Reviews

Beyond The Ruby Veil by Mara Fitzgerald

*Spoiler free*

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

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Reviews

We Hunt The Flame by Hafsah Faizal

*Spoiler free*

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 

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Reviews

Admission by Julie Buxbaum

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Delacorte Press and Netgalley for the e-ARC!

It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood. As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened, but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?

I was interested in this book because it sounded fascinating. A book about the college admissions scandal; a girl caught up in the whirlwind that is her mom bribing her way way into college. It didn’t sound like something I’d normally read, but it sounded interesting enough that wanted to give it a shot!

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Reviews

Into The Real by Z Brewer

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Quill Tree Books and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Three Quinns. Three realities. Three Brumes. The first Brume is a waking nightmare, overrun by literal monsters and cutthroat survivors. For Quinn, who is openly genderqueer, the only silver lining is their friendship with Lia—and the hope that there might still be a safe place somewhere else in the world. The second Brume is a prison with no bars. Forced to “sort out” their sexuality with other teens at Camp Redemption, Quinn must also figure out why presenting as female has never felt quite right. The third Brume is a warzone. For Quinn, who presents as male, leading the Resistance against an authoritarian government is hard, since even the Resistance might not accept them if they knew Quinn’s truth. As Quinn starts to realize that they might be one person alternating among these three worlds and identities, they wonder: Which world is the real one? Or do they all contain some deeper truth?

I heard this book had a genderqueer main character and that was enough for me. But, it also had three different realities, three different versions of the main character, and they’re all real. It sounded fascinating. The cover also gave the book and eerie and dark feeling to it, so I was very eager to read it. Trigger warnings: homophobia, conversion therapy, parental abuse, death, blood, gore

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Reviews

The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco

*Minor spoilers*

Tea can raise the dead, but resurrection comes at a price.When Tea accidentally resurrects her brother from the dead, she learns she is different from the other witches in her family. Her gift for necromancy means that she’s a bone witch, a title that makes her feared and ostracized by her community. But Tea finds solace and guidance with an older, wiser bone witch, who takes Tea and her brother to another land for training.In her new home, Tea puts all her energy into becoming an asha-one who can wield elemental magic. But dark forces are approaching quickly, and in the face of danger, Tea will have to overcome her obstacles and make a powerful choice.

Ever since I finished The Never Tilting World, I was curious about the other books the author had written. I knew there was a ton of hype around The Bone Witch, so a copy had been sitting on my shelves for awhile. Then, drama popped up around the author, so my friend and I decided it was finally time to read it and we could buddy read too! I think I might’ve finished before she even started, but let’s not get into that. The point is, this book sounded like something dark and full of magic and I was eager to read it!

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Reviews

Parachutes by Kelly Yang

*Spoiler free*

 

They’re called parachutes: teenagers dropped off to live in private homes and study in the US while their wealthy parents remain in Asia. Claire Wang never thought she’d be one of them, until her parents pluck her from her privileged life in Shanghai and enroll her at a high school in California. Suddenly she finds herself living in a stranger’s house, with no one to tell her what to do for the first time in her life. She soon embraces her newfound freedom, especially when the hottest and most eligible parachute, Jay, asks her out. Dani De La Cruz, Claire’s new host sister, couldn’t be less thrilled that her mom rented out a room to Claire. An academic and debate-team star, Dani is determined to earn her way into Yale, even if it means competing with privileged kids who are buying their way to the top. When her debate coach starts working with her privately, Dani’s game plan veers unexpectedly off course. Desperately trying to avoid each other under the same roof, Dani and Claire find themselves on a collision course, intertwining in deeper and more complicated ways, as they grapple with life-altering experiences. Award-winning author Kelly Yang weaves together an unforgettable modern immigrant story about love, trauma, family, corruption, and the power of speaking out.

