SPELLS FOR FORGETTING by Adrienne Young

‘There were tales that only the island knew. Ones that had never been told. I knew, because I was one of them.’

Emery Blackwood’s life was forever changed on the eve of her high school graduation, when the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her best friend, Lily. She’d once dreamt of running away with August, eager to escape the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and chase new dreams together. Now, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence among this tight-knit community steeped in folklore and tradition, ruled by the seasons and ancient superstitions.

But when August returns after fourteen years to bury his mother’s ashes, Emery must confront her first love and the reason he left so abruptly. But the town wants August gone again. And as the island begins to show signs of strange happenings, the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises threatens to reveal the truth behind Lily’s death once and for all.


Title : Spells For Forgetting
Author : Adrienne Young
Format : Physical ARC
Page Count : 364
Genre : Fantasy Horror
Publisher : Quercus Books
Release Date : September 27, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 4.5 star review

Headlines:
Atmospheric and lamenting
Mysterious
Nature’s grumblings

This book blew me away with it’s haunting vibes, mystery and return to historical events on the Island of Saorise. The whole story just bled atmosphere and gave a sinister chill as you read. Told in present and some past narrative (not overused), the lives of four high school graduates on this small island was brought into the now of over a decade later. Murder, fire and conspiracy were afoot in this tale and the incredible prose kept me devouring the pages.

At the centre of this book were Emery and August with their two best friends in their orbit. That was back then…now there were three. Saorise was a place that was a lore rather than law to itself. The island spoke through the land, the trees, the weather and wildlife and the residents listened.

Sometimes the signs were subtle, like a fleeting shadow or an echo in the trees. Other times, the island wasn’t gentle with her words.

The mystery surrounding Lily, the orchard and August’s departure and return were completely compelling but so was the young romance between August and Emery. I was so invested in how that would end, even though it was often in the background. There’s so much to keep reader’s invested in this story.

Adrienne Young’s storytelling was quite beautiful. I highlighted a lot and her writing captivated my imagination. This is the perfect autumnal read but really I’d recommend it anytime.

We’d had no beginning, I realized. We just always were.

Thank you to Quercus Books for the review copy.

A DARKNESS AT THE DOOR by Intisar Khanani

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

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

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


Title : A Darkness At The Door
Author : Intisar Khanani
Series : The Dauntless Path #3
Format : Physical
Page Count : 528
Genre : YA Fantasy
Publisher : HotKey Books
Release Date : July 21, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Heroine with disabilities
Breaking the mold
Fighting, thieving and integrity

Intisar Khanani left us at the end of book two in pain with that ending but A Darkness At The Door did not disappoint. This was a story of tension, tragedy, gore and the fight for justice for those children being trafficked. This was a very full story with twists and turns that was ultimately hugely satisfying.

Rae is the kind of heroine I loved to admire. She broke through people’s expectations of how she should be and behave and that cover came into perspective. Rae’s fight for escape, revenge and justice kept me hooked from page one to the end. Rae’s disabiliy was written well with ability realistically conveyed along with the pain, problems and attitudes that were faced on a daily basis. The magic was a light-ish touch but remained authentic to the dauntless path world.

Bren as a character and Bren with Rae really grew on me more in this book. I liked that neither character changed for one another. The side characters were wonderful, especially Bren’s crew and then Rae’s family. There was only a little of Alyrra which a lapped up but could have managed more.

This series definitely sits in my pile of favourites for world building, consistency and characterisation; Initisar Khanani is an equal favourite.

Thank you to HotKey Books for the review copy.

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 27, 2022

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 Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik is the conclusion to the Scholomance trilogy that we at the blog have absolutely adored. Anyone else frothing for this finale?

A Familiar Stranger by A.R. Torre deals in double lives and lies, oh my!

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young is “a deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.

Lark & Kasim Start A Revolution by Kacen Callender is “a contemporary YA that follows Lark’s journey to speak the truth and discover how their own self-love can be a revolution.”



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

FOLD IN THE CHEESE : AN UNOFFICIAL GUIDE TO SPLENDIFEROUS ENTERTAINING FOR FANS OF SCHITT’S CREEK by Parker Long

A humorous guide that features party-planning tips, delicious recipes, and loving homages to the beloved TV comedy series, Schitt’s Creek. Dine, imbibe, and be blithesome in true Rose family fashion.

