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HARROW THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir

She answered the Emperor’s call.

She arrived with her arts, her wits, and her only friend.

In victory, her world has turned to ash.

After rocking the cosmos with her deathly debut, Tamsyn Muir continues the story of the penumbral Ninth House in Harrow the Ninth, a mind-twisting puzzle box of mystery, murder, magic, and mayhem. Nothing is as it seems in the halls of the Emperor, and the fate of the galaxy rests on one woman’s shoulders.

Harrowhark Nonagesimus, last necromancer of the Ninth House, has been drafted by her Emperor to fight an unwinnable war. Side-by-side with a detested rival, Harrow must perfect her skills and become an angel of undeath — but her health is failing, her sword makes her nauseous, and even her mind is threatening to betray her. 

Sealed in the gothic gloom of the Emperor’s Mithraeum with three unfriendly teachers, hunted by the mad ghost of a murdered planet, Harrow must confront two unwelcome questions: is somebody trying to kill her? And if they succeeded, would the universe be better off?


Title : Harrow the Ninth
Author : Tamsyn Muir
Series : The Locked Tomb (book two)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 512
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy/sci-fi
Publisher : Tor.com
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

No one does it quite like Muir.

I could protect you, if you’d only ask me to.
I would rather have my tendons peeled from my body, one by one, and flossed to shreds over my broken bones. I would rather be flayed alive and wrapped in salt. I would rather have my own digestive acid dripped into my eyes.”
So what I’m hearing is.. maybe.

And by that I mean no one confuses me so utterly, for so long, in such devastating ways, only to give me exactly what I want, and then completely messes with my mind, all over again, by the final pages of the book.

What the fuck is going on?” <– what a mood

Like, what, even is that? Huh? Seriously? How dare.

You’re certain that [spoiler] tried to kill Harrow?
Yeah.”
But that doesn’t– why would she–?
Do not fucking ask me for information. I could not be more lost right now.”

In a scarily similar recreation of my reading experience with GIDEON THE NINTH, this book took me forever to get through because of slumps, work, life, the world, etc. Also because this book is over five hundred pages of who even fucking knows. Truly, I had no idea what was happening because while I understood the words I was reading, and there were familiar characters and faces, even some familiar-ish events.. nothing made sense. I was confounded, confused, and having a crazy good time anyway. This author has skills, I tell you. No one else could put me through this nonsense and have me asking for more.

Stay here.”
Get fucked. I absolutely did not become the eighth saint to serve the King Undying so [spoiler] could play hero for me.”
Why did you ascend to be Lyctor?
Ultimate power — and posters of my face.

All I can say is : don’t go in expecting to understand anything. Possibly ever. Because what little I thought I had eventually grasped by the end of book one, was just, poof, gone, by the start of this. And then what I thought I had pieced back together just before this concluded? Obliterated. Elle oh elle.

She wants the D. [..] The D stands for dead.

But speaking of that, I laughed, oh how I laughed. Some parts were so outrageous I couldn’t believe it. It was weird, it was whacky, it was wonderful. I want more. Because here we are again where I have been devastated with how this second book has concluded and I.. what.. but.. I..

I was not following all of this, because necromantic theory is a lot of hot bullshit even when I’m not busy having Complex Emotions.

Yeah, I need book three, like, yesterday.

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

DEAR EMMIE BLUE by Lia Louis

In this charming and poignant novel, teenager Emmie Blue releases a balloon with her email address and a big secret into the sky, only to fall head-over-heels for the boy who finds it; now, fourteen years later, the one thing Emmie has been counting on is gone for good, and everything she planned is up in the air.

At sixteen, Emmie Blue stood in the fields of her school and released a red balloon into the sky. Attached was her name, her email address…and a secret she desperately wanted to be free of. Weeks later, on a beach in France, Lucas Moreau discovered the balloon and immediately emailed the attached addressed, sparking an intense friendship between the two teens.

Now, fourteen years later, Emmie is hiding the fact that she’s desperately in love with Lucas. She has pinned all her hopes on him and waits patiently for him to finally admit that she’s the one for him. So dedicated to her love for Lucas, Emmie has all but neglected her life outside of this relationship—she’s given up the search for her absentee father, no longer tries to build bridges with her distant mother, and lives as a lodger to an old lady she barely knows after being laid off from her job. And when Lucas tells Emmie he has a big question to ask her, she’s convinced this is the moment he’ll reveal his feelings for her. But nothing in life ever quite goes as planned, does it?

