Category Archives: Young Adult

Cursed Beauty by Stacey O’Neale -a review

Cursed BeautyCursed Beauty by Stacey O’Neale

From USA Today bestselling author Stacey O’Neale comes a standalone YA fantasy retelling of Sleeping Beauty.

The day has come for sixteen-year-old Aurora to receive her witch mark. She should be thrilled. But unlike the rest of her coven, a centuries-old family curse has already decided her fate; the cost of her new power is her life.

After the ceremony, her grandmother offers her hope: Aurora can save herself and prevent her coven from dying by awakening a sleeping prince with the power to break her curse. Unfortunately, she must travel through the forbidden Shadowlands to reach him.

The enchanted forest is filled with magical creatures—friends and foes—including the mysterious son of a powerful wolf pack leader. Can she find the prince in time, and if she succeeds, will he choose to help despite having been placed under the sleeping spell?

Published 30 August 2021|  Publisher: Phoenix Reign Publishing

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

It’s all about the cover this time! I just adore that cover and seeing that its a twist on Sleeping Beauty where the girl does the ‘rescuing’ definitely got me to read this novella. There were a few other twists as well which I liked but won’t delve too much into to avoid spoilers.

I really liked the premise of “Princess Aurora” being the one to come to the rescue of a sleeping Prince. I didn’t quite like this witchy Aurora as she can be quite annoying in here tendency to act without too much thought. She’d really land herself in hot water, if her bff, Hazel, did not come to the rescue. I loved Hazel – always ready, always smiling, and overall just the stronger character of the two. In saying that, Aurora has her own strength which allows her to grab her fate into her own hands and twist it. The romance is also kinda cute though it’s totally not what I’d expect!

Cursed Beauty is a brilliant twist to the very well-known fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. It features gender swap and other spins which really make me wish this was a full novel. I just feel that it is a little bit undeveloped as a novella but definitely with a potential for a novel.

My thanks to Phoenix Reign Publising & Xpresso Tours for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Blog Tour: Eyes of the Forest by April Henry

Eyes of the Forest
April Henry
Published by: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication date: August 24th 2021
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

After a bestselling fantasy writer disappears, only his biggest fan believes he’s in danger. Instead of re-reading his books, she must venture into the real world to uncover the truth in this fast-paced mystery by New York Times-bestselling author April Henry. For readers of Courtney Summers and Karen McManus.

Bridget is RM Haldon’s biggest fan. She and her mom sought refuge in Haldron’s epic fantasy series Swords and Shadows while her mom was losing her battle with cancer. When Bridget met Haldon at one of his rare book signings, she impressed the author with her encyclopedic knowledge of the fantasy world he’d created. Bridget has been working for him ever since as he attempts to write the final book in his blockbuster sword and sorcery series. But Haldon has gone missing, and Bridget is the only person who seems concerned. Can Bridget piece together Haldon’s cryptic clues and save him before it’s too late?

Master mystery-writer April Henry weaves another heart-stopping young adult thriller in this story that seamlessly blends suspense with an exploration of fan culture.

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My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I loved April Henry’s Girl, Stolen duology. With such strong female protagonist and thrilling psychological page turner, I was keen to explore her other books so I jumped at the chance to join in this blog tour.

Eyes of the Forest is told in multiple point of views which, as always, confuses me in the beginning but when you got your characters straight, it flew very quickly as each chapters were quite short and snappy. The story itself, I found, however, was rather show. There was a lot of setting up / background stories to all characters and that took a big part of the book while the actual ‘mystery’ was actually quite short. It was still quite satisfying.

Because the premise of this novel is of a famous author with a popular series who is supposedly writing the last of the book in the series that is overdue for a very long time (uh, hm, I’m waiting for a few myself irl); we were given snippets of this popular series book and it really does sound so very intriguing, I really would love to read these books!