Whether they’re throwing ostentatious soirées or Valium-fueled tantrums, entertaining a crowd (and sometimes just Stevie) is what the Roses do best! Let their sagacious advice and biting wit wash over you with Fold In The Cheese: The Unofficial Schitt’s Creek Guide to Splendiferous Entertaining. Recipes like “Cardamom Rose Cocktail”, “Johnny’s Hundred-Dollar Sliders”, and “Chocolate Ganache Torte” will titillate taste buds while tips on how to put on a proper game night, host a holiday party, and even organize your own movie premiere will help to create a most consummate atmosphere for hosting. This illustrious tome gives you everything you need to create an event that’s sure to be. . . memorable.


Title : Fold in the Cheese :
An Unofficial Guide to Splendiferous Entertaining for Fans of Schitt’s Creek
Author : Parker Long
Format : eARC
Page Count : 144
Genre : entertaining guide / cookbook
Publisher : Andrews McMeel Publishing
Release Date : September 27, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : unrated


Hollis’ unrated review

I have to kick this off by saying that if you aren’t a fan of Schitt’s Creek, this will likely miss the mark for you. There’s far more tongue in cheek text and references to the show than there are recipes so the ratio, as a non-fan, isn’t in your favour. Also.. there could be spoilers.

While the progression of the book doesn’t quite go into every single main event, most are definitely covered and the author either uses them as a guide on what to do (or not do) by pulling examples from the show, or just common sense (something occasionally lacking from the residents..), or uses the events to recreate or create a new themed recipe. I would definitely be interested in recreating a few of the foods but, just so you know, I think just about half — or more than — are drinks; just incase that isn’t your thing.

Definitely a cute read, with lovely illustrations, and perfect for fans — and maybe a fun little gift come the holidays.

Also, yes, the recipe for Mother’s Enchiladas (the inspiration for the title and probably one of the funnier scenes in the entire show) is included. You’re welcome!

This read sorta exists in that non-fiction realm where I’m not inclined to rate it but if I had to? 3.5 stars.

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

MINDWALKER by Kate Dylan

DO NOT SURRENDER CONTROL.

‘Mindwalker is a cinematic gut punch of action and espionage. Sharp-edged, tense and thrilling, you’ll be holding your breath until the last page’ Tasha Suri, author of The Jasmine Throne

Eighteen-year-old Sil Sarrah is determined to die a legend. But with only twelve months left before the supercomputer grafted to her brain kills her, Sil’s time is quickly running out.

In the ten years she’s been rescuing field agents for the Syntex corporation – by commandeering their minds from afar and leading them to safety – Sil hasn’t lost a single life. And she’s not about to start now.

But when a critical mission goes south, Sil is forced to flee the very company she once called home.

Desperate to prove she’s no traitor, Sil infiltrates the Analog Army, an activist faction working to bring Syntex down. Her plan: to win back her employer’s trust by destroying the group from within. Instead, she and the Army’s reckless leader, Ryder, uncover a horrifying truth that threatens to undo all the good she’s ever done.

With her tech rapidly degrading and her new ally keeping dangerous secrets of his own, Sil must find a way to stop Syntex in order to save her friends, her reputation – and maybe even herself.


Title : Mindwalker
Author : Kate Dylan
Format : Physical ARC/Audio
Page Count : 315
Genre : YA Sci-fi
Publisher : Hodderscape
Release Date : September 1, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3.5 star review

Headlines:
Strong women in sci-fi
Adrenaline was a-pumping
Fast-paced thriller that felt light-hearted

This book was a whirl of a read, it developed and progressed quickly and that pace didn’t let up right until the culmination. The protagonist Sil had all the knee-jerked decisions of an eighteen year old alongside the heavy responsibility her transplanted tech and job brought to her world. Talking of her world and job, they turned on their heads and this story was Sil’s journey to unveil the truth and salute with her middle finger to her previous bosses.

There were a lot of themes to unpick in this book beneath the fast-pace of the storytelling. Ethics in a futuristic age were at the forefront, the thought of ‘even if we can, should we’ prevailed. Sil uncovered some nasty stuff and her enslavement in the organisation and overall purpose was brought into question.

Sil was brave and stupid in equal measure. I liked her and wanted her to slow down and consider things more. The light-hearted feel to her dialogue didn’t always sit with the overall tone of the piece for me but I was able to rub along with it.

Overall, this standalone was worth the read and it was a pleasant sci-fi distraction without heavy world-building. The audio narration was great.

Thank you to Hodderscape for the review copy.

