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NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 8, 2022

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.


Domestic Animals by Gregory Ashe isn’t out today but is out February 11, 2022. This is the third in this new spinoff of a spinoff series.



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

GIRLS OF FATE AND FURY by Natasha Ngan

The epic romance of Lei and Wren comes to a breathtaking conclusion in the explosive finale to the acclaimed, New York Times bestselling Girls of Paper and Fire series.

‘Don’t struggle, Lei-zhi. It’s time to take you back to the Hidden Palace. You’re going home.’

The jaw-dropping conclusion to Girls of Storm and Shadow left the fates of Lei and Wren hanging in the balance. There’s one thing Lei knows – she can never return to the Hidden Palace. The trauma and tragedy she suffered behind those opulent walls will plague her forever. She cannot be trapped there with the sadistic king again, especially without Wren.

The last time Lei saw the girl she loved, Wren was fighting an army of soldiers in a furious battle to the death.

With the two girls torn apart and each in great peril, will they reunite at last, or have their destinies diverged forever? 


Title : Girls of Fate and Fury
Author : Natasha Ngan
Series : Girls of Paper and Fire (book three)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 400
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Hodder & Stoughton
Release Date : November 30, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

“Anyway, suffice it to say I’m still waiting to be won over by this series and at this stage I can only hope it ends well. It’s a pretty low bar for me at this point.

That was how I left off my review for book two in 2019. Suffice it to say.. hopes were dashed. Having said that, though, this was not the series for me and I think I mostly knew that by book one. So no one is surprised by this result and also, you know, grain o’salt.

Also please note I’m only putting in this low-bar effort to review because we have reviews for the first two books on the blog. Otherwise this likely would’ve only existed on GR. Aren’t you all lucky.

I found the first half of this finale to be an utter and total slog to get through — true, I could remember almost nothing about how book two ended, or much about book two in general because it being a journey-centric instalment. But I soon remembered enough to get by. And even still, despite the bonus of having a new POV, nothing sparked joy or excitement. There was some minor enjoyment, or at least I was dialled in, for about twenty percent near the middle, but once that had passed.. more slog. Somehow, despite everything going on, especially a certain reveal near to the end, there was so intensity. There was no dramatic sense of stakes or danger or anything. Which I think is my whole issue with both the story and the writing : while sometimes emotion is conveyed, I can never actually feel it.

I can absolutely understand why people not only love this world but also the representation found within the pages as well as identifying with the characters. I appreciate all of those things. But that’s as far as it goes.

I doubt I’ll read this author again but I’m glad to have completed this series, and have one less unfinished story hanging over my head.

THIS WOVEN KINGDOM by Tahereh Mafi

Clashing empires, forbidden romance, and a long-forgotten queen destined to save her people—bestselling author Tahereh Mafi’s first in an epic, romantic trilogy inspired by Persian mythology.

To all the world, Alizeh is a disposable servant, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn kingdom forced to hide in plain sight.

The crown prince, Kamran, has heard the prophecies foretelling the death of his king. But he could never have imagined that the servant girl with the strange eyes, the girl he can’t put out of his mind, would one day soon uproot his kingdom—and the world.

Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Tomi Adeyemi, and Sabaa Tahir, this is the explosive first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the New York Times bestselling and National Book Award-nominated author Tahereh Mafi.


Title : This Woven Kingdom
Author : Tahereh Mafi
Series : This Woven Kingdom #1
Format : Physical
Page Count : 495
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Electric Monkey Books
Release Date : February 3, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4.5 star review (rounded the heck up)

Headlines:
Those eyes, hands, fire and ice
Poverty and royalty
Sweeping connection

Mafi has created a world I want to exist in as a reader (not as a person), she brought uniqueness coupled with familiarity of vibe and Middle Eastern folklore. I was enamoured by it, beckoned into the story and characters and I’m sad it’s over…for now.

Alizeh was a servant of the lowest capacity, wearing her hands to sores, having barely any time to sleep and yet she was a Jinn and meant for more. It was easy to be lured into her character; she was humble but wiley, invisible but strong and I loved seeing the increasing glances of all she might become.

Kamran was the prince of the land, back from recent battles and really not in the know about how his kingdom was run. There were dreams, real glimpses of one another and intrigue. I loved how that connection built, even though it was over a shortish period of time. I felt the chemistry, the forbidden sides of their star-crossed ties.

“Surely you must see,” she said.
“There exists no bridge between our lives, no path that connects our worlds.”

The lands, how the priviledged lived, made avid reading from Alizeh’s perspective. I really liked some of the side characters like Omid, the apothecarist, the firefly. The jury is out on how I feel about Hazan, Miss Huda and I definitely didn’t like the blue-eyed stranger.

This story finished with an almighty bang of course and I have taken notes so I am fresh when it comes to book two. I hope you find this to be the same kind of whisk-you-away read that I did; definitely a favourite of the year so far.

