MOONCAKES by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu (artist)

A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.


Title : Mooncakes
Author : Suzanne Walker & Wendy Xu (artist)
Format : eARC
Page Count : 256
Genre : YA LGBTQ+ fantasy graphic novel
Publisher : Lion Forge
Release Date : October 15, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ 


Hollis’ 3 star review

This graphic novel about witches, werewolves, and magic, is adorable, queer, and inclusive. There is a ton of every day representation mixed in amongst the magical, the bittersweet, and the fantastical. But I think where this would’ve been a bigger success for me is if more time had been spent in the set-up.

The reunion between these two main characters is very unexpected and things between them seem sped up while the reader is left trying to catch up to the why and how the all the backstory. We do get some of that after the fact, in the wrap up of the story, but I would’ve preferred some of it upfront instead of how it was done.

I also found myself a little lost in some of the nuance of the magic, the culture, and how it all worked. But maybe I’m just spoiled by longer fantasy epics like SAGA where the world building has time to, well, build.

This is definitely cute and diverse but I’m not sure it’ll be wholly memorable in a month’s time.

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

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INTO THE CROOKED PLACE by Alexandra Christo – double review!

The streets of Creije are for the deadly and the dreamers, and four crooks in particular know just how much magic they need up their sleeve to survive.

Tavia, a busker ready to pack up her dark-magic wares and turn her back on Creije for good. She’ll do anything to put her crimes behind her.

Wesley, the closest thing Creije has to a gangster. After growing up on streets hungry enough to swallow the weak whole, he won’t stop until he has brought the entire realm to kneel before him.

Karam, a warrior who spends her days watching over the city’s worst criminals and her nights in the fighting rings, making a deadly name for herself.

And Saxony, a resistance fighter hiding from the very people who destroyed her family, and willing to do whatever it takes to get her revenge.

Everything in their lives is going to plan, until Tavia makes a crucial mistake: she delivers a vial of dark magic—a weapon she didn’t know she had—to someone she cares about, sparking the greatest conflict in decades. Now these four magical outsiders must come together to save their home and the world, before it’s too late. But with enemies at all sides, they can trust nobody. Least of all each other.


Title : Into the Crooked Place
Author : Alexandra Christo
Series : Into the Crooked Place (book one)
Format : eARC / ARC
Page Count : 380
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Feiwel & Friends/Hot Key Books
Release Date : October 8, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★  / DNF


Hollis’ 2 star review

Here’s a big reason why I think the current GR rating is what it is (which, as of the writing of this review, is 3.73) : it very much feels, and reads, like another book. Which, as my buddy said, doesn’t mean a certain author holds the copyright to heist ensemble gangster anti-hero/amoral stories. It’s just.. like, wow, a little effort to be different, when so much of today’s culture is comparisons, would’ve been nice?

But here’s where I get a little less snarky. After bemoaning the comparisons, and the utter boredom, for almost 50%.. this book did shift gears. A little. I won’t say I liked it after the first half but while I predicted a lot of what was coming.. some things I didn’t. I felt good about the ending — particularly the last 20% — which, I mean, I guess didn’t take much considering how not-good I was feeling about the book in general, so that’s definitely a low-ish bar. Also, the shift in plot doesn’t quite take away from how much this book is like other things. I’m talking vibe, tone, names.. yeah, it’s a lot.

But. Again, I say, but.

I might pick up book two (thank goodness it’s not a trilogy). Hell, I probably will. I’m a bit of a masochist but I did feel this ended on a good — well, no, not good, but you get what I mean — note. Also there is a lot of diversity in this story, which is one of the few uncomplicated things to celebrate.

So, yes, this is kind of a hash, for a book I wanted to DNF and yet now find myself intending to read even more of now that I’ve finished it, and yet here we are.

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


Micky sadly DNF’d at 30% – unrated

I’m sorry to say that this was a full day’s struggle of picking it up and putting it down repeatedly because I did not like this world that felt pretty familiar and I did not buy into the characters or story. I found the names of people and phrasing too similar to the Grisha world to discount and it was told without the finesse of that one.

I strongly believe there is no copyright on this kind of story (heisty-gangster fantasy) because the whole book world is built on a jenga pyramid of similar stories. That said, its hugely important to find your slice of uniqueness and according to my bud Hollis, that issue settled a bit from half way in. I didn’t get that far because I just didn’t engage with the story and I was consistently bored.

I feel disappointed in myself on the one hand because I loved Christo’s previous book but I think this review would look a whole lot worse if I had.