WHEN GRACIE MET THE GRUMP by Mariana Zapata

Of all the things that could have landed in her yard… it had to be him.

For most people, finding a half-naked superbeing in their yard might be a dream come true.

Unfortunately for Gracie Castro, it’s the exact opposite.

Especially when he’s grouchy, rude, and shows no signs of leaving anytime soon.

But when a hero of mankind needs you, you do what you have to.

Even if it compromises everything you know.

And totally changes your life. 


Title : When Gracie Met The Grump
Author : Mariana Zapata
Format : eBook
Page Count : 638
Genre : Contemporary Romance/Sci-Fi elements
Publisher : Self Published
Release Date : September 15, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 5 star review

Headlines:
Superhero grumpster
Banter and biccering
Slow-burn (shocked, I know)

Utter glee was my main emotion reading this book. It was certainly a surprising blurb but honestly, Zapata wrote the socks out of this strange set up. The injured superhero appearing in Gracie’s already secretive and strange life prompted a complete explosion of circumstances. What went from a strange meet-grump, moved into a high stakes scenario. I was here for it all.

Because my gut said this man wasn’t a ball of sunshine. I had a feeling he wasn’t even a night-light.

The plot was greatly crafted, strangely belieavable with a sense of The Incredibles to it. The characters of both Gracie and Grump (you’ll have to read to find out more of this illusive character) were a complete double act. They were so similar in some ways and yet so polarised in others. Their chemistry developed slowly and boy, did it build. The eventual connection between these two was one of my favourites, up there with Kulti, Winnipeg, Lukov and Rhodes for me.

The family in this book was intriguing and Zapata writes brilliant families and funny characters; this book was no exception. Unusually, unless I’ve missed some easter eggs, this book had no relation to any of her previous standalones.

I’m on board with Zapata going off-piste from her usual kinds of concepts, because I loved this creation hard.

HOW TO LIVE WITHOUT YOU by Sarah Everett

In this heart-wrenching coming-of-age story about family, grief, and second chances, seventeen-year-old Emmy returns home for the summer to uncover the truth behind her sister Rose’s disappearance—only to learn that Rose had many secrets, ones that have Emmy questioning herself and the sister Emmy thought she knew.

When her sister Rose disappeared, seventeen-year-old Emmy lost a part of herself. Everyone else seems convinced she ran away and will reappear when she’s ready, but Emmy isn’t so sure. That doesn’t make sense for the Rose she knew: effervescent, caring, and strong-willed. So Emmy returns to their Ohio hometown for a summer, determined to uncover clues that can lead her back to Rose once and for all.

But what Emmy finds is a string of secrets and lies that she never thought possible, casting the person she thought she knew best in a whole new light. Reeling with confusion, Emmy decides to step into Rose’s life. She reconnects with their childhood best friend and follows in Rose’s last known footsteps with heart-wrenching consequences.

An honest and intimate look at sisterhood and the dark side of growing up, Sarah Everett’s latest novel is a stunning portrayal of how you can never truly know the ones you love.


Title : How To Live Without You
Author : Sarah Everett
Format : eARC
Page Count : 392
Genre : Contemporary YA
Publisher : Clarion Books
Release Date : May 17, 2022

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review

Headlines:
Coming of age with a punch
Sisters
Emotive, challenging and rich
Mental illness

I know from reading and loving Sarah Everett’s previous release to expect my heart in my mouth, difficult subject matter and beautiful writing; I got all those things. This contemporary YA was a tough read for sure but it dealt with issues in depth and with authenticity and respect. I do advise checking out the content warnings for this book which I’ve put at the end of this review, but please be aware they have some spoiler elements. Also do make sure you go all the way to the author’s note at the end.

This book was about sisters, broken families, mental illness and lies. It dealt with trust issues, friendships, first experiences and betrayal. There was much to this read but not too much. Get ready to hand over your heart to Emmie and Rose, Levi and their dad. Those were my favourite characters. I was left rather conflicted by Chris in all the ways but especially after the later reveals.

How To Live Without You is the kind of read that builds and builds, so that when at about 3/4 of the way through, some reveals started coming, I was half expecting some of it but other parts shocked the heck out of me. I literally didn’t put this book down much over the 24 hours it consumed me.

I am becoming a staunch fan of the authentic writing that Sarah Everett delivers on and the themes she frames around her characters.

Thank you Clarion Books for the eARC.