While Eyes of the Forest didn’t quite meet my expectations as a page turner, I was drawn into the story. The characters were well-developed and I was riveted by the connections these characters have with each other. It is an easy novel to read & relax with.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

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Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a print copy of this book (ends Sep-02)

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About the author

April Henry is the New York Times bestselling author of many acclaimed mysteries for adults and young adults, including the YA novels Girl, Stolen; The Girl I Used to Be, which was nominated for an Edgar Award; The Night She Disappeared; and Body in the Woods and Blood Will Tell, Books One and Two in the Point Last Seen series. She lives in Oregon.

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Blog Tour: Dagger Hill by Devon Taylor

Dagger Hill
Devon Taylor
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 17th 2021
Genres: Mystery, Paranormal, Young Adult

Stranger Things meets One of Us Is Lying in this creepy paranormal mystery about four friends who find themselves hunted by a malevolent presence in their sleepy hometown.

It knows your fear…

Summer, 1989. Four best friends—Gabe, Kimberly, Charlie, and Sonya—are preparing for their last summer together before senior year, after which they’ll all be splitting up to start college in different parts of the country. They make a promise to always find their way back to each other, no matter how far away from their sleepy Pennsylvania hometown they get.

But their plans are destroyed when a plane crashes right on top of their favorite hangout outside of town—and right on top of them.

In the catastrophic aftermath of the incident, Gabe, Sonya and Charlie are plagued by eerie visions and messages from an unknown watcher. They soon realize that the plane crash was no accident, and now they are being hunted by a sinister presence. And everyone is still searching for Kimberly, who has been missing ever since Gabe saw somebody wearing a gas mask carry her out of the woods the day the sky fell down on them…

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My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I thinks it was the year setting, 1989, that mostly grabbed my attention. I was 9 then so not quite the same age as these protagonist but old enough to remember certain pop cultures referred to in this novel so that was real fun! I’m usually not a horror fan either but while this was quite creepy, it wasn’t that bad.

Dagger Hill reminded me a bit of Silent Hill (game) though on a very broad terms. I didn’t watch or play the game; just saw bits & pieces of the game while hubby played. I guess it was more the supernatural creepy sort of feel of a small town. I stopped myself from reading the last 20% last night because I wanted to go to sleep feeling safe… 😅

I really like the friendship factor in this novel. As each character was struggling through feelings of sadness and even unspoken crushes, their friendship comes first and each other’s safety. There wasn’t that much romance in the story yet I still feel I could have done without what little there was.

The whole story felt very visual to me so I think this would probably do better as a movie because I got really confused at the final showdown about who’s who! Dagger Hill was an enjoyable spine-tingling read which I’d recommend for those who likes being freaked out.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY (INT)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a print copy of this book (ends Aug-26)

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About the author

Devon Taylor was born in Las Vegas, Nevada and currently lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two daughters. His day job consists of sneaking around the house with ninja-like stealth to avoid waking up his kids. When not writing, reading, or tediously typing out text messages with all the correct spelling and punctuation, he spends his time with his family. THE SOUL KEEPERS is his debut novel.

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Blog Tour: Mark of the Wicked by Georgia Bowers

Mark of the Wicked
Georgia Bowers
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 10th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

A young witch tries to unravel the mystery of who is framing her for dark magic in Georgia Bowers’ creepy YA debut fantasy, Mark of the Wicked.

Magic always leaves its mark.

All her life, Matilda has been told one thing about her magic: You use only when necessary. But Matilda isn’t interested in being a good witch. She wants revenge and popularity, and to live her life free of consequences, free of the scars that dark magic leaves on her face as a reminder of her misdeeds.

When a spell goes awry and the new boy at school catches her in the act, Matilda thinks her secret might be out. But far from being afraid, Oliver already knows about her magic – and he wants to learn more. As Oliver and Matilda grow closer, bizarre things begin to happen: Animals show up with their throats slashed and odd markings carved into their bodies, a young girl dies mysteriously, and everyone blames Matilda. But she isn’t responsible — at least, not that she can remember. As her magic begins to spin out of control, Matilda must decide for herself what makes a good witch, and discover the truth…before anyone else turns up dead.

