Monday 27 May 2024

Review: The Study of Magic by Maria V Snyder

Guys, I am so so so excited to be reviewing this book. The Study series by Maria V Snyder is one of my all time favourites, I have forgotten just how many times I've read it through the years - and as soon as I saw the announcement that Maria was going to be publishing a Valek POV I knew I had to get it, and the first book A Study of Poisons did not disappoint. This, however is about the second book because oh my word guys, it was even better than the first!!

Here's the book:


Frankly, I think death is the best cure for stupidity.

As Chief of Ixia’s Security, Valek’s work is never done. After rescuing Commander Ambrose with, Yelena, his heartmate’s, help and seeing her off to Sitia, Valek discovers the nefarious scheme to overthrow their country is far more complex and far reaching than anyone could have guessed.

Valek must discover who is continuing with Brazell and Mogkan’s conniving plans, all while dealing with a tense political situation. The Ixian generals are questioning his abilities to keep the Commander safe, and whispers of a possible coup are circulating.

Will Valek be able to survive a plot that seeks to sabotage all he and the Commander have worked for? Also, having opened his heart to love, will Yelena still wish to be with him when all is said and done?

A companion novel to Magic Study, The Study of Magic reveals Valek’s side of the story. Find out what hazards Valek encounters and survives before he and Yelena are reunited once more.

I just can't get over this book - Valek is one of my favourite characters in an all-time favourite series (I need to have yet another read of the originals after this I think!) so getting to see his POV in the series is amazing, and I am so glad Maria decided to let us all see this by publishing these companion novels. The first book was a nice dip back into the world, and it was good to see Valek again, but this second book just blows the first out of the water!

I think this second book sat in my heart a bit more because Magic Study, the original series book, is all about Yelena being away from Valek and exploring Sitia, the country she was born in. In this though, we get to see more about what exactly Valek was doing during his time away from Yelena! I love this, you get to see so much more of an insight into his thoughts, and his day-to-day life with the Commander. In fact, I think being able to see more of Valek and the Commander's relationship is so eye opening - it's so much closer than it seems in the original series as it gets fleshed out a lot more here.

Also, guys, if you've ever read the original series I'm sure you love Ari and Janco - I mean, who couldn't love them?! - in this book we get to see some more of them too, and learn a bit more about how they met (which I think was a great addition), so it's definitely worth a read purely for that! Plus, you have to love seeing Ari and Janco's antics in any of the books, seeing it from Valek's POV just makes it that much better!

I could probably talk about these books forever, so I won't go on, but just know if you ever wanted to see what the love interest's POV is in a series, this is exactly what you need - you can even tandem read the original and these Valek POVs if that's something that would interest you, I've seen a few people say that was really fun, I may have to try myself!

Overall, I give this book 5 cats - I would give it more if I could! I cannot wait to see what the next companion novel will be like, Fire Study is already such an action packed book, it will be so interesting to see that from Valek's POV!

The Study of Magic is out now, so go grab a copy, and if you haven't read the original Study series I would highly recommend them too! Just go pick up alllll the books, you wont be disappointed!

Monday 15 April 2024

Review: Song of the Huntress by Lucy Holland

 It's been a while since I posted, so I thought it was time a new post was made, and this time it's for Song of the Huntress!

I was on the blog tour for the first of Lucy Holland's books, Sistersong, previously (see that review HERE).... And when I went to the Goldsboro Fantasy in the Court event last year and had a chat with her about her new book I knew I HAD to read it, and I was definitely not disappointed!

Here's the book:

Britain, 60AD. Hoping to save her lover, land and her people from the Romans, Herla makes a desperate pact with the king of the Otherworld. But years pass unheeded in his realm, and she escapes to find everyone she loved long dead. Cursed to wield his blade, she becomes Lord of the Hunt. And for centuries, she rides, reaping wanderers’ souls. Until the night she meets a woman on a bloody battlefield – a Saxon queen with ice-blue eyes.

Queen Æthelburg of Wessex is a proven fighter. But when she leads her forces to disaster in battle, her husband’s court turns against her. Yet King Ine needs Æthel more than the dead kings of Wessex are waking, and his own brother seeks to usurp him. Ine’s only hope is to master the magic that’s lain dormant in his bloodline since ancient days.

When their paths cross, Herla knows it’s no coincidence. Something dark and dangerous is at work in the Wessex court. The Otherworld seeks to rise, to bring the people of Britain under its dominion. As she and Æthel grow closer, Herla must find her humanity – and a way to break the curse – before it’s too late.

Yet again I will talk about how I love when my books mix historical fiction with fantasy - I do not read nearly enough of it, so is it a surprise when I rave about a good one when I find it? I adored Sistersong from Lucy, and this book I adored just as much... Especially as we get to hear about some of the characters from Sistersong again, even if just from stories shared by the characters in this book! However, if you have read Sistersong before you do get to see one particular character again that you may not have thought you would - Emrys! But I won't spoil how you see them, I'll let you red it yourself and find out! That isn't to say you would be confused if you haven't read Lucy Holland's previous book, you can easily read it as a standalone, but it's definitely fun to read the little easter eggs dropped throughout that links this book to Sistersong!

