Tag Archives: Netgalley

Crown of Cinders (Wings of Fury #2) by Emily R. King -a review

crown of cindersCrown of Cinders (Wings of Fury #2) by Emily R. King

Going to battle against a Titan in the war of all wars, one woman is making history in an epic novel of ancient Greece by Emily R. King, author of the Hundredth Queen series.

May Gaea be with you…

Althea Lambros is growing into her power, wrestling with a burdensome heritage, and unwilling to concede to Cronus, the redoubtable God of Gods. For that, Cronus is making good on his promise. Calling upon the elder Titans, he’s bringing down his wrath on the world. Suffering quakes, tempests, fire, and hail, mortals are paying in blood for the war of the gods.

With the help of her friend Theo, Althea takes cover with her sisters, Bronte and Cleora. But they can’t hide forever. To mastermind the downfall of the evil king, Althea must recruit allies of her own before the aggrieved mortals surrender the sisters to Cronus in exchange for peace.

Is Althea formidable enough to win? It’ll take the help of her sisters and those willing to fight for the cause of the just. As the gods pick sides, Althea must divide heaven and earth to defeat the enemy and write the true history of the war to end all wars.

Published 5 October 2021|  Publisher: 47North  |  RRP: AUD$24.99

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

My Blurb (3.5 / 5 stars)

I’m not a huge fan of Greek mythology and usually avoids retellings of them but somehow, I managed to dive into Wings of Fury (book 1)… As usual, I wasn’t paying much attention to the description and just started reading. In the end, I decided that I really like Althea and I wanted to find out what happens next.

Crown of Cinders opens some time after the end of Wings of Fury, where 2 siblings are yet to be found but Cronus has begun to make his move to destroy these siblings yet again. A very fast read culminating in a climactic battle for world rule where a heartbreaking moment made me sobbed but yet, the ending made me unsure whether this is it or if there is another book coming. I feel that the story is mostly finished but I’m also annoyed at a certain character at this point so I’m not actually sure if I’d like another one or not.

On the other hand, I feel that this book is about a particular goddess for which I am not at all familiar with her ‘background’ as such so this was a lovely fill for me. She is a strong heroine who have had to fight for her freedom, her independence, her situation in life. I believe this is what author wanted to get across and she definitely had done that very well.

Your value is not in how others treat you but in how you treat yourself. We must believe in ourselves first or there is nothing anyone can say, Titan or moral, that we will believe.

My thanks to 47North for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find her on:  goodreads  |  websitefacebook  |  instagram  |  pinterest  |  twitter

Echoes of War by Tania Blanchard -a review

echoes of warEchoes of War by Tania Blanchard

Set in Mussolini’s Italy amid great upheaval, this is the story of one woman’s determination to find her place in a world that men are threatening to tear apart. Another heart-rending novel inspired by a true story from Australia’s bestselling author of The Girl from Munich.

Calabria, Italy, 1936

In a remote farming village nestled in the mountains that descend into the sparkling Ionian Sea, young and spirited Giulia Tallariti longs for something more. While she loves her home and her lively family, she would much rather follow in her nonna’s footsteps and pursue her dream of becoming a healer.

But as Mussolini’s focus shifts to the war in Europe, civil unrest looms. Whispers of war are at every corner and her beloved village, once safe from the fascist agenda of the North, is now in very real danger.

Caught between her desire to forge her own path and her duty to her family, Giulia must draw on the passion in her heart and the strength of her conviction.

Can she find a way to fulfill her dreams or will the echoes of war drown out her voice?

Published 29 September 2021|  Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia  |  RRP: AUD$32.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

I am partial to war stories but this novel, Echoes of War, isn’t really a war story but a story of womanhood but set within a time of war. This is not to say that the protagonist wasn’t affected by war but just that she was not directly involved in it. All in all, it did not detract from the story of passion, resilience, and strength of this girl’s journey into womanhood.

Giulia Tallariti, our protagonist, is a passionate young woman who has a very clear vision of her future. A vision which was not shared by her father who has his own preconception and therefore resulted in a number of clashes between daughter and father. While fighting for her future, the country itself is turmoil. From wars, natural disasters, and poverty, Giulia and her family stuck together through thick & thin as she sought and found her place in her family & society.

I’m not afraid to confess that I cried a number of times; as you’d expect from such stories. Echoes of War is a novel full of anxiety, heartbreaks, family, sisterhood, and love. What fascinated me most was author’s notes as she described her own family history and how it influenced her writing especially with some of her own family stories woven into this telling; utterly captivating.