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My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

The cover is sooo beautifully creepy! The description of the book promises a deliciously dark tale and it has definitely delivered.

Set in a small town infamously known for a witch they murdered in the past, the protagonist, Matilda, is an angry teen. Her father left, her mother distant, she lost her best friend, she has nothing left but petty vengeance. For this she employs her magic even if it also threatens to destroy her & her future. Until one day when a boy catches her in the act and expresses his interest in magic.

I found Matilda really hard to like but then again, I usually struggle with angry protagonists. And then I’ve also a suspicious nature so from quite early on, I knew that someone is just being too nice so I can’t say that I’m surprised with the way things turned out. However, I do love the ending which was so very both dark and empowering.

Despite my struggle with the anger permeating through the story, this was a very fast read. It feels a bit like a psychological thriller with paranormal bent. Mark of the Wicked is a story of redemption; of facing the truth, accepting consequences of your actions, and finally of reaching for the courage to change.

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour and  copy of ebook in exchange of honest review

GIVEAWAY (INT)

Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a print copy of this book (ends Aug-19)

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About the author

Georgia Bowers lives in Bedford, a small market town in England. When it was time to decide what to do with her life, she was obsessed with two things: books and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It seemed sensible to follow in the brogued footsteps of Rupert Giles, so she became a librarian, though sadly not the demon fighting kind. But there’s still time.

Ever since her mum told her that witches used to meet in the woods near their village, she’s been obsessed with witchcraft and the paranormal. When she was a teenager, a weekly habit of Point Horrors satisfied her thirst for chilling tales before she moved on to reading Stephen King. These days she likes to give her nerves a break every now and then with a good YA romance.

After completing a course in writing YA fiction she was a winner in the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators Undiscovered Voices. Since then she has dabbled with stories of chosen ones and ghostly best friends until she conjured up the magical ingredients for her debut novel, Mark Of The Wicked.

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Grace and Glory by Jennifer L. Armentrout -a review

grace and gloryGrace and Glory (The Harbinger #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Danger, betrayal, and enticing forbidden love clash in book three of No.1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Harbinger trilogy!

Danger, betrayal, and enticing forbidden love clash in book three of No.1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Harbinger trilogy!

Trinity Marrow has lost the battle and her beloved Protector. Even with both demons and Wardens on her side, Trin may not win the war against the Harbinger.

Bringing Lucifer back to the world to fight the Harbinger is probably a really, really bad idea, but they’re out of options — and the world’s ultimate fallen angel is the only being powerful enough to impact the outcome.

As Trin and Zayne form a new and more dangerous bond and Lucifer unleashes Hell on earth, the apocalypse looms and the world teeters on the end of forever. Win or lose, one thing is certain — nothing will ever be the same.

Published 7 July 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

This is a review of book 3 in the trilogy, you can find review of book 1, here, and book 2, here.

The one thing I loved about reading this trilogy books back to back is that each sequel picks up right after the previous book so it kind of feels like reading 1 BIG long book. If I had to wait a year in between books, I think I may have struggled trying to pick up the threads again. On another note, that means the end of Trinity & Zayne story arc and who knows whether author will return to this universe though I think there is a potential story there… or two.

I picked up Grace and Glory immediately after I finished Rage and Ruin because I couldn’t handle waiting another moment after that ending. And before I know it, I’ve read 100+ pages and it’s hours past my bedtime but I just couldn’t put it down without knowing what happens to Zayne! Well, actually I was a bit annoyed that it dragged that long to get to the point but I guess it’s worth the fight 😉

This maybe only a me thing because I’m going to complain about the many sex scenes…? I think one or two would be great but after that, I feel a little overboard and a waste of pages because I just want to get on with the story. Or maybe I’m just getting a little old and cynical or possibly because my life and world isn’t about to end (well, at least, not as immediately threatened as theirs), I don’t feel the same urgency or need as them. In any case, I kind of skim through on some parts because I just wanted to get to the end game. There were many lovey dovey moments in this book so if you’re looking for a romantic read, you’d love it, but to me, it just slows the pacing of plot right down.

