People of Abandoned Character | Review


Title: People of Abandoned Character
Author: Clare Whitfield
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery and Thriller, Historical Fiction
Rating: ★★★★☆
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of historical fiction centring on Jack the Ripper or set in the Victorian era, fans of mystery and thrillers
CW: domestic abuse, violence, death, anti-Semitism*

*I did feel uncomfortable with the casual anti-Semitism (Jewish characters facing prejudice from other characters). Whilst I can understand the sentiments do not necessarily reflect the author or the protagonist, rather the common prejudices held at that time, I’d like to inform readers it’s there. Also, this does not occur often and the protagonist questions the notions.

An absolute ripper of a book. What would you do if you suspected the man you loved and married was a serial killer?

People of Abandoned Character is a grim and brutal atmospheric thriller convoluted with abrupt twists and dark turns. Some twists I anticipated whilst others were unexpected. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the tumultuous ride and devoured this book in one sitting.

Set in 1880’s Victorian England, this novel follows a young woman named Susannah, as she navigates her life from ward nurse to a newly wedded wife. Charmed by the enigmatic surgeon Thomas, Susannah is swept off her feet into a sudden advantageous marriage. The promise of a life of stability with a loving husband is new and exciting to Susannah. However, upon returning from their honeymoon their once sweet kisses turn sour as Thomas’ endearing demeanour changes. Thomas who was once attentive, devoted, and charming becomes cold, surly, and volatile. With the rising coincidental spikes in crime and her husband’s erratic behaviour, Susannah grows suspicious. What if Thomas is the fearsome murderer?

First, I must mention the two major factors that made me thoroughly enjoy this book: the narration and the protagonist. Upon reading the first few pages, I instantly fell in love with the narration. Written in first-person, the voice is distinct and gripping yet humorous at times. The story is well-paced with an engaging protagonist. Susannah is an intriguing character who is both determined yet naïve and unconventional and I enjoyed witnessing the story unfurl from her perspective.

Originally from a lower social class and having little to no prospects, Susannah is no stranger to the poor, unfortunate circumstances and sometimes violent ends women face in that era. Despite that, we witness Susannah grapple society’s expectation using her quick wit and determination. Throughout the novel, you can’t help but cheer for Susannah. Often berated by her grandmother of being a person of abandoned character, Susannah examines herself, questioning her morality and decisions. However, as the audience, we can’t help but empathise with Susannah and her actions despite her flaws.

Also, this book explores aspects such as class and gender, presenting fascinating insight whilst drawing attention to the disparity between the rich and poor and the inequality between men and women. A sad tune that still rings true till this day.

Overall, this was a compelling read with great pacing and intriguing twists. I enjoyed this thoroughly (and was satisfied with the ending!) and would recommend this book. Now I cannot wait for my Goldsboro copy to arrive.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher (Head of Zeus) for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

OwlCrate October 2020 | Unboxing

OwlCrate October 2020: Legends and Lore

𝗙𝗲𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗹𝘆 𝗘𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗹 𝗣𝗶𝗻: designed by @HeyAtlasCreative

𝗪𝗼𝘃𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻 𝗠𝗼𝗼𝗻𝗹𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗪𝗶𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗵𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀: from Team @OwlCrate

𝗦𝗽𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗗𝗮𝘄𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗕𝗼𝘄𝗹 𝗖𝗼𝘇𝘆: designed by Janine Lecour

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿-𝗧𝗼𝘂𝗰𝗵𝗲𝗱 𝗤𝘂𝗲𝗲𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗕𝗮𝗺𝗯𝗼𝗼 𝗣𝗵𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗻𝗱: designed by @LadyChubbLetters

𝗚𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝗣𝗮𝗽𝗲𝗿 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗙𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗚𝗹𝗮𝘀𝘀 𝗡𝗮𝗶𝗹 𝗙𝗶𝗹𝗲: by Team OwlCrate

𝗔 𝗦𝗼𝗻𝗴 𝗼𝗳 𝗪𝗿𝗮𝗶𝘁𝗵𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗥𝘂𝗶𝗻 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗦𝗼𝗮𝗽 𝗕𝗮𝗿: created by @MotherlandEssentials

