*Spoiler free, but spoilers for the previous two books*
Only days after a corrupt election and brutal street war, one last bloodthirsty game has begun. The players? The twenty-two most powerful, notorious people in New Reynes. After realizing they have no choice but to play, Enne Scordata and Levi Glaisyer are desperate to forge new alliances and bargain for their safety. But while Levi offers false smiles and an even falser peace to the city’s politicians, Enne must face a world where her true Mizer identity has been revealed…and any misstep could turn deadly. Meanwhile, a far more dangerous opponent has appeared on the board, one plucked right from the most gruesome legends of New Reynes. As the game takes its final, vicious turn, Levi and Enne must decide once and for all whether to be partners or enemies. Because in a game for survival, there are only losers…
I haven’t written a review for the last book in a trilogy for a long time. But I’m writing one for Queen Of Volts, a series I have loved since the first book. I don’t think it’s any secret the kind of love I hold for this series. I have screamed about Ace Of Shades and I have screamed about King Of Fools. And now I’m here to scream about Queen Of Volts. Trigger warnings: extreme violence, death, grief, attempted suicide/suicidal ideation, PTSD, toxic and abusive relationships (particularly regarding a parent and a romantic partner), addiction, emetophobia
After their world-famous mother disappeared under mysterious circumstances, Manon and Thais left their remote Mediterranean home—sent away by their pharma tech tycoon father. Opposites in every way, the sisters drifted apart in their grief. Yet their mother’s unfinished story still haunts them both, and they can’t put to rest the possibility that she is still alive. Lured home a decade later, Manon and Thais discover their mother’s legendary last work, long thought lost: White Fox, a screenplay filled with enigmatic metaphors. The clues in this dark fairytale draw them deep into society’s surreal underbelly, into the twisted secrets hidden by their glittering family, to reveal the truth about their mother—and themselves.
After the whirlwind that was The Tenth Girl, I was beyond eager to read Sara Faring’s new book, White Fox. Two sisters find the lost script of their missing mother. A house that’s strange and holds many secrets. It’s Sara Faring: I was ready to get my mind warped once again.
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising. But surprises aren’t always good. Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school. For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . . Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.
I’ve been wanting to read this book for a long time. I’ve heard so many amazing things about this book, especially from people I know I have similar tastes too and eager to take to always take their recommendations. I knew it was dark, I knew it would probably be on the denser side, I knew it would have war in the realm of high fantasy. I wasn’t sure how exactly I would feel about it, since these kinds of books tend to be hit or miss for me, but I was very, very eager to give it a shot. Trigger warnings: drug use, substance addiction, self-harm, racism, misogyny, genocide, bullying, abandonment, abuse, animal death, animal cruelty, brutal torture, brutal killing, brutal rape (off screen, but still incredibly violent)
An alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, where a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely. A prodigy mechanic who can repair not only clockwork but time itself, determined to rescue his father from a Stopped town. A series of mysterious bombings that could jeopardize all of England. A boy who would give anything to relive his past, and one who would give anything to live at all. A romance that will shake the very foundations of time.
I’ve had this book on my shelf for awhile and on my “I really want to try this” list for even longer. My friend (hi Mo!), raves about it, so that was enough for me to be interested. But I also heard it’s queer. And it’s about clocks. And it’s about an alternate Victorian world where the world is controlled by clocks. Really, it sounded like something I would be interested, despite not reading a ton of books in this realm. I was eager to give it a try!
Seven years ago, the Atargatis set off on a voyage to the Mariana Trench to film a “mockumentary” bringing to life ancient sea creatures of legend. It was lost at sea with all hands. Some have called it a hoax; others have called it a maritime tragedy. Now, a new crew has been assembled. But this time they’re not out to entertain. Some seek to validate their life’s work. Some seek the greatest hunt of all. Some seek the truth. But for the ambitious young scientist Victoria Stewart this is a voyage to uncover the fate of the sister she lost. Whatever the truth may be, it will only be found below the waves. But the secrets of the deep come with a price.
