WHERE DREAMS DESCEND by Janella Angeles

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.


Title : Where Dreams Descend
Author : Janella Angeles
Series : Kingdom of Cards (book one)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 464
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : August 25, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

Wow, so, like. I’m really mad at myself. I’ve had a copy of this ARC for so long and even before the release date was pushed back I just kept putting off reading it. I don’t know why. So I’m here to encourage you to not do what I did. Because this book? Fabulous.

It may have taken me about two and a half, maybe three, weeks to read because I’m (as most of us are) slumpy or just living that pandemic lyfe, but nonetheless every little bit I would read? Was great. The story stuck with me, enthralled me, even when I put it down to be distracted by my phone or Netflix or staring at the walls.

I don’t have to prove a single thing to them. What matters most is what I prove to myself. Giving up would be an insult to everything I know I’m capable of.

I am completely stunned this is a debut because though the story is fascinating and mysterious and compelling, the writing? It’s solid. It’s magical. It’s polished. And it’s all that while also having a very relevant dialogue about the double standards in society and the inequalities within most, if not all, fields, without feeling like it’s trying to force the topic to be relevant, y’know?

Magician or not, we’ve always lived in a series of boys’ clubs we’re not allowed to enter. We’re told we’re simply lucky to be in the room, as long as we stay quiet. Make even a little murmur, and it’s like we’ve disturbed the order of life itself.”

As an added bonus, I could never quite see exactly where things were going. The teases were given, the little reveals, what you thought was true.. this was one story that was laced with the tiniest of breadcrumbs as opposed to smacking you in the face with what was coming next. I loved that.

If the comparisons to Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera put you off because you worried it wouldn’t live up to one or the other or both; if you’ve been disillusioned by YA fantasies, particularly from debut authors one too many times; if you thought maybe would be just another NIGHT CIRCUS (even if you liked it, but especially if you didn’t!), I’m here to tell you.. yes. Just.. yes.

For too long she’d envisioned only herself on the stage, an image that always kept her going : basking in the spotlight, hearing her name and cheers over everything else. Strange how applause was just noise, when you were all alone.

My one complaint, even though it isn’t really, is that while I felt the mystery surrounding the setting of this book did a great job of sucking you in, the little glimpses we were given of the world outside just didn’t feel quite as fleshed out or real. Maybe that was to keep the focus on what was happening in the moment, which it did very well, but I would definitely like to know more of the world outside this pocket of events, too.

Either way, I can’t wait for more and I’m so excited for book two.

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

DROWNED COUNTRY by Emily Tesh

Drowned Country is the the stunning sequel to Silver in the Wood, Emily Tesh’s lush, folkloric debut. This second volume of the Greenhollow duology once again invites readers to lose themselves in the story of Henry and Tobias, and the magic of a myth they’ve always known.

Even the Wild Man of Greenhollow can’t ignore a summons from his mother, when that mother is the indomitable Adela Silver, practical folklorist. Henry Silver does not relish what he’ll find in the grimy seaside town of Rothport, where once the ancient wood extended before it was drowned beneath the sea―a missing girl, a monster on the loose, or, worst of all, Tobias Finch, who loves him.


Title : Drowned Country
Author : Emily Tesh
Series : The Greenhollow (book two)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 176
Genre : LGBTQIA+ fantasy
Publisher : Tor.com
Release Date : August 18, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

In some ways this follow up to SILVER IN THE WOOD, a lush reimagining of the Green Man legend, couldn’t be more different than its predecessor. Tone wise, in the telling of the story, almost everything. It actually took a few chapters for me to warm upto this one because it felt like such a change. But eventually it did win me over. Not to the extent of book one, but I was solidly enjoying it.. right up until a, in my opinion, fairly abrupt ending.

The ending aside, I thought this was really well paced. I loved how the timeline since book one was explained, even if at first I wasn’t sure the why or how or what had happened. As it all unfolded, I thought it worked so well. I won’t say much about this, though, because spoilers.