𝗥𝗮𝘆𝗯𝗲𝗮𝗿𝗲𝗿 𝗔𝘂𝗱𝗶𝗼𝗯𝗼𝗼𝗸: complimentary from Libro.FM

𝗢𝘄𝗹𝗖𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗲 𝗲𝘅𝗰𝗹𝘂𝘀𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝘀𝗻𝗲𝗮𝗸 𝗽𝗲𝗲𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗪𝗲 𝗙𝗿𝗲𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘀

 

My thoughts:

With the limited sneak peaks for that month I was so excited for this box. Not only due to the theme and the book in question, but also how it exclusively features BIPOC sellers and inspired books. However, upon opening the box, I couldn’t help but feel… disappointed. I feel like this theme could have been explored further and be more creative in terms of design and items. I’ll be honest, I feel cheated with this box. I am a POC myself, so naturally, I want to support BIPOC sellers and seeing the items… I just… SIGH

In terms of the theme, designs, and items, I felt like there was no cohesiveness. I don’t know how the items and design relate together. The items feel so randomly shoved together and I suppose this may be due to the fact that I haven’t read some of the books. Like, I do appreciate how useful the items are, but I don’t understand how they relate to each other and the theme?

Cost: I really do not feel like this box was worth my money. However, I am an international buyer so I understand that our currency is weaker than the USD, however, I feel like other than the soap, the items could be purchased on cheap websites like WISH and ALIEXPRESS for a fraction of the price. Also, other than the soap, I would not purchase any of this items for myself. I wouldn’t go as far as say that I’m a minimalist, but I don’t really like to purchase items I don’t use nor need. I do not have a need for anything in this box other than the book and soap.

Conclusion: I’m not too fond of the items but I do love this month’s book. I accidentally slipped up my dates and purchased the November box, so, I will see how that box goes and will determine whether I would like to continue OwlCrate or not. Which is a huge bummer because I usually love OwlCrate book picks and their items.

What are your thoughts on this box?

bannernewerbwj
newestnewstjoy
newjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

FairyLoot September 2020 | Unboxing

FairyLoot September 2020: Under the Sea

𝗙𝗲𝗮𝘁𝘂𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗕𝗼𝗼𝗸: Fable by Adrienne Young

Not the best picture, but the edges are sprayed a gorgeous glittery aquamarine colour
Author’s signature

𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗹𝘆 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt

𝗧𝗼 𝗞𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗮 𝗞𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗱𝗼𝗺 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗠𝘂𝗴: designed by @gabrielleragusi

Quote: “It’s like holding a story rather than a poison she feels wild and infinite in my arms.”

𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗲𝗮 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗣𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗹 𝗖𝗮𝘀𝗲: designed by Ink and Wonder

𝗛𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗕𝗿𝘂𝘀𝗵: with a nautical design

𝗢𝗺𝗯𝗿é 𝗠𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘄𝘀: with quotes ‘’make waves” and “beach please”

𝗨𝗿𝘀𝘂𝗹𝗮 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗘𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗹 𝗞𝗲𝘆𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗶𝗻: designed by Ink and Wonder

Quote: “Poor Unfortunate Souls”

𝗣𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗔𝘁𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗶𝘀: illustrated by @taratjah

What are your thoughts on this box?

My thoughts: I absolutely love nautical themes and aesthetic, however, this didn’t have the same oomph factor as last months for both items and design. For me, I believe it’s due to the fact that there are so many avenues one can go with a nautical theme. It feels like this month has focused on the ‘Little Mermaid’ rather than an overall sea setting or books with a sea setting. I guess this is reflective on the name of the theme. 🙈😅

In terms of items, I like how useful the mug, hairbrush, and reuseable straws are, but I usually prefer buy my own type of hairbrush. Also, this hairbrush may not be useful for all types of hair. However, I thought the resuseable straws were a great idea.

In terms of design, I love how cohesive this theme is for colour. I love the use of blue and aquamarine. However, the pencil case is not my favourite item nor do I feel like I have much use for the enamel keychain. Nevertheless, the items are gorgeous.

