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GODKILLER by Hannah Kaner

You are not welcome here, godkiller

Kissen’s family were killed by zealots of a fire god. Now, she makes a living killing gods, and enjoys it. That is until she finds a god she cannot kill: Skedi, a god of white lies, has somehow bound himself to a young noble, and they are both on the run from unknown assassins.

Joined by a disillusioned knight on a secret quest, they must travel to the ruined city of Blenraden, where the last of the wild gods reside, to each beg a favour.

Pursued by demons, and in the midst of burgeoning civil war, they will all face a reckoning – something is rotting at the heart of their world, and only they can be the ones to stop it.


Title : Godkiller
Author : Hannah Kaner
Series : Godkiller #1
Format : eARC
Page Count : 296
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Harper Voyager
Release Date : January 19, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★.5


Micky’s 2.5 star review

I’m keeping this a short-ish review with thoughts in the positive and negative.

Positive:
The concept of gods, how they could be created, sustained and killed was so interesting
The characters’ sexuality, fluidity and how that played into this world
Elo was a great character
Great late plot twist

Negative:
Incredibly slow pacing, it was hard to stay invested
The middle section where the characters journey and journey felt lacking in excitement
Skedi was very annoying

I can see this book has worked well for many but for me it generally fell flat and if there’s more to come, I don’t think I’ll be joining in.

Thank you to Harper Voyager for the eARC.

GLITTERLAND by Alexis Hall

In the past, the universe is a glitterball I hold in the palm of my hand. 

In the past, I am brilliant and I am happy and my every tomorrow is madness. 

In the past, I am soaring, and falling, and breaking, and lost. 

And now, there is only this.
 

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on hope, happiness, and―most of all―himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations. 

Then a chance encounter throws him into the path of Essex-born Darian Taylor. Flashy and loud, radiant and full of life, Darian couldn’t be more different…and yet he makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of his anxiety. But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can no longer see a way out. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can someone who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own? 


Title : Glitterland
Author : Alexis Hall
Series : Spires (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 287
Genre : LGBTQIAP+ romance
Publisher : Sourcebooks Casablanca
Release Date : January 17, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

This ended up being my final read of 2022 and I was so glad to go out with a bang. Between the holiday stresses and busyness, a well timed ruin-all-my-down-time cold, and general slumpy behaviour before all that went down, it had been a time. Which is why I needed a (almost sure to be) guaranteed good time. And while this is a reread, I was also curious to see if Hall would make any changes for the transition of Glitterland from indie to trad.

While I can’t say I noticed anything that stood out — one or two bits felt a little updated but to be honest I haven’t read this in four years so it’s possible nothing actually was changed and I was just trying too hard to notice differences — nonetheless? It was a great time.

Glitterland was a recommendation early-ish on in my queer reading journey and not only has it stood out amongst the hundreds I’ve read since, it’s also stood the test of time.

It’s a classic match-up of a grumpy sunshine romance, using the London and Essex as cultural differences to add to the whole opposites attract, with some added hurdles to contend with in the way of depression, anxiety, and more. Hall manages a perfect balance between the serious and the not-so-serious and it makes those heavier moments feel more real because of how they are handled.

Personally, Darian is the standout for me. I’ve always had a soft spot for Ash’s glitter pirate but I know he won’t be everyone’s cup of tea (he is, after all, a shade of orange). But the true magic is made in the match-up and I know I’ve already mentioned the balance but.. it’s there. Also? It’s steamy. Other than For Real (another book I desperately want to see made trad!), this might have the most on-page sex in any of Hall’s books and (notably, in that book as well, my other top favourite) it reminded me of how well Hall uses those scenes to allow his characters to communicate. It’s not just a flurry of appendages and grunts but their personas are very much present in those moments. And, honestly, that’s rare.

Truthfully, I could go on about the fun group ensembles each character has respectively; the nuances and agonies touched on in discussion of the various stages of Ash’s mental health experience and journey and how that impacted, and imploded, relationships and what’s left in the aftermath; I could speak to how fun (as a non-UKer) it is to read along with Darian’s accent on page and in my head (honestly, if you can stand the accent, highly recommend the audio!); I could even drown this review in all the quotes and standout lines (even if you deserve to experience them first hand, in context, and so I refrained) to try and find the right one to hook you. But honestly? Just read this book.

