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Each month, we’ll be putting together a list of our top most anticipated releases; from romance, to sci-fi, to fantasy, and everything in between. These releases might be ones we’re counting down the days for or ones we’ve already read and want you to read (and love!), too.

What you do need to bear in mind is that living on different continents we have different release dates. So as a general rule there might be some repeats from one month to the next.. it’s not that we’re just being weird. Though we can’t dismiss that totally out of turn.

For July, our hotly anticipated titles, in chronological order, are :

Below Zero by Ali Hazelwood | July 5, 2022

It will take the frosty terrain of the Arctic to show these rival scientists that their chemistry burns hot.

Mara, Sadie, and Hannah are friends first, scientists always. Though their fields of study might take them to different corners of the world, they can all agree on this universal truth: when it comes to love and science, opposites attract and rivals make you burn…

Hannah’s got a bad feeling about this. Not only has the NASA aerospace engineer found herself injured and stranded at a remote Arctic research station—but the one person willing to undertake the hazardous rescue mission is her longtime rival.

Ian has been many things to Hannah: the villain who tried to veto her expedition and ruin her career, the man who stars in her most deliciously lurid dreams…but he’s never played the hero. So why is he risking everything to be here? And why does his presence seem just as dangerous to her heart as the coming snowstorm?

The Darkening by Sunya Mara | July 5, 2022

In this thrilling and epic YA fantasy debut the only hope for a city trapped in the eye of a cursed storm lies with the daughter of failed revolutionaries and a prince terrified of his throne.

Vesper Vale is the daughter of revolutionaries. Failed revolutionaries. When her mother was caught by the queen’s soldiers, they gave her a choice: death by the hangman’s axe, or death by the Storm that surrounds the city and curses anyone it touches. She chose the Storm. And when the queen’s soldiers—led by a paranoid prince—catch up to Vesper’s father after twelve years on the run, Vesper will do whatever it takes to save him from sharing that fate.

Even arm herself with her father’s book of dangerous experimental magic.

Even infiltrate the prince’s elite squad of soldier-sorcerers.

Even cheat her way into his cold heart.

But when Vesper learns that there’s more to the story of her mother’s death, she’ll have to make a choice if she wants to save her city: trust the devious prince with her family’s secrets, or follow her mother’s footsteps into the Storm. 

Something Certain Maybe by Sara Barnard | July 7, 2022

A powerful novel about first love, friendships and embracing the uncertainty of an unknowable future, from Sara Barnard, winner of the YA Book Prize.

Rosie is ready for her life to begin, because nothing says new life like going to university. After years of waiting and working hard, she’s finally on the road that will secure her future. 

Except university turns out to be not what she hoped or imagined, and although she’s not exactly unhappy – really! – she might be a little bit worried that she doesn’t really like her course much. Or her flatmates. Or really… anything? But it’s normal to be homesick (right?) and everything will have settled in a month or two, and it’s totally fine that her friends seem so much happier than she is, and that the doctors don’t seem to know what’s wrong with her mother. 

But then she meets Jade, and everything starts to look a little brighter. At least, it does if she’s only looking at Jade. But is first love enough when everything else is falling apart?

Be With Me by Samantha Young | July 12, 2022

It was the friends-with-benefits proposition he never saw coming…

While Arran Adair might have followed the call of wanderlust in his younger years, it isn’t the reason he stayed away from Ardnoch. Home now, desperate to put the sins of his past behind him, and rebuild his life in the Scottish Highlands, Arran could never have predicted Eredine Willows. The Ardnoch Estate Pilates instructor is a complicated mystery and one Arran can’t help but want to solve.

Eredine has spent the last eight years hiding in Scotland and building walls between her and the people she cares about. Arran is the first Adair who doesn’t treat her as if she’s fragile and demands a genuine friendship. Yet, the attraction sizzling between them is undeniable. So when she realizes she trusts him, Eredine surprises them both by offering Arran one night of no-strings passion.

