own gain. All of which sets the stage for a captivating tale of scheming, greed, and ambition as Luzia navigates a world filled with secrets and unexpected alliances.

If you're looking for a well-crafted and intriguing read, steeped rich in history, you're in for a treat. While things may start off a bit slow, the second half really picks up steam and is quite engaging. I really loved Santángel's character—it's hard not to be intrigued by someone whose sigil is the scorpion. And his story adds a whole other dimension to Luzia's.

Thank you, Leigh Bardugo, for another fantastic read!

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Monday, April 15, 2024

REVIEW: A Dark and Drowning Tide by Allison Saft

A Dark and Drowning Tide
My Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

A Dark and Drowning Tide was an entertaining read that held my interest with it's sense of mystery, combined with fantasy, folklore, and dark academia.

Lorelei is a sharp-tongued folklorist leading a mission to find a magical river for the current monarch. But when the mission goes awry and dead bodies start turning up, she turns to her arch nemesis for help, only to discover there's so much to unravel, including her feelings.

Honestly, I had a hard time warming up to Lorelei for about half the book. She's extremely acerbic and quite scathing in her conversations with others most of the time. As the story goes on however, you begin to understand why she is the way she is, and feel for her a little bit. I was happy to finally see her snide outer shell cracked. In my own life however, I would probably just end up writing someone like that off... but I suppose if she were your boss, you wouldn't have a choice, right?

I loved Sylvia and her wild, impetuous demeanor. But beneath her carefree attitude are multiple layers overlying a heart of gold. She was definitely one my favorite characters—her and Ludwig. He was so open yet outrageous—the perfect best friend. I wish we got more of him.

Overall the story, the mystery, and the world building kept me engaged and intrigued. So what that I didn't like the MC so much... Sylvia and Ludwig more than made up for it. :)

This book releases September 17, 2024, but you can preorder it at Amazon now.

Thanks to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing me with an Advance Readers Copy of this book. The contents of this review are entirely my own.

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Saturday, March 09, 2024

REVIEW: Weyward by Emilia Hart

My Rating: ★★★★★★★★★☆

One of the best books I've read in awhile!! I can't wait to read more from this debut author.

Weyward is the story of 3 women, connected thru time. The writing style is both evocative and engaging, and I love the witchy vibes!

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Thursday, February 29, 2024

REVIEW: Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

Starling House
My Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

A spooky gothic tale about a sinister, old house, and the secrets it holds that haunt a small, down-on-its-luck Kentucky town.

After her mother dies in a horrific accident, Opal puts her own dreams on hold to try to make a better life for her younger brother, Jasper. Even if that means leaving her low-paying dead-end job to take a housekeeper position at Starling House, the secluded, ominous house that has been calling to her in her dreams. As she's "welcomed" into the run-down house by the strange, eccentric Arthur, the house starts to take on a life of its own, gradually revealing its secrets that have terrorized the town for ages. Can Opal and Arthur can get to the heart of the house and take down the sinister forces to save the town?

The story was fast-paced and engaging, with just the right amount of creepy. The world was unique and unlike other "haunted house" stories. I loved that the house was sentient and the way it attempted to communicate. I would've enjoyed getting to know it better. ;) Overall, a really good read that kept me engaged throughout.

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Friday, February 23, 2024

REVIEW: Three Kinds of Lucky (The Shadow Age #1) by Kim Harrison

Three Kinds of Lucky
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Petra Grady is a Sweeper first-class. While she doesn't have magic of her own, she has the uncanny ability to see and handle dross—the disruptive, magical waste generated by the Mages' spell work. Sweepers have always been treated as second-class citizens by the Mages—janitors put on this earth to clean up their mess. But fortunately, Petra's got a few other hidden tricks up her sleeve. Until her life is turned on its head by the sexy, exasperating Benedict Strom with his research project to render the Mages' dross inactive and innocuous, which just might make the Sweepers obsolete.

I've been a fan of Kim Harrison's books since the Hollows (Rachel Morgan) series, so I jumped on this book, hoping that some fresh blood and a new series would reignite my passion. I found there was a lot to like, along with a couple things I didn't.

Like The Hollows series, I thoroughly enjoy the complex, original magical worlds that Kim Harrison creates, even though I found this magic system a little harder to grasp. I kept mixing up the differences between the types of dross, which attracts the shadow, and how shadow comes to be in the first place. So yeah, if you're looking for complex, this is it! It wasn't as playful and fun as The Hollows—but then again, Pluck is no Jenks. But enough for comparisons... this is an entirely new series and from here on out, I plan to review it that way.

Before I go on about all the fantastic elements of this story, let me get out of the way a couple things that didn't jive with me: First was the fact that the lab was planning to test on live animals... and second,

Throughout the book, I really jived with the analogy of the Mages and their discarded dross to the gravely polluted world we live in today. Oblivious people leaving behind their junk while expecting others to clean up after them. It's that same sense of superiority and entitlement where it's always someone else's problem, not theirs.

As the main character, Petra is smart and resourceful, a kickass, take-charge kind of gal. The magical world she lives in, kept hidden from the mundanes, is complex yet intriguing. Her counterpart, Benedict, sounds yummy, and while the relationship between the two was initially fraught with tension, I'm anxious to see how it plays out given that her feelings towards him see-saw quite a bit throughout the tale.

That said, I did find the writing to be a bit sloppy with some inconsistencies and contradictory info, but that's probably just because I was reading an uncorrected ARC, so I'm assuming all those will be ironed out in the final draft.

Overall, a wonderful new world from the mind of Kim Harrison, and another kickass heroine to love. Looking forward to more!

This book releases March 5, 2024, but you can preorder it at Amazon, or enter for a chance to win one of 50 Kindle copies at Goodreads (giveaway ends 3/3/24).

Thank you to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for providing me with an advance readers copy of this book for review. While I received it free of charge, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

#ThreeKindsofLucky #NetGalley

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Wednesday, February 14, 2024

REVIEW: Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands (Emily Wilde #2) by Heather Fawcett

Emily Wilde's Map of the Otherlands
My Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

The second book in the Emily Wilde trilogy was a wild ride thru Faerie land.

Emily and Wendell travel to the Alps in Austria in an attempt to locate the door to Wendell's realm so he can return and reclaim his throne from his stepmother, who banished him so she could seize control of the realm for herself. But all does not go according to plan, and the two along with their friends get in quite a bit of hilarious trouble along the way.

I really enjoyed this book, even more so than the first. I'll be anxiously awaiting the final book in the trilogy, but OMG I think I have to wait at least a year for it!!!

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Monday, February 12, 2024

REVIEW: Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries
My Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

The opening book in the Emily Wilde trilogy. Emily is a scholar and teaching professor at Cambridge University in London during the early 1900s. Along with her colleague and friend Wendell Bambleby, the pair travels to Norway on a research expedition to document a particular faerie species located in the area. Written in journal form, Emily records her day-to-day thoughts and actions, particularly helpful when she publishes her extensive encyclopedia documenting all known faerie species... in the hopes of becoming one of the foremost authorities on faerie.

Emily is a bit of an odd sort, very academic and not able to express herself or her emotions, while Wendell is always trying to get her to lighten up. Wendell is quite good looking and maybe just a little bit vain. Together, they make an oddly whimsical pair. I enjoyed seeing Emily write in her journal about feelings and thoughts she couldn't express in person. Overall, I really enjoyed the fascinating world created here and look forward to reading the next in the trilogy... coming up next!

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