Also, as much as I loved the original cover? This cover also has my heart.

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

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JANUARY 17, 2023

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.


Mysteries of Thorn Manor by Margaret Rogerson is the much anticipated, in the sense that once it was announced everyone went feral, addition to the Sorcery and Thorns world. Sadly it’s only a novella but we will take what we can get!

Today Glitterland by Alexis Hall is getting the traditionally published treatment and we lie-kit, babes (IYKYK). So shake off your glittery gladrags, bust out some bronzer, and celebrate with us.

Magic Tides by Ilona Andrews is a book we went feral over when it was announced. More Kate Daniels? Even just in novella-form (though it says “long novella” and tops out at almost two hundred pages so we win, fam) while we wait for more of Julie’s (or anyone’s, really, we aren’t picky) series? Give it!

Godkiller by Hannah Kaner isn’t out until January 19, 2023 , in the UK, but hopefully this fantasy debut is worth the wait.



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

MYSTERIES OF THORN MANOR by Margaret Rogerson

In this sequel novella to Sorcery of Thorns, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas must unravel the magical trap keeping them inside Thorn Manor in time for their Midwinter Ball!

Elisabeth Scrivener is finally settling into her new life with sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn. Now that their demon companion Silas has returned, so has scrutiny from nosy reporters hungry for gossip about the city’s most powerful sorcerer and the librarian who stole his heart. But something strange is afoot at Thorn Manor: the estate’s wards, which are meant to keep their home safe, are acting up and forcibly trapping the Manor’s occupants inside. Surely it must be a coincidence that this happened just as Nathaniel and Elisabeth started getting closer to one another…

With no access to the outside world, Elisabeth, Nathaniel, and Silas – along with their new maid Mercy – will have to work together to discover the source of the magic behind the malfunctioning wards before they’re due to host the city’s Midwinter Ball. Not an easy task when the house is filled with unexpected secrets, and all Elisabeth can think about is kissing Nathaniel in peace. But when it becomes clear that the house, influenced by the magic of Nathaniel’s ancestors, requires a price for its obedience, Elisabeth and Nathaniel will have to lean on their connection like never before to set things right. 


Title : Mysteries of Thorn Manor
Author : Margaret Rogerson
Series : Sorcery of Thorns (book 1.5)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 192
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry Books
Release Date : January 17, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

So, surprising no one because my brain is a sieve, I didn’t remember much about Sorcery of Thorns except that a) I really liked it, b) it’s the only Rogerson I’ve rated a four (which I suppose is related to the first point), and c) Silas. I mean, part of what I liked was the banter and vibes, the leads were very good, but I mean I don’t think anyone left that first book without thinking very fondly of a certain demon.

Naturally when I had the chance to possibly snatch up an early copy of this surprise reveal novella, I was pretty stoked. Even moreso to receive. And I waited, oh, an entire day before diving in. And what a treat. What a delight! Why did I rush into this but also I’m glad I didn’t have this gem waiting nearby unread because it was great. Perhaps has even inspired a reread..

Regardless, there isn’t a whole lot I can spoil if you haven’t yet read Sorcery of Thorns (so go do that now) but suffice it to say : fans? You will be pleased. Satisfied. Delighted! There were juicy little bits, lovely little bits, funny little bits, and the combination resulted in a very delicious whole. Saying that out loud sounds wrong but I think you get what I mean.

Highly recommend!

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

HELL BENT by Leigh Bardugo

Wealth. Power. Murder. Magic. Alex Stern is back and the Ivy League is going straight to hell in #1 New York Timesbestselling author Leigh Bardugo’s Hell Bent.

Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory―even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.

Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.

Thick with history and packed with Bardugo’s signature twists, Hell Bent brings to life an intricate world full of magic, violence, and all too real monsters. 


Title : Hell Bent
Author : Leigh Bardugo
Series : Alex Stern (book two)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 496
Genre : adult fantasy
Publisher : Flatiron Books
Release Date : January 20, 2023

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Starting the year off with a book you’ve been anticipating since July of 2019 takes some courage. What if it’s bad? What if you have to stew in that disappointment for the next three plus years (or longer.. though, ideally, less) until the next instalment is out?