It makes me sad this is the end because I did really enjoy the time spent with these characters, in this strange little world. I wish I had ended this series on a slightly higher note but nonetheless.. still good.

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

BOOKISH AND THE BEAST by Ashley Poston – double review!

In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe.

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.


Title : Bookish and the Beast
Author : Ashley Poston
Series : Once Upon a Con (book three)
Format : paperback / eARC
Page Count : 320
Genre : YA contemporary
Publisher : Quirk Books
Release Date : August 4, 2020

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★★★ / .5


Micky’s 4 star review

This was such a fab, reel-you-in story, full of books, libraries, jerks, nerds and most importantly…jerk redemption. I have to admit, I’ve missed out book two along the way, but I will put that right soon. However, I was still able to follow this interconnected standalone with ease. There was something about the love of books, in this book, that just spoke to my soul. This quote below and the whole section around it resonated with me completely.

I can recognise these books from anywhere – even ten, fifteen feet away. I know their spines. I know their titles. I know their thirty-year-old smell. I am at those books, my fingers running down their broken, well-loved spines…

The vibe of the two characters, Rosie and Vance were complicated, or maybe just rather simple hate. Rosie was a complete clumsy disaster whenever in the proximity of Vance. She repeatedly overstepped privacy boundaries in a cringeworthy way but it made for hilarious hiding-between-the-fingers reading.

She’s strangely intimidating, like a squirrel with a butcher’s knife.

Vance was a jerk, pure and simple. A rich kid, Hollywood royalty and a star in the movies this series is based on. Points in his favour were administered early on for Sansa the dog, but that was all he had to endear himself. Slowly over time, over their joint project, these two had some grudging connection. I loved how their story unfolded.

There was a bi-Dad storyline which I adored to the point that I wanted some more. Space Dad was so cool and his crush potential deserved its own story. The friendship circle around Rosie was sweet and loyal with a non-binary friend going for Homecoming Overlord.

Amongst the cute, were serious themes of grief and berevement. I found Rosie’s narrative, inner feelings and reluctancy to talk about her loss believable. Vance’s parent issues warranted a bit more depth, I think.

Out of the two I’ve read of this series, this is my favourite. It was a devourable read with cover details that I’m only just appreciating now. This book was everything I want and need from a contemporary YA with the added bonus of books as a context.

Thank you to Quirk books and JamiedoesPR for the finished copy to review.


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

Unfortunately, the latest installment in this fandom-and-nerdy-love-explosion just.. really missed the mark. The third book in the series, centering around the revival and cult-following of a tv-series-turned-movie-adaptation relies heavily on the previous fairytale-esque romances set in and around the fandom and conventions and, unfortunately, fails to live up to anything that came before. Added to the mix was an attempted Beauty and the Beast retelling that didn’t remotely land.

So what did work in this one’s favour? It’s diverse. Literally, that’s it.

I couldn’t get behind the lead characters or their blink and you miss it transition from strangers in reluctant proximity to star-crossed lovers who make out. I couldn’t get behind the random other-guy plot and all (and I mean all) the drama that ensued from that (also, hey, where those consequences at? how is this never ever addressed?). I tried to appreciate and respect the thread of grief woven through the story, our MC having lost her mother the year before, but for every time she says she never wants to talk about it, all she’s doing is thinking about it, or thinking she’s defined by it, when it seems no one actually looks at her as ‘the girl who lost her mother’. Only she does. Which I mean, fine, valid, but. It was confusing. The friend group was cute, I liked Rosie’s two buds, but overall this felt haphazard and messy and just slapped together.

This was a definite miss and though book one was just a like for me, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed book two, so that adds an extra layer of sad for this one which didn’t work at all.

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

DARING AND THE DUKE by Sarah MacLean

Grace Condry has spent a lifetime running from her past. Betrayed as a child by her only love and raised on the streets, she now hides in plain sight as queen of London’s darkest corners. Grace has a sharp mind and a powerful right hook and has never met an enemy she could not best…until the man she once loved returns. 

