Book Review – ‘Master of Sorrows’ by Justin Call

Title: Master of Sorrows
Author: Justin Call
Genre: Fantasy
Publication Details: by Hachette Australia on 26th February, 2019
Word/Page Count: 448 pages (paperback)

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Synopsis:

The Academy of Chaenbalu has stood against magic for centuries.

Hidden from the world, acting from the shadows, it trains its students to detect and retrieve magic artifacts, which it jealously guards from the misuse of others. Because magic is dangerous: something that heals can also harm, and a power that aids one person may destroy another.

Of the Academy’s many students, only the most skilled can become Avatars – warrior thieves, capable of infiltrating the most heavily guarded vaults – and only the most determined can be trusted to resist the lure of magic.

More than anything, Annev de Breth wants to become one of them.

Whatever you do, do not read the Goodreads blurb! It gives away a major plot point that isn’t even explored in this book, and is instead set up to be mined for dramatic potential in the sequel. I can see the reasoning in giving away a future plot twist because the subversion of the Chosen One trope is really compelling and what prompted me to request this from the publisher. However considering that the first book really only hints at this development, that’s a good way to get people excited and then let down at the end when it goes nowhere fast. But I’m still glad I received this book because it was an addictive and riveting read, so putting the blurb aside, let me judge this book on its own merits.

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Book Review – ‘Shadow Captain’ by Alastair Reynolds

Title: Shadow Captain
Author: Alastair Reynolds
Genre: Science Fiction, Space Opera
Publication Details: by Hachette Australia on 8th January, 2019
Word/Page Count: 432 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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The gripping sequel to the Locus award winning science fiction adventure, Revenger, tells a story of obsession and betrayal as two sisters hunt for the greatest treasure in the universe.

Adrana and Fura Ness have finally been reunited, but both have changed beyond recognition. Once desperate for adventure, now Adrana is haunted by her enslavement on the feared pirate Bosa Sennen’s ship. And rumors of Bosa Sennen’s hidden cache of treasure have ensnared her sister, Fura, into single-minded obsession.

Neither is safe; because the galaxy wants Bosa Sennen dead and they don’t care if she’s already been killed. They’ll happily take whoever is flying her ship.

Shadow Captain is a desperate story of cursed ships, vengeful corporations, and alien artifacts, of daring escapes and wealth beyond imagining … and of betrayal.

Even though there was a lot left to explore in the Revenger universe and that book had an open ending, I still somehow didn’t expect a sequel as the main character’s arc seemed to have run its course. Well, I did comment in my review that: “I had no idea what to expect from one page to the next; there was no safety net, no predictability whatsoever!” so of course the author would surprise me with a sequel!

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ARC Review – ‘A Danger To Herself And Others’ by Alyssa Sheinmel

Title: A Danger To Herself And Others
Author: Alyssa Sheinmel
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mental Health
Publication Details: by Hachette Australia on 12th February, 2019
Word/Page Count: 352 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Only when she’s locked away does the truth begin to escape… 

Four walls. One window. No way to escape. Hannah knows there’s been a mistake. She didn’t need to be institutionalized. What happened to her roommate at her summer program was an accident. As soon as the doctors and judge figure out that she isn’t a danger to herself or others, she can go home to start her senior year. In the meantime, she is going to use her persuasive skills to get the staff on her side.

Then Lucy arrives. Lucy has her own baggage. And she may be the only person who can get Hannah to confront the dangerous games and secrets that landed her in confinement in the first place.

Well, this didn’t last long on my February TBR, I ended up devouring this overnight in one sitting! I had a feeling from the blurb that this book would feature an unreliable narrator and it looked like a suspenseful read – boy, did it deliver! I found myself so engrossed in the drama and intrigue that I couldn’t put it down until I reached the end!