**Content Warnings** depression, suicidal ideation.

BE THE SERPENT by Seanan McGuire

October Daye is finally something she never expected to be: married. All the trials and turmoils and terrors of a hero’s life have done very little to prepare her for the expectation that she will actually share her life with someone else, the good parts and the bad ones alike, not just allow them to dabble around the edges in the things she wants to share. But with an official break from hero duties from the Queen in the Mists, and her family wholly on board with this new version of “normal,” she’s doing her best to adjust.

It isn’t always easy, but she’s a hero, right? She’s done harder.
Until an old friend and ally turns out to have been an enemy in disguise for this entire time, and October’s brief respite turns into a battle for her life, her community, and everything she has ever believed to be true. 

The debts of the Broken Ride are coming due, and whether she incurred them or not, she’s going to be the one who has to pay.


Title : Be The Serpent
Author : Seanan McGuire
Series : October Daye (book sixteen)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 384
Genre : urban fantasy
Publisher : DAW
Release Date : August 30, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ .5


Hollis’ 3.5 star review

No, you aren’t hallucinating. This is the highest rating I’ve given a book in this series since book eleven — and before that, the only other three? Book one. Which in hindsight might’ve been an error in “hoping for the best/that things get better”. So, yeah, the bar for this series, which I’ve complained about ad nauseam, is low. But this one, almost start to finish, had elements that kept me interested and unwilling to put the book down.

That isn’t to say it didn’t start off poorly though because we open up with Luna and Sylvester bullshit and to say I am tired of these two characters would be an understatement. What makes me somewhat angry, though, is McGuire gave an exceptional explanation for why the former is now the way she is and.. yeah, I’m mad. Because it makes sense. Why it took so long to get this explanation, I’ll never know. But it doesn’t excuse the latter’s lack of backbone, loyalty, trust, etc etc. October better not have forgiven him that easy, too. I’m offended.

And, honestly, other than that.. other than a few little moments where people gave October shit for things I don’t think she deserved (and trust me, I would mentioned when it was deserved), there were so few blips in this one. Truly, again, I am astonished.

My one real complaint is the constant rehashing of things to various characters as the plot pushed things along because it gets so tired, going over the same things endlessly; whereas certain other characters spent too much time standing around blinking and marvelling over how things don’t make sense (cough Sylvester cough, glad October called him out on this, more please) and, mostly, being useless. But that’s it. Complaint session over.

Oh wait, Tybalt was mostly useless in this one, not going to lie. He’s sort’ve turned into arm candy now that he’s got the girl. Though I suppose when you’re as skilled and surprising as October is.. there isn’t a whole lot to complete with there. Not a complaint so much as an observation.

The big reveal of this instalment, the way it went down, and then the end? Constant shocker. I’m both surprised and not surprised that the most powerful among this crew is also a different kind of useless and, for once, am not mad about October putting them in their place with little regard to niceties. She is all of us in this particular situation. Surprising no one, the sea witch was once again great, no notes, ten out of ten.

I don’t think I’ve ever said this for this series but : I cannot wait for book seventeen. But don’t get me wrong, I’m still hoping the end is in sight because obviously this is not a sustainable read for me (despite evidence to the contrary) and I fully expect the success of this instalment to peter out but hey, low expectations never hurt anyone.

Oh, and ps, the novella at the end of this one? Horrible. In the sense that seeing exactly what the sea witch was cursed with, live in HD4K, was horrible. Brutal. Awful. Lots of Big Bads need to go before the end of this series or there is truly no justice in this world (which is likely the case because faerie).

NEW RELEASE TUESDAY – SEPTEMBER 20, 2022

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.


A Merry Little Meet Cute by Julie Murphy and Sierra Simone is “a steamy plus-size holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as a lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the former bad-boy pop star she falls in love with.

The Kiss Curse by Erin Sterling is the companion to last year’s spoopy season release The Ex Hex. This looks to be some more romantic spoopy goodness, this time following the first book protagonist’s cousin. Are you excited?

The Killing Code by Ellie Marney is another crime-centric offering from this prolific author — but this time she’s taking us back to WWII where a codebreaker is drawn into the mystery of who is killing fellow government girls.. and why.



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

A MERRY LITTLE MEET CUTE by Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone

Cowritten by #1 New York Times bestselling author Julie Murphy and USA Today bestselling author Sierra Simone—a steamy plus-size holiday rom-com about an adult film star who is semi-accidentally cast as a lead in a family-friendly Christmas movie, and the former bad-boy pop star she falls in love with.