While I found Trinity annoying, I liked how author has given her a particular disability which author has. It is a good way to learn what it is about, how she works through that, and especially sweet that Zayne is so considerate when interacting with her.

I’m still not a fan on the angel paranomal reads but I do love this gargoyle shifter factor! I’d consider reading any spin-off but I’m not going back to read about Layla & Roth because hey, I already know that ending. I do love the ending of this novel though especially the big twist on Peanut! Man, I think he’s possibly the best character in this trilogy. I think author’s terribly good at mind boggling twists; I found them cleverly placed in the story.

Overall, The Harbinger trilogy is an easy entertaining read (especially in this lockdown season!). It’s got me turning pages as plot unfolds in unexpected twists and turns, laughing at the 80’s references and getting teary at different points.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook   |  twitter  | instagram

Blog Tour: Becoming Brooklyn by Amanda Deich – an excerpt

Becoming Brooklyn
Amanda Deich
Publication date: January 5th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Science Fiction, Young Adult

Eighteen-year-old Brooklyn never knew her father. Rex Blackburn died in the 9/11 attacks four months before she was born.

And even though she never met him, she always dreamed about what he must have been like before he died. In her mind, he was a hero.

Little did she know.

After an attack at a 9/11 memorial gala, Brooklyn learns her father had been a member of an elite, anti-terrorism, military task force, made up of a very select group of people who had superhuman abilities. On the day the towers fell, he died using his power to save people.

The Army believes she inherited his gift, and Brooklyn is invited to train at West Point in order to hone her skills. Knowing deep down she is different than anyone else her age and wanting to learn more about a father she never knew, she readily agrees to become a cadet at the prestigious military academy.

She and five other 9/11 babies strengthen their superhuman abilities and spend weeks preparing themselves for their future in the army, fighting terrorists at home and abroad. And in the process of training, they identify with their deceased parents in a way they never knew they could.

Brooklyn knows she’ll go to war someday, but when terrorists find out about the group’s gifts, they don’t bother to wait.

They bring the war to West Point.

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Excerpt

“Why do you need to talk to…just us?” Bree asked, her stare critical and questioning. “Why not all the 9/11 Babies?”

The general nodded, acknowledging the fairness of her question. “You would probably instinctively group yourself with the rest of the kids who had parents die in the attacks of 9/11. And while the entire group of 9/11 Babies have been branded heroes – appropriately, I might add – the six of you are different than the others who attended the dinner the other night.”

He brought his hands in front of him, clasped them together casually in front of his broad torso. “In fact, I’ve been assigned to talk with you all this evening regarding this difference. But before I begin, please know I am about to tell you something that is quite possibly the most sensitive, most valuable, most protected secret in our military today.”

My heart picked up speed. Suddenly I felt like I was sitting in the principal’s office, in trouble but not quite sure why.

“Sensitive, how?” Adrianna asked.

The general pursed his lips. “It may take a while to explain. If I may, I’m going to ask for your patience as I attempt to do so.” He walked slowly toward us, clicking a button to lower a white screen behind him. It hovered above the fireplace as if it were a painting.

“I was thinking about the best way to inform you on the topic, and I decided I should start with what you already know: what you see in the papers and what you’ve learned in History Class.”

Ugh. History Class.

The six of us took turns shooting uneasy glances to one another, and the general, like so many teachers, pressed on, despite our obvious lack of enthusiasm.

