ARC Review – ‘Bookish and the Beast’ by Ashley Poston

TITLE: Bookish and the Beast
AUTHOR: Ashley Poston
GENRE: Contemporary YA
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 288 pages (hardcover)
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Quirk Books on August 4th, 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe.

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.

Geekerella is one of the earliest contemporary YA books that I remember falling in love with and so I have a soft spot for the Once Upon A Con series, which is why it’s so disappointing that Bookish and the Beast fell flat for me.

It had the benefit of being a retelling, obviously inspired by Beauty and the Beast, which is my number 1 favorite choice of fairytale to retell, but this book just didn’t work for me. As always, just because something wasn’t my cup of tea doesn’t mean it’s a bad book – heaps of other people loved it! So I’d always recommend that if it sounds interesting to you, then go and check it out.

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Book Review – ‘The Unadoptables’ by Hana Tooke

TITLE: The Unadoptables
AUTHOR: Hana Tooke
GENRE: Middle Grade, Historical
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 384 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Penguin Australia on July 2nd, 2020
RRP: $16.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

The amazing humour and world-building of Nevermoor meets the wisdom and warmth of Rooftoppers in this completely unforgettable and totally gorgeous comedy-adventure!

In all the years that Elinora Gassbeek has been matron of the Little Tulip Orphanage, not once have the Rules for Baby Abandonment been broken. Until the autumn of 1886, when five babies are left in outrageous circumstances: one in a tin toolbox, one in a coal bucket, one in a picnic hamper, one in a wheat sack, and finally, one in a coffin-shaped basket.

Those babies were Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sem and Milou; who were swiftly and firmly deemed ‘the unadoptables’. Twelve years on the children still have each other – until the fateful night a most sinister gentleman appears and threatens to tear them apart. The gang decide to make a daring escape, fleeing the frozen canals of Amsterdam for an adventure packed with puppets and pirate ships, clock-makers and cruel villains – and with only a scrap of a clue to guide them to their mysterious new home . . .

An absolute gem of a story set in Amsterdam that features a quirky Gothic vibe with mystery, adventure and above all, heart-warming friendship.

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ARC Review – ‘I Kissed Alice’ by Anna Birch

TITLE: I Kissed Alice
AUTHOR: Anna Birch
GENRE: Contemporary YA
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 320 pages (hardcover)
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Macmillan on July 28th, 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

For fans of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda and FangirlI Kissed Alice is a romantic comedy about enemies, lovers, and everything in between.

Rhodes and Iliana couldn’t be more different, but that’s not why they hate each other.

Hyper-gifted artist Rhodes has always excelled at Alabama’s Conservatory of the Arts despite a secret bout of creator’s block, while transfer student Iliana tries to outshine everyone with her intense, competitive work ethic. Since only one of them can get the coveted Capstone scholarship, the competition between them is fierce.

They both escape the pressure on a fanfic site where they are unknowingly collaborating on a graphic novel. And despite being worst enemies in real life, their anonymous online identities I-Kissed-Alice and Curious-in-Cheshire are starting to like each other…a lot. When the truth comes out, will they destroy each other’s future?

I Kissed Alice combines two of my favorite subjects – queer girls and fandom – with my favorite trope of all time, enemies-to-lovers. So it’s a no-brainer that this book is perfectly calibrated to please me!

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ARC Review – ‘Emerald Blaze’ by Ilona Andrews

TITLE: Emerald Blaze
AUTHOR: Ilona Andrews
GENRE: Urban fantasy
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 400 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Avon on August 25th, 2020

Emerald Blaze

Blurb from Goodreads:

Ilona Andrews, #1 New York Times bestselling author, continues her spellbinding series set in the Hidden Legacy world where magic controls everything…except the hearts of those who wield it.