My thanks to Simon & Schuster Australia for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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Serve ‘N’ Protect by Tee O’Fallon -a review

serve n protectServe ‘N’ Protect (Federal K-9 #5) by Tee O’Fallon

Ambushed and left for dead, U.S. Secret Service K-9 Officer Markus York is on the mend and laying low in a safe house while his team tracks down his attacker. But Markus isn’t good at sitting still. Even with his K-9, Ghost, for company, he gets restless and decides now is the perfect time to do some repairs around the house…and inadvertently tears open his wounds.

Fresh out of a bad relationship that ended after a car accident left her with limited mobility, freelance accountant Cassidy Morgan has sworn off men. At least, that’s the plan. Until a frantically barking dog leads her to a neighbor’s house where she finds a mysterious man out cold and bleeding on the floor…and mumbling things like “no, they’ll find me” when she tries to call an ambulance.

Yeah, that’s not at all concerning.

Despite Markus’s surly attitude, Cassidy senses there’s something else at work beneath his rugged, keep-your-distance exterior. Whatever it is, it’s sexy as hell.

With someone still trying to kill him, Markus doesn’t want an innocent to get hurt, let alone take care of him.

If only his dog wasn’t crazy in love with her.

If only the chemistry between Markus and Cassidy didn’t explode whenever they were in the same room.

If only Cassidy wasn’t a target now, too.

Published 20 September 2021|  Publisher: Entangled Publishing

My Blurb (3 / 5 stars)

I was introduced to this particular kind of reads, romantic suspense featuring dogs, by a GR friend. After a few months, I guess I just couldn’t resist anymore and had to dip my toe in. I am a dog person though and I had my white fluffball sitting by me while I read so it was lovely.

Both characters were very easily likable. Marcus York, our tall, dark, handsome, & broody hero with his beautiful white German Shepherd, Ghost. Cassidy Morgan, strong, independent, and ever bubbly survivor of a horrific car accident. Ghost, of course, is the one who brought them together. The course of true love never did run smooth with a few murderous incidents and a wrong turn but no fear, this is a read you can expect a HEA from 😉

While this is a book 5 in a series, it can really stand on its own as each book is about different team member of the K-9 team and their own experience in finding love. I haven’t read any of the first 4 books and decided that I’m going to defy my own rules of reading in order by just reading this one and see whether I like it or not. It was definitely a fun read and while I’m not particularly interested in reading previous books, there were some teasers about the next book, I think, and I am curious about him! Bring on book 6!

My thanks to Entangled Publishing for ecopy of book via NetGalley in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

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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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Review: Of Wicked Blood by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz

Of Wicked Blood (The Quatrefoil Chronicles #1) by Olivia Wildenstein & Katie Hayoz

NO REST FOR THE WICKED . . . OR THE CURSED.

SLATE
I didn’t mean to steal the Bloodstone from the De Morel’s crypt.
Scratch that, I did mean to steal it.
Until I realized it was a curse-magnet that only comes off if I, along with a jolly trio, successfully defeat four curses. If any of us fail, I’m dead. I’ve never been a glass half-empty sort of person, but my glass looks in dire need of a refill right about now.
The only highlight of this wicked treasure hunt: feisty, entitled Cadence de Morel.

CADENCE
I was raised on tales of magic, in a small town reputed to be the birthplace of French witchcraft.
Did I believe all the stories I heard? Absolutely not. I mean, if magic existed, Maman wouldn’t have died, and Papa wouldn’t be stuck in a wheelchair, right?
Wrong.
The night Slate Ardoin waltzes into my life, wearing a ring he stole from my mother’s grave, I call him a monster. But then I meet real ones, and Slate, well . . . he becomes something else to me.
Something frustrating to live with but impossible to live without.
Something I will fight for, no matter the cost.

*Warning: profuse cursing (and not just the magical kind).

Published 2 February 2021|  Publisher: Twig Publishing

My Blurb (2.5 / 5 stars)

I must admit I do like that cover but not sure if I like the description enough to pick this up for a read. The main reason was that I was curious about netgalley app for audiobook and this one was the only ‘Listen Now’ that I found remotely interesting. So I decided to give this audiobook a listen.

There are 2 POVs as noted in the book description, Slate & Cadence. I think it’s also obvious from the description that these 2 are going to butt heads in more than 1 way. Whilst I do like their characters (they are easily likeable), the back and forth in the romance was a little too much for me and then, there is that whiff/hint of a triangle. If you know me, you’d know this little bit would’ve been enough to turn me off. Sorry… this is not a book for me and this is all me. I did however liked the whole mystery & quest for the quatrefoil and there are hints of darker acts at the end of this audiobook. However, I’m not sure if I’m curious enough to follow up with the sequel.