I haven't read too much into this part of History, so it is always interesting to read a book like this and then research into what actually happened to these characters in real life, and I really do like the way Æthelburg is written, she's definitely my favourite character in this, I have a fondness for books with warrior Queens in though, so that may be why!

I must admit, this one didn't get as big as place in my heart as Sistersong, but it was still an amazing read, that really pulls you into the story between Herla and Æthelburg, and I also loved the POV of King Ine as he turned out to have a lot more to him than you would have thought.

So, overall, if you're a lover of both mythology and the history of Britain, I would definitely recommend this, and I give this book: 5 cats!

Song of the Huntress is out now and you should definitely go grab a copy, you get a warrior Queen, the Wild Hunt and more of the magic of the land from the first book, what more could you want from a historical fiction book? 

Monday 11 September 2023

Blog Tour: Bride of the Shadow King by Sylvia Mercedes

 Well, today is a blog tour day! And it's a good one, in fact, I can say it's one of my favourite reads of the year.... but that may be because I have a weakness for Fae books, and one of my favourite reads from the younger years had Trolls in it (or as they are called in this book Troldefolke).

Here's the book:

A shunned princess. A reluctant king.
A marriage that could save both their kingdoms . . . but destroy their hearts.

Though she is the oldest daughter, Princess Faraine lives in the background, shunned from court and kept out of sight. Her chronic illness makes her a liability to the crown, and she has learned to give place to her beautiful, favored younger sister in all things.

When the handsome and enigmatic Shadow King comes seeking a bride, Faraine is not surprised that her sister is his choice.

Though not eager to take a human bride, King Vor is willing to do what is necessary for the sake of his people. When he meets the lively Princess Ilsevel, he quickly agrees to a marriage arrangement.

So why can’t he get the haunting eyes of her older sister out of his head?

When disaster strikes and the marriage alliance is compromised, Faraine suddenly finds herself forced to take her sister’s place . . . regardless of her new husband’s desires. Can she find a place at Vor’s side as his queen? Or is his heart forever closed to the woman who deceived him so cruelly?

Well, first of all I have to talk about the beautiful cover we can see here - which is even better in person because there is silver foiling!! You all know how much I love a good silver foil.... But not only that the actual details on the cover are beautiful, and I can't wait to see what the rest of the series covers look like.

Now, onto the actual contents of the book. I said earlier that it may be one of my favourite reads of this year, but I have seen that the next in this series is also out this year (and I WILL be reading it), and to be honest after that ending I can expect that the next book will take my heart even more than this one did, so it may be put down in the list of favourites very soon. I think the chemistry between the two MCs, Faraine and Vor,  when they meet was one of my favourite things about this book, and then everything that happens after between them was amazing to read.

I love Faraine as a character in this book, and gosh did I wish it went a bit differently for her and Vor overall, but we shall see how that will go when it comes to the next book! I do love them both as characters, but Faraine really interests me, and I'll be intrigued to see how her God given power changes over the next few books.... I have my theories!

We see a little bit of the Trolde world in this book, but not very much as the beginning focused on the human world and the marriage process, however the world building in this just makes you think there will be many more places to explore in the coming books - we get told about the different types of Fae, and the size of the Trolde kingdom so I can't wait to see more of that (hopefully) in the future as what we have seen of the Trolde kingdom so far seems beautiful and Sylvia has written the Fae world fantastically so far - it really draws you in and wants you to read more and more.

I could talk about so much more when it comes to this book, but I will wait until the next book to see if my theories work out or not. Overall, I give this book: 5 cats!

Don't forget to check out the other stops on this blog tour too, and I hope to be back with a review on book #2 soon!

Sunday 13 August 2023

Review: The Luminaries by Susan Dennard

 Guys, I just can't put into words how much I loved this book. I took part in the twitter poll version of this, essentially a choose your own adventure, and adored it then, so I knew when it was going to be published and have some differences to the twitter adventure that I would NEED to get it.

There's also the fact that I love the Truthwitch series from Susan so I knew I'd be reading this as well just because I like to see how other stories pan out from authors that I like.

Here's the book:

Hemlock Falls isn’t like other towns. You won’t find it on a map, your phone won’t work here, and the forest outside town might just kill you…

Winnie Wednesday wants nothing more than to join the Luminaries, the ancient order that protects Winnie's town―and the rest of humanity―from the monsters and nightmares that rise in the forest of Hemlock Falls every night. Ever since her father was exposed as a witch and a traitor, Winnie and her family have been shunned. But on her sixteenth birthday, she can take the deadly Luminary hunter trials and prove herself true and loyal―and restore her family's good name. Or die trying.