𝐐𝐨𝐭𝐃: Have you read Fabled? What are your thoughts on it? Otherwise, what did you think of this box?

𝐀𝐨𝐭𝐃: I’m so excited to read Fable! I’ve heard so many great things about 😄 plus I absolutely love books with a sea setting 🌊

bannernewerbwj
newestnewstjoy
newjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

Library Haul | Book Haul

Growing up, my family always utilised the library. There’s something special about the library and I love them so much. The other day, I decided to ignore my unread books on my shelves and acquire more books without my wallet cursing and crying at me. As a result, I went to my local library.

One thing I love about my library is how it allows you to borrow ten books at a time. I tried to be realistic and borrow the maximum books I think I can read within two weeks, so I managed to pick five books. Here are my pics:

• 𝗢𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗔𝗹𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 by Justin A Reynolds

• 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵 by Elizabeth Acevedo

• 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗲𝘁 𝗫 by Elizabeth Acevedo

• 𝗗𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 by Justina Ireland

• 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗦𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻 by Samantha Shannon

A few of these books have book on my tbr for a while and now I can devour them to my hearts content 😁 I’ve already started Dread Nation and omgggg I stayed up so late and now I’m hating/loving myself right now 😅😭😂

(Ps please ignore how I forgot to showcase The Bone Season 🙈)

𝐐𝐨𝐭𝐃: Have you read any of these books? Do you use the library? What’s the last book you borrowed? Otherwise, what’s the last book you bought?

𝐀𝐨𝐭𝐃: Finally!!! There was some free Elizabeth Acevedo books at my library and you bet I swiped the books and ran out 😂🏃🏻‍♀️💨💨💨

I originally made this as a reel for Bookstagram, however, I can’t play the music I added with this so let’s just pretend I’m singing in the background *Cue off-pitch singing and cats crying*

bannernewerbwj
newestnewstjoy
newjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

FairyLoot August 2020 | Unboxing

FairyLoot August 2020: Let the Games Begin

Featured Book: Star Daughter by Shveta Thakar

Monthly Character Cards: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt

An Ember in the Ashes inspired Book Sleeve (Laia & Elias): designed by @monolimeart

Hunting Prince Dracula inspired Hardcover Notebook: by @noverantale with artwork by @taratjah

Aurora Rising Enamel Pin: designed by @ironandinkdesigns

Nevernight (Mia & Mr Kindly) Metal Bookmark: designed by @taratjah

Golden Egg Bath Bomb: created by @littleheartgifts

Scythe inspired Magnet: by @tararjah

Upon opening my box I actually gasped. This box left me speechless. I’m so in love with everything 😭🤩 FairyLoot definitely spoiled us with this book. One could say everything here was out of this world 😁✨

newestnewstjoy
newjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

The Midnight Bargain | Book Review

Title: The Midnight Bargain
Standalone
Author: C. L. Polk
Publisher: Erewhon Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Where can I get this? GoodReads | Book Depository | Booktopia | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of historical fiction set in Regency era, themes of politically arranged marriages, and feminism
CW: themes of misogyny (women wearing collars after marriage to subdue their magic and protect potential children)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Check out the synopsis below!

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatrice’s first kiss . . . with her adversary’s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marries—even for love—she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

“You will dance. You will eat cake. You will see starlight. You will have a kiss by midnight, and then our bargain is done.”

I liked how this book explores and woven the themes of gender equality, women’s freedom, and independence into the novel. However, I felt like this novel lacked nuance in some areas. I appreciated the rhetoric regarding equality, however, at times it felt too heavy-handed and on the nose, thereby affecting my reading experience towards the 80% mark of the story. In saying that, I do agree that the discussion regarding equality and independence is crucial, and whilst I may find it a bit on the nose at times others may not find it so.

Also, I liked how driven and determined the protagonist (Beatrice) was throughout the story. My two favourite characters were Beatrice, Nadi, and Ysbeta. I particularly liked Beatrice and Nadi’s dynamic. And I liked how Beatrice and Ysbeta grew together, fostering a great friendship.