Thankfully I don’t have to reckon with either because Hell Bent was not bad. It was very not bad. Which just means I have to once more desperately anticipate a sequel. Darn. But also yay?

What had he imagined? Some muttered words, a voice from the beyond? Had he thought there would be dignity in this? But this is what real magic looked like — indecent, decadent, perverse.

This sequel opens with a banger of a chapter but, of course, it wouldn’t be the Alex Stern series if we didn’t bounce around in the timeline a bit. At first I worried it would feel samey, especially having just reread Ninth House, but it didn’t. I enjoyed it. It just worked so well and, in some ways, I hope it sorta becomes the vibe of this series going forward. Or not. I’ll be happy either way. Mostly just happy for more..

Anyway, what can be said about the plot of this without giving away the whole game for book one? Not much, really! But everything you loved from the first instalment is here.. and more. We get some solid found family/Scooby Gang vibes (but make it hell-ish and oh how I love the little twist to one of their addition near the end) adventures and some new paranormal additions beyond the rituals and artifacts we’ve seen so far. We were teased on Alex’s potential (and oh my the callback to book one was [chefs kiss]) along with a psych-out that literally had me wanting to throw my book against the wall (in a good frustrated kind of way, not mad at all). Not to be forgotten we, of course, had Darlington Darlington Darlington, plus an image of the aforementioned gentleman demon that will live in my head rent free for all eternity, a heist (of sorts!), and so much more.

[Darlington]’d go to hell for me, for you, for anyone who needed saving.”
Alex, he’d go to hell just to take notes on the climate.

Bardugo really leans into the darkness of this world. Not just in the deeds or the presence of violence but in the sense that magic isn’t sparkly rainbow funtimes. The preparation, the doing, the results? It’s messy. It’s messed up. And, like so much, it benefits only a certain crowd because who has access, who has the power at their fingertips, and is willing to do whatever they can to keep it? You know the answer.

But at the same time, I love that we got to see a side of Alex that is the opposite of the one who has dwelled in a different kind of darkness, one who could see herself at Yale, at lectures, learning and living a different kind of existence. There was such a great balance to the events of this book, to the characters, to how they’ve changed, and who they might still become, and it’s all mixed up into this perfect little.. well, tempest in a teapot.

In many ways Hell Bent has done more to whet my appetite for this series than Ninth House did because we’re just that much closer to seeing some things play out and become realized. Even if I think we’ll be waiting quite a while for most (all?) of it to come to fruition. And that’s even if it ever does.

That was all there was in this world. No heroes or villains, just the people you’d brave the waves for, and the ones you’d let drown.

I truly can’t wait for what comes next. I’m just hoping it doesn’t require a trip to hell to magic it into existence! But, like so many things, this was worth the wait. And I know the rest will be, too.

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

MISTAKES WERE MADE by Meryl Wilsner

From the critically acclaimed author of Something To Talk About comes a sharp and sexy rom-com about a college senior who accidentally hooks up with her best friend’s mom.

When Cassie Klein goes to an off-campus bar to escape her school’s Family Weekend, she isn’t looking for a hookup—it just happens. Buying a drink for a stranger turns into what should be an uncomplicated, amazing one-night stand. But then the next morning rolls around and her friend drags her along to meet her mom—the hot, older woman Cassie slept with.

Erin Bennett came to Family Weekend to get closer to her daughter, not have a one-night stand with a college senior. In her defense, she hadn’t known Cassie was a student when they’d met. To make things worse, Erin’s daughter brings Cassie to breakfast the next morning. And despite Erin’s better judgement—how could sleeping with your daughter’s friend be anything but bad?—she and Cassie get along in the day just as well as they did last night.

What should have been a one-time fling quickly proves impossible to ignore, and soon Cassie and Erin are sneaking around. Worst of all, they start to realize they have something real. But is being honest about the love between them worth the cost?