Thank you to Hot Key books for the review copy and I’m sorry I couldn’t see this through to the end. Gratitude for the chance to read early.

THE BEAUTIFUL by Renee Ahdieh – double review!

New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.


Title : The Beautiful
Author : Renee Ahdieh
Series : The Beautiful #1
Format : ARC
Page Count : 448
Genre : Fantasy
Publisher : Hodderscape / G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Release Date : October 8, 2019

Reviewer : Micky / Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 3 star review

Such a highly anticipated title for me from an author I’ve enjoyed in the past. Although my rating isn’t a wow rating, it delivered on some aspects of enjoyment and not on others. I’ll definitely be continuing with the series however as there’s much still to discover (I’ll return to this point).

I immeditely fell into like with the tenor of the book, in pace, mystery and ambience. New Orleans in this book’s era had such a temperature of the magical that was enticing but it also sparked trepidation. The heroine Celine was running from her life in Paris, straight into the burning flames of a furnace. She courted danger in a way that didn’t seem befitting of a woman of that time but that was the kind of character she was. I was intrigued by her and the character of Bastien, as I was supposed to be.

What started out as mystery in terms of who or what kinds of beings prowled New Orleans, became a bit of a frustration as world building didn’t come but in a fog towards the end. I feel like I was possibly promised vampires but didn’t really get this. I got the measure of Celine and Michael, but Bastien, his uncle and many others were clouded and this became increasingly difficult as a reader.

The violent happenings in the story were the good part of the mystery. The unknown povs added to this. The descriptions of sights and smells, heat and darkness were vivid and alluring. There was very little romance in literal terms but the suggestion of it was threaded through the story.

I enjoyed the idea of this story but I wanted a bit more from the execution of it. I enjoy Renee Ahdieh’s narrative voice very much, she’s easy to read and her work pulls you into the story. However, I wanted more from the story in terms of the final reveal and last chapter. I will be back for more.

Thank you to Hodderscape for this early copy to review.


Hollis’ 3 star review

So this one is an interesting mix for me. Because on the one hand, I was pretty damn entertained while reading this. I read it mostly in one sitting, with only brief pauses, and had a pretty romping good time while I was in it.

It was during those breaks, though, and post-epilogue where I really paused and went, huh. So, we do have some problems.

First of all, let me say, I loved Ahdieh’s first series. And she brings that same magical weaving of atmosphere and setting, of flowy but not too purpley, prose, to THE BEAUTIFUL. Between the vibrancy of a carnival in the dark of the night, the decadence of the food, the colours of a masquerade, it’s a treat to read. I love the French woven through the story, along with a few other languages!, and how sometimes it isn’t even translated. That worked for me, though I imagine it won’t work for all, but. I liked it because it felt true and authentic to the scenery. I’m not entirely sure about the choice of the time period, other than wanting some old world charm, complaints about corsets, and an impetus to send a bunch of girls, mainly our main character, across the sea to the New World to escape their pasts, though. Because there was so much of this that felt very present-day, had very modern commentary, and overall just felt a bit uneven.

If you think I used my wiles to catch your notice like a girl trying to fill her dance card at a ball, then–
Whatever I think has nothing to do with you. My behaviour is not your responsibility.”

Also in relation to the setting, beautiful (hah) as it may be, I have some world building/mythology confusion regarding The Fallen and The Brotherhood — though honestly I think we’re meant to want to know more, wanting to have it all explained, as that will drive us to pick up book two. Additionally because we obviously want a resolution to the events of said epilogue. Which is probably the biggest thing that made me go, huh.

I don’t quite remember seeing it but apparently with the announcement of this book, they came right out of the gate trying to throw shade on a certain other vampire series. Which, hey, whatever. We probably all throw some shade at it. That’s not my issue here. My issue here is that.. why are we throwing shade when some of this book is so damn similar to said other book? I’m not spoiling specifics. But I can’t be the only reader who is seeing it?

I’ve heard many people say tragedy shapes us. But I am not the worst thing that’s ever happened to me, nor am I the worst thing I’ve ever done. Nothing in life is that simple.”

Anyway. A lot of this, like I said, was really good. I was hooked in. I like Celine for the most part, I liked Bastien for the most part, and I definitely loved Odette, the glue that kind of holds them together when initially they are keeping to the hate part of their hate-attraction-situation. But honestly these two were best when they were snarking at each other or when.. ahem, well, there was that one time.. because otherwise? I don’t know. They’re both too much and not enough.