Emmie Blue is about to learn everything she thinks she knows about life (and love) is just that: what she thinks she knows. Is there such thing as meant to be? Or is it true when they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans? A story filled with heart and humor, Dear Emmie Blue is perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Evvie Drake Starts Over


Title : Dear Emmie Blue
Author : Lia Louis
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : Women’s Fiction
Publisher : Trapeze Books
Release Date : August 6, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

This is my summer read of 2020. FACT.

I picked up this DEAR EMMIE BLUE and I could not put it down, at all. Okay, there were moments to pause, look at the wall and process my feelings but that was the only break I took. This book had a light start followed a sneak attack of of more serious themes that were all fabulous-ness. DEAR EMMIE BLUE had characters to cling onto, a story that sunk me into immersion and it was one that made me hope like mad for Emmie.

At first, Emmie made me wonder if she was weak, a sap, the loyal friend being trampled on. Little did I know Emmie, because as I grew to know her better, she had such depth of spirit, a fighting character and that loyalty of hers was amazing. I came to adore her, cheer for her and want the best of things for her.

Emmie had a very quiet and hard working life, an absolute mess of parental proportions and a past trauma to navigate. She was supported in all things by Lucas and the Moreau family as a whole, but Lucas’ brother was a loyal friend, in the background, full of integrity. I’m saying nothing more because the whole story is orientated around these friendships. The story is rich, deep and wonderful with a good slice of heartache.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE had me feeling all the emotions, brimming over my kindle, onto my tissue (at times) and into my friend’s DMs. This book was written so well, so balanced with character development to die for, story to be wrapped up in and all of the feels. I am completely bowled over by it and I want to sing from the rooftops about how good it is. So good, you just have to read and discover it for yourself. Lia Louis wrote beautifully, realistically and with heart, I am dying to devour more from her.

Don’t come into this expecting all light, come in to this and fasten your seat belt…you won’t regret it.

Thank you to Trapeze Books for the early review copy.

MONTHLY WRAP UP – JULY 2020

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

HADES AND PERSEPHONE: CURSE OF THE GOLDEN ARROW by Heidi & Erica Hastings — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

THE DAMNED by Renee Ahdieh — see Micky’s review here
THE SHELF by Helly Acton — see Micky’s review here
AURORA TERMINUS by S. E. Fanetti — see Hollis’ review here
THE VANISHING HALF by Brit Bennett — see Micky’s review here
THE WHITE WOLF by Lauren Gilley — see Hollis’ review here
SLIPPERY CREATURES by KJ Charles — see Hollis’ review here
ENGAGEMENT AND ESPIONAGE by Penny Reid — see Micky’s review here (!)
THE VOTING BOOTH by Brandy Colbert — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ ☆ star reads

THE EXTRAORDINARIES by TJ Klune — see Hollis’ review here
DEAL WITH THE DEVIL by Kit Rocha — see Hollis’ review here
GIRL, SERPENT, THORN by Melissa Bashardoust — see Micky’s review here
LOVELESS by Alice Oseman — see Micky’s review here
MONDAY’S NOT COMING by Tiffany D. Jackson — see Hollis’ review here
THE VANISHING by Jayne Ann Krentz — see Micky’s review here
FIVE LITTLE LIARS by Amanda K. Morgan — see Micky’s review here
ENGAGEMENT AND ESPIONAGE by Penny Reid — see Hollis’ review here (!)
THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET by Becky Chambers — see Micky’s review here

☆ ☆ star reads

BOYFRIEND MATERIAL by Alexis Hall– see Hollis’ review here
THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi — see Hollis’ review here

star reads

u n r a t e d

DNF

DESPERATE MEASURES by Katee Roberts
LOVE BITES by Ry Herman


additional reads not reviewed for blog : The Boulder Wolves Books 1 & 2 linked to my GR reviews, ACOMAF re-read.
total reads by Micky : 14
favourite read of the month : HADES & PERSEPHONE by Heidi & Erica Hastings
least favourite read of the month : LOVE BITES by Ry Herman
most read genre : Contemporary

total reviews by Hollis : nine (we weep, precious)
favourite read of the month : THE WHITE WOLF by Lauren Gilley
least favourite read of the month : tie between my two two-star reads
most read genre : contemporary

ANTICIPATED AUGUST 2020 RELEASES

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 August, our hotly anticipated titles, in chronological order, are :

HARROW THE NINTH is the hotly anticipated follow up to last year’s unexpected delight GIDEON THE NINTH by Tamsyn Muir. If you thought book one was all that.. just wait until August 4, 2020.