“Even before the terrorist attacks on 9/11,” he explained, “the United States of America was the world’s leader in stopping terrorism. We continue to fulfill this role today.”

As if to prove his point, the screen behind him exploded into pictures of ongoing warfare. Bombs, tanks, and horrific blasts filled the screen.

“Terrorists know no geographical boundaries,” he continued as the pictures ceased, “but neither do we, when it comes to humanitarian issues. When the U.S. was young, we were spoiled by our location. Oceans separated us from the rest of the world’s conflicts, so we were primarily concerned with our own. But after the atrocities of the Second World War were exposed, we knew we needed to make a global effort to combat the evil that existed outside our borders.”

“The way we did this was to develop our best, most gifted citizens. We identified them at a young age and used our training facilities to nurture their gifts, pushing them as hard as they could be pushed, and making sure those gifts weren’t wasted. Soon, we had enough of these gifted warriors to form an elite military group. Its earliest members named it The Crest.”

“And what does this have to do with us?” I asked. I mean, it was nice of him to give us a history lesson and all, but the anticipation of why we were meeting with a general was killing me.

“Patience, Brooklyn,” General Richards replied, his tone implying he was losing his own. “I promised I’d explain, and I’m about to.” He turned to address the whole group again.

“You are six of the so-called ‘9/11 Babies’,” he began. “But you are a special six. The hundreds of other 9/11 Babies lost their parents heroically on that horrible day, and you did, too. But your parents were more than heroes.”

He paused, making sure he had our undivided attention. We weren’t breathing; we couldn’t.

“You would probably think of them as superheroes, members of the very same group I described.”

His gaze intensified. “They were part of our most secret, gifted branch of the military: The Crest: Chosen, Rare, Elite… Superhuman and Triumphant.”

My thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for having me on this tour

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Follow below Rafflecopter link to enter for a $20 Amazon gift card (ends Jul-22)

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About the authors

Amanda Deich is an author out of Littleton, CO. In her non-writer life, she is a teacher and coach to hundreds of kids, and she is a mama to two. If you meet her, she’ll talk Jesus and identity like no one’s business.

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Storm and Fury by Jennifer L. Armentrout -a review

storm and furyStorm and Fury (The Harbinger #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From the No. 1 New York Times bestselling author of the fantastical Dark Elements series comes a new novel set in a world of gargoyle protectors, rising demons and one girl with an explosive secret.

Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens – gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.

When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again – but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…

Published 17 June 2019|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

Before I started reading this novel, I didn’t realise that this trilogy is actually a spin-off of author’s earlier trilogy, The Dark Elements, of which I’ve only read book 1. I’m not particularly fond of paranormal novels featuring angels and/or demons but what I found interesting in these trilogies are the twist on gargoyles being shape-shifter protectors of humankind. Oh, and of course, usually they’re pretty hot in human form 😜

In Storm and Fury, we meet Trinity. She’s rather special and have lived in a very protected & protective remote community of Wardens (what those gargoyle protectors are called). Her time of hiding is running out though as for somehow, someone found out and she is wanted for some nefarious reason or another. Her bonded guardian was kidnapped and she has to place her trust in another Warden from another clan, Zayne (him from The Dark Elements trilogy). Sparks flew, complications arose, twists abound, and a broken ending promising more doom in sequel.

I wasn’t really that keen on Trinity as a character to begin with but I do like Zayne very much 😬 Understandably, Trinity’s sheltered life made sure that she’s rather innocent and yet, this naivety sometimes makes me want to shake her. Zayne has his own set of baggage, if you’ve read The Dark Elements. Though if you’re like me, it’s not necessary to have read that earlier trilogy as whatever you need to know is told to you in this novel. This also means that I’ll probably never read the rest of The Dark Elements.

Storm and Fury is straight out YA paranormal romance. It’s fluff for a grey day with sparky snarky dialogs between romantic protags and a fast paced twisty plot that makes the day go quickly by.

