ARC Review – ‘Night of the Dragon’ by Julie Kagawa

Title: Night of the Dragon
Author: Julie Kagawa
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word/Page Count: 400 pages (paperback)
Publication Date: by Harper Collins Australiaon March 31st, 2020
RRP: $19.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

Master storyteller Julie Kagawa concludes the enthralling journey into the heart of the fantastical Empire of Iwagoto in the third book of the Shadow of the Fox trilogy. As darkness rises and chaos reigns, a fierce kitsune and her shadowy protector will face down the greatest evil of all. A captivating fantasy for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Sarah J. Maas and Marie Lu.

Kitsune shapeshifter Yumeko has given up the final piece of the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save everyone she loves from imminent death. Now she and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the wild sea cliffs of Iwagoto in a desperate last-chance effort to stop the Master of Demons from calling upon the Great Kami dragon and making the wish that will plunge the empire into destruction and darkness.

Shadow clan assassin Kage Tatsumi has regained control of his body and agreed to a true deal with the devil—the demon inside him, Hakaimono. They will share his body and work with Yumeko and their companions to stop a madman and separate Hakaimono from Tatsumi and the cursed sword that had trapped the demon for nearly a millennium.

But even with their combined skills and powers, this most unlikely team of heroes knows the forces of evil may be impossible to overcome. And there is another player in the battle for the scroll, a player who has been watching, waiting for the right moment to pull strings that no one even realized existed…until now.

Last year I had nothing but effusive praise for Shadow of the Fox (review here), which was one of my top favorites of 2019. The shocking twist at the end of the second book, Soul of the Sword, left me pining desperately for the final book and now that it’s here, the question is whether or not it serves as a satisfying conclusion to the series…does it go out with a bang or a whimper?

Very pleased to report that this book is made up of 1000% FIREWORKS AND GLORY, you guys!

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Book Review – ‘Before The Sword’ by Grace Lin

Title: Before The Sword
Author: Grace Lin
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Word/Page Count: 384 pages (paperback)
Publication Date: by Scholastic Australia on March 1st, 2020
RRP: $16.99 AUD (paperback)


Goodreads link:

An original novel that will explore and develop the world and characters of the Walt Disney Studios live action Mulan film.

What an absolutely gorgeous fantasy tale! This middle-grade novel had me completely enthralled, I’m impressed by how the author’s writing is elegant and flows easily enough for children to enjoy, while also having rich characterization and surprising depth to keep adults interested.

While Mulan is a character made famous by Disney, it’s based on the legend of Hua Mulan, which has inspired countless other retellings. Grace Lin’s version is set when Mulan is a young girl and her story begins when her sister is bitten by a poisonous spider, certain to perish without a cure. Being a bold, courageous girl who is not afraid to defy convention, Mulan embarks on a journey with the legendary Jade Rabbit to obtain the antidote required to save her sister’s life.


Mulan starts off seeing herself as little more than a clumsy, awkward girl who disappoints her parents, and she frequently compares herself unfavorably to her sister, but it’s so heartwarming how much she loves Xiu and is determined not to let anything stop her from finding a cure. Genre-savvy readers will be able to see the twist coming at the end, but it in no way diminishes the joy of reading about Mulan’s exploits and her growing confidence in herself as she overcomes the obstacles on her journey.

2020 really is offering me a lot of pleasant surprises now that I’m venturing beyond genres and categories I normally read, and Before The Sword is definitely a major highlight. I’d recommend this to younger readers as well as adults who want to be whisked away on a fun and exhilarating adventure with Mulan!

Personal Rating: 5 out of 5 kitties recommend this book.







Disclaimer: physical copy provided by publisher free for an unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Book Review – ‘The Recovery of Rose Gold’ by Stephanie Wrobel

Title: The Recovery of Rose Gold
Author: Stephanie Wrobel
Genre: Contemporary Thriller
Word/Page Count: 400 pages (paperback)
Publication Date: by Penguin Australia on March 17th, 2020
RRP: $32.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

Sharp Objects meets My Lovely Wife in this tightly drawn debut that peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships…

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she’s forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling…

And she’s waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

All I can say is: WOW. This was completely twisted and addictive and I didn’t want it to end!