However, unfortunately, I could not come to love the love interest (Ianthe). I felt like the romantic interest was too perfect in the sense that he was consistently understanding, open-minded despite living in and taking part in a world that constantly benefited him. It felt unrealistic. From the top of my head, I can’t think of any flaws. I mean, the love interest is even good looking and rich.

Despite the constant focus on the romance, the romance felt underdeveloped and rushed. I didn’t feel emotionally invested nor understood the romantic connection between the characters. I feel that there was no romantic build-up for me to really cheer for the two characters.

In terms of the world-building and magic system, I liked how intriguing the magic system was. However, this could be due to my lack of understanding, but I found the magic system vague. Despite that, I did find the magic system fascinating and enjoyed it.

Without getting spoiler-y, I both liked and not-so-liked the ending. I found it unrewarding in the sense of how it opposes certain themes presented throughout the novel regarding marriage, children, and Beatrice pursuing her passion. I felt the ending felt too convenient to be believable. Despite that, I did like how Beatrice chose and paved her own path for both career and family (I’m trying to be as vague as possible here).

GUSH:

  •  Gripping, I devoured this book in one sitting –
  • Interesting world and magic 
  • Determined protagonist wanting to pursue their passion and a strong sense of women empowerment

GRIPE:

  • I didn’t feel too invested in the romance
  • Not enough information regarding the world-building and magic –
  • The ending felt too convenient

 

𝘗𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘴𝘦 𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘦: 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘰𝘵𝘦 𝘭𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘢𝘯 𝘈𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘙𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘊𝘰𝘱𝘺 (𝘈𝘙𝘊) 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘮𝘢𝘺 𝘣𝘦 𝘴𝘶𝘣𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦 𝘶𝘱𝘰𝘯 𝘱𝘶𝘣𝘭𝘪𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher (Erewhon Books) for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


bannernewerbwj
newestnewstjoy
newjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

How to Break and Evil Curse | Review

Title: How to Break an Evil Curse
Series: Chronicles of Fritillary #1
Author: Laura Morrison
Publisher: Black Spot Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Recommended for: people looking for a different take on fairy-tales, fans of satire, fantasy parodies, and snarky narrators

If you’re looking for a fairy-tale parody, this may be for you.


In ‘How to Break an Evil Curse’, the King’s firstborn is cursed to die if touched by sunlight. Princess Julianna, the unfortunate firstborn to the King of Fritillary is confined in darkness and dreams of a life of freedom. Disgruntled but also determined, Julianna decides to fight fate and live her life by escaping the somewhat nicely redecorated dungeon.

But first, how does one break an evil curse? Simple, really. The evil Wizard Farland admits there is a cure. All Julianna needs is to fall in love with a person that:
1. spent their whole life at sea,
2. whose parents are part of a travelling theatre troupe,
3. said person can play the banjo, accordion, and harpsichord, and
4. is allergic to asparagus.

“It is not impossible for such a person to exist, only improbable.”

Writing:
Firstly, I must state this: approach this with a light-hearted mind. The narration style may not be for everyone. Rather, it may come across as sarcastic to some, with fourth wall breaks, witty comments, and interesting footnotes. However, I feel the narration is a stylistic choice to add to the humorous tone and I find that it works well with the story.

Characters:
There is a large cast of characters in this book, however, they add to the story and it’s quite easy to follow. Although one may find certain characters to be shallow and two-dimensional, I feel like this story doesn’t take itself too seriously for you to do so.  Although I must say, I appreciate how Julianna has initiative. Once she wants something, she goes after it.

Enjoyment:
I can appreciate this book for what it offers—a unique take on classic fairy tales. The humour may not be for everyone as it’s sarcastic and sometimes nonsensical. However, if you enjoy such humour, you may thoroughly enjoy this.

This book may serve well as a ‘palate-cleanser’—when you’re looking for a book that is light-hearted, entertaining, and easy to read. I’d recommend those who pick this up to not take it seriously, and enjoy for what it is. Overall, I find this book to be a quirky and amusing read.