Title : Mistakes Were Made
Author : Meryl Wilsner
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : Romance/LGBTQIAP+
Publisher : Kathering Tegan Books
Release Date : October 11, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Headlines:
Age-gap and incredibly messy love
Steamy

The characters and the plot of Mistakes Were Made centred on a significant age gap between two bisexual women, in additon, that connection in the form of having a thing with your best friends’s mom…right at the beginning, I thought oh hell. Suffice it to say, the title seems a little understated.

As the situation at the core of the story played out, I wanted to be on board with it but it felt somewhat icky to me from beginning to end. The one night, then affair with your best friend’s mom, got me so uncomfortable. I felt that Parker’s feelings were never really considered as they should have been by the MCs and that made me overall sad at the plot and a reluctant bystander to the ensuing drama. The resolution felt unrealistic to me.

Having read and enjoyed Wilsner’s debut, it was a bit of a suprise how steamy this read was. Her last book really wasn’t. I was mostly on board with that element but the scenes felt a little too frequent at times compared to plot development that might support the steam.

Overall, I could have got on board with the age gap much easily without the triangular connection. I’ll definitely seek out Wilsner’s next book and hope for a less messy context.

Thank you to Piatkus Books for the eARC.

SAINT by Adrienne Young

As a boy, Elias learned the hard way what happens when you don’t heed the old tales.

Nine years after his lack of superstition got his father killed, he’s grown into a young man of piety, with a deep reverence for the hallowed sea and her fickle favor. As stories of the fisherman’s son who has managed to escape the most deadly of storms spreads from port to port, his devotion to the myths and creeds has given him the reputation of the luckiest bastard to sail the Narrows.

Now, he’s mere days away from getting everything his father ever dreamed for him: a ship of his own, a crew, and a license that names him as one of the first Narrows-born traders. But when a young dredger from the Unnamed Sea with more than one secret crosses his path, Elias’ faith will be tested like never before. The greater the pull he feels toward her, the farther he drifts from the things he’s spent the last three years working for.

He is dangerously close to repeating his mistakes and he’s seen first hand how vicious the jealous sea can be. If he’s going to survive her retribution, he will have to decide which he wants more, the love of the girl who could change their shifting world, or the sacred beliefs that earned him the name that he’s known for―Saint.


Title : Saint
Author : Adrienne Young
Series : Fable 0.5
Format : Physical
Page Count : 352
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Titan Books
Release Date : December 16, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Still read after Fable/Namesake
Quietly brooding Saint

As a self confessed fan of the Fable series, the addition of Saint’s book just brings a 360 degree feeling to the series. I have come away from this feeling that even though its a prequel, it’s best read after Fable and Namesake. I think going into this book with the whole history of Saint good and bad is great, but more importantly, how you perceive Saint in the next books would be skewed if read first.

Saint was dark, brooding, quiet and contemplative. He was a fierce figure, quite severe in some ways but there was a slightly softer centred that slowly revealed itself. I enjoyed seeing the start of his and Clove’s sketchy sea life, the rye trade and that family. In addition, seeing Holland in earlier days sealed my negative thoughts of her. Isolde was a understandably secretive but she was honest and open in other ways.

The connection between these two I would describe as gentle, bourne of distrust but building into more. I wanted to see a bit more of that on the page but that’s probably just my love of the series and characters coming through.

I just loved this reading journey, being back in the world, the peril, adventures, allegiances and enemies. The series truly feels complete now.

Thank you to Titan Books for the review copy.

COVER REVEAL – SWORDCATCHER by Cassandra Clare

We’re so excited to bring you the UK cover reveal for Swordcatcher. This is Cassandra Clare’s first adult fantasy book and we are here for it. Are you ready for all the details?


CASSANDRA CLARE is back with her first foray into adult fantasy, Sword Catcher, and we’re delighted to help reveal the stunning UK cover.

Sword Catcher, published by Tor UK on 10 October, 2023 (pre-order here), is a stunning introduction to a brand new fantasy series – perfect for fans of Game of Thrones, VE Schwab and Brandon Sanderson.

A dramatic epic of power, intrigue and magic. Here, a boy is born to rule a divided city. A girl is destined to return lost magic to the world. And a prince will betray his people to win a crown. They’ll discover the dark side of themselves and those they love, as their kingdom faces war, plague and the end of hope. But the blackest night comes before dawn.

