ARC Review – ‘A Curse of Ash and Embers’ by Jo Spurrier

Title: A Curse of Ash and Embers
Author: Jo Spurrier
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Date of Publication: 24th September, 2018
Word/Page Count: 272 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)


A dead witch. A bitter curse. A battle of magic. Some people knit socks by the fire at night. Gyssha Blackbone made monsters. But the old witch is dead now, and somehow it’s Elodie’s job to clean up the mess. When she was hired at Black Oak Cottage, Elodie had no idea she’d find herself working for a witch; and her acid-tongued new mistress, Aleida, was not expecting a housemaid to turn up on her doorstep. Gyssha’s final curse left Aleida practically dead on her feet, and now, with huge monsters roaming the woods, a demonic tree lurking in the orchard and an angry warlock demanding repayment of a debt, Aleida needs Elodie’s help, whether she likes it or not. And no matter what the old witch throws at her, to Elodie it’s still better than going back home.

I am two-for-two with YA books that promise to focus on the bonds between two female characters and actually follow through! There was a whiff of romance with a minor character, but the central dynamic that is the heartline of A Curse of Ash and Embers is the one between Elodie (Dee for short), a 16 year old girl leaving home for the first time, and Aleida, the witch she was hired to serve. If you’re keen on a story with an endearingly sensible female protagonist who ends up in a mentor/protege dynamic with an acerbic, self-deprecating, morally grey witch, look no further!


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ARC Review – ‘What The Woods Keep’ by Katya de Becerra

Title: What The Woods Keep
Author: Katya de Becerra
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Sci-fi
Date of Publication: 26th September, 2018
Word/Page Count: 352 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)


On her eighteenth birthday, Hayden inherits her childhood home—on the condition that she uncover its dark secrets.

Hayden tried to put the past behind her, and it worked. She’s getting ready for college, living in a Brooklyn apartment, and hanging out with her best friend and roommate Del. But now it’s all catching up with her: her mother’s mysterious disappearance a decade before, her father’s outlandish theories about a lost supernatural race, and Hayden’s own dark dreams of strange symbols and rituals in the Colorado woods where she grew up.

As soon as Hayden arrives at her hometown, her friend Del in tow, it begins: Neighbors whisper secrets about Hayden’s mother; the boy next door is now all grown-up in a very distracting way; and Hayden feels the trees calling to her. And among them, deep in the woods, Hayden will discover something incredible—something that threatens reality itself.

With its spooky cover and intriguing blurb, What The Woods Keep has been on my TBR for a while. I crossed my fingers and requested this book from the publisher – and to my utter delight, I received a copy in the mail soon after! Even better, this lived up to my high expectations, so winning on all fronts here. 😀


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ARC Review – ‘The Echo Room’ by Parker Peevyhouse

Title: The Echo Room
Author: Parker Peevyhouse
Genre: YA, Sci-fi
Date of Publication: 11th September, 2018
Word/Page Count: 320 pages (ebook)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)


Rett wakes on the floor of a cold, dark room. He doesn’t know how he got there, only that he’s locked in. He’s not alone—a girl named Bryn is trapped in the room with him. When she finds a mysterious bloodstain and decides she doesn’t trust Rett, he tries to escape on his own—

Rett wakes on the floor of the same cold, dark room. He doesn’t trust Bryn, but he’ll have to work with her if he ever hopes to escape. They try to break out of the room—

Rett and Bryn hide in a cold, dark room. Safe from what’s outside.

But they’re not alone.

This wasn’t a bad book, but it’s a case of expectations shaping my reading experience – from the cover and blurb, I assumed this was a horror/thriller and was in the mood for an entirely different story from what it shaped up to be in the end. It didn’t help that on Netgalley, it was only filed under YA and the description was of ‘a smart, claustrophobic, speculative young adult thriller with an immersive psychological mystery‘, which backed up my assumptions. However, if you take a look at the Goodreads page, (spoiler alert) its genre is listed as YA science-fiction/time-travel which is much more accurate.

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