Single-minded and ruthless, Ewan, Duke of Marwick, has spent a decade searching for the woman he never stopped loving. A long-ago gamble may have lost her forever, but Ewan will go to any lengths to win Grace back…and make her his duchess. 

Reconciliation is the last thing Grace desires. Unable to forgive the past, she vows to take her revenge. But revenge requires keeping Ewan close, and soon her enemy seems to be something else altogether—something she can’t resist, even as he threatens the world she’s built, the life she’s claimed…and the heart she swore he’d never steal again.


Title : Daring and the Duke
Author : Sarah MacLean
Series : Bareknuckle Bastards
Format : eARC
Page Count : 384
Genre : historical romance
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : June 30, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

My trepidation for starting this book was two-fold. One, because I was slumping hard, and two, I worried about how this story, featuring this particular male protagonist, could win me over after all the chaos and damage he had done over the course of this series.

So I’m pretty pleased that a, this book pulled me out of the world for a short time, and b, that the turnaround for this character felt.. valid. Very different from the last third-book-in-a-series-asshole-redemption installment I experienced from MacLean, so. Yay.

DARING AND THE DUKE was definitely not my favourite of the series, probably at least a bit becuse I went in uncertain, and, again, I’m probably influenced by everything happening around me just a tad, but. It was swoony, it was angsty, it had agency, and it had a happy ending. And there’s a lot to be said for a lot of that.

It’s hard to say much without spoiling any details or reveals from previous books but the main plot point of this series, of a terrible man willing to uphold his legacy in any way he can, and the children who are at the mercy of his machinations, was so unique. And the dynamics of all four, and how things play out, provides much angst, a bit of darkness, and a whole lot of opportunity for the author to balance that with (particularly for the first two books) feisty, fabulous, women, and, in the final book, a good grovel.

If any of that sounds like a good time, I would definitely recommend!

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

THE BLACK FLAMINGO by Dean Atta

I masquerade in makeup and feathers and I am applauded.

A boy comes to terms with his identity as a mixed-race gay teen – then at university he finds his wings as a drag artist, The Black Flamingo. A bold story about the power of embracing your uniqueness. Sometimes, we need to take charge, to stand up wearing pink feathers – to show ourselves to the world in bold colour.


Title : The Black Flamingo
Author : Dean Atta
Format : ebook
Page Count : 368
Genre : Contemporary YA, LGBTQIA+
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : August 8, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

THE BLACK FLAMINGO was a beautiful, real story told with grit. A coming of age, coming out, all while being black story. What felt unique to me about this story and different to other coming-out stories was that it started in young childhood. Don’t get me wrong, it didn’t linger for ages in that age-range but it depicted Michael’s experiences from a young age and I loved that.

Michael’s blackness and the experience of having Greek/Cypriot mother and black father who deserted them was fresh and insightful reading. Michael’s own realisations about the colour of his skin alongside his sexuality were thought-provoking and poignant. Seeing Michael become his true self, cast off other people’s presumptions and eventually being drawn to drag was absorbing reading.

‘He is me, who I have been,
who I am, who I hope to become.
Someone fabulous, wild and strong,
With or without a costume on.’

The story was told in verse that was incredibly engaging. In addition, Michael was a poet and so there were poems peppered throughout the book. In particular, I loved Maybe I’m a Merman and I Wanna Be Fierce. The book was illustrated and formatted in a way that enhanced the reading process (or should have done, see my next paragraph).

I bought the ebook for this read and unfortunately there was a problem with the text formatting, nearly every single page of the 300+ pages had a problem with text doubling over itself. I went to report it on amazon but I could see that it is not currently for sale and under review; this surely means they know about the problem and it’s being fixed. Before you click the link below to the book, please check it has been resolved.

THE BLACK FLAMINGO was a quick but impactful read that was inspirational. Dean Atta has a fresh narrative voice and he is a gifted poet. I’d definitely recommend this read.

