NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – OCTOBER 12, 2021

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni was out October 7, 2021, in the UK and today is out in the US/CAN.

Any Sign of Life by Rae Carson is a story about “a teenage girl [who] thinks she may be the only person left alive in her town—maybe in the whole world—she must rely on hope, trust, and her own resilience. A harrowing and pulse-pounding survival story.”

Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone is suggested for fans of Uprooted and promises monsters, curses and bargains. This is a UK release date.



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 

WHEN SORROWS COME by Seanan McGuire

When October is informed that Simon Torquill—legally her father, due to Faerie’s archaic marriage traditions—must be invited to her wedding or risk the

It’s hard to be a hero. There’s always something needing October “Toby” Daye’s attention, and her own desires tend to fall by the wayside in favor of solving the Kingdom’s problems. That includes the desire to marry her long-time suitor and current fiancé, Tybalt, San Francisco’s King of Cats. She doesn’t mean to keep delaying the wedding, it just sort of…happens. And that’s why her closest friends have taken the choice out of her hands, ambushing her with a court wedding at the High Court in Toronto. Once the High King gets involved, there’s not much even Toby can do to delay things…

…except for getting involved in stopping a plot to overthrow the High Throne itself, destabilizing the Westlands entirely, and keeping her from getting married through nothing more than the sheer volume of chaos it would cause. Can Toby save the Westlands and make it to her own wedding on time? Or is she going to have to choose one over the other?


Title : When Sorrows Come
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book fifteen)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 384
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : September 14, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

Yep, it’s me. I’m still reading this (in my opinion) lacklustre series. 

Overall I’m rather underwhelmed about this instalment which makes a nice departure from previous instalments which have often annoyed me. Toby is up to her usual cavalier shenanigans, her narration is full of lighthearted dramatics, she’s delightfully (not) hypocritical about others who crack jokes in tense situations right after she’s done the same, she spews meaningful backstory to strangers for no reason except exposition as well as redundantly trying to convince us things are meaningful..

.. oh but she finally got married. To Tybalt. Eventually.

Before it can happen, though, we have coups and assassinations and all sorts of the usual-in-this-world hijinks. And, again, as usual, the High King of Everything (whatever) felt pretty incompetent and, at times, needed fae-specific things explained to him. Him. The High King. Was it to make Toby look better or what? Not sure. I didn’t understand this. But it certainly didn’t stop him, or the Queen, from throwing the occasional jabs and blame her way.. even though she hadn’t even wanted to be there and everything would’ve been worse had she not been there to save the day and be the hero. I know I complain about this series, and this character, all the time but there are times that the bigger injustice is how other characters treat this character I don’t even like. Not always. But sometimes. In this case it was milder than it’s been in the past but still a recurring and perplexing phenomenon. 

I did kind of love (this wasn’t a surprise, we’ve known since book one) that the High Kingdom or whatever is situated in Toronto but this time we were actually there, visiting, and there were some Canadian and maple flavoured jokes sprinkled around. That gave me the occasional tickle. And I clung to said amusement like Jack clung to the door.

Of note, it was rather disheartening to see a few typos sprinkled in amongst this traditionally published and edited novel. Almost as disheartening as having to sift through passages where someone says something and Toby reiterates it mostly the same way.. just because she’s the MC. Filler, got to love it.

Thankfully my massive binge has dissipated enough from my mind that I was okay riding this book out and got through it pretty quickly. Maybe because I felt removed from it all, though unfortunately had no issue remembering all the little details — helped by all the rehashing spread through the story — but overall this wasn’t as frustrating as I’ve come to expect. That said, as always, I’m still hoping the end of this series is nigh (there’s three more already announced but unclear how long the series is anticipated to last). 

