*Spoiler free, but spoilers for Where Dreams Descend*
The competition has come to a disastrous end, and Daron Demarco’s fall from grace is now front page news. But little matters to him beyond Kallia, the contestant he fell for who is now lost to this world and in the hands of a dangerous magician. Daron is willing to do whatever it takes to find her. Even if it means embarking on a dark and treacherous journey, risking more than just his life, with no promise of return. After awaking in darkness, Kallia has never felt more lost. Especially with Jack by her side, the magician with who has the answers but cannot be trusted. Together, they must navigate a dazzling world where mirrors show memories and illusions shadow every corner, one ruled by a powerful game master who could all too easily destroy the world she left behind — and the boy she can’t seem to forget. With time running out, Kallia must embrace her role in a darker destiny, or lose everyone she loves, forever.
I was looking forward to this book the second I finished Where Dreams Descend. The first book leaves things on the precipice, the darkness almost revealed, the curtain just about the flung back. I wanted to know more. I was so pumped to be back in this world, and I could not wait to see what I would think of it.
Hannah’s whole life has been spent in motion. Her mother has kept her and her brother, Gabe, on the road for as long as she can remember, leaving a trail of rental homes and faded relationships behind them. No roots, no family but one another, and no explanations. All of that changes on Hannah’s seventeenth birthday when she wakes up transformed, a pair of golden eyes with knife-slit pupils blinking back at her from the mirror—the first of many such impossible mutations. Promising that she knows someone who can help, her mother leaves Hannah and Gabe behind to find a cure. But as the days turn to weeks and their mother doesn’t return, they realize it’s up to them to find the truth. What they discover is a family they never knew, and a history more tragic and fantastical than Hannah could have dreamed—one that stretches back to her grandmother’s childhood in Prague under the Nazi occupation, and beyond, into the realm of Jewish mysticism and legend. As the past comes crashing into the present, Hannah must hurry to unearth their family’s secrets—and confront her own hidden legacy in order to break the curse and save the people she loves most, as well as herself.
I’m not sure what drew me to this book. It might have been the title, it might have been the cover, both of which are amazing. And it sounded really, really good. A girl who has spent her entire life moving wakes up one day to find herself with eyes with knife slit pupils, and through this, discovers a history she didn’t even know she had. It sounded really, really good, and I was very intrigued.
Deadly storms have ravaged Mina’s homeland for generations. Floods sweep away entire villages, while bloody wars are waged over the few remaining resources. Her people believe the Sea God, once their protector, now curses them with death and despair. In an attempt to appease him, each year a beautiful maiden is thrown into the sea to serve as the Sea God’s bride, in the hopes that one day the “true bride” will be chosen and end the suffering. Many believe that Shim Cheong, the most beautiful girl in the village–and the beloved of Mina’s older brother Joon–may be the legendary true bride. But on the night Cheong is to be sacrificed, Joon follows Cheong out to sea, even knowing that to interfere is a death sentence. To save her brother, Mina throws herself into the water in Cheong’s stead. Swept away to the Spirit Realm, a magical city of lesser gods and mythical beasts, Mina seeks out the Sea God, only to find him caught in an enchanted sleep. With the help of a mysterious young man named Shin–as well as a motley crew of demons, gods and spirits–Mina sets out to wake the Sea God and bring an end to the killer storms once and for all. But she doesn’t have much time: A human cannot live long in the land of the spirits. And there are those who would do anything to keep the Sea God from waking…
I was pulled into this book because of the cover. I know, I know, that’s bad, but it’s absolutely stunning. And it sounded absolutely incredible as well. A girl who sacrifices herself save her brother, who is swept into the sea and into the Spirit Realm. A story of a Sea God and deadly storms and enchantments. It sounded so, so good.
Undertaker Lorena knows what her future holds—she’ll finish her apprenticeship, marry her best friend Julian, and live in a land ruled by a bloodthirsty family convinced they alone can keep ancient demons from descending on the kingdom. But when Julian receives news that his father has been convicted of crimes against the crown, the two head to the capital to help. When Lorena is kidnapped by Crown Prince Alistair, she learns he’s not the violent inheritor rumors have painted him to be. He explains that the sacrifices are a necessary evil—the demons are very real and require more and more blood to keep them at bay. As a rebellion grows more certain, Lorena becomes less sure of her loyalties. Should she trust the boy she thought she loved and the world she thought she knew? Or should her loyalties lie with the centuries-old legends of the boy she barely knows who has everything to lose?
I was intrigued by this book to some extent, but I wasn’t 100% sure on it. I’m not quite sure why. I knew it was something I’d like to pick up eventually. But one of my friends was super, super excited about this book and we have very similar taste, so my mild excitement ramped up a lot. Plus, ancient demons descending upon the kingdom, a girl who does not know what to trust, and rebellion coming closer and closer all sounds like things that I would really, really enjoy! Trigger warnings: blood, gore, grief, self-harm based magic system
Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother. Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die. Penniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama’s betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she’s been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.