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ARC Review – ‘A Curse So Dark and Lonely’ by Brigid Kemmerer

Title: A Curse So Dark and Lonely
Author:Brigid Kemmerer
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication DetailsBloomsbury Australia on 4th February, 2019
Word/Page Count: 476 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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In a lush, contemporary fantasy retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Brigid Kemmerer gives readers another compulsively readable romance perfect for fans of Marissa Meyer.

Fall in love, break the curse. 

It once seemed so easy to Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall. Cursed by a powerful enchantress to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he knew he could be saved if a girl fell for him. But that was before he learned that at the end of each autumn, he would turn into a vicious beast hell-bent on destruction. That was before he destroyed his castle, his family, and every last shred of hope.

Nothing has ever been easy for Harper Lacy. With her father long gone, her mother dying, and her brother barely holding their family together while constantly underestimating her because of her cerebral palsy, she learned to be tough enough to survive. But when she tries to save someone else on the streets of Washington, DC, she’s instead somehow sucked into Rhen’s cursed world.

Break the curse, save the kingdom. 

A prince? A monster? A curse? Harper doesn’t know where she is or what to believe. But as she spends time with Rhen in this enchanted land, she begins to understand what’s at stake. And as Rhen realizes Harper is not just another girl to charm, his hope comes flooding back. But powerful forces are standing against Emberfall . . . and it will take more than a broken curse to save Harper, Rhen, and his people from utter ruin.

After seeing the proliferation of glowing 5-star reviews, I was ecstatic to receive an advance copy of A Curse So Dark and Lonely and began it with cautious optimism. Could it really be as gloriously spellbinding as people were saying? I’m here to tell you that this book deserves ALL THE STARS x infinity.

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Book Review – ‘Navigating The Stars’ by Maria V. Snyder

Title: Navigating The Stars
Author: Maria V. Snyder
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Published byHarperCollins Australia on 19th November, 2018
Word/Page Count: 464 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Navigating the Stars is the first book in a new science fiction series.

Terra Cotta Warriors have been discovered on other planets in the Milky Way Galaxy. And Lyra Daniels’ parents are the archaeological Experts (yes with a capital E) on the Warriors and have dragged her to the various planets to study them despite the time dilation causing havoc with her social life.

When one of the many Warrior planets goes silent, and looters attack her research base, Lyra becomes involved in discovering why the Warriors were placed on these planets. And, more importantly, by who.

I loved Maria V. Snyder’s Poison Study books, which is a dark and gritty fantasy series, so I was intrigued to see what a different genre from her would look like. This felt COMPLETELY different with a younger more naive protagonist and the writing reflected that as it’s in a casual first person POV with Lyra addressing the audience at points (“Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.”) But I really liked that! I thought the author switched gears effortlessly in the move from fantasy to sci-fi and crafted a snarky, independent and resourceful heroine. I rooted for her from the very start and enjoyed following her journey.

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Book Review – ‘Nightchaser’ by Amanda Bouchet

Title: Nightchaser
Author: Amanda Bouchet
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction
Published by: Hachette Australia on 2nd January, 2019
Word/Page Count: 416 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Tess Bailey: the galaxy’s Most Wanted.
Captain Tess Bailey is in deep trouble. She and her crew are on the run, pursued by a tyrant who’ll take them dead or alive. Tess’s best hope is a tall, dark, and much-too-appealing stranger, Shade Ganavan, who says he can help her. But his motivations are far from clear…

Shade Ganavan: arrogance, charm…and that special something that makes you want to kick him.
With the dreaded Dark Watch closing in, what Tess and Shade don’t know about each other might get them killed…unless they can set aside their differences and learn to trust each other before it’s too late.