SOMETHING LIKE PERFECT by SC Stephens

From #1 New York Times bestselling author S.C. Stephens comes a complex romance about finding your purpose, living your dreams, and loving your soul mate.

Valerie would never do anything to hurt her sister, but when the man of Valerie’s dreams turns out to be her sister’s new boyfriend, remaining loyal to her family becomes increasingly difficult. Valerie knows nothing can ever happen between her and Jake, but that doesn’t prevent her from growing hopelessly fond of him.

By keeping her distance, Valerie is mostly successful in pushing her feelings for Jake aside, but when she struggles to land a job after culinary school, it’s Jake who offers her the opportunity of a lifetime working with a world-renowned chef…and also, working with Jake.

Valerie’s heart twists with indecision. Does she take the job of a lifetime cooking and sailing around on a yacht, but torture herself in an isolated situation with a man who is perfectly made for her yet absolutely off limits? Or does she reject the offer that could get her so much closer to making her dreams come true? 


Title : Something Like Perfect
Author : SC Stephens
Format : eARC
Page Count : 206
Genre : Contemporary Romance
Publisher : Montlake Romance
Release Date : June 23, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ .5


Micky’s 2.5 star review

I knew I was getting into an unholy mess with this book and that blurb but what started off as a eating popcorn watching events unfold, quickly moved to a ridiculous plot peppered with unbelievable convenience. I enjoyed SC Stephens last survival story but this one did not work at all for me. Only forge forward into this book if you are okay with cheating, it’s up there in the blurb and its a pretty taboo take on that trope. I can flow with this trope but it still felt a bit icky to me and I think that’s down to how the story was told and the characterisation.

I’m going to start with what I liked and then move to what didn’t work for me. This is a short book, just over 200 pages, it was quick to read and hard to put down. A bit like a crash unfolding that you cannot look away from. The time passed as I just read from front to back. So, you could say this was gripping. There was definite chemistry between the two MCs but when it came to chemistry playing out fully, I didn’t feel much.

What didn’t work for me was the story or rather the story direction. The way that the author took this to an almost ridiculous scenario moved me from like to almost writing it off. I can flow with a bit of fantastical licence but this story went deep into impossibility for me. I felt this more so, once the MCs were coming to the end of the book and the big awful situation was over. There was too much convenience in everything to do with the plot and the story felt rushed. I can’t help thinking with another 150 pages or so, this could have been fleshed out so much better.

I know SC Stephens can write a great book in the tropes that SOMETHING LIKE PERFECT hit but on this occasion it just wasn’t for me.

Thank you to Montlake Romance for the early review copy.

STRANGE THE DREAMER by Laini Taylor


The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Welcome to Weep. 


Title : Strange the Dreamer
Author : Laini Taylor
Series : Strange the Dreamer #1
Format : audio/ebook
Narrator : Steve West
Length : 18 hours 19 minutes
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : Hodder Books
Release Date : March 28, 2017

Reviewer : Micky
Rating  : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Holy cow, Hollis…thank you for foisting Laini Taylor in front of my nose numerous times. This was a winner of winners in terms of reading, full absorption from start to finsh and a read that was mostly audio but sometimes ebook.

I fell into this book with a determination after loving Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I didn’t need to worry because I loved this world with an awe immediately, it didn’t ebb, not once. This book brought characters to live and long for and a world that was an exceptional creation. I am in awe.

I feel that there’s nothing I can say that hasn’t already been said coming late to a duology like this but it’s new to me and so I give you my fresh eyes. These fresh eyes were all on Lazlo. Unconventional hero, humble librarian, strength of character, kind and intelligent – 100% loveable. Lazlo started off in one land, travelled across a vast desolate plain and ended up in Weep.

“You know me, Strange the dreamer, head in the clouds.” He paused and added with a grin, “Miracles for breakfast.”

The world was on the one hand complex, but also not difficult to understand; that said, I couldn’t explain it that well. Sarai the other main character was a daughter of a godess but trapped and enslaved to a gift and future that was dismal. I felt for her, I liked her and seeing her come alive more as events unfolded was beautiful and enchanting.

