Review: A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova

A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova

Categories: Romance, Fantasy

First Publication Date: 6. November 2020


Synopsis: The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.

To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.

That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.

Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.

The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.

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Review: Lovely War by Julie Berry

Lovely War by Julie Berry

Categories: Historical Fiction, Romance, Mythology

First Publication Date: 4 February 2020


Synopsis: They are Hazel, James, Aubrey, and Colette. A classical pianist from London, a British would-be architect turned soldier, a Harlem-born ragtime genius in the U.S. Army, and a Belgian orphan with a gorgeous voice and a devastating past. Their story, as told by the goddess Aphrodite, who must spin the tale or face judgment on Mount Olympus, is filled with hope and heartbreak, prejudice and passion, and reveals that, though War is a formidable force, it’s no match for the transcendent power of Love.

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Mini-Reviews of Recent Reads: Milk Fed & All the Birds on the Sky

Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction

First Publication Date: February 2, 2021


I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Milk Fed is the story of a young Jewish woman who goes through an emotional detox from her mother and meets a woman at a local yoghurt place. She has internalized fatphobia and a severe eating disorder, controlling every minute or her life so as not to get fat. Serious trigger warnings here for eating disorder, self-harm, toxic family relationships and homophobia. I loved the writing in this book, Melissa Broder’s sharp, dry and sarcastic tone makes anything she writes a delight to read. However, I found this book quite uninspired at times and the ending left me thinking – that’s it? Perhaps I’m seriously burned-out from the Disaster Woman trope (as I’ve mentioned a few times), but watching things unfold made me cringe so hard. I just found myself not really wanting to pick this up very often, but at least it was a quick read, and it’s definitely a bold story.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

Categories: Fantasy, Sci-Fi

First Publication Date: January 26, 2016


I had a bit of a mixed experience with All the Birds in the Sky, namely that I loved the world building, thought the whimsical touches really worked for it and the humor was on-point, I even loved some of the characters, but also found myself skimming through the book a lot and I did not care for the ending. This is an adult novel that felt very often to me like middle grade, with its on-the-nose themes, which I did not really enjoy. A lot happens in this 300-page novel, making it feel much longer and be quite an immersive read, so if the writing style works for you, I think this will be a very interesting read!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Mini-Reviews of Fall 2020 Releases: When No One is Watching, Burning Roses & Zikora

When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

Categories: Romantic suspense, Thriller

First Publication Date: 1st September 2020


When No One is Watching is Alyssa Cole’s first thriller, telling the story of Sydney, a young woman who grew up in Brooklyn and now watches her neighborhood change at an unsettling pace and Theo, her new neighbor who is having relationship problems. Both are keeping secrets from others, and when Sydney starts suspecting something darker is at play when her neighbors keep disappearing, she and Theo will try to uncover the truth. This is more a romantic suspense plus contemporary than a thriller in my opinion, even though the story flows quickly and the level of tension goes through the roof by the second half, it does spend a long time developing Sydney and Theo’s relationship and explaining gentrification, its history and effects on Black neighborhoods. This was a fascinating read, and it definitely delivers on the Get Out vibes. I am not a fan of romantic suspenses/thrillers, but this really worked! It goes into very dark territory (that I will not list so as not to spoil the story) but also mundane, daily horror and violence which adds an eerie quality to the story. This is an illuminating, dark and unflinching book but also hopeful and full of love. You can feel on the pages how much love was poured into this story, which is ultimately about community and taking care of each other, and also preserving history while maintaining a critical eye. I’m impressed!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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eARC Review: Daughter from the Dark by Marina Dyachenko, Sergey Dyachenko

Daughter from the Dark by Marina Dyachenko, Sergey Dyachenko, translated by Julia Meitov Hersey

Category: Fantasy, Translated Fiction

First Publication Date: 11th February 2020


I received an advance copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.


Synopsis:

Late one night, fate brings together DJ Aspirin and ten-year-old Alyona. After he tries to save her from imminent danger, she ends up at his apartment. But in the morning sinister doubts set in. Who is Alyona? A young con artist? A plant for a nefarious blackmailer? Or perhaps a long-lost daughter Aspirin never knew existed? Whoever this mysterious girl is, she now refuses to leave.

