This is the way the world ends… for the last time.
The Moon will soon return. Whether this heralds the destruction of humankind or something worse will depend on two women.
Essun has inherited the power of Alabaster Tenring. With it, she hopes to find her daughter Nassun and forge a world in which every orogene child can grow up safe.
For Nassun, her mother’s mastery of the Obelisk Gate comes too late. She has seen the evil of the world, and accepted what her mother will not admit: that sometimes what is corrupt cannot be cleansed, only destroyed.
Title : The Stone Sky Author : N. K. Jemisin Series : The Broken Earth (book three) Format : eBook (overdrive) Page Count : 324 Genre : fantasy / science fiction / dystopia Publisher : Orbit Release Date : August 15, 2017
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 3.75 star review
Despite the fact that there were some truly lovely bits in this final installment, overwhelmingly this doesn’t rate as high as the rest of the series — particularly book one. And that’s due to many factors. Not the least being that this just felt like.. too much for my brain to grasp. And it was already trying to handle a lot; there was just so much extra info that just buried us (me). I feel like for every two things I could absorb, I was missing three more things. Maybe. I don’t know. I feel overwhelmed right now. Maybe it’s just because it’s one AM and I’m tired. But beyond that, another factor, was also because I’m not sure I ever connected as much to what become a critical second (third, fourth?) POV in this race to the end.
There are none so frightened, or so strange in their fear, as conquerors. They conjure phantoms endlessly, terrified that their victms will someday do back what was done to them.
And yet it’s clear this story, the whole shape of it, couldn’t exist without those things, so that’s why I’m likely to round this up. Because it is complex, it is unbelievable, it is lovely, it is heartbreaking, it is terrible.
[..] for a society built on exploitation, there is no greater threat than having no one left to oppress.
This might be one of the most true, most relevant, SFF stories I’ve ever read. Because so much of our world is built into this, even if it’s made up to be fantastical. And that’s equal parts frightening and hard to swallow. But it’s also so worth your time.
In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.
At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.
On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.
But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by…
THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.
The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring — madman, world-crusher, savior — has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever.
It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy.
It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last.
The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.
Title : The Obelisk Gate Author : Series : The Broken Earth (book two) Format : eBook (overdrive) Page Count : 321 Genre : fantasy / science fiction / dystopia Publisher : Orbit Release Date : August 16, 2016
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 4 star review
I have no idea how to even attempt to review this book, this world, or where this series has gone upto this point, both in the storytelling or the characters. I feel like everything is so complex, so alien, all because of something so impossibly huge but also very simple, and that makes for a hard thing to explain.
There is such a thing as too much loss. Too much has been taken from you both — taken and taken and taken, until there’s nothing but hope, and you’ve given that up because it hurts too much.
I will say that this second installment was a whole lot less heartbreaking to read. The events in book one, the devastations, the tragedies, were a lot. This one is less of that but those events, and the impacts they’ve made, still do linger.
“[..] just because you can’t see or understand a thing doesn’t mean it can’t hurt you.“
The telling of this story, though? Much like in book one, where it did become obvious how things were woven together, this did something similar but.. not. And I did finally clue in to that, too, but I still loved it.
This author? Masterful.
I had to wait for my hold of book two to pop up, which is why it took a month for me to continue this series (trust me, I would’ve binged had I the option) but the good news is I also have book three available, so. I guess I’m still getting a semi-binge. And I cannot wait. Stopping to write this review is as much as I’m willing to delay at this point.
This is a double review of book one and two, which I read pretty much back to back. First up, SERPENT & DOVE.
Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.
Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.
Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.
The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.
And love makes fools of us all.
Title : Serpent & Dove Author : Shelby Mahurin Series : Serpent & Dove #1 Format : Ebook Page Count : 518 Genre : YA Fantasy Publisher : Harper Teen Release Date : September 3, 2019
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 3.5 – 4 star review
Serpent & Dove has been topping the backlog pile for a while and with a lot of booksta friends being huge fans, I had to see what the fuss was about. This was another book that started slow for me but by half way I got what the fuss was about, so I’d call this one a ‘builder’.