THE DIVINERS by Libba Bray

SOMETHING DARK AND EVIL HAS AWAKENED…

Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…


Title : The Diviners
Author : Libba Bray
Series : The Diviners (book one)
Format : physical
Page Count : 578
Genre : YA fantasy / historical fiction / paranormal
Publisher : Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date : September 18, 2012

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating :  ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

Well, here we are. The start of my last undertaking to complete my Five Series to Finish in 2021 challenge. And of course I saved the chonkiest instalments for last.. poor (maybe!) planning on my part but I always intended to save these for spoopy season. And I don’t regret that choice — so far.

This was a reread for me, as I gave up on this series due to extended gaps between releases, but everything on from here will be new. Having said that, I remembered the broad strokes of the plot, and most of the main character’s persona, but not much else. So a lot of this was still surprising. But other than the atmosphere, the vibe, and the setting which lends itself to both very gloomy and also very glittery (1920s), I didn’t.. love it.

This is a long book and hoo boy does it feel long at times. I could more or less lose myself in the anticipation of the reveal and the mystery and the lead-up to the big confrontation but if I paused to take breaks, I didn’t feel inspired to come back to this. Also, at this point, there isn’t a single character who has stolen my heart. Most are fine, or interesting, or tolerable, but perhaps some of my ambivalence is because I just don’t have a favourite. Right now this is definitely a read I’m looking forward to continuing for plot reasons only.

For those of you who don’t know what this series is about, here’s some broad strokes : prohibition, the occult, America, racism, grief, murder, paranormal, spooky vibes, flappers.. and more!

I’ve yet to decide if I’m diving right into book two (I know, shocking! but again.. these are long) or if I’ll divert myself with a palate cleanser. Either way, looking forward to seeing how the rest of this unfolds.

WHY I’VE STARTED WRITING MY OWN RECAPS FOR COMPLEX SERIES

Micky here. As a blogger and bookstagrammer, one of the best things is getting to read ARCS of new series but what that does mean is that I read a lot of series as they release with the inevitable wait for the next book. What I’ve found with SFF in particular (but really any complex series) is that when I come to the next book, I have gaps about what happened. I don’t have the time to re-read and searching for someone else’s recap often doesn’t work out unless it’s really popular.

What’s the answer to this problem? I started writing my own recap of the book I’ve just read, so that when I come to pick up the next book in a year’s time, I have the plot points that I think were important and any little nuggets that will prompt my mind about exactly what happened. My recaps aren’t lengthy, they’re shorthand and bullet pointed, sometime a who’s who, how they’re related to another character and the key things that happened in the story.

At first, I put these in my note app on my phone until I chatted to Hollis who suggested the private notes area on the review for the book. I’ve added a screenshot below of where I mean (the black scribbles cover some of my recap). So now I’ve transfered my recaps here. This means that no-one else can see it, you’re not spoiling anyone and it’s easily accessible. I can’t wait to be Micky next year, going to find my own recap and being ready to launch into my next read more informed!

Would you do this? Do you use recap sites or are you a re-read before the next book kind of person?


HEIR TO SEVENWATERS by Juliet Marillier – double review!

The chieftains of Sevenwaters have long been custodians of a vast and mysterious forest. Human and Otherworld dwellers have existed there side by side, sharing a wary trust. Until the spring when Lady Aisling of Sevenwaters finds herself expecting another child—a new heir to Sevenwaters.

Then the family’s joy turns to despair when the baby is taken from his room and something…unnatural is left in his place. To reclaim her newborn brother, Clodagh must enter the shadowy Otherworld and confront the powerful prince who rules there.


Title : Heir to Sevenwaters
Author : Juliet Marillier
Series : Sevenwaters (book four)
Format : physical
Page Count : 398
Genre : fantasy / historical fiction / retellings
Publisher : Roc
Release Date : November 4, 2008

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★ 


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Otherworldly
Roller coaster-y on steroids
Nefarious side of magic

I couldn’t be happier that the Sevenwaters ‘dip’ was fleeting and is over (Child of the Prophecy). The struggles of book three are but a memory and the band of buddy readers gobbled Heir of Sevenwaters up.