Arran knows one night will inevitably lead to a desire for more and he’s willing to stay by Eredine’s side for as long as it takes to convince her there’s something real between them. However, just when Arran thinks they might build a future together, Eredine’s past returns to stalk her. And Arran won’t just have to battle her demons to keep them together. He’ll need to battle his own.

These Twisted Bonds by Lexi Ryan | July 19, 2022

This is a sequel so read the synopsis at your own peril!

Brie finds herself caught between two princes and two destinies while the future of the fae realm hangs in the balance.

After Abriella’s sister was sold to the fae, she thought life couldn’t get any worse. But when she suddenly finds herself caught in a web of lies of her own making ­- loving two princes and trusting neither – things are not quite as clear as she once thought.

As civil war wages in the Court of Darkness, Brie finds herself unable to choose a side. How can she know where she stands when she doesn’t even know herself anymore? In this darkly romantic thrill ride, the more Faerie is torn apart from the inside, the clearer it becomes that prophecies don’t lie and Brie has a role to play in the fate of this magical realm – whether she likes it or not. 

A Darkness at the Door by Intisar Khanani | July 21, 2022

This is a sequel so read the synopsis at your own peril!

I’ve been cursed, betrayed, and sold into slavery – but the truth I carry can’t be allowed to die.

Only Rae knows the extent of the corruption at the heart of the kingdom of Menaiya, from the noble lord who betrayed her, to the Circle of Mages whose wards protect the slavers from discovery. Injured and imprisoned on a slave ship, Rae’s options are quickly running out. When a desperate escape attempt goes terribly wrong, she finds herself indebted to a terrifying Fae sorceress.

Now Rae will not rest until she has rescued her fellow prisoners and freed her land from the darkness that has taken hold. To succeed, she’ll need every ally she can find—including Bren, the thief who may have stolen her heart. But Bren is hiding his own bloody secrets, and the curses that encircle Rae have sunk their claws into her mind. With her debts coming due and time running short, all the truths in the world may not be enough to save her kingdom, or herself.

Twice A Quinceñera by Yamile Saied Méndez | July 26, 2022

Acclaimed author of the Reese Witherspoon YA Book Club Pick Furia, Yamile Saied Méndez makes her adult fiction debut with this sparkling, whimsical novel of an accomplished young woman who discovers what it really means to come into her own . . .

One month short of her wedding day—and her thirtieth birthday—Nadia Palacio finds herself standing up to her infuriating, cheating fiancé for the first time in . . . well, ever. But that same courage doesn’t translate to breaking the news to her Argentinian family. She’s hyperventilating before facing them when she glimpses a magazine piece about a Latina woman celebrating herself—with a second quinceañera, aka Sweet 15! And that gives Nadia a brilliant idea . . .

With a wedding venue already paid for, and family from all over the world with plane tickets, Nadia is determined to create her own happily-ever-after. Since the math adds up perfectly, she’ll celebrate her treintañera, her double quinces. As the first professional in her family, raising a glass to her achievements is the best plan she’s had in years. Until she discovers that the man in charge of the venue is none other than her college fling that became far more than a fling. And he looks even more delicious than a three-tiered cake . . .

Full of exuberant heart, Twice a Quinceañera is a pure delight for every woman who needs to be her own biggest fan—and who dreams of a second chance at first love. 

What titles are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments below!

THIS VICIOUS GRACE by Emily Thiede – double review!

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.

Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.

Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

Title : This Vicious Grace
Author : Emily Thiede
Series : The Last Finestra (book one)
Format : ARC / audio
Page Count : 448
Genre : YA fantasy romance
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : June 28, 2022

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

Hollis’ 2 star review

I wish I could say that this was bad or awful in some way because then at least I would’ve felt something for it. But instead it was just aggressively kind of monotonous and slow and boring and vague (or hard to grasp) and, finally, predictable. The last one isn’t always a bad thing but it didn’t really help when combined with the rest.

What felt, at first, like a fresh and interesting setting quickly shifted into window (hah, you’ll understand if you read this..) dressing. I’m having a hard time wrapping my mind around the worldbuilding and the curse or the mythology, whatever it is, because it just didn’t get enough attention. See aforementioned window (again, snicker) dressing.