I love a ‘marriage of convenience’ trope and the union between Lou and Reid (Lou Reid?!) was from such polar opposites – a witch and a witch hunter. Lou was such a snarky free spirit that she was easy to like. She had little cares to give, no filter and so her dialogue was fun. Reid was definitely more buttoned up and hard to like initally.
My husband was still the most pompous ass in an entire tower of pompous asses.
Lou and Reid together however, were a couple to cheer for and it transformed how I felt about Reid and in fact, this was what made the book for me. So at times, when I wasn’t sure about the flow of the story, I was sure about my affection for this couple. All that said, I think I needed a little more time to see the love grow between the MCs than we got, there was enough but I wanted a bit more credibility.
It was a layered story, complex at times. There were some great ‘baddies’, some twists and reveals that made you stop for a minute. My favourite character outside of the MCs was Ansel. I adored him as a character, his loyalty and more.
I’m just going to add here that I am surprised this is categorised as YA/teen because of the sexual content and detail.
So, this was a good fantasy read, a little fresh on story and lot to offer in terms of romance. I am looking forward to the next book which I have primed and ready!
Now for the highly anticipated BLOOD & HONEY…
After narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Dames Blanches, Lou, Reid, Coco, and Ansel are on the run from coven, kingdom, and church—fugitives with nowhere to hide.
To elude the scores of witches and throngs of chasseurs at their heels, Lou and Reid need allies. Strong ones. But protection comes at a price, and the group is forced to embark on separate quests to build their forces. As Lou and Reid try to close the widening rift between them, the dastardly Morgane baits them in a lethal game of cat and mouse that threatens to destroy something worth more than any coven.
Title : Blood & Honey Author : Shelby Mahurin Series : Serpent & Dove #2 Format : eARC Page Count : 528 Genre : YA Fantasy Publisher : Harper Teen/Harper 360 Release Date : September 17, 2020
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★.5
Micky’s 2.5 star review
I’m gutted to find myself at this rating but here we are. I’m new to this series and had the advantage of reading book one and two back to back, so I had all the detail of book one fresh in my mind. I’ve seen a few reviews recommending a re-read of SERPENT & DOVE first, so I’m glad the intracacies of the plot were fresh.
What went wrong with BLOOD AND HONEY was the lack of story and the demise of coupledom. The whole plot was the crew of friends wandering the countryside looking for allies until a handful of pages until the end. I can’t describe my disappointment at this. I wanted more action, more coherence, all the things I found were present in book one.
What anchored me to SERPENT & DOVE when I was wavering were Lou and Reid. They were mere shadows of themselves both individually but also as a couple. Their faith in one another was constantly wavering and there was little chemistry or connection. Reid’s attitude to magic really annoyed me as the book progressed. The best things about this book were Coco and Ansel who kept me going when I wanted to put the book down.
I’m not going to labour this with a long review and I hope others enjoy this highly anticipated sequel. I’m sad to say I’m unsure if I’ll bother with book three.
Thank you to Harper 360 for the early review copy.
Journey from fantasy mountains to super-cities, through piratical seas and up into space without missing any must-see sights – or putting a foot wrong with the locals! Whether you’re Lord of the shoestring-budget or Luxe Skywalker – Notes from Small Planets is your pastiche passport through the best worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Your ultimate travel guide to all the must-see locations in the worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy.
The perfect gift for self-professed geeks and fans of all things genre – from classic genre listeners to new young disciples of nerdery. From misty mountains to wizarding schools, from the homes of superheroes to lairs of infamous villains – visit your favourite worlds and discover new ones – all without ever missing a single landmark or traditional dish. What’s orc for ‘bon voyage’?
Title : Notes From Small Planets Author : Nate Crowley Format : Hardback Page Count : 253 Genre : Sci-fi/Fantasy Publisher : Harper Voyager Release Date : September 17, 2020
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
This book makes me think that it needs its own genre – Sci-fi-fantasy-com (as in comedy). This book is formatted like a traditional travel guide. The hardback is smaller than your normal book and inside it’s all travel destination-orientated, what you need to know before you visit. For example, you get people, creatures, sights, entertainment, wildlife, outings, currency and more.