I can stand there forever in irritated silence. It it no bother to me. You can perish wondering what I’m thinking, for I’ll never tell.”
Likewise.”

I do think this book suffers a bit from lack of polish. There’s so much going on, so much unknown, and it’s definitely going for a bigger scope that I imagine will get explained now that we’re on the other side of things going into book two. Or maybe not, who is to say. But I have lots of questions, lots of things that in hindsight, I say again, make me go, hm. But again. I had a good time with it. Though I’m going to hope for more vampires in the sequel. Because, minor spoiler? They were hard to spot. Like I said.. there’s a lot going on and this is more than what you might think it to be.

THE BEAUTIFUL is a slowburn plot build that develops into a murder mystery revenge story with more secrets than vampires and more modern day commentary and inclusion than a historical fiction novel actually deserves. But I’ll definitely be picking up book two.

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

THE GRACE YEAR by Kim Liggett – double review!

No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.

Girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.

Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for their chance to grab one of the girls in order to make their fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.

With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between. 


Title : The Grace Year
Author : Kim Liggett
Format : eARC / ARC
Page Count : 416
Genre : Dystopian/Fantasy
Publisher : Wednesday Books
Release Date : October 8, 2019

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


Micky’s 2 star review

Two little black sheep, all in a row, baa baa, this didn’t work us.

I got on board with THE GRACE YEAR for the first 15-20%, I was intrigued with village life, the dystopia and the female oppression themes. I also wanted to know what the heck this grace year was, oh so mysteriously referred to as it was.

I stick by my early status on Goodreads from that point where I said ‘hello, Lady of the Flies’. THE GRACE YEAR was just that, a descent into craziness, madness and destruction. I found it incredibly discomforting to read, which is not to say that discomfort is unwelcome, I enjoy that in a well written book. However, this was an unpleasant experience with a storyline that was unwieldy and didn’t hang together.

Things that I could not buy into included Tierney, the protagonist as she reached the heights of grand integrity whilst all around her crumbled. Ryker and Tierney…just no. What even was that, Stockholm syndrome? Michael after the grace year felt totally out of character and too convenient. I did like Kiersten’s character for the general evil and nastiness. You can see that I wasn’t enamoured by a lot.

The plot line felt to be general chaos, disconnection and what the hell moments, but not in a good way. There were a bunch of disconnected parts, with a narrative that did not coherently mesh together. I did not highlight a thing in this book as the writing did not jump out at me. I felt like I just had to power through to the end and I did.

I realise that many have enjoyed this book already and I would say maybe it is just me but I do think the writing, characters and story development are weak. I will stand by that.

Thank you to St Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for the early review copy.


Hollis’ 1.5 star review

So this wasn’t quite what I thought it would be. This is more LORD OF THE FLIES than THE HANDMAID’S TALE, though there’s definitely shades of the latter, and the main problem is I didn’t like LORD OF THE FLIES. And neither did I like the all-female version of it, either.

There’s also a weird sorta-THE HUNGER GAMES element that I couldn’t unsee, once I kind of picked up on it, but maybe that’s because I just wanted to see some good in this. Something that didn’t feel like a strange altered-state fever dream of random and nothing and awful.

So much of this world, this societal structure, feels.. not fleshed out or vague for the sake of suspense and uncertainty. At least up until a certain point. And afterwards, it’s just, like.. that’s it? That’s all we get?

The backbone of the story, the theme or message that we earn by making it through the hazy plot, which you don’t see until almost the very end, is worth celebrating. There are elements that feel important, because they are, but they are mired in.. everything else. Honestly, I’m just baffled. I’m disappointed. And I’m not sorry to say there was some skimming because this wasn’t exactly how I wanted my Friday night of reading to go : both bored and confused. But at this point, I’m definitely an outlier, because so many people are buzzing about this (heck, we were buzzing about this in our anticipated list!), so, this might be worth picking up if only to give it a try.

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

NINTH HOUSE by Leigh Bardugo

The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.


Title : Ninth House
Author : Leigh Bardugo
Series : Ninth House Series/Alex Stern (book one)
Format : ARC
Page Count : 480
Genre : adult fantasy
Publisher : Flatiron Books
Release Date : October 8, 2019

Reviewer : Hollis
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

Like so many people, NINTH HOUSE was one of my top top anticipated titles of 2019 (in fact, I had added it to my GR tbr back in 2016.. yikes, fangirl, calm down). Opening the envelope that contained a copy of this ARC was just.. my brain was instant-white noise. And then I sat on it for, like, three weeks because I was terrified of jumping in. What if it didn’t live up? What it is was too dark? What if I only liked Bardugo as a YA writer?