As these two met, everything went still in my mind as I read, wanting every detail, every feel and boy, did I feel their connection. Sometimes I moan about not feeling connected to characters in books, this was such the opposite experience, it was a situation where I have rarely felt so much in a fantasy read, nor so tethered to two characters.

She wanted. She wanted. She wanted to wake up holding hands.

The story was exciting, tragic, haunting and vivid. The world was further enhanced by brilliant narration injecting further personality into the characters and so I can highly recommend this format for the duology. I will be listening to MUSE OF NIGHTMARES rather than reading. Pick this story up and you will be ensnared in its trap.

THE WIVES by Tarryn Fisher – release blitz and review!

Imagine that your husband has two other wives.

You’ve never met the other wives. None of you know each other, and because of this unconventional arrangement, you can see your husband only one day a week. But you love him so much you don’t care. Or at least that’s what you’ve told yourself.

But one day, while you’re doing laundry, you find a scrap of paper in his pocket—an appointment reminder for a woman named Hannah, and you just know it’s another of the wives.

You thought you were fine with your arrangement, but you can’t help yourself: you track her down, and, under false pretences, you strike up a friendship. Hannah has no idea who you really are. Then, Hannah starts showing up to your coffee dates with telltale bruises, and you realise she’s being abused by her husband. Who, of course, is also your husband. But you’ve never known him to be violent, ever.

Who exactly is your husband, and how far would you go to find the truth? Would you risk your own life?

And who is his mysterious third wife?


Title : The Wives
Author : Tarryn Fisher
Format : Paperback
Page Count : 352
Genre : Thriller
Publisher : HQ
Release Date : June 25, 2020

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

This was an all-consuming and enjoyable thriller from Tarryn Fisher. It was convincing, screwed with your theories and left you with a jaw drop. It was pretty difficult to put down and I love that kind of feeling in a thriller.

Told from the POV of Thursday, she was one of three wives. Thursday hooked you in too being on her side and wary of the moves of the mighty husband, Seth. Seth, was the kind of man that could juggle three women and keep them all on a string, waiting for their turn and for him to deign his affection. There was only one problem with thinking this…Thursday was an unreliable narrator and I loved that!

I basically didn’t know my head from my tail, which was up and which was down or who to believe. I was here for that. There was polygamy, grief, stalking, domestic abuse, mental health problems and manipulation all going on at once, but with three women that worked. My thoughts ricocheted from one wife to another, unsure of their characters, unsure of Seth.

The ending was something else and I can imagine people finding the exponential acceleration of crazy towards the end a little too much. For me, it was just right, at the end I did a little laugh, nod and inner ‘cleverly done’. I’m left feeling that this book was such a ride, a quick read due to the previously mentioned mind-consumption and just right to lose yourself in. I highly recommend for a great thriller with unusual themes.

Thank you HQ for the review copy.

TWO ROGUES MAKE A RIGHT by Cat Sebastian

Will Sedgwick can’t believe that after months of searching for his oldest friend, Martin Easterbrook is found hiding in an attic like a gothic nightmare. Intent on nursing Martin back to health, Will kindly kidnaps him and takes him to the countryside to recover, well away from the world.

Martin doesn’t much care where he is or even how he got there. He’s much more concerned that the man he’s loved his entire life is currently waiting on him hand and foot, feeding him soup and making him tea. Martin knows he’s a lost cause, one he doesn’t want Will to waste his life on.

As a lifetime of love transforms into a tender passion both men always desired but neither expected, can they envision a life free from the restrictions of the past, a life with each other?


Title : Two Rogues Make a Right
Author : Cat Sebastian
Series : Seducing the Sedgwicks
Format : eARC
Page Count : 304
Genre : LGBTQIA+ historical romance
Publisher : Avon Impulse
Release Date : June 23, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

I’m waffling a bit about whether I’ll round up on this because while it definitely wasn’t my favourite of the series (not that anything could live up to book one, I mean, really), I think I liked it more than book two. Which I also rated 3.5. Whatever, what even is a rating.