With 2 POVs, there are 2 narrators. Whilst I liked both voices, I found their disparate pacing to be off putting. If you listen to a lot of audiobooks like I do, I think you’d know that you really do need that consistent pacing through one a book or you’d have to readjust your listening each time and that’s what I had to do for each alternate chapters. 

Oh, and that ‘profuse cursing’ warning is to be taken seriously. I would usually listen to my audiobooks in the car while driving my kids places and I really couldn’t with this audiobook; not even for the 5 minutes’ drive to school.

Thank you Twig Publishing via Netgalley for the audio copy of this book in exchange of my honest thoughts

About the author

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  instagram

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

 

Review: The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

The Girl and the Stars (Book of the Ice #1) by Mark Lawrence

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

Published 21 April 2020 |  Publisher: HarperVoyager |  RRP: AUD32.99

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

My Blurb (4.5 / 5 stars)

A thoroughly enjoyable read! Ashamed to admit it’s my first Mark Lawrence’s and keen to explore more of his works.

The novel opens with the Girl, Yaz, as she and her clan, the Ichta, made their way to a congregation of clans. One which determines a child’s fate: to become an adult of their clan or if deemed weak/broken, thrown into the abyss. Yaz always thought that this is the end of her life, that she’s a weakling and does not deserve her place in her clan. While the judgement turned her life upside down but her brother’s fate, spun her world unrecognisable.

I think in a normal climate, I would not be able to put this book down but in the current climate, I have been finding it hard to read especially digitally. There were parts of the book which were kinda philosophical and I struggled with that – again, I’m blaming it on the current climate because it’s hard to focus these days. Overall though I really love Yaz’s adventure and discovery of the secrets of her cruel dark world and it was so full of twists and turns (totally unexpected) all the way to the last sentence. Highly recommended for fantasy lovers who are looking to disappear into another world for a few hours.

Thanks to HarperVoyager via Netgalley for ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Mark Lawrence was born in Champagne-Urbanan, Illinois, to British parents but moved to the UK at the age of one. He went back to the US after taking a PhD in mathematics at Imperial College to work on a variety of research projects including the ‘Star Wars’ missile defence programme. Returning to the UK, he has worked mainly on image processing and decision/reasoning theory. He says he never had any ambition to be a writer so was very surprised when a half-hearted attempt to find an agent turned into a global publishing deal overnight. His first trilogy, THE BROKEN EMPIRE, has been universally acclaimed as a ground-breaking work of fantasy. Following The Broken Empire comes the bestselling RED QUEEN’S WAR trilogy. The BOOK OF THE ANCESTOR trilogy, in an entirely new setting, commences with RED SISTER in 2017. Mark is married, with four children, and lives in Bristol.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  website  |  blog  |  facebook  |  tumblr  |  pinterest  |  instagram 

Review: Lizard’s Tale by Weng Wai Chan

Lizard’s Tale by Weng Wai Chan

A thief. A spy. A mysterious codebook. And a whole lot of trouble.

It’s 1940 and World War II is being fought in faraway Europe. Lizard doesn’t know much about that. He lives in Singapore’s Chinatown, surviving on odd jobs and petty theft.

When Boss Man Beng asks him to steal a teak box from a suite in the glamorous Raffles Hotel, Lizard knows the job is important. But can he know just how dangerous it is?

A sinister man appears in the shadows, and Lizard’s best friend, Lili, shows up with unexpected fighting skills and her eyeon what’s in the box.

And Lizard finds himself on an exciting, action-packed adventure in a world of coded secrets, Japanese invasion plans and undercover spies.

Published 2 July 2019 |  Publisher: Text Publishing |  RRP: USD$16.99

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

My Blurb (5 / 5 stars)

Gosh, I loved this now as I read it in my late 30s and I can just imagine how much I would’ve adored this book were I to read it 30 years ago! It has everything I love from the cute cover, a very capable Chinese girl, to a beautiful bittersweet ending.

Lizard is the name of this 12 year-old boy who has no one is known by. While he himself if a clever young fellow, he does not know his way around big cities. Luckily, he found help in a Chinese girl called Lili and the two formed a friendship, of sort. Lizard, these days, will do all sorts of things to stay above water. Meantime, he kept an eye out for his missing uncle. Until the day that he inadvertently got involved in something well beyond his ken. Lucky for him, there are friends who cared for him who are willing to help.

Let me provide a complete list of things I loved of this novel:
🦎 Cute eye-catching cover
🦎 own voice (POC) author
🦎 Great characters: resilient & courageous MC with brave & resourceful sidekicks
🦎 Friendship Friendship Friendship
🦎 Set in Asia (Singapore)
🦎 Diverse characters (and let me stress the DIVERSE here)
🦎 Set in WW2 (or just before)

A terrific mystery, fast paced plot, and marvellous characters, Lizard’s Tale is highly recommended for readers of ALL ages!