But in order to survive, Winnie must enlist the help of the one person who can help her train: Jay Friday, resident bad boy and Winnie’s ex-best friend. While Jay might be the most promising new hunter in Hemlock Falls, he also seems to know more about the nightmares of the forest than he should. Together, he and Winnie will discover a danger lurking in the forest no one in Hemlock Falls is prepared for.

Not all monsters can be slain, and not all nightmares are confined to the dark.

Okay so, first things first, I HAVE to mention how beautiful the artwork is for this book, both in the beautiful cover and also the illustrations inside! I'll admit I was a bit biased with the ARC I got because I love gold foil, but then when I saw this cover I was like woahhh that's pretty, and once you've read it you can see why some of the details are there. But yes, I mentioned illustrations inside - there are illustrations of some of the Nightmares in there! Brilliantly done, I love being able to see what they look like as I can really imagine them when reading - I can't wait to see the next books illustrations too, it was confirmed that the illustrations will continue in that which I am so excited for.

Second thing: I finished this in one sitting it was so good! It's not often these days that I read things in one sitting, I tend to break them up into a few days more often than not due to my schedule, but I adored this book and I just couldn't put it down. Granted, it may have been because I wanted to see how different it was to the original choose your own adventure, but still I think even if you weren't part of that you would have a hard time putting this book down.

I think, and I'm being nitpicky here, the only downside to this was that I didn't get all the information I wanted - but yaknow, that is my own thing and I fully trust Susan to give us all the information in the future books now that we have finally got to know a bit more about the world, the Nightmares and the MC Winnie - I especially can't wait to see where the storyline about her father goes and I really want to see some more information about the Diana's and what they do, I'm hoping to see Susan dig into that a bit more in The Hunting Moon when it comes out!

Overall, I give this: 5 cats!

I really can't wait to see what happens in the next book - which has just had the cover reveal (OMG it's just as beautiful). Did any of you join in with the Twitter adventure? If so what did you think of the final book compared to that? I'd love to know!

Monday 17 July 2023

ARC Review: Queen of Gods by Katharine & Elizabeth Corr

I was so excited for the final book in this duology, and I was so glad when I got approved to read it early on Netgalley! I have loved all of Katharine & Elizabeth Corr's books since I read The Witch's Kiss, and I'm sure I'll love them going forward too. However, I do have a weakness for Greek inspired books, which this is - throw in some Gods and Goddesses and I'm hooked!

This is the finale to a duology (you can see my review of the first book, Daughter of Darkness HERE), and wow what a finale it was! Now I just need to wait for the pretty Forbidden Plant exclusive cover to get into my hands and I'll be even happier! Here's the book:

Return to the Underworld...

Deina has finally found what matters most to her in all the world. And lost it. To save the one she loves, she's bound herself to the Underworld and an endless future of darkness.

But not even her sacrifice is enough to secure Theron or her friends' safety in the mortal realm. Aristaeus has seized power in Thebes and his tyrannical reign is a constant, looming threat to their lives.

So when Deina is offered the chance to destroy him and the gods altogether, she sets out on a new quest. But to succeed, she must turn away from everything she holds true.

In a game with the gods, the rewards are infinite... but the punishments are eternal.

Be prepared for a nail-biting race for survival in the breathtaking sequel to Daughter of Darkness.

The blurb says nail-biting, and wow was that true. I breezed through this book in less than a day and can definitely say this was a stunning conclusion to this duology! In fact, I'll go as far as to say this is one of my favourite reads of this year so far, I'll definitely be picking it up as a re-read in the future. I thought the last book was a ride, but this had so many twists that you didn't see coming and it really kept you on your toes guessing what was going to happen next.

One of the most interesting parts of this book for me was that we got to explore some more places - in the last book it mainly focused on the Underworld, but in this you also get to see the House of Zeus and the House of Poseidon as well as some other parts of the Underworld, and you also get to explore some of the other Theodesmioi houses which was interesting. I always like exploring new places in series because it really helps with the world building, and it was explored so well in this book, threaded in perfectly to the main plot line.

Characters wise, I have to say I liked seeing more of Thanatos in this book, and I will have to admit that I was routing for him throughout, but considering I love when Death is a character in books I tend to always end up routing for him despite the weirdness. Did anyone else end up loving Thanatos as a character? The triangle between Deina, Thanatos and Theron was such fun to read, and I loved the dynamic that Deina had with both of them throughout. (I know who I would have chosen if I was Deina, but unfortunately I can't transport myself to the universe, so it's up to Deina what she wants to do *sigh*)

Overall, I really think this is my favourite series from Katharine & Elizabeth Corr yet, and I really can't wait to see what they come up with next! I couldn't give this less than 5 cats, and I would give it so many more if I could.

Queen of Gods is out on the 20th July, and I highly recommend you go get your copy (especially the pretty Forbidden Planet editions with the different colours!)