Recommended for: people looking for a different take on fairy-tales, fans of satire, fantasy parodies, and snarky narrators

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

bannernewerbwj
newestnewstjoy
newjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

Kingdom of Sea and Stone | Book Tour | Review

Hello and welcome to my stop. This stop includes a book review with favourite quotes.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is newbannerbwj.jpg

BOOK INFO:

Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone
Series: Crown of Coral and Pearl #2
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher:
Release Date: October 6th 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

Check out the synopsis below!

Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.
As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is newbannerbwj.jpg

Review

Rating: ★★★★☆
Recommended for: fans of YA Fantasy, sea settings,

Writing:
Like the first novel, Kingdom of Sea and Stone was a delight to read. I found the writing style straightforward and engaging. Rutherford describes scenes well without weighing the narrative down with too many descriptions. I liked how I could read both books in a single sitting.

Characters:
First and foremost, this novel is solely told in first POV of Nor and I appreciated Nor’s character growth depicted here. As we journey through the story we witness as she takes action and courage whilst remaining the same empathetic and kind-hearted she was in the first book. This book takes a shift and explores themes such as freedom, purpose, and love.

However, akin to the first book I found Nor’s internal struggle to take centre stage (romance in the first book and self-discovery in the second). I appreciate it when books explore a characters internal struggle, however, I found the increased focus on that aspect to downplay other aspects (such as the war, etc.) in the book thereby affecting the pacing. Despite it being slower paced, I appreciate how this book went into great length into Nor’s journey both physically and mentally.

Also, one major aspect I loved in the first book was the twin’s relationship. I adored their strong love for each other and I rejoiced to see them reunite here. Luckily, we get to witness more of Zadie and her interactions with Nor (as well as Zadie/Nor/Sami but the three best friend dynamic wasn’t as depicted as I would’ve liked it). I liked how

There were few recurring characters and some new faces. I quickly grew fond to a few of the new characters and liked how they spiced the story up. There were hidden agendas, unclear motivations, and unexpected twists and I was here for all of them.

Romance:
Whilst some may disagree with me, stating the romance was lacking in comparison to the predecessor, I preferred the romantic resolution presented in this novel. Perhaps I wasn’t as invested in the romance due to it being a little too convenient for me in the first book. However, I did get frustrated at some parts of the book where I feel that a simple straightforward conversation would’ve prevented certain situations but hey, I did enjoy the drama of it all so… 😂😂 Anyway, I can’t complain with how the romance ended (but mind you some may find it lacking).

Setting & World-Building:
I liked how this book explores further than Varenia and Ilara, journeying to a land named Galeth. Rutherford described the scenery well, incorporating little details of the land and culture throughout the story which helped grounded me into this fantastical world. Galeth was refreshingly different to Varenia in various ways (ruling, customs, expectations, etc.). I initially fell in love with how Rutherford depicted Varenia so exploring different lands was quite fun (though I missed the sea).

Overall, this was a pleasant conclusion to the highly anticipated sequel. There is a different shift in terms of pacing and themes compared to the previous book and I did enjoy the thoughtfulness and depth that went behind it all. Be prepared to meet new faces, see new places, and a fun ride!

Recommend for: fans of YA fantasy with political intrigue, character growth depicted in first POV

CW: violence, death


Some of my favourite quotes:

Please note: the quotes listed here are cited from an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) and may be subjected to change upon publication.

Father kissed my forehead. “My girl, take heart. No journey worth taking was ever easy.”

I loved this. I’m a sucker for a good parent/child dynamic and this interaction highlighted a tender moment between Nor and her father. Little do we know how much this quote really sets our story!

“Hope is like a kite. Hold on to it tight enough, and even the fiercest storm can’t claim it.”

A great nod to book one! I adored this!

“Because that was what it meant to be free: I could choose.”

“Ceren had said love was my weakness, once. But I knew now that love was the strength that would sustain me out there in the world, and it was the bond that would ensure I always came back.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is newbannerbwj.jpg
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is newbannerbwj.jpg

MARA RUTHERFORD

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London. When she’s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. She is the author of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL (2019), its sequel, KINGDOM OF SEA AND STONE (2020), and LUMINOUS (2021).

