Blogtober ARC Review // Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Blogtober ARC Review // Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

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Blogtober ARC Review // The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

Blogtober ARC Review // The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

ARC provided by Hodderscape at YALC. This is a spoiler free review!

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Review // Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

Review // Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff

The greatest games in Godsgrave’’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic.

Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic.

But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time.

Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?

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ARC Review // Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

ARC Review // Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Magic has a price—if you’re willing to pay.

Born into a family of powerful witchdoctors, Arrah yearns for magic of her own. But each year she fails to call forth her ancestral powers, while her ambitious mother watches with growing disapproval.

There’s only one thing Arrah hasn’t tried, a deadly last resort: trading years of her own life for scraps of magic. Until the Kingdom’s children begin to disappear, and Arrah is desperate to find the culprit.

She uncovers something worse. The long-imprisoned Demon King is stirring. And if he rises, his hunger for souls will bring the world to its knees… unless Arrah pays the price for the magic to stop him.

Thank you to HarperVoyager for sending me a proof copy!

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ARC Review // Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan

ARC Review // Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan

Everyone in Ballyfran has a secret, and that is what binds them together…

Fifteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfran, a strange isolated town, a place where, for the last sixty years, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains.

As distance grows between the twins – as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline begins to understand her own nascent witchcraft – Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. Not only foxes, owls and crows, but also supernatural beings who for many generations have congregated here to escape persecution. When Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be – or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister.

Dark and otherworldly, this is an enthralling story about the bond between sisters and the sacrifices we make for those we care about the most.

Huge thanks to Tina at Hot Key for sending me an ARC to read and review!

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Review // Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

Review // Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

The house at the end of the lane burned down, and Rita Frost and her teenage ward, Bevan, were never seen again. The townspeople never learned what happened.
Only Mae and her brother Rossa know the truth; they spent two summers with Rita and Bevan, two of the strangest summers of their lives…

Because nothing in that house was as it seemed: a cat who was more than a cat, and a dark power called Sweet James that lurked behind the wallpaper, enthralling Bevan with whispers of neon magic and escape. And in the summer heat, Mae became equally as enthralled with Bevan. Desperately in the grips of first love, she’d give the other girl anything.
A dangerous offer when all that Sweet James desired was a taste of new flesh…

Huge thank you to Titan Books for sending me an early review copy.

So I’m currently trying to work out how to write this entire review without gushing or spoiling everything… here we go!

I’ve been so excited to read Other Words for Smoke; I loved Sarah’s first novel, Spare and Found Parts, and since hearing her speak about OWFS at an event last year and reading a sampler, I’ve been hooked. Obviously I went into this book with high expectations but Sarah’s gorgeous writing surpassed them all.
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ARC Review // Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

ARC Review // Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most cruel.

But this year, there’s a ninth girl. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this lush fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most oppressed class in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards still haunts her. Now, the guards are back, and this time it’s Lei they’re after–the girl whose golden eyes have piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but stifling palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit being a king’s consort. But Lei isn’t content to watch her fate consume her. Instead, she does the unthinkable–she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens the very foundation of Ikhara, and Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide just how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

TW: violence and sexual abuse.

Girls of Paper and Fire was one of my most highly anticipated releases of this year, so I was over the moon when I managed to snag an ARC of it at YALC. I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint and has quickly become a favourite of mine!

Girls is an Asian inspired fantasy that follows Lei, a human girl who lives in a world controlled by the Moon caste (anthropomorthised animals). Steel (humans with animal features) are also above Paper (human) castes, the lowest of all. Every year, eight Paper girls are chosen to serve as concubines to the Moon Caste king. This year, however, rumours of Lei’s golden eyes – never seen in a Paper caste before – have reached the King, and she is taken away from her family to be the ninth girl. What follows is a story of intrigue, justice and forbidden love.
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