I read this one on kind of whim. I asked a booth worker at ALAMW what it was about (you can do that and they’re excited to tell you!) and she told me it’s about rich teens being dropped off in America while their parents live in America and how a parachute and the teen she lives with navigate their lives. She also mentioned how it was heavier but didn’t read that way. (I just want to note this Nice Booth Worker pitched this INCREDIBLY well and is very awesome.) I decided I wanted to give it a shot. Trigger warnings: racism, rape, sexual assault

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Reviews

Hush by Dylan Farrow

*Spoiler free*

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Thank so much to WednesdayBooks and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

In the land of Montane, language is literal magic to the select few who possess the gift of Telling. This power is reserved for the Bards, and, as everyone knows, the Bards have almost always been men. Seventeen-year-old Shae has lived her entire life in awe of the Bards—and afraid of the Blot, a deadly disease spread by ink, which took the life of her younger brother five years ago. Ever since, Shae fears she’s cursed. But when tragedy strikes again, and her mother is found murdered with a golden dagger—a weapon used only by the Bards—Shae is forced to act. With a heart set on justice, Shae journeys to High House in search of answers. But when the kind, fatherly Cathal, the High Lord of Montane, makes Shae an undeniable offer to stay and train as a Bard, Shae can’t refuse. Through this twisty tale, Shae endures backbreaking training by a ruthless female Bard, tentative and highly-forbidden feelings for a male Bard with a dark past, and a castle filled with dangerous illusions bent on keeping its secrets buried.

Books that have to do with words and ink and writing are ones I’m always wary about. It’s definitely a personal thing, but a lot of the times I don’t end up loving books like those. But I couldn’t help but be intrigued by this one. Ink running through veins from a sickness, a main character fighting for justice, and a magic system based on language that’s restricted to a select few, mostly men. I sounded like something I wanted to try.

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Reviews

Among The Beasts And Briars by Ashley Poston

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to Balzer + Bray and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Cerys is safe in the kingdom of Aloriya. Here there are no droughts, disease, or famine, and peace is everlasting. It has been this way for hundreds of years, since the first king made a bargain with the Lady who ruled the forest that borders the kingdom. But as Aloriya prospered, the woods grew dark, cursed, and forbidden. Cerys knows this all too well: when she was young, she barely escaped as the woods killed her friends and her mother. Now Cerys carries a small bit of the curse—the magic—in her blood, a reminder of the day she lost everything. The most danger she faces now, as a gardener’s daughter, is the annoying fox who stalks the royal gardens and won’t leave her alone. As a new queen is crowned, however, things long hidden in the woods descend on the kingdom itself. Cerys is forced on the run, her only companions the small fox from the garden, a strange and powerful bear, and the magic in her veins. It’s up to her to find the legendary Lady of the Wilds and beg for a way to save her home. But the road is darker and more dangerous than she knows, and as secrets from the past are uncovered amid the teeth and roots of the forest, it’s going to take everything she has just to survive.

I’ve been excited for this book since it was announced along with the sequel to Heart Of Iron. It’s Ashley Poston, which is basically all I need to know to pick up a book. But this had so much more than just be written by Ashley Poston. A Beauty And The Beast retelling with a sexy fox and a creepy woods. I was so excited for it that I was literally hit with a wave of dizziness when I saw it was up on Edelweiss. And then I absolutely completely freaked out when I was approved. Yes, I was very, very excited haha.

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Reviews

Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

*Spoiler free*

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town. One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home. Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

I think this is my first graphic novel review! Mooncakes has been on my radar for awhile. I’d seen talk about it here and there and that talk was overwhelmingly positive. I was also pretty sure it was queer, so I knew I wanted to read it. I wasn’t quite sure what it was about, but it looked cute and I love graphic novels so that was enough for me!

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Reviews

I Kissed Alice by Anna Birch and Victoria Ying

*Spoiler free*

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Thank you so much to Macmillan/Imprint and Edeweiss for the e-ARC!

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?

 

A f/f enemies-to-lovers book. Did I really need anymore than that for it to shoot up to the top of the list of books I wanted to read? It really didn’t. Any queer book is automatically on the list of books I want to read and this one was no different. Two artists, who are completely different hate each other in real life, but unknowingly connect on a fanfic site where the co-create a graphic novel. I just, I felt like and still feel like screaming when I hear the synopsis. Trigger warnings: depression, anxiety 

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