To me, this felt like the author wanted a bodyguard romance, with some magical stakes, and then built up around that. And to be fair, the main pitch I saw was Serpent & Dove (which I have not read) meets The Bodyguard. So it’s definitely a big part. And if that’s more or less all you want, I think you’ll be satisfied. But while the romance does feel stronger than the rest, it’s only relative because the weak world and (despite the pitch) complete lack of tension or high stakes around it — both in the sense that there isn’t that many times he’s needed as a guard and also in the world-ending-event stakes. It is tasty in the sense that the dude is tortured and it’s a slowburn and there’s the whole taboo “no touchy” element at play and yes it was the best part of the book but, again, it’s all relative. And I would’ve preferred equal parts of both.

While I appreciate the element added near the end when it comes to the MC trying to solve the riddle of how she might save the world, overwhelmingly the rest of the cast of characters just didn’t stand out beyond their base archetype. And, in some sense, the solve that Alessa comes up with kind of goes hand in hand with how these characters ultimately end up : interchangeable.

I won’t even go into the sibling dynamic because that infuriated me.

Also, there was a priest/religious conflict that gave me Winternight vibes but in a very try-hard watered down way (the character, not the author, I mean). I’ll be curious to see if anyone else picks up on that. But actually I think watered down is a good all-around way to describe the story. I needed more lemons, and a whole extra heaping of sugar, in this glass of lemonade.

Having said all that negative stuff, however, I will probably read on if this is a duology (please be a duology) but if it’s a trilogy.. time will tell.

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

Micky’s 3 star review

The evil saviour
Deadly touch
Connection and hugs

This Vicious Grace is a story with an Italian world at the centre. Pasta and baked goods feature but this isn’t a recognisable world we know, it is one full of grey characters, a chosen fighter in the Finestra Alessa and a daunting day of reckoning ahead.

Alessa had a deadly touch and she was matched into coupledoms with chosen individuals to leech their powers. It was a pretty sick parasitic relationship but she was forced into it. It was a sad state of affairs witnessing Alessa’s life, with no family who cared, guardians who had a job to do and no friends surrounding her. Her loneliness was palpable and sad. This made the appearance of a friend something meaningful.

The read was very ebb and flow for me. Early investment was there and it got more exciting for me when Dante appeared and from halfway. But, I didn’t feel fully into the story or the characters and I can’t quite put my finger on why.

I didn’t love This Vicious Grace but I think many will.

The narration was very good, strong execution of accents for the dialogue and that delicious Italian intro for each chapter start.

3 stars rounded up. Thank you to Hodder Books for the review copy.


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.

This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede is said to be both a dark fantasy and a romantic comedy but did it live up to either? Look out for a review from us tomorrow.

Katzenjammer by Francesca Zappia is “American Horror Story meets the dark comedy of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis“. Even though this has “dark” in the pitch, please be mindful of triggers — some of which are listed in our review.

Half A Soul by Olivia Atwater is a series starter in historical fantasy which is a smart, funny and adventurous read.

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

KATZENJAMMER by Francesca Zappia

From acclaimed author Francesca Zappia, American Horror Story meets the dark comedy of Kafka’s The Metamorphosis as Cat searches for a way to escape her high school. Katzenjammer is a tale of family, love, tragedy, and masks—the ones others make for us, and the ones we make for ourselves. Eerie and thought-provoking, this novel will haunt fans of Chelsie Pitcher’s This Lie Will Kill You and E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars. Features illustrations by the author throughout.

Cat lives in her high school. She never leaves, and for a long time her school has provided her with everything she needs. But now things are changing. The hallways contract and expand along with the school’s breathing, and the showers in the bathroom run a bloody red. Cat’s best friend is slowly turning into cardboard, and instead of a face, Cat has a cat mask made of her own hardened flesh.