I’ve had this book sitting on my shelf for a long time and I’ve been wanting to read it for longer. I’ve seen love for it here and there online, but that love was intense. Plus, it sounded out of this world amazing. What hides in the depths of the sea has always terrified me, but in a way where I can’t help but want to know more. And this book seemed to promise just that. To travel to the deep, to unravel the mysteries that hide there, and be queer as heck while doing it. I was very eager to read it and I’m still surprised it took so long for me to pick it up! Trigger warnings: ableism, blood, death, gore
Just a few moons after escaping the tomb in Alu, Kammani and the other runaway maidens have found refuge in the city-state of Manzazu. There, Kammani has become a respected healer, especially among the warriors she’s brought back from the brink of death. Now that the nightmares of Alu are fading, she can finally decide whether or not to take Dagan’s hand in marriage. But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill the displaced queen of Alu, the maidens realize they’ve been found.Hungry for revenge, Manzazu’s queen wants to strike back at Alu with her fiercest weapons—her scorpion warrior maidens—but Kammani knows that war harms more than it heals. To save the innocents and any chance of a future with Dagan, Kammani must take down Alu’s ruler before their lives burn up in the flames of war.
When I read Gravemaidens, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had a few issues here and there, but I still came out of the experience happy with what I read. I was really curious how the sequel would conclude this duology and how it would expand upon this world, outside of Alu. And there were even assassination attempts and tons of scorpions promised in this one, which even heightened my longing for it! Trigger warnings: mentions of attempted rape, blood, death, grief, gore
Wren Southerland is the most talented healer in the Queen’s Guard, but her reckless actions have repeatedly put her on thin ice with her superiors. So when a letter arrives from a reclusive lord, asking Wren to come to his estate to cure his servant from a mysterious disease, she seizes the chance to prove herself. When she arrives at Colwick Hall, Wren realizes that nothing is what it seems. Particularly when she discovers her patient is actually Hal Cavendish, the sworn enemy of her kingdom. As the snowy mountains make it impossible to leave the estate, Wren and Hal grow closer as they uncover a sinister plot that could destroy everything they hold dear. But choosing love could doom both their kingdoms.
When all I knew about this book was that it was about enemies trapped inside a crumbling mansion with monsters around every corner, I was still so, so eager to read it. All the early reviews I heard for it were nothing but praise and it sounded dark and snowy and gothic. I honestly couldn’t quite believe it when I was lucky enough to get an e-ARC. A bi main character, a mysterious disease, and snowy mountains. Really, the pull I felt towards this book was strong. Trigger warnings: death, blood, gore
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home. Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she’s a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden – lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult’s true powers are hidden even from herself. In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls’ heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.
I’ve had Truthwitch on my shelf for some time now. I’ve followed Susan on social media awhile too, so I was well antiquated with the love for this series. I knew I wanted to get into it sometime, but I never knew when that sometime would be. I knew it would have witches and magic and kingdoms, but the depth of my knowledge wasn’t too deep. I was lucky enough to avoid spoilers! I finally decided to it was time to take the plunge and see what I would think.
Emanuela Ragno always gets what she wants. With her daring mind and socialite schemes, she refuses to be the demure young lady everyone wants her to be. In her most ambitious move yet, she’s about to marry Alessandro Morandi, her childhood best friend and the heir to the wealthiest house in Occhia. Emanuela doesn’t care that she and her groom are both gay, because she doesn’t want a love match. She wants power, and through Ale, she’ll have it all. But Emanuela has a secret that could shatter her plans. In the city of Occhia, the only source of water is the watercrea, a mysterious being who uses magic to make water from blood. When their first bruise-like omen appears on their skin, all Occhians must surrender themselves to the watercrea to be drained of life. Everyone throughout history has given themselves up for the greater good. Everyone except Emanuela. She’s kept the tiny omen on her hip out of sight for years. When the watercrea exposes Emanuela during her wedding ceremony and takes her to be sacrificed, Emanuela fights back…and kills her. Now Occhia has no one to make their water and no idea how to get more. In a race against time, Emanuela and Ale must travel through the mysterious, blood-red veil that surrounds their city to uncover the secrets of the watercrea’s magic and find a way to save their people-no matter what it takes.
A world where water is made from blood, where only one person can create that water. And that one person dies. Yes, from the very second I learned what this book is about I was extremely eager to read it. I was lucky enough to win a copy from CouchFest, which was run by NOVL! I was very ready to devour this book. Trigger warnings: cannibalism, eye horror, blood, gore
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the king. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya—but neither wants to be. War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the king on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds—and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
I’ve been excited for this book for awhile. A Hunter who’s secretly a huntress, a Prince of Death, and a cursed forest. And that’s only the basics, but those were enough to make me instantly intrigued. I’m not sure why I waiting so long to get into this one, but I finally decided to give it a try. So many people have been loving on it and I was interested to see what I would think. Trigger warnings: grief, emotional and physical abuse