Does this book even need an excited introductory blurb? Probably not. MIDNIGHT SUN by Stephenie Meyer is out August 4, 2020.

Alert! We have a feminist space opera duology release this month with SEVEN DEVILS by Laura Lam & Elizabeth May. These two seasoned authors promise some goodness with this release on August 4, 2020.

THE BLACK KIDS by Christina Hammonds Reed is a blast back into retro 1992 LA while the city burns from riots and a rich, black girl’s life gets turned on it’s head. This book also hits the shelves on August 4, 2020.

If you’re looking for some chronic illness rep in YA, EVERY LITTLE PIECE OF MY HEART by Non Pratt aims to deliver. This is a contemporary YA with friendships and some underlying romance, it releases on August 6, 2020.

DEAR EMMIE BLUE by Lia Louis is one of the most endearing and slowly heart-breaking contemporaries to hit our shelves in a while. Already out in the US, this gorgeous book hits the UK on August 6, 2020.

We’ve got a LGBTQIA+ debut for you with BOY QUEEN by George Lester. This finding yourself story also finds the protagonist on the runway. Check this out on August 6, 2020.

BLOODBORN PRINCE by Laura Lascarso is book two in the Mortal and Divine series which is a paranormal fantasy that is very much adult, erotic fiction. It contains violence and moral ambiguity and if you’re keen to try this m/m romance, book one, BOOK OF ORLANDO, might still be on sale. Grab it while you can! Book two is out August 7, 2020.

THE MIDNIGHT LIBRARY by Matt Haig is a gripping wander into a fictional and fantasy purgatory with strong mental health themes. This book is all advocacy and own voices understanding and it releases on August 13, 2020.

THE FAITHLESS HAWK by Margaret Owen is the conclusion to The Merciful Crow duology which, hey, can we get a round of applause for a duology that actually remains a duology without being extended? This series has so much excellence going for it (though mind you, trigger warnings for plague — because it’s 2020 and we can’t have nice things) and we can’t wait for whatever this author will come out with next. You can get your beaks on this finale on August 18, 2020.

Topping both our lists for We Must Has It is EMERALD BLAZE by Ilona Andrews, which is the follow up to SAPPHIRE FLAMES, which kicked off the continuation of the Hidden Legacy series and now follows one of the original protagonists’ sister on her many magical adventures. It’s true that we’re big IA trash in this bloghold (it’s a household but for blogs) but after how the last book ended? We are definitely going to be refreshing our kindles on August 25, 2020.

THE SUGARED GAME by KJ Charles is book two in the Will Darling Adventures trilogy which is historical mystery series with an m/m romance and honestly if you stopped reading after seeing KJ Charles? We wouldn’t blame you. Want, need, yes. What is sure to be yet another delight from this author is out Auguts 26, 2020.


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

HADES AND PERSEPHONE: CURSE OF THE GOLDEN ARROW by Heidi Hastings & Erica Hasting

A Cursed Love…When Persephone is forced into the Underworld, she fears the Dark Lord who rules the shadowed kingdom. A curse has brought them together, and the Goddess of Spring wars against Hades, the King of the Dead. But as time passes, she begins to wonder if he is truly the monster she fears or if he may be the very answer her soul calls out for. Lies, jealousy and betrayal combine to keep them apart. Together, they battle against an unknown foe, but is there enough time to reveal the dark truths of the God before his kingdom falls? 


Title : Hades & Persephone: Curse of the Golden Arrow
Author : Heidi Hastings
Illustrator : Erica Hastings
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 428
Genre : Retelling
Publisher : Indie
Release Date : January 16, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

I’m a long-time fan of greek mythology and definitely a fan of retellings. That being said, Hades & Persephone is a tale I know less well, so I came into this book with open expectations. The cover, synopsis and promise of illustrations were enough to push me to buy this book but I have to say, the execution did not let me down.

The story of these two was very much push and pull, hate and love. The descriptions of the underworld and its different lands within the world really conjured a great idea of life there. Persephone had such character growth in this book, from seemingly innocent forest goddess to a formidable Queen. The reveals in her story were pretty heartbreaking.