Cat doesn’t remember why she is trapped in her school or why half of them—Cat included—are slowly transforming. Escaping has always been the one impossibility in her school’s upside-down world. But to save herself from the eventual self-destruction all the students face, Cat must find the way out. And to do that, she’ll have to remember what put her there in the first place.

Told in chapters alternating between the past and the present, Francesca Zappia weaves a spine-tingling, suspenseful, and haunting story about tragedy and the power of memories. Much like the acclaimed Eliza and Her Monsters, Katzenjammer features black-and-white illustrations by the author throughout the novel. Fans of Marieke Nijkamp’s This Is Where It Ends and Karen McManus’s One of Us Is Lying will lose themselves in the pages of this novel—or maybe in the treacherous hallways of the school.

Title : Katzenjammer
Author : Francesca Zappia
Format : ARC
Page Count : 276
Genre : YA contemporary / horror / fantasy
Publisher : Greenwillow Books
Release Date : June 28, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ .5

Hollis’ 1.5 star review

Welp, this decides it. I’ve gone from loving Eliza and Her Monsters, my first experience with this author, to being perplexed and uncertain of how I felt (Made You Up) to truly actively disliking everything else (Now Entering Addamsville and, of course, this one). I think Zappia and I have to part ways.

First off, the list of triggers for this book are rather plentiful, so please go find a full list. But in broad strokes we have violence (various types, including gun violence), body horror and gore (again, a variety), bullying (you guessed it, various kinds), and more.

I expected, from the pitch, that this was to be all kinds of strange and dark and surreal but after a certain reveal.. I feel even stranger about the whole experience. I don’t think books with heavier subject matter or darkness need a happy ending but sometimes there’s something. For this book? Don’t expect anything.

While it is doubtlessly creative and sometimes the weirdness was.. winsome, even almost endearing, on the whole I just don’t know what to do with this whole experience. Normally my one-stars are very distinctly in the “I hated this” category but this didn’t inspire hate. It just didn’t work. And it’s not for me.

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


A gruesome curse. A city in upheaval. A monster with unquenchable appetites.

As the last true witches living in a city shifting from magic to industry, Marlinchen and her two sisters are little more than tourist traps as they treat their clients with archaic remedies and beguile them with nostalgic charm. Marlinchen spends her days divining secrets in exchange for rubles and trying to placate their tyrannical, xenophobic wizard father, who keeps his daughters sequestered from the outside world. While at night, she and her sisters sneak out to enjoy the city’s amenities and revel in its thrills, particularly the recently established ballet theatre, where Marlinchen meets a dancer who quickly captures her heart.

But as Marlinchen’s late-night trysts grow more fervent and frequent, so does the threat of her father’s rage and magic. And while the city flourishes with culture and bustles with enterprise, a monster lurks in its midst, borne of intolerance and resentment and suffused with old-world power. Caught between history and progress and blood and desire, Marlinchen must draw upon her own magic to keep her city safe and find her place within it.

Title : Juniper and Thorn
Author : Ava Reid
Format : Physical
Page Count : 320
Genre : Fantasy/Horror
Publisher : DelRey UK
Release Date : June 21, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5

Micky’s 4.5 star review

Sinister family
Enchanted garden
Gore and abuse

Juniper & Thorn was the kind of read that felt like a Grimm fairytale, dark, sinister and twisty. Set on the edge of the Steppes, in a growing city with affluence and poverty alike, this story centred on the Vashchenko family, a wizard father and three daughters with magical powers. Marlinchen was the youngest daugter, the protagonist of the story and she had a rather miserable existence.

This family…oh my, what a complete mess of impaired connection, built on resentment, guilt, grief and greed. What do you do when your family puts you at risk? It took a lot for Marlinchen to have her eyes opened and this story was her journey. Please check the content warnings below.

I never knew what was around the corner in this book but despite the dark and desperate themes, it was soaked in hope for Marlinchen and her friend Sevas. The story brought sneak attacks of gore, abuse, mild horror (but I could cope with it) and you need a strong stomach in certain moments. It evoked such a sinister atmosphere.