In Clodagh we found a worthy heroine, made of true Sevenwaters heritage. She thought herself lacking in some worth, masterful with running the house and little else. BUT Clodagh was much more, she had a steely determination and she was caring to a fault.

We got some true Marillier hurt in this book, I wont say anything further but just remember the saying that no one is safe. That said, in this installment, she soothed and healed the reader too. We also got some real connection between Clodagh and Cathal. I believed their tether and that proved so vital in times apart.

I have to mention Becan without elaboration, but oh, my heart. That wee one stole my affection immediately and I adored him. His personality, who Clodagh became through him and all that came after. For me, the biggest moments in this book were focused on him.

The story really took us more into the Otherworld and it really was a scary place, not visually but in terms of a total lack of sense of safety for the characters. I was tense every moment of being in that place.

As ever, Marillier’s writing was complex in part but with enchanting prose (quite literally). She has caught me in her net with this series.

I met a young woman with hair like a flame,
She laid my heart open,
She banished my shame.


Hollis’ 3.5 (rounded up) star review

This rating might change as we continue on through the remaining two Sevenwaters instalments but. If you’ve made it this far, you know you are getting a very Marillier-experience which means heartbreak, love that conquers all, and stories. Stories that come with lessons, and clues, in how to survive what is to come and what is expected of our main character.

For Clodagh, she herself is a bit of a departure from our original trilogy heroines, particularly the first two. She’s not adventurous, or a gifted healer, or seems to have any particular strength beyond the maintaining and running of a household. And it’s really as far as her ambitions have pushed her. So when she is underestimated (by others and herself) when she initially finds herself on a particular quest that only she can take.. well, no one is surprised. But for this journey, it takes that kind of selfless love, from a person always putting others before herself, to triumph.

This particular instalment introduces us to a different kind of Fair Folk than we’re used to seeing in this world. Not just meddlesome and cagey, trying to steer these to the tune they like, but this time outright devious, destructive, and dangerous. Nor have we seen the last of this particular character. That said, this may have been the most Otherworldly focused story so far and the character we met along the way, the atmosphere, the dangers.. it was all so vibrant, full of tension, and made for great storytelling.

While I don’t think I loved this one, I liked so much of it. Again, my rating might change by the time we finish book six, and I can rank these companions back to back (to back), but.. it was still a lovely time. And I enjoyed my buddy read immensely with the Sevenwaters Squad (though our final day to discuss was foiled by the All Apps Are Down annoyance). Can’t wait for book five and beyond.

THE GILDED CAGE by Lynette Noni

Kiva Meridan is a survivor.

She survived not only Zalindov prison, but also the deadly Trial by Ordeal. Now Kiva’s purpose goes beyond survival to vengeance. For the past ten years, her only goal has been to reunite with her family and destroy the people responsible for ruining their lives. But now that she has escaped Zalindov, her mission has become more complicated than ever.

As Kiva settles into her new life in the capital, she discovers she wasn’t the only one who suffered while she was in Zalindov-her siblings and their beliefs have changed too. Soon it’s not just her enemies she’s keeping secrets from, but her own family as well.

Outside the city walls, tensions are brewing from the rebels, along with whispers of a growing threat from the northern kingdoms. Kiva’s allegiances are more important than ever, but she’s beginning to question where they truly lie. To survive this time, she’ll have to navigate a complicated web of lies before both sides of the battle turn against her and she loses everything.


Title : The Gilded Cage
Author : Lynette Noni
Series : The Prison Healer #2
Format : e-ARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodderscape
Release Date : October 7, 2021

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Messed up families
Slow burn persists
Secrets, lies and reveals

Having spent all of book one in the prison and loving that context, I didn’t know how it would be out of captivity for these characters. I did take some adjusting and it took me a little while to get into this installment but boy, I really did get into it.