Hades was very likeable from the start. He had little of the heavy-handed god about him and his genuine attachment to Persephone was endearing. Added to that was seeing his work as the god of the underworld, it showed him in a variety of lights, not all scary. There was a lot of chemistry going on between these two and it was a slow-burn romance.

The original stories of the greek mythology gods were dramatic and there was a taste of this throughout the book with twists and turns in the plot. The story was fairly fast-paced and it didn’t lose my attention once. The sinister beings existing in the dark nooks of the underworld were incredibly creepy.

Reading HADES AND PERSEPHONE: CURSE OF THE GOLDEN ARROW was a full-on experience. I cannot express how much the illustrations brought this story to life and made it so much more than your average retelling. Compared to other books I have read with illustrations (like Folio Society books) there was an illustration every 10 or 15 pages, so considering this was a 428 page book, there were lots. I can’t speak for how the kindle book looks, but if you want to read this, I would definitely recommend the paperback format.

The writing, story and characterisation was great in addition the visual. I cannot wait to read more from this author and illustrator and I’m really hoping to see this particular story continue.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – JULY 28, 2020

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.

DEAL WITH THE DEVIL by Kit Rocha is the start of a series featuring “mercenary librarians” and, I mean, if that doesn’t intrigue you, what will? This was an interesting series opener, which is apparently set in the same world as the duo’s Beyond series, though it didn’t feel like that was required reading, and we’re looking forward to more.



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

DEAL WITH THE DEVIL by Kit Rocha

Orphan Black meets the post-apocalyptic Avengers in the vein of Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series by USA Today and New York Times bestselling author duo Kit Rocha

The United States went belly up 45 years ago when our power grid was wiped out. Too few live in well-protected isolation while the rest of us scrape by on the margins. The only thing that matters is survival. By any means. At any cost.

Nina is an information broker with a mission: to bring hope to the darkest corners of Atlanta. She and her team of mercenary librarians use their knowledge to help those in need. But altruism doesn’t pay the bills—raiding vaults and collecting sensitive data is where the real money is.

Knox is a bitter, battle-weary supersoldier who leads the Silver Devils, an elite strike squad that chose to go AWOL rather than slaughter innocents. Before the Devils leave town for good, they need a biochem hacker to stabilize the experimental implants that grant their superhuman abilities.

The problem? Their hacker’s been kidnapped. And the ransom for her return is Nina. Knox has the perfect bait for a perfect trap: a lost Library of Congress server. The data could set Nina and her team up for years…

If they live that long.


Title : Deal with the Devil
Author : Kit Rocha
Series : Mercenary Librarians (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 336
Genre : sci-fi/dystopian romance
Publisher : Tor Books
Release Date : July 28, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

I have so many mixed feelings about this one! I mean, like, what a surprise, though, right? No one is shocked.

But seriously. This read was so strange for me. I was totally sucked in to this world and Rocha’s words, was consumed by it for the majority of a sunday afternoon, but nothing about the book had a wow factor, no character was particularly compelling or amazing, the plot itself didn’t feel too different from any other post-apocalyptic-esque-dystopian (obviously some elements differ but the familiarity is there) and I was still, somehow, almost tempted to give this four stars. Why? Because the writing was solid, it did consume me, and the ensemble cast and banter was just great (I’m such a sucker for this). 

But as I sat down to write this, as I considered the lack of wow, the as-of-right-now (but maybe not in future books considering the final chapter) rather misleading series name, and that overall lack of stand-out from the characters (don’t get me wrong, some were better than others, all were pretty good, but none really moved to me think “favourites shelf!!”)? I knew I couldn’t give this more than what I’m giving it.

This world is a mash-up of survivors after solar flares have basically reduced human contact to those within your local area. And in Atlanta, where this is set, that leaves society to be mostly enforced by a military outfit who uses enhancements on their soldiers, and also an organization who dabbles in genetics, and both are basically no good. The story features a group of ex-military operatives who are trying to survive the ticking time bomb that is their degrading implants and a trio of women who have been enhanced in various ways. Romance, secrets, betrayals, and surprises — naturally — ensue.

This story is full of action, full of sci-fi elements, gritty and dark but not bleak or hopeless. The romance wasn’t my favourite part but I didn’t hate it. I just liked the “we don’t trust each other, we know betrayal is likely” edge better. At least in the beginning. The reluctant friendships, the thawing of the tension, and all the banter, as the story went on, I liked even more. There was a lot of like.

Additionally, I liked that this wasn’t a story with just one, or two, POVs, and we’d get little tastes of each character, either to give us some backstory or some perspective. OR to whet our appetites for future books. Either way, I liked it.