One of the things that was fascinating about this book was the curious creatures that populated the Vashchenko estate. You never got the full view of them but they added to the creepy feel.

Ava Reid has sealed her talent with Juniper & Thorn. I’m a fan of her imagination, writing and characterisation.

Thank you to DelRey UK for the review copy.

CW: abuse, sexual abuse, grooming

HALF A SOUL by Olivia Atwater

It’s difficult to find a husband in Regency England when you’re a young lady with only half a soul.

Ever since she was cursed by a faerie, Theodora Ettings has had no sense of fear or embarrassment – a condition which makes her prone to accidental scandal. Dora hopes to be a quiet, sensible wallflower during the London Season – but when the strange, handsome and utterly uncouth Lord Sorcier discovers her condition, she is instead drawn into dangerous and peculiar faerie affairs.

If Dora’s reputation can survive both her curse and her sudden connection with the least-liked man in all of high society, then she may yet reclaim her normal place in the world. . . but the longer Dora spends with Elias Wilder, the more she begins to suspect that one may indeed fall in love, even with only half a soul.

Bridgerton meets Howl’s Moving Castle in this enchanting historical fantasy, where the only thing more meddlesome than faeries is a marriage-minded mother.

Title : Half A Soul
Author : Olivia Atwater
Series : Regency Faerie Tales #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 304
Genre : Historical Fantasy
Publisher : Orbit Books
Release Date : June 30, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★

Micky’s 4 star review

If historical romance met The Cruel Prince…
Light and fun

I knew almost immediately on starting this book that I was going to thoroughly enjoy it. It was engaging, light and fun but with depth to the characterisation and story. The characters felt fresh and three dimensional and I loved the MCs.

Dora had half a soul and as such, I saw parallels between how her character was written and some people’s experience of neurodiversity. She was was loveable just as she was and although some of the people around didn’t appreciate her lack of emotionality, she leapt off the page to me. The Lord Sorcier was such a grump sliced with oddity and integrity…I loved him too.

This story had every regency London feel even though there was an alter-location in Faerie. The ton, the sensibilities and proprieties brought that essential vibe of those times. It was interesting for sure to see this intersect with an acceptance of magic and fae existence.

The plot was totally engaging and the development of Elias and Dora’s friendship was just lovely. I was here for every moment. I’m so glad this is a series and I can’t wait to read more.

Thank you Orbit Books for the early review copy.

THE SILVER CHAIN by Jion Sheibani

Uplifting and unputdownable, a coming-of-age verse novel about family, mental health and the healing power of music.

Azadeh is a budding violinist on a music scholarship at an expensive private school, dealing with all the usual trials of being sixteen: trying her best to fit in, keep up and have fun. Then as her mum’s mental health spirals out of control, Azadeh’s world starts to unravel. Her friendships fall away, and as much as she and her dad try to keep a lid on everything, their problems insist on taking over. Feeling alone, it’s her violin that finally helps Azadeh to find her way back to her friends, herself and even her mum.

A beautifully packaged, highly important and irresistible novel about mental health struggles and the solace we find in music and rhythm, friendship, family and honesty.

Title : The Silver Chain
Author : Jion Sheibani
Format : Physical
Page Count : 352
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Hot Key Books
Release Date : June 23, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5

Micky’s 3.5 star review

Told in verse
Parental mental illness
Poles apart friendships

There was a lot to unpack in this story told in verse. I really enjoyed the format where some sections were more lyrical than others, and some more straight narrative. Azadeh was something of a prodigious violinist, having a scholarship at a private school. In fact, Azadeh’s family were from humble means setting her apart financially from her peers but also in term of her heritage. Azadeh had a Persian father and I think an English mother although I wasn’t certain. Azadeh had some longings towards her origins that seemed unfulfilled.

Azadeh sought solice in her music, her violin, the notes, the message of the music. When things went wrong at home however, she lost her connection to music for some time. That seemed to untether her own mental wellbeing.