A game of cat-and-mouse has begun.

Claiming that she is a musical prodigy, Alyona insists she must play a complicated violin piece to find her brother. Confused and wary, Aspirin knows one thing: he wants her out of his apartment and his life. Yet every attempt to get rid of her is thwarted by an unusual protector: her plush teddy bear that may just transform into a fearsome monster.

Alyona tells Aspirin that if he would just allow her do her work, she’ll leave him—and this world. He can then return to the shallow life he led before her. But as outside forces begin to coalesce, threatening to finally separate them, Aspirin makes a startling discovery about himself and this ethereal, eerie child.

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Review: Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

call down the hawk maggie stiefvaterRating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy

Goodreads

Ronan Lynch is a dreamer. He can pull both curiosities and catastrophes out of his dreams.

Jordan Hennessy is a thief. The closer she comes to the dream object she is after, the more inextricably she becomes tied to it.

Carmen Farooq-Lane is a hunter. Her brother was a dreamer … and a killer. She has seen what dreaming can do to a person, and the damage that their dreams can do. But those are nothing compared to the destruction that is about to be unleashed… Continue reading

Review: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

gods of jade and shadow silvia moreno-garciaRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Fantasy

Goodreads

In Gods of Jade and Shadow, Casiopeia one days open a mysterious wooden box belonging to her grandfather and accidentally frees the Mayan god of death, linking her life force to him. He wants to re-conquer his throne, stolen decades ago by his twin brother, and Casiopeia needs to help him if she wants to stay alive, but more than that, the adventure calls to her.

In many ways, this book was a breath of fresh air – the main character is a Mexican girl, the Mayan myths which are so underrated in fantasy, the Persephone-and-Hades feel of the story never really gets old for me… and so on. Continue reading

Review: The Memory Police, by Yōko Ogawa

the memory police yoko ogawaRating: ★★★★☆

Categories: Literary Fiction, Dystopia

Goodreads

The Memory Police tells the story of our unnamed narrator, a novelist living in an unnamed island where things disappear. One day many years before, it had been hats, and then ribbons, and those things were not missed. The islanders forgot about them and moved on. The disappeared things become slowly more important, and the islanders forget and move on after each one – but not everyone forgets what has been lost, and the Memory Police make sure those people are taken away. When our narrator finds out her editor and friend is one of those people who are unable to forget, she knows she must hide him, lest he end up like her mother – dead. Continue reading

Review: Falcon Trilogy, by Gabrielle Mathieu

I don’t often review full trilogies, but this is a small press series that doesn’t get much hype, so I thought it would be more useful to review all three books at once than, for example, book 2 of it alone. I have a full review of the first installment, The Falcon Flies Alone, which you can read here: Review: The Falcon Flies Alone (Falcon Trilogy #1), by Gabrielle Mathieu

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Genres: Young Adult, New Adult, Fantasy

Goodreads

 

I have received this book series from the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Falcon Trilogy tells the story of Peppa, who one day wakes up and finds herself alone, naked and on a rooftop. She has hazy memories about turning into a falcon and killing a man, and doesn’t know what to make of it. When she learns that her animal totem has woken up inside her after she was drugged with Compound T, she must uncover her family’s secrets and find out who drugged her. Continue reading

eARC Review: Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #2), by Tamsyn Muir

harrow the ninth tamsyn muir

Rating: ★★★★☆

Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, F/F

Goodreads

I received an advance copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Harrow is now a Lyctor, and joins God and the other Lyctors in a war they cannot win. Her health is failing and her mind is, too – she is almost sure she’s going mad.

Harrow the Ninth is a puzzle of a book – entirely different from Gideon the Ninth, it starts exchanging between present (second person) and past (person), which I found terribly confusing. For a (fleeting) moment I considered not continuing the book at all because it was frustrating to try to keep up; while book 1 is deliciously addictive from chapter one, it took book 2 almost 70% of the book to feel the same way for me. Harrow is quite different from the first book, and the reader should be ready to be patient with it. It is worth reading through the confusing chapters, I promise, and once you start getting answers (and some of them you can try to guess yourself, which was exciting for me), it’s seriously worth it. The twists blew my mind. Continue reading