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is newbannerbwj.jpg
bwj-g


Okay, the fun bit… the giveaway!

Prize: Finished copy of Kingdom of Sea and Stone (US Only)

Check out the giveaway here and GOOD LUCK! 

Again, please feel free to follow the next tour stops. The Tour Schedule can be found here.

bannernewerbwj
newestnewstjoy
newjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

Monstrous Heart | Review

51041086._SX318_SY475_

Title: Monstrous Heart
Series: The Monstrous Heart Trilogy #1
Author: Claire McKenna
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Where can I find this? GoodReads | Book Depository | Booktopia
Recommended for: Fans of gothic atmosphere, flowery writing
CW: sexual assault, attempted rape, and violence

In Monstrous Heart, we follow Arden, tasked to keep the lighthouse burning with her magical blood. Readers are promised a gothic feel so there’s a melancholic voice in the narration which works well with the story. However, there were some instances where the prose felt excessively flowery to the point of confusion (at the beginning). Despite that, I did like how the narration complemented the story and overall atmosphere of the novel.

Unfortunately, the world-building felt lacking in some areas. Whilst there was focus on certain aspects (such as characters) which was great, the narration never solidified the world thereby leaving readers confused and baseless. For example, terms and concepts were presented yet never fully explored. Also, the novel utilised words and places from our world (‘Fiction’ and ‘Manhattan’) as names of places which felt jarring upon reading.

Despite that, I did like how Arden was portrayed to be determined and hard-working. I also liked and was intrigued by the concept of sea monsters and the world. I just wished the world-building was fleshed out more.

Monstrous Heart held so much promise, however, I feel that this book wasn’t for me. If you’re a fan of flowery writing and a determined protagonist, this may be for you. The elements in this story held great potential and I am curious to see more from this author.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers (Harper Collins) for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

bannernewerbwj
newestnewstjoy
newjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter

The Faithless Hawk | Blog Tour | Author Interview

Faithless Hawk tour banner

Hello Everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen hosted by TBR and Beyond. This stop includes an exclusive Q&A with the author and I am so excited to share it with you.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

ABTB-MO

The Faithless Hawk cover

BOOK INFO:

Title: The Faithless Hawk
Series: The Merciful Crow #2
Author: Margaret Owen
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: August 18th 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble |Indigo

Check out the synopsis below!

Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owen’s The Merciful Crow.
As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still she’s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusana’s merciless bid for the throne.
With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crows—and add numbers to her monstrous army—Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, they’re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.
A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusana’s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crows—secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.

bannernewerbwj

BWJ-AI

Can you share with us something about The Faithless Hawk that isn’t in the blurb?

Margaret: There is a DRASTIC increase in the number of cats involved!

Without revealing too much, what was your favourite scene or moment to write in The Faithless Hawk, and why?

Margaret: I always enjoy writing the endings, the big final clashes and the dust settling. It’s when all the dominos you’ve set up get to fall, and the pattern you’ve been building finally reveals itself!

What song would you choose as the theme song for The Faithless Hawk?

Margaret: “The Bleeding of Mercy” by the Telepathic Teddy Bears! The first time I listened to it, I was really captivated by the mournful yet hopeful tone. In particular, the line, “Don’t mourn the setting sun, for it will rise again” struck me as particularly close to home for this book.

I adored your characters—especially how Fie is so unapologetic, unafraid, and full of grit and determination. How did you choose the names for your characters?

Margaret: Thank you so much! For Fie, I wanted her name to evoke a sense of both spite and mischief, and the word “fie” seemed perfect. I wound up compiling a list of old-timey insults for the other Crow names, according to their customs, and I tried to match them up with their personalities the best. The rest of the names I made up, though there’s a bit of a naming convention for the ruling families to adhere to, where the firstborn child’s name is based on the name of one of their parents. (For example, Jasimir’s mother was named Jasindra, and we learn Rhusana’s son is named Rhusomir.)

Looking back, what was the most difficult and what was the most enjoyable part of the whole process of writing and publishing your books?