It is exhausting to be a decent person. I could be a villain with no effort whatsoever. It would be like rolling downhill.”
Why don’t you, then?
Because there’s enough bad in the world. I’m trying to put my weight on the other side of the scale.”

What you do need to know about this book, though, is that it is pretty damn pure. Not quite fluffy but.. tender. Though a slow build or even a slow burn would be fairly apt descriptors, more than that, it’s all just.. gentleness. Not sure how else to describe it. There are no real fireworks, no huge momentous realizations, no energic romps or lengthy debauchery scenes, not even any real big blow up.. it’s just two best friends, both a little damaged, both a little bruised, becoming more, and navigating what that looks like.

This was going to be the death of him. He had survived this latest illness only to be murdered by casual affection.

As is Sebastian’s way, there are endless exchanges of hilarity amongst the sweetness, and while I liked these characters, particularly in their early moments sharing space, I don’t quite think they will be as memorable as I would want them to be. Which goes for the story, too, really; not that there was much plot to begin with. But that’s also the case for book two’s couple, who we visit with in this book, too. Somehow it’s still book one, which I read three years ago, that stands out in this regard.. and every regard, really.

That said, I still enjoyed my time reading this, it was a deligthful bit of sweetness and sass, exactly what I wanted when I picked it up, so it definitely delivered. Even if it won’t go down as a favourite.

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

WIRE WINGS by Wren Handman

Graciela does as she’s told: she cowers beneath the towering intellect of her parents, goes to school, toes the line. But in the Waves, a virtual reality world, Graciela can be anyone, anywhere, anytime. Free.

In the real world, Graciela is drowning. Her best friend recently passed away, she’s suffering from crippling panic attacks, and her only connection to life is Khaiam, who keeps trying to draw her back to reality.

But how can he compete with the Waves? There, she can be whoever she dreams. And in that world, there’s Thomas, the stunning stranger with haunted eyes she’s only ever met online. Thomas seems to be able to defy the rules of the Waves, and he holds secrets of his own—about the origins of his creation, the nature of AI, and about Gracie’s own past. He will lead her on a dangerous road to truths she isn’t ready for, and the ultimate decision between acceptance and identity, duty and love, life and freedom.


Title : Wire Wings
Author : Wren Handman
Format : eARC
Page Count : 284
Genre : YA sci-fi/fantasy
Publisher : Parliament House Press
Release Date : June 23, 2020

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 4.5 star review

WIRE WINGS is a compelling story about grief; about the gaping holes left by the lose of someone you loved. It’s about escapism; pushing aside your real-world worries, and leaving reality behind. It’s about identity; the masks we choose for ourselves, and the core of us beneath them all. It’s about love; the awkwardness of friendships that existed because of other people, the complicated dynamics of parent and child, and the purity of connection that reaches down past your skin and into the truth of you and being accepted for it.

[..] sometimes she wonders what makes a person real.

This story takes place in the not-so-distant future and Handman’s world mostly resembles our own but the world she’s created in the Waves, this VR-esque experience, is like nothing else. Calling them games doesn’t do them justice, but the experiences, everything, are vivid and fascinating and a stark change in pace from Graciela’s every day existence where she’s barely getting by, barely able to breathe, and feeling overlooked and lost.

WIRE WINGS is equal parts exciting and colourful as well as heartbreaking and tragic. There is such beauty in the prose, mirrored in all the worlds we flit in and out of, but that ache of loss and devastation is never truly gone and resonates both viscerally and also subtlely throughout. It’s reaching for the hand that isn’t there. Walking into rooms that were once filled with laughter. In the friendships held together by a body that no longer takes up any space. It’s in the bloom of a romance that can’t be shared with the one you most want to tell. The name you can barely speak for choking on the syllables. But most of all, it’s in the acknowledgement of their memory when you find moments of happiness and not flincing away from it or feeling guilty.

This story is brilliant, bittersweet, and beautiful, and I think you should read it.

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