ARC Review – ‘Daughter of Lies & Ruin’ by Jo Spurrier

Title: Daughter of Lies & Ruin
Author: Jo Spurrier
Genre: YA Fantasy
Word/Page Count: 352 pages (paperback)
Publication Details: by Harper Collins Australia on September 24th, 2019
RRP: $19.99 AUD (paperback)

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

Why do the worst people sometimes make the best family? From the author of Winter Be My Shield and A Curse of Ash & Embers comes the next absorbing Blackbone Witches novel.

‘If they didn’t want to get turned into beasts and used to fuel a ritual, they shouldn’t have attacked a witch. That’s all there is to it.’

There’s something strange brewing in this tinder-dry forest – a girl with a sword and a secret, a troupe of vicious bandits vanished without a trace, beasts that don’t belong and a witch with a macabre plan.

Elodie hasn’t been learning witchcraft for long, but she knows enough to be worried, and the fact that her mentor Aleida wants to pack up and leave in short order isn’t helping to settle her nerves.

Elodie just hopes to get everyone out of this mess unharmed, but it’s looking more unlikely with every passing hour. And when the strange witch’s ire falls on her, Aleida’s wrath sparks a fire that threatens to scorch the earth itself …

This is book 2 in the ‘Tale of the Blackbone Witches‘ series (my review for book 1 is here) and my excitement could not be contained when I got my hands on an early copy of ‘Daughter of Lies & Ruin‘. We find out what comes next for our protagonist, Dee, who is an apprentice to the sardonic, morally grey badass witch Aleida and learning how to wield her own nascent magical abilities.

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ARC Review – ‘The Last Balfour’ by Cait Duggan

Title: The Last Balfour
Author:  Cait Duggan
Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy/Paranormal
Word/Page Count: 288 pages (paperback)
Publication Details: by Harper Collins Australia on July 22nd, 2019
RRP: $19.99 AUD (paperback)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

MAGIC AND FIRE ARE KINDRED THINGS . . . DISCOVER AN EXCITING NEW VOICE IN AUSTRALIAN FICTION Iona Balfour’s life is turned upside down when her beloved aunt Grizel is executed for the crime of witchcraft. Before she dies, Grizel appoints Iona as guardian of a precious family bloodstone and tells her she must flee their village and deliver the stone to the mysterious Guild of the Green Lion.

Accompanied by a new friend, Cal, Iona soon realises that she’s awakened the powers of the bloodstone. But it promises to be a perilous journey. The wolf month is no time to be on the road. And there’s a witch hunter on Iona’s trail, who has a strange obsession with the stone.

When a devastating betrayal throws her into the hands of her enemies, Iona soon finds herself in the fight of her life. Will she suffer the same fate as her aunt, or will she escape the witch hunter and fulfil her destiny?

‘The Last Balfour’ begins on February 1st 1597, right before the Great Scottish Witch Hunt of 1597 was due to take place in real life, which according to historical records was between March to October of that year. Not much is known about this witch hunt as it wasn’t centrally supervised under royal commission and many records by local authorities went missing, so it’s interesting to think that the events of this novel could potentially fit into Scotland’s history and have played a role in motivating the witch hunt to come.

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ARC Review & Blog Tour – ‘All That Impossible Space’ by Anna Morgan

Title: All That Impossible Space
Author: Anna Morgan
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Word/Page Count: 288 pages (paperback)
Publication Details: by Hachette Australia on June 25th, 2019
RRP: $19.99 AUD (paperback)

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Blurb from Goodreads:

Amelia Westlake meets My Favorite Murder in this debut from a terrific new voice in Australian YA. Combines a realistic story about high school drama and toxic friendship with true crime – the endlessly fascinating Somerton Man or Taman Shud mystery.

15-year-old Lara Laylor feels like supporting character in her own life. She’s Ashley’s best friend, she’s Hannah’s sister-she’s never just Lara.

When new history teacher Mr. Grant gives her an unusual assignment: investigating the mystery of the Somerton Man. Found dead in on an Adelaide beach in 1948, a half-smoked cigarette still in his mouth and the labels cut out of his clothes, the Somerton Man has intrigued people for years. Was he a spy? A criminal? Year 10 has plenty of mysteries of its own: boys, drama queen friends, and enigmatic new students. When they seem just as unsolvable as a 60-year-old cold case, Lara finds herself spending more and more time on the assignment. But Mr Grant himself may be the biggest mystery of all…

Interspersed with fictionalised snapshots of the Somerton Man investigation, All That Impossible Space is a coming of age novel exploring toxic friendships and the balance of power between teacher and student, perfect for fans of Cath Crowley and Fiona Wood.

My personal measure of a book’s quality is whether a) I read it in one sitting, or b) if it compelled me to stay up ridiculously late to finish reading it. All That Impossible Space achieved BOTH. I wouldn’t have started it at 9pm at night if I had any idea it would keep me up past midnight, but I have no regrets!

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