I will definitely read on! 

Also, of note, after finishing my review and glancing through early feedback, apparently this is supposed to be set in the same world as the duo’s other series, though standing apart from it and also with less of an erotic categorization, so, that’s worth noting. I think I’ve read maybe two of the Beyond books so can’t really say that’s where I felt this was familiar. In all honesty it made me think of Kennedy’s Outlaws series but, again, without the erotica. Though, don’t get me wrong, there are some steamy scenes! That said, maybe in the wait for book two, I should go back and read more of this duo’s other works just so I can feel caught up on this universe. It probably won’t happen, though. I’m crap at follow through.

Ultimately, this is one that gets a cautious recommend from me. If you are into the genre, if you like lots of action, and a pretty stable attraction/romance thread between two opposing forces, you’ll definitely be into this. It is fairly long, though, clocking in at over four hundred pages, so if you’re more into wham bam thank you done, and don’t want this much plot with your sexy action times, maybe try the Kennedy series. Or, obviously, Rocha’s other books.

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

THE VOTING BOOTH by Brandy Colbert


Marva Sheridan was born ready for this day. She’s always been driven to make a difference in the world, and what better way than to vote in her first election?Duke Crenshaw is so done with this election. He just wants to get voting over with so he can prepare for his band’s first paying gig tonight.Only problem? Duke can’t vote.When Marva sees Duke turned away from their polling place, she takes it upon herself to make sure his vote is counted. She hasn’t spent months doorbelling and registering voters just to see someone denied their right.And that’s how their whirlwind day begins, rushing from precinct to precinct, cutting school, waiting in endless lines, turned away time and again, trying to do one simple thing: vote. They may have started out as strangers, but as Duke and Marva team up to beat a rigged system (and find Marva’s missing cat), it’s clear that there’s more to their connection than a shared mission for democracy.


Title : The Voting Booth
Author : Brandy Colbert
Narrators : Robin Eller & Cary Hite
Format : Audiobook
Length : 6 hours, 5 minutes
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Dreamscape Media
Release Date : July 7, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

This was a shortish listen, told over one day’s events and yet it had such a full story to tell. The themes were so relevant to the now, to Black Lives Matters. Brandy Colbert told this story naturally in a Contemporary YA setting with passionate characters and a hopeful tone.

The story was all set around voting day and Marva just arrived in this book with such drive and determination for activism set in pragmatism as she helped people vote. Duke was on the end of Marva’s plan to help and their day to ensure his vote turned into a saga that was funny, frustrating and cute.

Marva and Duke were different and yet complimented each other well. The day brought some revelations for Marva in particular about the reality of some of her relationships. Duke was a more complex character with past hurts and memories that really gave this voting day some poignant context.

Despite the serious themes, there was time for light-heartedness in this story and the author balanced these elements well. There was a cute vibe developing between these two and I adored the storyline for Instagram sensation, Eartha Kitty.

This was a dual POV story with dual narration. Both narrators sounded age-appropriate and set the tone well for the story. Their narration whisked me into the centre of the tale and got me lost in there.

I highly recommend this story for all YA readers, especially those that like a political slice of pie and contemporary issues, like me.

Thank to Libro FM who gifted this advanced listening copy as part of their ALC programme.

https://libro.fm/audiobooks/9781662003929-the-voting-booth

THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET by Becky Chambers

Follow a motley crew on an exciting journey through space—and one adventurous young explorer who discovers the meaning of family in the far reaches of the universe—in this light-hearted debut space opera from a rising sci-fi star.

Rosemary Harper doesn’t expect much when she joins the crew of the aging Wayfarer. While the patched-up ship has seen better days, it offers her a bed, a chance to explore the far-off corners of the galaxy, and most importantly, some distance from her past. An introspective young woman who learned early to keep to herself, she’s never met anyone remotely like the ship’s diverse crew, including Sissix, the exotic reptilian pilot, chatty engineers Kizzy and Jenks who keep the ship running, and Ashby, their noble captain.

Life aboard the Wayfarer is chaotic and crazy—exactly what Rosemary wants. It’s also about to get extremely dangerous when the crew is offered the job of a lifetime. Tunneling wormholes through space to a distant planet is definitely lucrative and will keep them comfortable for years. But risking her life wasn’t part of the plan. In the far reaches of deep space, the tiny Wayfarer crew will confront a host of unexpected mishaps and thrilling adventures that force them to depend on each other. To survive, Rosemary’s got to learn how to rely on this assortment of oddballs—an experience that teaches her about love and trust, and that having a family isn’t necessarily the worst thing in the universe.