Hilariously, space itself had its own chapter, with lots of imagination and fun. The illustrations, maps, pictures and formatting were well thought out and made the book have that travel-guide appeal. What’s enjoyable about this book is that you don’t have to devour front to back, you can go a chapter at a time, a destination at a time. If I wasn’t rushing to read for review, I would have taken it slower.
I feel like you have to be at least a part-time geek to enjoy this book but many like me will fit into this defintion and find this book wildly entertaining. The travel guide narrator is humerous and there are editorial comments as footnotes which I was less keen on.
This was fun concept, easy to read and a great addition to the shelf for any SFF fan. Thank you to Harper Voyager for the gifted copy.
Please check out the other tour hosts on the graphic below!
After a messy public breakup, soap opera darling Jasmine Lin Rodriguez finds her face splashed across the tabloids. When she returns to her hometown of New York City to film the starring role in a bilingual romantic comedy for the number one streaming service in the country, Jasmine figures her new “Leading Lady Plan” should be easy enough to follow—until a casting shake-up pairs her with telenovela hunk Ashton Suárez.
Leading Ladies don’t need a man to be happy.
After his last telenovela character was killed off, Ashton is worried his career is dead as well. Joining this new cast as a last-minute addition will give him the chance to show off his acting chops to American audiences and ping the radar of Hollywood casting agents. To make it work, he’ll need to generate smoking-hot on-screen chemistry with Jasmine. Easier said than done, especially when a disastrous first impression smothers the embers of whatever sexual heat they might have had.
Leading Ladies do not rebound with their new costars.
With their careers on the line, Jasmine and Ashton agree to rehearse in private. But rehearsal leads to kissing, and kissing leads to a behind-the-scenes romance worthy of a soap opera. While their on-screen performance improves, the media spotlight on Jasmine soon threatens to destroy her new image and expose Ashton’s most closely guarded secret.
Title : You Had Me at Hola Author : Alexis Daria Format : eBook (overdrive) Page Count : 283 Genre : romance Publisher : Avon Release Date : August 4, 2020
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 2.5 (rounded up) star review
Show of hands, who thought this was YA? Oh, just me? Elle oh elle.
Well just incase there’s any lingering confusion from my fellow #TeamNoBlurb’ers? This is adult. In fact, the romance happens between a thirty year old and a love interest pushing forty, so, yeah. Definitely not YA. But also extra points for raising the age bracket a little higher for those of us who are no longer twenty five!
That said, I do have sorta mixed feelings on this. I mostly liked Jasmine; both because she was very self-aware of her failings (not really failings, actually, but her tendencies) in the romance department but also because even when vulnerable, even when she didn’t feel totally supported by family, she was still pretty focused without letting in any self-doubt. Not that she was totally on her own; she has a hype squad made up of her two closest cousins and I absolutely loved their dynamic and how each of the women were very clearly their own person. Where she fell short for me was in her behaviour during a pretty critical conflict moment and her total short-sightedness and self-centered behaviour.. which I won’t detail any further as it spoils things.
In the positives column, I did really adore the unabashed representation. Daria didn’t just give her characters mixed heritage, throw them onto a Latinx telenovela reboot and call it a day, no. Between the Spanish on page, sometimes even without a direct translation, but helped along by context cues, and all the different backgrounds for characters, even the mix within Jasmine’s family alone, it felt full and rich and wonderful. Even better, I loved that the author didn’t include any kind of outsider (or white) character into the story who would then need explanations or to insert themselves into anything or, heaven forbid, rescue our lead or be the voice of reason. And I say that as a white person.
That said, another area where this didn’t quite win for me was the love interest. I could understand and even respect a lot of his choices, his omissions, his behaviours but.. I don’t know. I liked the build-up between our leads, I liked that we started with something like a friendship first, albeit a friendship with a heavy dose of immediate attraction, and while reading about their chemistry I could kinda see where the author was trying to make things happen.. I just didn’t believe it, if that makes sense. That said, the chapters that pulled scenes of their acting onto the page? I thought I would hate that, because I’ve disliked similar things in the past, but during those moments, the fiction within the fiction? I felt the chemistry there for sure. And I liked the behind the scenes staging and choreography of it all. Not sure I’ve seen that done in a book featuring actors before.