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ARC Review – ‘The Gravity of Us’ by Phil Stamper

Title: The Gravity of Us
Author: Phil Stamper
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word/Page Count: 352 pages (paperback)
Publication Date: by Bloomsbury Australia on March 17th, 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.

Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.

Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

I really enjoyed reading The Gravity of Us which has such a cool and unique premise. The protagonist’s father has been selected as a candidate for NASA’s next mission to Mars and without any warning, Cal’s unceremoniously uprooted from New York to Texas where his family joins the media circus that surrounds the Orpheus mission. However his frustration at having his life derailed is alleviated when he meets the handsome son of another astronaut and a mutual attraction develops!

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ARC Review – ‘What I Like About You’ by Marisa Kanter

Title: What I Like About You
Author: Marisa Kanter
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word/Page Count: 416 (hardcover)
Publication Date: April 7th, 2020

What I Like About You

Blurb from Goodreads:

Can a love triangle have only two people in it? Online, it can…but in the real world, it’s more complicated. In this debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Morgan Matson, Marisa Kanter hilariously and poignantly explores what happens when internet friends turn into IRL crushes.

Is it still a love triangle if there are only two people in it?

There are a million things that Halle Levitt likes about her online best friend, Nash.

He’s an incredibly talented graphic novelist. He loves books almost as much as she does. And she never has to deal with the awkwardness of seeing him in real life. They can talk about anything…

Except who she really is.

Because online, Halle isn’t Halle—she’s Kels, the enigmatically cool creator of One True Pastry, a YA book blog that pairs epic custom cupcakes with covers and reviews. Kels has everything Halle doesn’t: friends, a growing platform, tons of confidence, and Nash.

That is, until Halle arrives to spend senior year in Gramps’s small town and finds herself face-to-face with real, human, not-behind-a-screen Nash. Nash, who is somehow everywhere she goes—in her classes, at the bakery, even at synagogue.

Nash who has no idea she’s actually Kels.

If Halle tells him who she is, it will ruin the non-awkward magic of their digital friendship. Not telling him though, means it can never be anything more. Because while she starts to fall for Nash as Halle…he’s in love with Kels.

What I Like About You is the debut young adult contemporary novel from Marisa Kanter with an intriguing original premise about a love triangle between a boy, a girl and her online persona.

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ARC Review – ‘Only Mostly Devastated’ by Sophie Gonzales

Title: Only Mostly Devastated
Author: Sophie Gonzales
Genre: YA Contemporary
Word/Page Count: 368 (paperback)
Publication Details: by Hachette Australia on March 10th, 2020
RRP: $17.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

SIMON VS. THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA meets CLUELESS in this boy-meets-boy spin on Grease

Summer love…gone so fast.

Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he’s fun, affectionate, kind―but just when Ollie thinks he’s found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairytale ending, and to complicate the fairytale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it’s the same school Will goes to…except Ollie finds that the sweet, comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn’t the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted―and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn’t ready for a relationship, especially since this new, bro-y jock version of Will seems to go from hot to cold every other week. But then Will starts “coincidentally” popping up in every area of Ollie’s life, from music class to the lunch table, and Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.

Right? Right.

Although the year is young, I’ve been fortunate to have come across some FANTASTIC YA books already, and you can add Only Mostly Devastated to that list! This is a wonderfully engaging story with a lot of heart focused on a witty and endearing protagonist who is now one of my favorite male characters in YA.

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ARC Review – ‘Havenfall’ by Sara Holland

Title: Havenfall
Author: Sara Holland
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word/Page Count: 320 (paperback)
Publication Details: by Bloomsbury Australia on March 3rd, 2020
RRP: $16.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

This is my first time reading Sara Holland’s work and it certainly won’t be the last! I’ve heard her name in YA fantasy circles, but haven’t had the chance to pick up a book of hers until Bloomsbury kindly sent me an ARC for Havenfall.

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