Title : The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Author : Becky Chambers
Narrator : Patricia Rodriguez
Series : Wayfarers #1
Format : Audiobook
Length : 15 hours, 41 minutes
Genre : Sci-fi
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : August 13, 2015

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Sadly I’m feeling rather underwhelmed by this series starter when I really expected to enjoy it. I’m a lover of sci-fi and the idea of a fun bunch of species romping the galaxy sounded right up my street and in some ways it was.

THE LONG WAY TO A SMALL ANGRY PLANET was incredibly complex in terms of characterisation of species. I initially thought the whole book would be from Rosemary’s POV but as soon as she landed on the Wayfarer, it became multi-POV. I wasn’t always enamoured by some of the POVs, nor all of the ship’s crew as characters. I did like Rosemary, Ashby, Lovey, Dr Chef and Pei. Sissex and Ohan took some getting used to and I think that some of the early description of their species lacked the depth I needed to connect.

What I did like was the vibe of the crew on the ship; it was light hearted, warm and welcoming. They were a close crew, a family really. I also liked how relationships were depicted, gender, connections were of little importance and there was a natural tone to how romantic connections were made.

The plot was slow at times but it always picked up eventually with some event happening. I think I wanted a bit more space drama than there was. Maybe this was exaggerated by listening on audio, although the narrator was good.

My ultimate feeling on finishing is that there is enough here for me to carry on with the series. I have finally made some connections with the characters and there was a little action towards the end that I hope spells a better pacing ahead.

FIVE LITTLE LIARS by Amanda K. Morgan

I Know What You Did Last Summer meets One of Us is Lying in this fast-paced suspense thriller following five teens who must cover up the suspicious death of their teacher.

Nothing ruins summer vacation like a secret . . . especially when that secret is a dead teacher.

Ivy used to be on top of the social ladder, until her ex made that all go away. She has the chance to be Queen Bee again, but only if the rest of the group can keep quiet.

Tyler has always been a bad boy, but lately he’s been running low on second chances. There’s no way he’s going to lose everything because someone couldn’t keep their mouth shut.

Kinley wouldn’t describe herself as perfect, though everyone else would. But perfection comes at a price, and there is nothing she wouldn’t do to keep her perfect record – one that doesn’t include murder charges.

Mattie is only in town for the summer. He wasn’t looking to make friends, and he definitely wasn’t looking to be involved in a murder. He’s also not looking to be riddled with guilt for the rest of his life . . . but to prevent that he’ll have to turn them all in.

Cade couldn’t care less about the body, or about the pact to keep the secret. The only way to be innocent is for someone else to be found guilty. Now he just has to decide who that someone will be.

With the police hot on the case, they don’t have much time to figure out how to trust each other. But in order to take the lead, you have to be first in line . . . and that’s the quickest way to get stabbed in the back.

Perfect for fans of Chelsea Pitcher, Karen M. McManus and Holly Jackson!


Title : Five Little Liars
Author : Amanda K. Morgan
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 368
Genre : YA Thriller
Publisher : Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date : June 11, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

This was a fast-paced teen thriller, a little out of the realms of reality but a page-turner nonetheless. I found some elements predictable and the cast of characters were broadly unlikeable but it kept the plot spinning.

The story was told in multiple POV, all students taking a college-level summer psychology class in high school. Oh the irony of the psychology of this bunch of teens. Out of the this cast of five characters, there were only a couple I took to, the rest were conceited, trouble-makers or plain old mean. All that said, the teacher was plain evil.

The story took a spiral of events, panic and then lies in a familiar pattern but one that works. I did call the final twist very early on though. There were other twists that I didn’t predict however and it did keep me reading.

FIVE LITTLE LIARS was somewhat high drama teen-feeling. I read a lot of YA, but this felt particularly teeny to me with a lack of balance in the characteristics. I reminded myself that someone was dead and high drama was perhaps an appropriate response but there was just something about how it was written that sometimes made my eyes roll (like a teen).

I read this book in an afternoon, it kept me entertained and it was a switch up from genres I’ve been reading. I definitely think it has something to lend to the YA thriller scene and would appeal particularly to young adult readers.

Thank you to Simon & Schuster UK for the finshed review copy.