There were some slightly toxic friendships in this book, some lack of cultural understanding from friends and racist microagressions. Azadeh found this hard to navigate and it was uncomfortable to witness.

There was a strong storyline of mental illness and while that was good representation, I didn’t always feel that it was fully unpacked. It felt a little unfinished in the end from that perspective.

The most enjoyable aspect of this book was in it’s narrative style of verse. I found it very easy to read and listen to.

Thank you to Hot Key Books for the early review copy.


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.

The Silence That Binds Us by Joanna Ho, the “author of Eyes That Kiss in the Corners, has written an exquisite, heart-rending debut young adult novel that will inspire all to speak truth to power.” This debut tackles themes of mental health, racism, and classism. 

Juniper and Thorn by Ava Reid is a “gothic horror retelling of The Juniper Tree, set in another time and place within the world of The Wolf and the Woodsman, where a young witch seeks to discover her identity and escape the domination of her abusive wizard father.”

The Final Strife by Saara El-Arifi  is the “first book of a visionary fantasy trilogy with its roots in the mythology of Africa and Arabia that sings of rebellion, love, and the courage it takes to stand up to tyranny, as three women band together against a cruel empire that divides people by blood” is out out today in US/CAN but not out until June 23, 2022, for the UKers.

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


Well, we made it! We’ve survived the first half of 2022. At least.. we hope you’re surviving. If nothing else, maybe this tag will distract you for five to ten minutes and give you something of a reprieve.

Here we go!

What is the best book you’ve read so far in 2022?
M : I’ve had a crop of 5 star reads so far this year and it’s hard to choose. So I’m going with Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood which releases in August and The Blood Traitor by Lynette Noni.
H : I’m picking two (no, this isn’t a loophole) because one is an ARC that won’t be out for mooonths and the other is already out. Respectively those are Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle (out October fourth) and Book Lovers by Emily Henry.

What is the best sequel you’ve read so far in 2022?
M : The Blood Traitor by Lynette Noni finished The Prison Healer series on as much of a high as it started.
H : The Long Game by Rachel Reid.

What’s a new release you haven’t read yet, but want to?
M : I’m looking forward to Only on the Weekends by Dean Atta.
H : Per usual, I consulted our Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases of 2022 list and, with exception to those not released yet, I’ve once again read all of mine (the Mhairi doesn’t count as I was dumb and used the UK release date), which isn’t hard as the majority were listed for fall (and, since posting that, a few have even been bumped to 2023, not salty at all). Therefore, I’ll be going with The Perfect Crimes of Marian Hayes by Cat Sebastian and A Lady for a Duke by Alexis Hall.

What is your most anticipated release for the second half of the year?
M : I’m looking forward to The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik.
H : Nonaaaaaa (aka Nona the Ninth) by Tamsyn Muir. And also The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik because oh boy that cliffhanger from last year was rough.

What has been your biggest disappointment?
M : I’d been meaning to get around to The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix and when I did, I was incredibly disappointed by the story and in particular, by the characterisation, misogyny and how all the women were written.
H : Neither are my lowest rated of the year (so far..) but the first one I was disappointed about — though it’s likely due to my own expectations on what it was supposed to be and the vibe — was Home Field Advantage by Dahlia Adler. The second I’m including is one that isn’t out yet but I’m The Girl by Courtney Summers just really let me down. Sadie this was not.

What has been your biggest surprise?
M : Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus was the kind of book I didn’t know I needed, but that I’m all the richer for.
H : I’m going with Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel. It’s a feminist retelling of a Hindu epic and I went in knowing nothing about the content or the author (debut alert!) and came out appreciating both very much.

Do you have a favorite new author (debut or new to you)?
M : Patricia Briggs has been my find of the last two years. I’m currently reading two urban fantasy/PNR series by her and loving every minute of it.
H : Even though I just highlighted a debut author, I am hesitant to call them a favourite until I read another release, so.. I’m going with no, I have no new favourites, debut or otherwise.