The Gilded Cage was very much a time of Kiva living a double life, it was uncomfortable for her but it did bring about a clarity in her thinking and allegiances; I loved witnessing that. Jaren remained the uncomplicated human he is, genuine with integrity and totally sold on Kiva. Jaren’s family was a freaky s**t show and Kiva’s was worse. As we got to know these other members of both families, it was pretty double-crossing, mind-blowing and totally gripping.

“You say you became the darkness, that it consumed you, but I call bull on that. I’ve never met anyone who shines as brightly as you do.”

I did not know which way the dice was going to roll in this story, there were plenty of twists and so many were unexpected. That didn’t stop me speculating and messaging friends who had read with my nonsensical speculations. It ended just as I expected, with jaw on the floor and feeling a little hopeless. Reading these books is like an addiction, a good one…like chocolate.

Bring on the conclusion, Lynette Noni; I am ready!

Thank you Hodder Books for the early review copy.

ONCE MORE UPON A TIME by Roshani Chokshi

Once upon a dream, there was a prince named Ambrose
and a princess named Imelda who loved each other…
But alas, no more.
“What a witch takes, a witch does not give back!”
their friends and family warn.
They resign themselves to this loveless fate…
A year and a day pass.
And then their story truly begins…

Embark on a perilous journey with Imelda and Ambrose as they brave magical landscapes and enchanted creatures on their quest to reclaim their heart’s desire…But first they must remember what that is… Immerse yourself in the beauty of a highly unusual fairy tale by New York Times bestselling author Roshani Chokshi.


Title : Once More Upon a Time
Author : Roshani Chokshi
Format : eARC
Page Count : 144
Genre : fantasy / fairytale retellings
Publisher : Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date : October 5, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

So, silly me, I requested this thinking it was a full length adult romance novel and not a novella (though it is adult, I guess). That said, I have nothing against novellas at all and was happy to have something short to sneak in between reads.

This was a pretty standard unconventional fairytale in the sense that how they come together is standard but, unlike how most go, they are then broken up — while still being together. They go on a journey, with a few side quests, and along the way discover more about each other than they ever did before.

I think what I loved most about this, though, was their backstories. I would’ve read a whole book about their lives before this or, even, a full length that included said backstories and expanded on their adventures from this one.

It was cute, sometimes funny, a little silly, and sweet. If this had been longer, and more adult in the vein of the romance, I think I would’ve really loved it. That said, I would not discourage you from picking this up.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – OCTOBER 5, 2021

Happy “where’d all my money go?” new release Tuesday, everyone!

As you know, the most exciting day of the week in this community is the day that follows the one we all dread (Mondays for the nope) and today we’re going to highlight some of the new books chipping away at our bank accounts — but each one is so worth it.


Relative Justice by Gregory Ashe is a brand new series featuring Hazard and Somers and after the way the previous spinoff ended..? Hoo boy. This is a need!

When Night Breaks by Janella Angeles is the sequel/finale to last year’s Where Dreams Descend.

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson is another standalone fantasy from the author known for standalone fantasies! This one deals with restless spirits.

The Gilded Cage by Lynette Noni releases this week in the UK and next week in the US. A great sequel is afoot for fans of book one.



Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below! 

VESPERTINE by Margaret Rogerson

From the New York Times bestselling author of Sorcery of Thorns and An Enchantment of Ravens comes a thrilling new YA fantasy about a teen girl with mythic abilities who must defend her world against restless spirits of the dead.

The dead of Loraille do not rest.

Artemisia is training to be a Gray Sister, a nun who cleanses the bodies of the deceased so that their souls can pass on; otherwise, they will rise as spirits with a ravenous hunger for the living. She would rather deal with the dead than the living, who trade whispers about her scarred hands and troubled past.

When her convent is attacked by possessed soldiers, Artemisia defends it by awakening an ancient spirit bound to a saint’s relic. It is a revenant, a malevolent being that threatens to possess her the moment she drops her guard. Wielding its extraordinary power almost consumes her—but death has come to Loraille, and only a vespertine, a priestess trained to wield a high relic, has any chance of stopping it. With all knowledge of vespertines lost to time, Artemisia turns to the last remaining expert for help: the revenant itself.