Thank you to Electric Monkey books for the early review copy.

THE BARNABUS PROJECT by The Fan Brothers

In a world built for Perfect Pets, Barnabus is a Failed Project, half mouse, half elephant, kept out of sight until his dreams of freedom lead him and his misfit friends on a perilous adventure. A stunning picture book from international bestsellers The Fan Brothers, joined by their brother Devin Fan.

Deep underground beneath Perfect Pets, where children can buy genetically engineered “perfect” creatures, there is a secret lab. Barnabus and his friends live in this lab, but none of them is perfect. They are all Failed Projects. Barnabus has never been outside his tiny bell jar, yet he dreams of one day seeing the world above ground that his pal Pip the cockroach has told him about: a world with green hills and trees, and buildings that reach all the way to the sky, lit with their own stars. But Barnabus may have to reach the outside world sooner than he thought, because the Green Rubber Suits are about to recycle all Failed Projects . . . and Barnabus doesn’t want to be made into a fluffier pet with bigger eyes. He just wants to be himself. So he decides it’s time for he and the others to escape. With his little trunk and a lot of cooperation and courage, Barnabus sets out to find freedom — and a place where he and his friends can finally be accepted for who they are.

This suspenseful, poignant and magical story about following your dreams and finding where you truly belong will draw readers into a surreal, lushly detailed world in which perfection really means being true to yourself and your friends.


Title : The Barnabus Project
Author : The Fan Brothers
Format : eBook
Page Count : 72
Genre : picture books / fantasy / children
Publisher : Tundra Books
Release Date : September 1, 2021

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

I’m rating this a four solely from my, obviously, non-child perspective. As an adult I absolutely loved this story about imperfectness and the importance of being yourself, no matter what the world around you tells you.

I agree with some other reviews that maybe this is perhaps a shade darker than what is expected, or wanted, of children’s books so maybe this would be for the older range of younger children (I don’t even know what the age range is for this one, to be fair). But I think it’s still an important message; even if the way it’s delivered isn’t the standard happily ever after. It is also a little rushed near the end and I think an extra few pages to flesh things out a bit would’ve been helpful. Will kids notice though? Likely not.

Also, the art? Absolutely stunning. So creative, colourful, and the perspectives were delightful.

This is definitely a contender for my nieces when they get a little older.

PANDORA by Susan Stokes-Chapman

London, 1799. Dora Blake is an aspiring jewellery artist who lives with her uncle in what used to be her parents’ famed shop of antiquities. When a mysterious Greek vase is delivered, Dora is intrigued by her uncle’s suspicious behaviour and enlists the help of Edward Lawrence, a young antiquarian scholar. Edward sees the ancient vase as key to unlocking his academic future. Dora sees it as a chance to restore the shop to its former glory, and to escape her nefarious uncle.

But what Edward discovers about the vase has Dora questioning everything she has believed about her life, her family, and the world as she knows it. As Dora uncovers the truth she starts to realise that some mysteries are buried, and some doors are locked, for a reason.

Gorgeously atmospheric and deliciously page-turning, Pandora is a story of secrets and deception, love and fulfilment, fate and hope.


Title : Pandora
Author : Susan Stokes-Chapman
Format : Physical
Page Count : 432
Genre : Historical Fiction/Retelling
Publisher : Random House UK/Vintage
Release Date : January 27, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Creepy atmosphere
Plundering of other countries
You can literally smell the evil

Pandora was such an all consuming read. I loved how it brought Georgian England together with Greek mythology. The result was a stunning story, with clever characters, ones to really invest in and some to revile.

Pandora ‘Dora’ was the orphaned daughter of two archeologists-excavators-plunderers but they were respected experts and sellers of antiquities prior to their deaths. Dora relied on her uncle Hesakiah who quite frankly was one of the most revolting characters ever, but I loved how well he was written. He was a dodgy dealer in all the ways.

The arrival of the jar brought a creepy atmosphere to the page and the house Dora lived in. She had assistance from Edward with regards to the jar and there were some interesting side characters in Cornelius and Lottie. The Coombes brothers situation made me shudder and I could literally smell some of the things going on, kudos to the description. I have to mention Hermes, Dora’s animal companion in the shape of a magpie. He was fierce, wiley and protective; I enjoyed him on the page.

There’s a small part of me that was uncomfortable reading about the colonial aspects of plundering and acquisition even though that was historically correct. I hate element of British history, our museums are still full of antiquities that are not ‘ours’.

This was a superb debut, easy to read and not overtly historical-heavy. Dora the explorer (look someone had to say it) made for great reading and I’d jump on another release from this author.

Thank you to Vintage Books for the eARC copy.

MONTHLY WRAP UP – JANUARY 2022

To close out each month, we’ll be posting a break down of everything we reviewed, beginning with the reads we loved.. and ending with the reads we didn’t. Not only does this compile all our reviews in one handy summary for you to peruse, or catch up on, it also gives us an interesting birds eye view of the month and our reads. And maybe, even, our moods.


☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

Little Thieves by Margaret Owen — see Hollis’ review here
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan — see Micky’s review here (!)

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

When You Get the Chance by Emma Lord — see Hollis’ review here
One Step Too Far by Lisa Gardner — see Hollis’ review here
Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L Armentrout — see Micky’s review here
Here’s To Us by Becky Albertalli & Adam Silvera — see Micky’s review here
A Painted Winter by H. Barnard — see Micky’s review here
Flame of Sevenwaters by Juliet Marillier — see Hollis and Micky’s reviews here
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots — see Hollis’ review here
Dead Lucky by Andreina Cordani — see Micky’s review here
A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

Where the Drowned Girls Go by Seanan McGuire — see Hollis’ review here
The Maid by Nita Prose — see Hollis’ review here
Weather Girl by Rachel Lynn Solomon — see Hollis’ review here
Something Fabulous by Alexis Hall — see Hollis’ and Micky’s review here
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka — see Hollis’ review here
Love and Other Disasters by Anita Kelly — see Micky’s review here
Castles In Their Bones by Laura Sebastian — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ star reads

A Rush of Wings by Laura E. Weymouth — see Hollis’ review here
The Holiday Swap by Maggie Knox — see Micky’s review here
Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan — see Hollis’ review here (!)
Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski — see Micky’s review here

star reads

u n r a t e d

DNF

Hostage by Clare Mackintosh — no thoughts from Micky but she gave it to 55%


total reads by Micky : eighteen
favourite read of the month : Daughter of the Moon Goddess by Sue Lynn Tan
least favourite read of the month : Real Easy by Marie Rutkoski
most read genre : fantasy/contemp mix

total reviews by Hollis : twelve
favourite read of the month : Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
least favourite read of the month : A Rush of Wings by Laura E. Weymouth
most read genre : fantasy and contemporary split

GOOD GIRL COMPLEX by Elle Kennedy

She does everything right. So what could go wrong?

Mackenzie “Mac” Cabot is a people pleaser. Her demanding parents. Her prep school friends. Her long-time boyfriend. It’s exhausting, really, always following the rules. Unlike most twenty-year-olds, all she really wants to do is focus on growing her internet business, but first she must get a college degree at her parents’ insistence. That means moving to the beachside town of Avalon Bay, a community made up of locals and the wealthy students of Garnet College.

Mac’s had plenty of practice suppressing her wilder impulses, but when she meets local bad boy Cooper Hartley, that ability is suddenly tested. Cooper is rough around the edges. Raw. Candid. A threat to her ordered existence. Their friendship soon becomes the realest thing in her life.

Despite his disdain for the trust-fund kids he sees coming and going from his town, Cooper soon realizes Mac isn’t just another rich clone and falls for her. Hard. But as Mac finally starts feeling accepted by Cooper and his friends, the secret he’s been keeping from her threatens the only place she’s ever felt at home. 


Title : Good Girl Complex
Author : Elle Kennedy
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : NA contemporary romance
Publisher : St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date : February 1, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 2 star review

I’ll admit, I grabbed this because of the author and the fact that this wasn’t related to the Off-Campus books. Because while I loved that series — though admittedly lost some love with the spin-off — I wanted to see what Kennedy could do in a new space, with new concepts, and different characters.

The answer, however, is.. there wasn’t much new-ness to this.

This is a fairly typical rich girl/good girl/highsociety girl meets poor boy/bad boy/local boy set-up and it does all the things you would expect it to do. There’s nothing groundbreaking or fresh about how this all played out. There doesn’t necessarily have to be — because tropes we all love exist because we like to return to them — but I wanted something new, something different, to make this stand out. Because as is there’s nothing memorable about this and I will likely forget most of it by the time it’s released (reading and reviewing this in September 2021).

At the very least, some exciting chemistry or sizzle could’ve taken the edge off but honestly.. there wasn’t much of that, either. Another thing that did not standout.

If the aforementioned tropes, along with the secret mentioned in the summary (which, though is very early on addressed, I won’t mention due to spoilers), do it for you, I think you’ll enjoy. But I think this is the last Kennedy I’ll request to review; I might still pick up the author if something appeals but I have a feeling I may have outgrown her.

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

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – FEBRUARY 1, 2022

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.


Love Locked Down by Beth Reekles charts five couple in one week when their apartment block is locked down. Are we ready for this slice of real in our romance?

Castles In Their Bones by Laura Sebastian is the start of a new fantasy trilogy that sounds quite fairytale. Three princesses that must leave their homeland and marry princes.

Good Girl Complex by Elle Kennedy is a NA contemporary romance outside of Kennedy’s sports series. We have a review for this one, coming soon!

This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi releases on February 3, 2022, and we are ready for a new fantasy series from this author.



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