Who is your newest fictional crush?
M : Hart from The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen and Levi from Love on the Brain by Ali Hazelwood. These guys are both definitely grumpy.
H : He isn’t a new crush but my reread had me re-crushing on him and that’s James Mycroft from Ellie Marney’s Every series.

Who is your newest favorite character?
M : Six Thirty from Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Intrigued by that name? Go read it.
H : Hall from Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle.

What book has made you cry?
M : A book coming out in August The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen had me mush-crying twice. Highly rec this fantasy rom-com.
H : Almost everything I read makes me cry. Better question would be which book didn’t make me cry. But the ones that stick out the most are also the ones I’ve liked the most (correlation?) and those are : Just Like Magic by Sarah Hogle and Book Lovers by Emily Henry.

What book has made you happy?
M : The Takeover by TL Swan. A total escapism read from a new to me author.
H : Heartstopper : Volume Four by Alice Oseman, I think, has made me the happiest.

What’s the most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year (or received)?
M : Pandora by Susan Stokes-Chapman was really pretty with gorgeous edges.
H : I don’t think I’ve bought a single book this year! Yikes.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?
M : I intend to be up to date with the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, I want to start one of Brandon Sanderson’s fantasy series and start The Poppy War series.
H : These will be familiar titles for those of you who are familiar with our TBR posts but I would like to complete The First Sister trilogy by Linden A. Lewis, the Seven Devils duology by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May, and (a reread of) Phèdre’s Trilogy by Jacqueline Carey.

credit for the Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag goes to :
Chami →
Ely →

We’d love to know how the half way point of the year has you feeling about books you’ve read and anticipated. Any highlights so far? Any big disappointments? Tell us your feels.

THE SEAWOMEN by Chloe Timms

Everyone on this island has a story. This is mine.

Esta has known nothing but Eden’s Isle her whole life. After a fire left her orphaned and badly scarred, Esta was raised by her grandmother in a deeply religious society who cut itself off from the mainland in the name of salvation. Here, fear rules: fear of damnation, fear of the outside world and fear of what lurks beneath the water – a corrupting evil the islanders call the Seawomen.

But Esta wants more than a life where touching the water risks corruption, where her every move is watched and women are controlled in every aspect of their lives. Married off, the women of the island must conceive a child within their appointed motheryear or be marked as cursed and cast into the sea as a sacrifice in an act called the Untethering.

When Esta witnesses a woman Untethered she sees a future to fear. Her fate awaits, a loveless marriage, her motheryear declared. And after a brief taste of freedom, the insular world Esta knows begins to unravel…

The Seawomen is a fiercely written and timely feminist novel, at once gothic, fantastical and truly unforgettable.

Title : The Seawomen
Author : Chloe Timms
Format : Physical
Page Count : 320
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodder Studio
Release Date : June 14, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5

Micky’s 4.5 star review

4.5 stars

Feminist, fantastical, fuming
Misogyny wrapped in religious abuse
Impeccable description, atmospheric

What a debut this book is. It was fresh, tense and the themes were dark and sad but it was a read that will stay with you and impact you. The story encapsulated the experiences of a young girl, Esta as she journeyed into adulthood. This island she resided on was set in a dystopian future but in a community that had removed themselves from the world to live in a bigoted, patriachial and abusive religious community, all about control.

This story evoked such an impressively described setting. I immediately began to imagine St Kilda or the Faroe Islands until later I realised the setting was more Shetlands or Orkney. The life this community lead was miserable and fearful…they were fearful of the seawomen. The sea was seen as evil to women and women were treated like potential witches of old.

How the story rolled out was unexpected, how Esta evolved as she grew was the kind of situation you couldn’t look away from, willing her on, telling her to persevere and not capitulate. There were a few men that had moments of empathy and Bennett was just about the only reasonable man. The women were not a community because the men in power caused a divisive atmosphere.

The second half of the book had me glued to the page, hoping for Esta, wanting her free.

I highly recommend this book for all my feminist reading friends. It has everything, a touch of dystopia, a touch of fantasy and a bucket load of great writing.

Thank you to Hodder Studio for the review copy.