As she unravels a sinister mystery of saints, secrets, and dark magic, her bond with the revenant grows. And when a hidden evil begins to surface, she discovers that facing this enemy might require her to betray everything she has been taught to believe—if the revenant doesn’t betray her first.


Title : Vespertine
Author : Margaret Rogerson
Series : Vespertine (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date : October 5, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

I was pretty close to rounding up on this one but I’ll admit that, just around the time of the big climax and showdown, I sorta lost the plot. But so much of this was so good.

I’ll admit I definitely expected to like this considering how much I enjoyed Sorcery of Thorns. I definitely saw some shades of that same brilliance in this book, too, and particularly enjoyed this offering’s snarky otherworldly companion — having not read the author’s debut I can’t say for sure this is a trend in all her books but two out of three is definitely worth noting!

I enjoyed so much of this world with its restless dead, this character with her rather horrible backstory and subsequent current-day struggles, and one minor-ish secondary character, too, who had not a single line of dialogue but totally stole my heart.

I’ll admit I did see one twist (if you could call it that) coming along the way, so that wasn’t a surprise, but one or two things post-reveal definitely were. Again, I don’t quite know where things went wrong for me but.. something didn’t quite work near the end which explains why I can’t round up. That said, I was super pleased that not only does this seem to be yet another fantasy standalone but this one has no romance.. and does not suffer at all for it.

While this won’t end up a favourite, I still had a really good time with it. And having seen a post on GR indicating she’s made a lot of revisions since the ARC, I may even give this a reread in a few months and see if that can push this up a few points. Either way, though, Rogerson is definitely an author I will continue to pick up and, very likely, enjoy.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

WHEN NIGHT BREAKS by Janella Angeles

The competition has come to a disastrous end, and Daron Demarco’s fall from grace is now front page news. But little matters to him beyond Kallia, the contestant he fell for who is now lost to this world and in the hands of a dangerous magician. Daron is willing to do whatever it takes to find her. Even if it means embarking on a dark and treacherous journey, risking more than just his life, with no promise of return.

After awaking in darkness, Kallia has never felt more lost. Especially with Jack by her side, the magician with who has the answers but cannot be trusted. Together, they must navigate a dazzling world where mirrors show memories and illusions shadow every corner, one ruled by a powerful game master who could all too easily destroy the world she left behind — and the boy she can’t seem to forget. With time running out, Kallia must embrace her role in a darker destiny, or lose everyone she loves, forever. 


Title : When Night Breaks
Author : Janella Angeles
Series : Kingdom of Cards (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 480
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : October 5, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

This reading experience could easily be swept under the slumpy and miserable rug — so, as always, take this with a grain of salt — but equally I know a really good engaging book, which I fully expected this to be, could’ve pulled me out of that. And instead..

This is a long book. And it felt like a long book because it didn’t feel like anything was happening; there’s so much uncertainty in light of how book one ended and we get even more things teased and tantalized and held just out of reach for so much of this book that by the time things actually started being explained, or started to happen, I just didn’t care. And this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year because I had enjoyed book one so much. Was that the fluke? Apparently I was in a slump during that read, too, but I persevered and managed to enjoy it nonetheless. Therefore, should any of this current disappointment be blamed on yet another slump? Who knows. What even is enjoyment.

What made so much of this harder to bear, too, was Kallia, our main protagonist, was just so.. unlikeable? Insufferable? I did not remember her to be this way at all in book one. And yes, her circumstances have changed, but.. yikes. I couldn’t even lose myself in her, or any, character when the plot was bogging me down. Overall this just didn’t win for me and I’m bummed.

That said, if you enjoyed book one, the magic, the competition, the romance, you’ll get most of that again in this follow up, but in a different way. I hope, if you are likewise holding your breath for this instalment, it works better for you than it did for me.

** I received an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. **

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started