Look, you seem like a nice girl–
No, I don’t.

Well, I don’t know what to tell you or how to reassure you. Because my experience with this one was strange.

Darlington liked to say that dealing with ghosts was like riding the subway : do not make eye contact. Do not smile. Do not engage. Otherwise, you never know what might follow you home.

I (admittedly, stupidly) started reading this book mid-week when I knew I didn’t have time. I chipped away at sixty pages a day here, twenty the next day, and then found no real drive to push through or pick it up during my week-day exhaustion. The size of the book, the complexity of these secret society houses, the hop-skipping timeline, it was all setting me up to fail. But then the weekend came and I c r u s h e d 80% of this book in one sitting. So if nothing else.. there’s that.

I thought salt kept [ghosts] out.
Did you see that on television?
Would it make you happier if I say I learned it from an ancient book?
Actually, yes.”
Too bad.

Did I love this book? As a whole, I couldn’t say. Am I desperate for book two? Yes. Where I am, and how I feel, about Alex Stern and this world at the end vs the beginning is/are vastly different. Maybe I went in expecting one thing, maybe the set-up even has us set up to have certain expectations, but the way things unravel..? Not remotely what or where I would’ve thought. I also can’t say if there’s a pacing issue at the beginning or if it was because I was stuck there for a few days due to life. So I’m not quite willing to punish the experience, or the book, by rounding down.

That was what magic did. It revealed the heart of who you’d been before life took away your belief in the possible.

This is dark, it’s occasionally violent, there are moments where Bardugo pushes the envelope.. but maybe that’s coming at things from the “I loved The Grisha Trilogy!” side of things. Had this been a debut, from an unknown author, there’d be no comparison to make, no preconceived notions to have. Nonetheless this is complex and rich and bizarre and fascinating and I didn’t predict anything. Or at least not correctly.

You couldn’t keep sidling up to death and dipping your toe in. Eventually it grabbed your ankle and tried to pull you under.

NINTH HOUSE is a tough book to review because I want to reveal, well, nothing. I want you to have an open mind. I do want you to be mindful, as I’m sure you are, that there is subject matter you may want to research trigger warnings for if you have any triggers you’re worried might go off.

We all have spaces we keep blank.

I think what makes this tough to pin down, too, is it might be a book that requires multiple readings. Not only because of how this read started for me but because of how this story is told. The complexities, the bits that went over my head or were too much to process in the early unfoldings of the chapters.. it might flow differently a second time around. Or maybe not. But I’ll be able to tell you before book two comes out because you know I’m going to break out a reread for that honour! Also I’m writing this review in July, this book isn’t out until October, so, y’know. It’s going to be a while..

I’m pretty sure when my mother was talking about the devil, she had you in mind.”
I’m a delight.”

Would I recommend? Cautiously. I think if you’re interested to begin with, you should go for it. For the rest who are put off by the occult and the explicitly-warned-of darker themes, wait for more reviews to roll out. Find your trusted buddies and pick their brains. Then grab an excerpt and dive in to test the waters. The book opens with a bang and it’s only (hah) getting started. And I think book two will be even bigger, badder, and better (stronger).

I class profanity with declarations of love. Best used sparingly and only when wholeheartedly meant.

Also, just want to say, having not really read much of the blurb — or if I did, it was a long long time ago — I might actually suggest not refreshing your memory before going in (or making sure to do so, depending on your reading preference). The summary gives a structure to the plot that you sorta have to earn the further you read (infact, I found myself kind of comforted by reading it after finishing the book because it’s like.. oh, it was all right there, at my fingertips, if I was only that sort of reader). But if you find yourself liable to DNF because of plot and timelines that jump around, it might ground you. So. Something to consider.

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

MAGIC TRIUMPHS by Ilona Andrews

Mercenary Kate Daniels must risk all to protect everything she holds dear in this epic, can’t-miss entry in the thrilling #1 New York Times bestselling urban-fantasy series.

Kate has come a long way from her origins as a loner taking care of paranormal problems in post-Shift Atlanta. She’s made friends and enemies. She’s found love and started a family with Curran Lennart, the former Beast Lord. But her magic is too strong for the power players of the world to let her be.