This was a delightful easy read that I breezed through over a few nights – as a sci-fi romance, it thrilled me with the world-building and made me invest in the relationship between Tess and Shade! It is definitely important to note that there is a heavy romantic element to the storyline, so if that doesn’t sound appealing, then this may not be for you. But if you like some sexual tension and flirty banter mixed in with space battles and intergalactic banditry, I’m happy to recommend this! 🙂

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Book Review – ‘What You Hide’ by Natalie D Richards

Title: What You Hide
Author: Natalie D Richards
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Thriller
Date of Publication: 4th December, 2018
Word/Page Count: 384 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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A new pulse-pounding romantic thriller from the author of We All Fall Down and Six Months Later

Spencer volunteers at the library. Sure, it’s community service, but he likes his work. Especially if it means getting to see Mallory.

Mallory spends a lot of time keeping her head down. When you’re sixteen and homeless, nothing matters more than being anonymous. But Spencer’s charm makes her want to be noticed.

Then sinister things start happening at the library. Mysterious symbols and terrifying warnings begin to appear, and management grows suspicious. Spencer and Mallory know a homeless teenager makes an easy target, and if they can’t find the real culprit soon, they could lose more than just their safe haven…

Well. This is awkward. I had a whole post planned about the issues of marketing a book correctly and outlining what this book SHOULD be promoted under, but when I went to link up to Goodreads, it appears that’s been updated! So, kudos to the publishing team for clarifying the synopsis and genre category for the public, it’s just unfortunate that my reading experience was rather different. I realize things are subject to change in the publication process, so I genuinely appreciate that the publisher obviously took feedback on board and made some changes because going in with a particular set of expectations and being met with something different is usually going to disappoint.

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Owlcrate – December 2018: ‘Power of Illusions’

OwlCrate is a monthly book subscription service that provides you with a newly released Young Adult novel plus other bookish extras, such as jewelry & accessories, bookmarks, stickers & prints, toys, etc.

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OwlCrate
Cost: $29.99 USD monthly, $86.98 for 3 months or $167.94 for 6 months.
Shipping Costs: $7.99 to US, $10.59 to Canada and $19.99 internationally.
Payment Method: Debit and Credit Cards.
Mailed Out: around the 20th of each month.

Let me just say that I am SUPER impressed with Owlcrate. November was a terrible month for book boxes for various reasons (a few STILL haven’t sent out their November boxes!), but Owlcrate was organized as always and actually shipped EARLY. I’ve resigned myself to getting my December boxes around mid-Jan, but it was a Christmas miracle when my Owlcrate turned up on the 21st of December! Owlcrate always ship on time and have the best customer service, and going to the extra effort of getting ready and shipping early so that international subscribers had a chance to get their boxes before Christmas is why I rate this box as the best in the business.

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Fairyloot – November 2018: ‘Battles & Galaxies’

Fairyloot is a book subscription box that offers you a newly released fantasy Young Adult novel and special items from the author (eg. bookplates, posters, etc.) along with 5 – 6 bookish goodies matching a different theme each month.

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Fairyloot
Cost£26 monthly.
Shipping Costs£3.95 + VAT for the UK or £19.53 for international.
Mailed Out: around the 20th  of each month.
Payment Method: Credit & Debit Cards and Paypal.
**Note:  you can either purchase a single box or you have a choice of a monthly, 3-monthly or 6-monthly auto-renewing subscription**

I was pretty frustrated with the delays in shipping and no communication about why or when I could expect it – this arrived a week ago, and I completely love the contents, so all is forgiven, lol.

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Owlcrate – October 2018: ‘Lost In The Bookstore’

OwlCrate is a monthly book subscription service that provides you with a newly released Young Adult novel plus other bookish extras, such as jewelry & accessories, bookmarks, stickers & prints, toys, etc.

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Here is my very late review of the October box – I’ve been having issues with connecting my phone to my laptop and I couldn’t get my photos off it til last week. Just in time as my phone has now died and I have to get it fixed, agh.

OwlCrate
Cost: $29.99 USD monthly, $86.98 for 3 months or $167.94 for 6 months.
Shipping Costs: $7.99 to US, $10.59 to Canada and $19.99 internationally.
Payment Method: Debit and Credit Cards.
Mailed Out: around the 20th of each month.

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