As Prime magic users, Catalina Baylor and her sisters have extraordinary powers—powers their ruthless grandmother would love to control. Catalina can earn her family some protection working as deputy to the Warden of Texas, overseeing breaches of magic law in the state, but that has risks as well. When House Baylor is under attack and monsters haunt her every step, Catalina is forced to rely on handsome, dangerous Alessandro Sagredo, the Prime who crushed her heart.

The nightmare that Alessandro has fought since childhood has come roaring back to life, but now Catalina is under threat. Not even his lifelong quest for revenge will stop him from keeping her safe, even if every battle could be his last. Because Catalina won’t rest until she stops the use of the illicit, power-granting serum that’s tearing their world apart.

Emerald Blaze is book 5 in the Hidden Legacy urban fantasy series by the phenomenal husband & wife writing team who publish under the pseudonym Ilona Andrews.

The first three books focus on Nevada Baylor, a private investigator in a world where magical abilities are the norm and a person’s status in society is determined by their powers and their family bloodline’s track record of producing superior magical offspring. All kinds of abilities are displayed from the usual telepathy, telekinesis and pyrokinesis to more bizarre and unusual abilities like summoning demons, animating inanimate objects and purifying or weaponizing toxins. After Nevada’s story concluded, a new trilogy began with Sapphire Flames which focuses on her sister Catalina and her struggles as she takes over leading the family business and functioning as the Head of House Baylor now that they’ve joined the ranks of the magical elite.

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Book Review – ‘House of Dragons’ by Jessica Cluess

TITLE: House of Dragons
AUTHOR: Jessica Cluess
GENRE: Young Adult Fantasy
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 448 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Penguin Australia on June 16th, 2020
RRP: $19.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win?

When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call….

THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.

THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.

THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.

THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.

THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne.

There is no way anyone can look at that cover with the five swords and stylized dragons and NOT be intrigued. The title sounded very promising and I went in with high hopes for a decent amount of dragon scenes, crossing my fingers it wasn’t a switch-and-bait…and WOW. If you love dragons, you need to read this.

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ARC Review – ‘A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor’ by Hank Green

TITLE: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor
AUTHOR: Hank Green
GENRE: Contemporary, Science Fiction
WORD/PAGE COUNT: 320 pages
PUBLICATION DETAILS: by Hachette Australia on July 14th, 2020
RRP: $29.99 AUD (paperback)


Blurb from Goodreads:

April May and the Carls are back in the much-anticipated sequel to Hank Green’s #1 New York Times bestselling debut novel, An Absolutely Remarkable Thing.

The Carls disappeared the same way they appeared, in an instant. While they were on Earth, they caused confusion and destruction without ever lifting a finger. Well, that’s not exactly true. Part of their maelstrom was the sudden viral fame and untimely death of April May: a young woman who stumbled into Carl’s path, giving them their name, becoming their advocate, and putting herself in the middle of an avalanche of conspiracy theories.

Months later, the world is as confused as ever. Andy has picked up April’s mantle of fame, speaking at conferences and online about the world post-Carl; Maya, ravaged by grief, begins to follow a string of mysteries that she is convinced will lead her to April; and Miranda infiltrates a new scientific operation . . . one that might have repercussions beyond anyone’s comprehension.

As they each get further down their own paths, a series of clues arrive—mysterious books that seem to predict the future and control the actions of their readers; unexplained internet outages; and more—which seem to suggest April may be very much alive. In the midst of the gang’s possible reunion is a growing force, something that wants to capture our consciousness and even control our reality.

A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor is the bold and brilliant follow-up to An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. It’s a fast-paced adventure that is also a biting social commentary, asking hard, urgent questions. How will we live online? What powers over our lives are we giving away for free? Who has the right to change the world forever? And how do we find comfort in an increasingly isolated world?

An Absolutely Remarkable Thing was an exciting rollercoaster ride of a book that gave me thrills and chills, a barrel of laughs and then caused me to internally screech in agony with a killer cliffhanger. I’ve been desperately craving this sequel for 18 months so it had a LOT of expectations to live up to…but wow, this book completely smashed through and exceeded them! ❤

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