Margaret: There was a period of time last year when I felt like if I wasn’t making everyone happy, I was failing. That meant if people didn’t like my book, or if I wasn’t able to deliver things on time, or if I wasn’t able to provide cool incentives to preorder my book, I was going to fail as an author, and my career would be over. Needless to say, I was struggling quite a bit to write at that point. There’s a phrase I wound up writing on masking tape and pasting on my desk, which is “The only way out is through,” which was true but a little bleak, so underneath I added, “but you can make it.” And I did!

I’d say the most enjoyable part has been seeing how The Merciful Crow and The Faithless Hawk have touched people, especially when it inspires them to create something themselves. When people reach out to me to say “I loved this part!” or “those monsters were so gross!” or “I HATE this character so much!”, it’s a similar feeling as when your friend texts you as they watch a movie you really love, and they’re super into it. But it’s even better, because I made that movie! (Kind of.)

The Merciful Crow was such an intense and enthralling read. What can fans expect from you in the future? Can you tell us about any future projects?

Margaret: Thank you so much! The Faithless Hawk wraps up the duology, so there aren’t any plans for more books in that universe at the moment, but I never say never. However, I do have a third book due out, likely sometime next year. It’s a loose retelling of The Goose Girl, from the perspective of the fairytale’s villain, a wicked maidservant who stole the princess heroine’s identity. When we meet our narrator, she’s spent the last year or so using the princess’s identity to make it into high society parties and pull off a string of jewelry heists. Then she steals from the wrong family, crosses a local deity, and winds up cursed to turn into jewels herself… unless she can make up for everything she’s taken. It’s a lot of weird magic, scammers scamming scammers, and unorthodox uses of breakfast foods, so all in all a good time! Well, for everyone but our narrator.

Quick-fire questions:

There’s a zombie apocalypse! Which four YA protagonists would be on your team and why?

  1. Katniss from The Hunger Games, she’s got all the outdoor survival knowledge of a Girl Scout on steroids, plus she’s killed before and will kill again.
  2. Jane McKeene from Dread Nation, she is literally trained to kill zombies.
  3. Amaya from Scavenge the Stars, because she can sail a boat, and honestly zombies are less of a problem at sea, I feel.
  4. Nina Zenik, so someone can help me hold down the waffle situation. (And heal the wounded, and possibly control the zombies? But waffles first.)

What would be your supervillain name and powers?

Margaret: Margaret Owen, and making people cry, probably.

Okay, okay, it would probably be something like Her Majesty, because I would 100% be down to do a hivemind-type situation and make people do things like recycle and wear masks and, if we can rope Bezos into this, donate their massive amounts of money to charity.

And finally, whilst there is an endless amount of writing resources online, if you could share one unique piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Margaret: I would say a lot of the time you hear “eyes on your own paper”, and to a certain extent, that’s solid advice—everyone’s publishing journey is different, and you really can only control your own work. That said, I would say don’t be afraid to look around the room, actually. Don’t be afraid to compare notes with people you trust. I can guarantee that the discrepancies revealed by #PublishingPaidMe are neither the first nor the last, and that opacity is not for your benefit, but for that of the publishing industry. The only way that changes is by making informed decisions, so don’t be afraid to seek out that information yourself.

A huge thank you to Margaret for your time!

bannernewerbwj

ATA-MO

Margaret Owen

Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen first encountered an author in the wild in fourth grade. Roughly twenty seconds later, she decided she too would be an author, the first of many well-thought-out life decisions.

The career plan shifted frequently as Margaret spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powell’s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.

Fortunately, it turned out that fourth-grade Margaret was onto something. She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations.

MARGARET OWEN

Website | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

bannernewerbwj

bwj-g

Okay, the fun bit… the giveaway!

Prize: Finished copies of The Merciful Crow and The Faithless Hawk (US and Canada Only)

Start date: August 23rd, 2020

End date: August 29th, 2020

Check out the giveaway here and GOOD LUCK! 

Again, please feel free to follow the next tour stops. The Tour Schedule can be found here.

bannernewerbwj

newestnewstjoynewjoywb

InstagramGoodReadsTwitter