Kate and her father, Roland, currently have an uneasy truce, but when he starts testing her defenses again, she knows that sooner or later a confrontation is inevitable. The Witch Oracle has begun seeing visions of blood, fire, and human bones. And when a mysterious box is delivered to Kate’s doorstep, a threat of war from the ancient enemy who nearly destroyed her family, she knows her time is up.

Kate Daniels sees no other choice but to combine forces with the unlikeliest of allies. She knows betrayal is inevitable. She knows she may not survive the coming battle. But she has to try.

For her child.

For Atlanta.

For the world.


Title : Magic Triumphs
Author : Ilona Andrews
Series : Kate Daniels #10
Format : Library ebook
Page Count : 327
Genre : Paranormal/Fantasy
Publisher : Ace
Release Date : August 28, 2018

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★


Micky’s 4 star review but I declare this series a 5 star series overall!

I could have read this book a month ago but I have been putting off getting to the end. I have loved the whole reading experience of Kate Daniels and her world and I did not want it to end. Now it has ended, it is bittersweet but I am immensely fond of the world and the characters and remain in hatred with the monsters, bugs, creatures and evil things. There might be the odd, mild spoiler but nothing beyond what is revealed in the synopsis

MAGIC TRIUMPHS starts with an addition to the family. It was amazing to me how this weaved into the world and family so naturally. I found this element such fun and somewhat anxiety-provoking. Kate and Curran remained themselves through these changes, until they didn’t.

Roland was a definite menace in this book (like he hasn’t been for many of the books, eye roll) but it seemed to be coming to a head. There was, however a more impending threat and I really enjoyed the story/quest to this book. Apart from the soup, no one can enjoy the soup.

Bringing back characters and tying up storylines was a joy to read. In this book, Hugh finally moved a centimetre or two in my esteem, marginal but it was there. There were some reveals that gave me final understanding moments about characters and others that just made my heart sing. But do not be fooled, there was angst, terror and menace galore as usual.

I have given this read 4 stars because it wrapped up oh so fast. I was at 92% thinking how can this finish in time and there was a lack of detail and depth in that final ending for me. BUT I am satisfied completely in the final feeling of completing the series. This is my favourites series ever for these reasons: longevity, character development and kickass characters. Watch out for my blog feature coming with kudos and homage to all things Kate Daniels. I am determined to pass on the favour and make even more Kate Daniels fans of some bookworms.

THE END AND OTHER BEGINNINGS by Veronica Roth

Bestselling Divergent and Carve the Mark author Veronica Roth delivers a stunning collection of novella-length stories set in the future, illustrated with startling black-and-white artwork.

No world is like the other. Within this masterful collection, each setting is more strange and wonderful than the last, brimming with new technologies and beings. And yet, for all the advances in these futuristic lands, the people still must confront deeply human problems.

In these six stories, Veronica Roth reaches into the unknown and draws forth something startlingly familiar and profoundly beautiful.

With tales of friendship and revenge, plus two new stories from the Carve the Mark universe, this collection has something for new and old fans alike. Each story begins with a hope for a better end, but always end with a better understanding of the beginning.

With beautifully intricate black-and-white interior illustrations and a uniquely designed package, this is the perfect gift for book lovers.


Title : The end and other beginnings
Author : Veronica Roth
Format : eARC
Page Count : 352
Genre : SFF
Publisher : Harper Collins UK Children’s
Release Date : October 1, 2019

Reviewer : Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★.5


Micky’s 3. 5 star review

This whole book of short stories has a futuristic feel, sometimes a little dystopian and sometimes a little Sci-fi. One story I loved, some I liked and some I didn’t. What is special about this book of shorts is that it is illustrated. The illustrations are gorgeous, so much so that I bookmarked most of them so that I could go back and look at them again. They add a lot to the story and definitely help with visualisation. Here is a flavour of three of the stories.

Inertia was a story steeped in some mental health issues, grief, loss and things unsaid. This story gripped me immediately as two friends were confronted with mortality. It was both hopeless and hopeful. This story of firsts and friendships in a backdrop of futuristic death rituals was my favourite.

The Spinners had a feel of the THE HOST but executing the world in a short story was a tall order. So this one crashed and burned a bit for me. I found it a little boring and I didn’t feel the connection between the siblings or other character.

Harken was a super interesting concept but it felt a bit unfinished. I wanted to know so much more about the world, the bio bombs and the giftings. A longer story would have done this more justice.

Overall this was a book that you could dip in and out of. Not all the stories appealed to me but they might to some. Considering how stunning the illustrations are in the ebook, I am only imagine how they will translate even better into a physical book.

Thank you to Harper Collins for this early review copy.