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook   |  twitter  | instagram

The Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock -a review

the other side of beautifulThe Other Side of Beautiful by Kim Lock

Lost & Found meets The Rosie Project in a stunning break-out novel where a vulnerable misfit is forced to re-engage with the world, despite her best efforts.

Meet Mercy Blain, whose house has just burnt down. Unfortunately for Mercy, this goes bey ond the disaster it would be for most people: she hasn’t been outside that house for two years now.

Flung out into the world she’s been studiously ignoring, Mercy goes to the only place she can. Her not-quite-ex-husband Eugene’s house. But it turns out she can’t stay there, either.

And so begins Mercy’s unwilling journey. After the chance purchase of a cult classic campervan (read tiny, old and smelly), with the company of her sausage dog, Wasabi, and a mysterious box of cremated remains, Mercy heads north from Adelaide to Darwin.

On the road, through badly timed breakdowns, gregarious troupes of grey nomads, and run-ins with a rogue adversary, Mercy’s carefully constructed walls start crumbling. But what was Mercy hiding from in her house? And why is Eugene desperate to have her back in the city? They say you can’t run forever…

Exquisite, tender and wry, this is a break-out novel about facing anxiety and embracing life from an extraordinary new talent.

Published 7 July 2021|  Publisher: Harlequin Australia  |  RRP: AUD$29.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

An adorably beautiful cover for an adorably beautiful novel. I always look forward to each new novel by Kim Lock because I know that I would love it. I always find myself smiling unconsciously when reading her books; I don’t know how she does it. That is not to say that her novels are happy or funny but that there are happy & funny moment in amongst the detritus that is life. Trust Kim to always get into the heart of things.

The novel opens as Mercy’s house is on fire and we meet Mercy as she stood in the middle of the street in her jammies. She was understandably confused and trying very hard to hang on to the last shred of her sanity. Her house, the only place she felt safe in, is burning down and she is forced to take her first step onto the street after 2 years of hiding. Then the only person she could turn to is her not-quite-ex-husband, Eugene, but he couldn’t shield her either. If she can’t hide, maybe she can run… and as fate has it, her mode of transport is right outside.

Bending over, she howled into her hands. She couldn’t take this anymore. She couldn’t take the feeling of her body in a constant state of anxiety, everything tensed like a rabbit awaiting a fox. Unrelenting guilt ate at her, acid sloshing her insides. The waiting, the endless waiting. For what?

I have no idea what panic attacks are like. I just know that they are supposed to be absolutely terrifyingly bad. From reading this novel, it does feel that author has done her work in research but this is a novel and should be read as such. Mercy’s journey as she faced down her troubles is heartachingly beautiful but again it is fiction and should not be used as basis of advice.

The world wasn’t safe. Nothing was safe; nowhere was safe. I couldn’t even human.

Mercy may have begun her journey with only the van and her faithful dachshund, Wasabi, but there was a community of travellers out there. I loved this community and especially Andy, being the one she opened up to & tell-all person. Their acceptance, non-judgemental, and generous attitude towards others and life is delightful; something for us all to emulate.

Be here now, and know that whatever now is, is transient.

I may have started reading The Other Side of Beautiful with a tiny bit of trepidation because her last novel, The Three of Us, was rather hard-hitting (I rated that one 5-stars too) and I’m really not in the mood for that sort of read. However, The Other Side of Beautiful proves to be such a balm in the midst of a lockdown. Being in Mercy’s shoes while she traversed the great Australian landscape, it was truly an escape that I vicariously loved.

My thanks to Harlequin Australia via The Book Stack for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  facebook 

Witchshadow by Susan Dennard -a review

witchshadowWitchshadow (The Witchlands #4) by Susan Dennard

Susan Dennard’s New York Times bestselling fantasy series continues – with the story of the Threadwitch Iseult.

War has come to the Witchlands . . . and nothing will be the same again.