This cover knocked me off my feet. I mean, LOOK AT IT. It’s just downright gorgeous. I know I shouldn’t judge books by their covers, but dang, this one is amazing. And I did enjoy Spin The Dawn, so I was curious to see what this author was going to be writing next. And a book about a princess with hidden magic, who is cursed voiceless and who’s brothers are cursed to turn into cranes, sounds like something I would enjoy!
Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. She would be hired, that is, if her mentor hadn’t thrown her out before she could earn her license. Now her only hope of steady work is to find a Patron—a rich, well-connected individual who will vouch for her abilities. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, she takes the job without question. Never mind that he’s rude and demanding and eccentric, that the contract comes with a number of outlandish rules… and that almost a dozen debtera had quit before her. If Andromeda wants to earn a living, she has no choice. But she quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, the reason every debtera before her quit. But leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option because—heaven help her—she’s fallen for him.
I mean, with a title like that I was completely sucked in and wanting to read this book. I knew it was a Jane Eyre retelling and there would be some wicked walls, and something inside them, but if I’m being honest, that’s all I really knew haha. I know that seems like very little go on, but all the love for it I’d seen online and my own intrigue, it was absolutely enough for me to be incredibly eager to read it. Trigger warnings: parental abuse, blood, gore
Seventeen-year-old Vanja Schmidt is the thirteenth daughter of a thirteenth daughter, and wherever she goes, misfortune follows. Luckily, her godmothers are Death and Fortune, each of whom blesses Vanja with magic in exchange for a life of servitude when she comes of age. But when the time comes, Vanja flees, swiping an enchanted string of pearls that allows her to impersonate a princess. So begins a life of merry mayhem posing as a royal to rob the nobles blind. At first, Vanja is thrilled with her luck, but soon, she crosses the wrong god, and is cursed to turn into the jewels she covets, gem by gem, unless she can right her wrongs and pay back her debts—quickly.
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Owen’s duology, The Merciful Crow. After finishing The Faithless Hawk, I was already ready to devour whatever she wrote next. So, a book about a maid who steals a princess’s identity, one that was confirmed to have knives and a main character with sharp edges, sounded like something I absolutely wanted to read. Trigger warnings: attempted sexual assault, physical and emotional abuse
Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future. On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic. When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle. As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.
A retelling of The Lady Of Shallot where she leaves her tower. That was basically all I needed to know to be incredibly intrigued about this book. I knew it was going to be a feminist King Arthur retelling, and that is basically it. But that was enough for me to be ready and eager to see what this book was going to hold. Trigger warnings: suicide, emotional abuse, blood, violence
Tess Matheson only wants three things: time to practice her cello, for her sister to be happy, and for everyone else to leave her alone. Instead, Tess finds herself working all summer at her boarding school library, shelving books and dealing with the intolerable patrons. The worst of them is Eliot Birch: snide, privileged, and constantly requesting forbidden grimoires. After a bargain with Eliot leads to the discovery of an ancient book in the library’s grimoire collection, the pair accidentally unleash a book-bound demon. The demon will stop at nothing to stay free, manipulating ink to threaten those Tess loves and dismantling Eliot’s strange magic. Tess is plagued by terrible dreams of the devil and haunting memories of a boy who wears Eliot’s face. All she knows is to stay free, the demon needs her… and he’ll have her, dead or alive.
I mean, a book bound demon getting released. A cello player, who wants everyone to leave her alone. Manipulating ink. Yes, I was very, very intrigued by this book. Plus, I had heard a whole lot of love and excitement for it online, so I was curious to see what I would think of it! Trigger warnings: grief, parental abuse (emotional and physical), self-harm, blood, gore
On Wendy Darling’s first night in Chicago, a boy called Peter appears at her window. He’s dizzying, captivating, beautiful—so she agrees to join him for a night on the town. Wendy thinks they’re heading to a party, but instead they’re soon running in the city’s underground. She makes friends—a punk girl named Tinkerbelle and the lost boys Peter watches over. And she makes enemies—the terrifying Detective Hook, and maybe Peter himself, as his sinister secrets start coming to light. Can Wendy find the courage to survive this night—and make sure everyone else does, too?
I’d heard too many praises for Ancrum not to be looking forward to this book. I’ve heard people absolutely rave over her previous works, so I was intrigued about them. Though, a Peter Pan retelling? Something about the synopsis, and the cover, and the online love, just completely drew me in. I was intrigued. And I wanted to know just what this book was all about. Trigger warnings: murder, grooming