Cassandra Clare is the author of the #1 New York Times, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling Shadowhunter Chronicles. She is also the coauthor of the bestselling fantasy series Magisterium with Holly Black. Her books have already sold over 50 million copies worldwide in 35 languages. The Shadowhunter Chronicles have been adapted as both a major motion picture and a television series. Cassandra lives in western Massachusetts with her husband and three fearsome cats. Visit her at CassandraClare.com.

More information about the book:

Two outcasts find themselves at the centre of world-altering change in the start of a riveting epic fantasy series from the No.1 New York Times bestselling author of The Shadowhunter Chronicles.

In the vibrant city-state of Castellane, the richest of nobles and the most debauched of criminals have one thing in common: the constant search for wealth, power and the next hedonistic thrill.

Kel is an orphan, stolen from the life he knew to become the Sword-Catcher – the body-double of a royal heir, Prince Conor Aurelian. He has been raised alongside the prince, trained in every aspect of combat and statecraft. He and Conor are close as brothers, but Kel knows he has one destiny: to die for Conor. No other future is possible.

Lin Caster is one of the Ashkar, a small community who still possess magical abilities. By law, they must live behind walls in the city, but Lin, a physician, ventures out to tend to the sick and dying of Castellane. Despite her skills, she cannot heal her best friend Mariam without access to forbidden knowledge.

After a failed assassination attempt brings Lin and Kel together, they are drawn into the web of the mysterious Ragpicker King, the criminal ruler of Castellane’s underworld. He offers them each what they want most; but as they descend into his world of intrigue and shadow, they discover a conspiracy of corruption that reaches from the darkest gutters of Castellane to the highest tower of its palaces. As long-kept secrets begin to unravel, they must ask themselves: Is knowledge worth the price of betrayal? Can forbidden love bring down a kingdom? And will Lin and Kel’s discoveries plunge their nation into war – and the world into chaos?


Will you be reading?

A FAMILIAR STRANGER by AR Torre

Such a quiet and ordinary wife and mother. Who will even notice what she’s done?

Lillian Smith leads an unexceptional life, writing obituaries and killing time with her inattentive husband and disconnected son. Then she meets David, a handsome stranger, in a coffee shop. Lured into an affair, she invents a new persona, one without strings, deadlines, or brooding husbands.

Lillian has never felt so reckless, unpredictable, or wanted. But as her affair with David intensifies, she withdraws from everything that’s real, even her closest friend. When evidence of her life as a secret lover finds its way onto her son’s social media, she risks ruining much more than her marriage or reputation.

As lies beget lies, Lillian’s two worlds spiral dangerously out of control. And betrayals run deeper than she imagines. Because Lillian isn’t the only one leading a double life.


Title : A Familiar Stranger
Author : AR Torre
Format : eARC
Page Count : 275
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : Thomas & Mercer Books
Release Date : September 27, 2023

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Double lives
Stale relationships
Who dunnit?

A Familiar Stranger was a joy of an easy thriller. AR Torre serves up unlikeable characters as ever and as a reader, you suck it up like a delicious feast. This dysfunctional family at the centre, their cold connection but reluctance to make change made for early investment. As things got wilder, I couldn’t put it down.

There were a number of POVs but they weren’t overused, nor were they confusing. Mostly this was told from Lillian’s seemingly (but not) mundane perspective with the occasional Mike thrown in. Mike was a character who seemed without feeling, calculating and unfathomable in ways. Jacob was the sad victim of circumstances.

I didn’t like David but I did like the life Lillian found in the marina. I have no words for Sam. The mental illness exploitation was uncomfortable but not unrealistic in this plot; that element saddened me. I didn’t like how Lillian’s POVs turned out but I guess it kept a train of events in a way that would have otherwise been difficult.

Overall, I find AR Torre’s thrillers to be her sweet spot and they almost always work for me.

Thank you to Thomas & Mercer for the eARC.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JANUARY 10, 2023

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.


Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo is the hugely anticipated sequel to Ninth House and we can’t wait to see what trouble Alex gets into next.

Lost in the Moment and Found by Seanan McGuire is book eight in the hugely popular Wayward Children series. Having said that, many of these can read as standalones.. and this is one of them!



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