Bee Hobbes (aka Bianca Von Honey) has a successful career as a plus-size adult film star. With a huge following and two supportive moms, Bee couldn’t ask for more. But when Bee’s favorite producer casts her to star in a Christmas movie he’s making for the squeaky-clean Hope Channel, Bee’s career is about to take a more family-friendly direction.

Forced to keep her work as Bianca under wraps, Bee quickly learns this is a task a lot easier said than done. Though it all becomes worthwhile when she discovers her co-star is none other than childhood crush Nolan Shaw, an ex-boy band member in desperate need of career rehab. Nolan’s promised his bulldog manager to keep it zipped up on set, and he will if it means he’ll be able to provide a more stable living situation for his sister and mom.

But things heat up quickly in Christmas Notch, Vermont, when Nolan recognizes his new co-star from her ClosedDoors account (oh yeah, he’s a member). Now Bee and Nolan are sneaking off for quickies on set, keeping their new relationship a secret from the Hope Channel’s execs. Things only get trickier when the reporter who torpedoed Nolan’s singing career comes snooping around—and takes an instant interest in mysterious newcomer Bee.

And if Bee and Nolan can’t keep their off-camera romance behind the scenes, then this merry little meet cute might end up on the cutting room floor. 


Title : A Merry Little Meet Cute
Author : Julie Murphy & Sierra Simone
Format : eARC
Page Count : 384
Genre : contemporary romance / holiday
Publisher : Avon
Release Date : September 20, 2022

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★


Hollis’ 2 star review

I wanted to be able to give this one a higher rating solely because of the inclusion of a fat FMC who also happens to do sex work (like, hell yes, more of this rep) but ultimately the good bits, which were more in concept than any kind of execution, just didn’t make up for the rest. And in that sense I mean mostly that this was boring, frustrating, and unbelievable.

While I wish I could’ve enjoyed the surface level festiveness of a Christmassy/holiday-themed movie being filmed over the holidays, the promised fun and hilarity and tension of both the bad boy ex-boyband member trying to rehab his image paired up with an actual sex worker trying to branch into a different kind of film — and also stay wholesome so as not to let anyone in on the secret of her career — just never panned out. This wasn’t really fun, there was only some token forced humour (which wasn’t funny), and the tension was flimsy at best considering how painfully oblivious the non-sex industry folks were to who was both starring and working on this movie. Also, I feel like every conflict could’ve either been avoided or was brought on by the dumb actions of the main characters (the picture in the strip club? you’ve got to be kidding me).

Added to all that, the chemistry between the leads was given a leg (or four) up because they had both crushed on each other prior to meeting; Bee idolized Nolan during his boy band days, and Nolan happened to be a fan of Bee’s sexy online persona. So they didn’t need to fall for each other, or even have personalities, because the “connection” was established off-page. Instead it was just very lust-driven with sexy times or thoughts of sexy times and full disclosure I started skimming those real fast.

What made this stranger is that this felt.. YA-y. I realize it’s an typical claim to make considering one of the co-authors is coming from YA, and most female authors are lumped into this category, but still. These characters didn’t feel like they had adult problems and the problems that did feel adult had non-adult reactions to them (I think they are supposed to be mid to late twenties? don’t quote me). I don’t know how else to describe it. But Nolan and his phone.. drove me up the wall. I don’t even care that they attempted to work it into the story, blah blah, no. I was over it — though I do have to say, there was one scene where his younger sister chastises him for trying to micromanage a crisis from afar after she calls him in the middle of a scene to freak out on him and get his help to manage a crisis. So, like, yeah, he did get the short end of the stick sometimes and that certainly didn’t help anything. But while he had sympathetic backstory/motivations, I didn’t enjoy how he was made to handle them or, really, him as a character. Even Bee, the stronger of the two, just wasn’t able to shoulder the burden of this story and I don’t feel enough time was really spent with her enjoying the filming and acting process. Instead it was just about keeping this poorly-hidden secret and being into Nolan. She was just as surface level as he was, really. And as for the rest of the cast.. honestly, no one stood out. And while a few should be called out for their pointlessness, I don’t even have the energy to bother.

Overall, this was a bummer. I do think a lot of readers will enjoy it for what it is — spicy holiday zestiness — I just expect a lot more from my romance than this. Having said that, I would warn any mostly-YA readers from jumping into this one. For all that it read YA-ish, there is a lot of adult and sex content, so maybe work yourself upto this one if you’re new to the steams. Or don’t, YOLO!

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

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