So, yeah, a bunch of this I was pretty into. Other bits, not so much. But this is a pretty quick read, with a lot of representation, though there was definitely some stupid drama for the sake of drama which frustrated me, particularly when being created by thirty to forty year successful adults.. eye roll, and a healthy dose of steam. While it won’t make a favourites list for me, I would definitely still recommend it.
Everybody thinks that Charlotte Lucas has no prospects. She is twenty-seven years old, unmarried, plain, and seemingly without ambition. When she stuns the neighbourhood by accepting the proposal of buffoonish clergyman Mr Collins, her best friend Lizzy Bennet is angry at her for undervaluing herself. Yet the decision is the only way Charlotte knows to provide for her future, and marriage will propel her into a new world, of duty, marriage, children, grief and ultimately illicit love, and a kind of freedom.
Jane Austen cared deeply about the constraints of women in Regency England. This powerful reimagining takes up where Austen left off, showing us a woman determined to carve a place for herself in the world. Charlotte offers a fresh, feminist addition to the post-Austen canon, beautifully imagined, and brimming with passion and intelligence.
Title : Charlotte Author : Helen Moffett Narrator : Isabella Inchbald Format : ebook/audiobook Page Count : 368/8 hours 17 minutes Genre : Historical/Retelling Publisher : Bonnier Books/Manilla Press Release Date : September 3, 2020
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 3.5 -4 star review
This continuation story of Charlotte’s character in a full book was surprising, it was unexpected in terms of the story direction and wholly enjoyable overall. Charlotte is a character who has always had my attention every time I’ve read or watched Pride & Prejudice. I think we’ve all struggled to understand her decision over Mr Collins, at least initially. This book explored her as a person but also their relationship as a couple. However this book is all Charlotte as a women in all her facets.
The book joined Charlotte seven years into her marriage to Mr Collins with three children, but tragedy was around the corner. This book navigated Charlotte’s journey through life’s hurdles, difficulties and grief. How Charlotte got through her emotions, anger and desire sometimes made by eyebrows raise but it felt tangible and good storytelling.
The cast of characters in the background of this book were rich and familiar. Lizzy, Anne de Bourgh and Catherine de Bourgh brought some excellent reading and some surprising elements. I enjoyed the friendship and confidence between Anne and Charlotte and Charlotte had also won the respect of Anne’s mother.
“But what really has my admiration is that my mother considers this an excellent plan of action. This leads me to all but suspect witchcraft on your part, Mrs Collins. Did our gypsy friends weave a spell, perhaps?”
Some of Charlotte’s experiences were heart-aching and on the flip side, her passionate nature was surprising. I liked where the story ended up in terms of her passions and I will say no more.
I had both an ebook ARC and an advance audio copy. I listened mostly and read some by ebook. The narration was perfect for the book and really conveyed Charlotte as a character.
Thank you to Bonnier Books for the early review copies.
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 ROOMMATE by Rosie Danan is a title that has been getting a lot of buzz for a long time and it’s finally here! We here at the blog didn’t know it was anything more than an opposites attract romance but.. a wholesome pornstar love story? Yeah, hi. Give.
GROWN by Tiffany D. Jackson “exposes the underbelly of a tough conversation, providing a searing examination of misogynoir, rape culture, and the vulnerability of young black girls. Groundbreaking, heart-wrenching, and essential reading for all in the #MeToo era.“
WHO I WAS WITH HER by Nita Tyndall has themes of suicide and grief. Corinne finds her grief even more difficult to navigate because no-one knew she was in a relationship with Maggie. This lgbtqia+ read sounds difficult to read but worth the commitment.
TO SLEEP IN A SEA OF STARS by Christopher Paolini has been quoted as saying this is a sci-fi series in one book. Micky is half way through it right now and is living the dream reading this. It might be thicc but like most thicc things, it’s a beauty!
Are there any titles out today you’re excited for? Let us know in the comments below!
There are two things that Corinne Parker knows to be true: that she is in love with Maggie Bailey, the captain of the rival high school’s cross-country team and her secret girlfriend of a year, and that she isn’t ready for anyone to know she’s bisexual.
But then Maggie dies, and Corinne quickly learns that the only thing worse than losing Maggie is being left heartbroken over a relationship no one knows existed. And to make things even more complicated, the only person she can turn to is Elissa — Maggie’s ex and the single person who understands how Corinne is feeling.