Thanks to Text Publishing via Netgalley for ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

Weng Wai Chan was born and grew up in Singapore. She now lives in Auckland with her husband and three children. Lizard’s Tale is her first book.

Find author on:  goodreads  |  twitter

Review: The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner

The Daughter of Victory Lights by Kerri Turner

An enthralling story of one woman’s determined grab for freedom after WW2 from a talented new Australian voice.

‘PART CABARET, PART BURLESQUE, AND LIKE NOTHING YOU’VE EVER SEEN BEFORE! GENTLEMEN, AND LADIES IF YOU’VE DARED TO COME, WELCOME TO …’

There was a pause, and Evelyn sensed those around her leaning forward in anticipation.

‘THE VICTORY!’

1945: After the thrill and danger of volunteering in an all-female searchlight regiment protecting Londoners from German bombers overhead, Evelyn Bell is secretly dismayed to be sent back to her rigid domestic life when the war is over. But then she comes across a secret night-time show, hidden from the law on a boat in the middle of the Thames. Entranced by the risque and lively performance, she grabs the opportunity to join the misfit crew and escape her dreary future.

At first the Victory travels from port to port to raucous applause, but as the shows get bigger and bigger, so too does the risks the performers are driven to take, as well as the growing emotional complications among the crew. Until one desperate night …

1963: Lucy, an unloved and unwanted little girl, is rescued by a mysterious stranger who says he knows her mother. On the Isle of Wight, Lucy is welcomed into an eclectic family of ex-performers. She is showered with kindness and love, but gradually it becomes clear that there are secrets they refuse to share. Who is Evelyn Bell?

Published 20 January 2020 |  Publisher: Harlequin Australia |  RRP: USD$29.99

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

My Blurb (4 / 5 stars)

Look at the gorgeous cover 😍 and I’ve always been a sucker for a WWII story plus it is written by an Australian woman writer… Sold! And it was sooo worth it!

That’s the one thing about humanity you can always rely on: we’ll forever judge the secrets and faults of others while desperately trying to make sure our own stay hidden.

The Daughter of Victory Lights opens with the one tragic incident that leaves a lifetime worth of scars on many.  Then, we are taken back in time… to the past decade and the events that lead up to this moment in time. This is Evelyn’s story. Evelyn who was courageous in serving her country in time of war. Evelyn who, being intelligent and free-spirited, was unable to settle for a life that is dependent on men. Evelyn who, in desperation, grasped at the only chance to work with what she loves and independence.

Ignore the stiff upper lip; do not keep calm and carry on. Dig your fingers into your fears and face them head-on. For that is the only way to become free of them.

Then comes Part 2… Lucy’s story. As soon as I started Part 2, I just knew what happened and my heart broke. I didn’t have the details but I knew a lot more than Lucy! I think Lucy might be around 10 or 11 and has always felt unwanted and unloved. As she discovers who she really is, we are provided with the details of that incident from the beginning of the book and its aftermath. And oh DID I CRY!

our biggest trials can also lead to our biggest triumphs

This novel is entrenched in grief and fear for many different things. Yet, it is an encouragement to all who are suffering to seek help. I may have cried but I feel light as air following the hopeful ending of this novel. The Daughter of Victory Lights features all the glamour life can offer yet gives glimpses of its darkest pits but most of all, there is light outside to guide you through. An enchanting novel full of beautiful characters set in a fascinating time, you’ll be captivated.

Thanks to Harlequin Australia via Netgalley for ecopy of book in exchange of honest review

About the author

The Last Days of the Romanov Dancers, my debut novel, was released with HQ, an imprint of HarperCollins Australia, in January 2019. A second historical fiction novel, The Daughter of Victory Lights, is scheduled for release 20 January 2020.

​In 2017 I signed with literary agent Haylee Nash of The Nash Agency. In prior years, my short stories have been published by Reflex Fiction, Boolarong Press, Catchfire Press, Stringybark, Underground Writers, and as part of the Dangerous Women Project.

My author influences include (but are not limited to) Kate Forsyth, Sara Gruen, Belinda Alexandra, Hazel Gaynor, Ken Follett, Eli Brown, and Kate Morton. I also have a special fondness for Lorna Hill, particularly her ‘Sadler’s Wells’ series, which I have collected since childhood.

When not writing or reading, I can usually be found teaching ballet and tap dancing, baking sweet treats, or spending time with my husband and my miniature schnauzer Nelson.​

Find Kerri on:  goodreads  |  website  |  twitter  |  facebook  |  pinterest  |  instagram