Iseult has found her heartsister Safi at last, but their reunion is brief. For Iseult to stay alive, she must flee Cartorra while Safi remains. And though Iseult has plans to save her friend, they will require her to summon magic more dangerous than anything she has ever faced before.

Meanwhile, the Bloodwitch Aeduan is beset by forces he cannot understand. And Vivia – rightful queen of Nubrevna – finds herself without a crown or home.

As villains from legend reawaken across the Witchlands, only the mythical Cahr Awen can stop the gathering war. Iseult could embrace this power and heal the land, but first she must choose on which side of the shadows her destiny will lie.

Witchshadow is the fourth book in the Witchlands series by bestselling author Susan Dennard.

Published 29 June 2021|  Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia  |  RRP: AUD$12.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

Wow, definitely worth the wait though I feel it to be a shame that I read it so quickly (2 days) to read when it took 2 years between 3rd and 4th book to get to me. Witchshadow (all 464 pages of it) is such an immersive read that pages flew past and before I knew it, I reached the end of the book.

If you’ve been following the series, you’d know that it’s an utterly complex world with multiple threads that just keep unspooling. I did wonder if I’d manage to enjoy this read without rereading earlier books but while I struggled with minor characters and certain threads, I managed to follow the story just fine and without too much confusion. There were soo many threads floating around and some timelines going back and forth that I’m totally amazed that I wasn’t confused. Such tight structuring speaks well of both author [and editor]. By the way, if you need it, author has recap summaries on her website.

It feels like fans have waited forever for Iseult’s story. The Witchlands begins with Safi’s story in Truthwitch and that was in 2016; 5 years ago. I can promise you though that it is worth the wait because Iseult’s story is absolutely epic and fairly earth-shattering! Safi is her usual whirlwind self but Iseult and her stasis is facing some tough challenges with encountering strong enemies and discovering things about herself. But as they say, what doesn’t break you makes you stronger. I can’t wait to see what these Threadsisters get up to next.

My thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for this paperback copy of book in exchange of my honest thoughts

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The Ones We’re Meant to Find -a review

TOWMTFThe Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Two sisters. An unputdownable story.

Cee woke up on the shores of an abandoned island three years ago with no idea how she got there. Now eighteen, she lives in a shack with an ageing android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and she has to escape to find her.

From the safety of the eco-city floating above Earth, now decimated by natural disasters, sixteen-year-old Kasey mourns Cee whom she’s sure is dead. She too wants to escape: the eco-city is meant to be a sanctuary for people who want to save the planet, but its inhabitants are willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Is Kasey ready to use technology to help Earth, even though it failed her sister?

Cee and Kasey think that what they know about each other and their world is true. Both are wrong. If you loved We Were Liars or Black Mirror, you’ll love The Ones We’re Meant to Find, a clever, inspirational thriller.

Published 4 May 2021|  Publisher: Text Publishing  |  RRP: AUD$19.99

Buy it at: Dymocks |  Booktopia |  A&R  |  Abbey’s  | QBD

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

My main reason in picking up this book is the POC author and I thought the premise of the story, of 2 sisters trying to reach each other, is interesting. However, the novel is really not what I expected which could be a really good thing but it wasn’t, this time, not for me anyway.

Firstly, I just found the book really confusing. It took me a long time to come to some sort of understanding of the apocalyptic nature of the time. Then, the flashing back and forth between time (before & after separation) also threw me on a loop. It just made me feel that I’m not clever enough to understand the novel.

So, when twists came about, I just wasn’t that surprised but it did help my brain to click and I started to be able to untangle some of my confusion. It just took a really long time to get there. And then the ending was just to vaguely open for my liking; I really feel there should be more of a closure especially after all the effort of untangling the mess in my head.

While I understand there’s some really important message in this novel, the story or structure of this story is really not one for me.

Thank you Text Publishing via Netgalley for the e-copy of this book in exchange of my honest thoughts

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