As Corinne struggles to make sense of her grief and what she truly wants out of life, she begins to have feelings for the last person she should fall for. But to move forward after losing Maggie, Corinne will have to learn to be honest with the people in her life…starting with herself.
Title : Who I Was With Her Author : Nita Tyndall Format : eARC Page Count : 352 Genre : Contemporary YA, LGBTQIA+ Publisher : Harper 360 Release Date : September 15, 2020
Reviewer : Micky Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★
Micky’s 4 star review
I went from being unsure about this book to being impressed by the end. This was definitely the kind of story that built into a fuller appreciation of the characters. WHO I WAS WITH HER was a story of loss, grief, discovery, confusion and pressure to come-out. There were definitely difficult themes here but they were written with sensitivity and realism in terms of the age of the characters.
The story plunged the reader into the immediate death of Corrine’s girlfriend, Maggie and it was a tough start. I felt a little jarred by this but in retrospect, I get why this was the right way to start the narrative. The author used past and present really well to tell the story both of Maggie and Corrine but also the story of Maggie’s understanding of her own bi-sexuality. All the time frames were very clear.
Corrine was understandably messed up by Maggie’s death, but being unable to talk to anyone about her loss was a tough ride. She was closeted to her friends and family and finding someone to talk to was crucial to her being able to get through those early days of grief. Corrine made some rushed decisions and you could judge she was foolish but I totally got why she did some of the things she did; it felt realistic.
I loved her friendship with Julia, how they evolved to understand one another. I liked how Julia’s self discovery was a conduit for Corrine. I was less enamoured by her friendship with Elissa but the need for this outlet became clear. Corrine’s home life, her running life, college expectations and closeted-life all came to a cresendo. I appreciated the culmination and how things were resolved.
I feel that this story is potentially important for young people who aren’t out. There shouldn’t be any pressure from anyone to be out until you’re ready. I think this story tackled those issues well and I’d definitely like to read Nita Tyndall again.
Please be sure to check out some own voices reviews on this one too.
Tam Hashford is tired of working at her local pub, slinging drinks for world-famous mercenaries and listening to the bards sing of adventure and glory in the world beyond her sleepy hometown.
When the biggest mercenary band of all rolls into town, led by the infamous Bloody Rose, Tam jumps at the chance to sign on as their bard. It’s adventure she wants – and adventure she gets as the crew embark on a quest that will end in one of two ways: glory or death.
It’s time to take a walk on the wyld side.
Title : Bloody Rose Author : Nicholas Eames Series : The Band (book two) Format : eBook (overdrive) Page Count : 479 Genre : fantasy Publisher : Orbit Release Date : August 28, 2018
Reviewer : Hollis Rating : ★ ★ ★
Hollis’ 3 star review
This is a hard review to write because there’s so much of what I adored about KINGS OF THE WYLD in here, not to mention some great writing by the author, and yet I feel like the magic wasn’t as present? This just didn’t draw me in, or keep me entralled, the same way.
Maybe it has to do with how much more serious this installment feels. Gone are the heroes of old, aged and out and shape, and here is the new generation; still fighting monsters but not for the same reasons. There is a sense of manufactured fame and glory to this new crop of mercenaries, to the new world order where monsters are caged and fought in arenas, as opposed to out on the road, and I love how Eames explored that — how he gave us Tam’s point of view where the glow and awe of the legends one grew up with faded into something more like sadness, shame, and disillusionment. It was a fascinating element. I just wish I had loved everything else as much as I loved that.
Another bit that didn’t quite measure up to book one was the characters. I feel like I enjoyed the group, the band, the pack’s, dynamic and even some of them individually. But as a whole I didn’t quite feel as much chemistry as I would’ve expected. And I mean that both platonically and also romantically, for those who were. Something was just missing and I again go back to that bit of magic, that wonder, I felt in book one. It just wasn’t really here.
But this world, this writing? I really love it, I do. It’s creative, it’s weird, it’s wonderful. I would still recommend you pick this up, particularly if you loved the first installment, and if there’s anything more to come? I will definitely read on (GR has a third title listed but no plot or date, so, who knows! fingers crossed).