ARC Reviews

ARC Review: Charming As A Verb – Ben Philippe - Henri Haltiwanger is a popular, hard-working senior at a prestigious Manhattan high school who runs a dog walking business on the side. His one life-long ambition is to attend the ivy league university of his dreams, Columbia. However, his neighbour and classmate, Corinne Troy, has figured out that his so called business isn't entirely legit. Corinne has her own troubles and is seen as 'intense' for her study habits and has a hard time fitting into the social scene. So in return for keeping Henri's secret, she blackmails him into helping her socialize more and better her image at school. Henri, having no choice, agrees, but is surprised when he finds himself wanting to get to know her better as they begin to spend more and more time together.…
Crownchasers – Rebecca Coffindaffer – ARC Review - Emperor Atar Faroshti is on his deathbed, and his final wish is a surprising one. Instead of naming an heir, he instead initiates the first crownchase in centuries, a race across the galaxy to locate the royal seal which has been hidden somewhere in the vast empire. Each of the empire's prime families send a representative, and the Faroshti family's is the Emperor's niece, Alyssa Farshot. Alyssa is not pleased to be pulled back into the family legacy she has long been trying to outrun, and she would rather be out there in her ship, exploring the galaxy as she has been for the past several years. But seeing it as her duty to fulfill her uncle's dying request, she prepares herself to take part in one last adventure even though the throne is the last thing she wants. More pieces are at play around this crownchase however, from political maneuvering and power plays by the prime families to the supposedly neutral religious group that holds the stewardship of the empire until the race is won, the crownchasers are getting into much more than they anticipated as the already competitive race through space turns deadly.…
Kingdom of Ice and Bone – Jill Criswell – ARC Review - Lira and Reyker are separated, each believing the other to be dead. But they are determined to complete their missions: to defeat Draki and save their homelands. Reyker could not save Lira, but he is determined to honour her memory by protecting her people by doing the one thing he never thought he'd do - return to being a Dragonman. Lira on the other hand, takes a different path. Imbued with the power of the Fallen Gods, she accepts the chance they offer her to take down Draki and sets off on a journey that takes her to Iseneld. Though they don't know it, Lira and Reyker's paths are destined to cross once more, but the cost of defeating Draki will be higher than either of them have imagined.…
The Left-Handed Booksellers of London – Garth Nix – ARC Review - Aspiring art student Susan Arkshaw arrives in London to search for the father she has never known, and falls headlong into a world of myth and monsters when she witnesses Merlin St. Jacques use a silver hatpin to turn Frank Thringley (who she calls Uncle, but is apparently a crime boss and a sipper) to dust. One escape from a dangerous black fog and an attack by a warden, it becomes clear that Susan is a target for some reason - and that has something to do with who her father is. The booksellers, the ancient organization to which Merlin belongs, are tasked with policing the boundaries between the Old World and the modern, but incursions are now increasing to an alarming extent. Merlin himself, however, is investigating the circumstances behind his mother's death, certain that the someone in the Old World instigated it. When it quickly becomes clear that these two mysteries are linked, they team up to follow the path of a long closed police investigation while trying to figure out how Susan's past ties into all of it.…
The Silvered Serpents – Roshani Chokshi – ARC Review - The Fallen House was successfully thwarted in the catacombs of Paris, but the terrible events that followed still haunts Séverin and his crew. Tristan's death has hit all of them hard, and they have mostly gone their separate ways. Desperate to put things right, Séverin gathers them together for one last job - to find the legendary Sleeping Palace where the lost treasures of the Fallen House are rumoured to be hidden, and with it, a tome known as The Divine Lyrics which supposedly grants it's owner the power of God. But as their hunt leads them out of Paris and into the icy expanse of Siberia, they must face not only the deadly obstacles and traps laid by their enemies, but also the demons of their own pasts in this sequel where the stakes are higher than ever.…
Majesty – Katharine McGee – ARC Review - Following the death of King George, Beatrice, Sam, Nina and Daphne are all adjusting to the new status quo. Beatrice begins to step into her role America's first queen, but obstacles are already popping up and her engagement to Teddy looms over it all. Sam, used to being the spare, is now unexpectedly the heir and subject to even more unwelcome scrutiny, making her even more determined to live up to her party princess persona. Nina, well, she is resolutely trying to put recent events behind her - especially Jeff - and avoid the palace to live as normal a life as she can, which definitely did not include Jeff's best friend suddenly trying to get close to her. And where royalty is, Daphne is not far behind, and she is determined to get back together with Prince Jefferson, but her darkest secrets come back to threaten everything she has worked for.…
The Night Portrait – Laura Morelli – ARC Review - The year is 1492, and Leonardo Da Vinci makes his way to Milan in hope of seeking the patronage of the Duke Ludovico Sforza and pursue his passion of building great machines and inventions. Yet, in the Milanese court, it is his skill at painting that will help him survive as he is commissioned to paint the Duke's young mistress, Cecilia Gallerani. Cecilia and Leonardo strike up a friendship, and as Cecilia struggles to maintain her position in the palace, the portrait begins to take shape. Hundreds of years later, that very portrait, better known as the Lady with an Ermine, is now a priceless artifact, and during the mass appropriations of artworks and treasures from across Europe, lands in the possession of a high-ranking Nazi officer. Edith Becker, an art conservator from Munich, is horrified at what she has unwittingly enabled, resolves to save it, along with countless other treasures she assesses and catalogs daily, risking her life to do so by working with Dominic, an American soldier of the Monuments Men.…
Queen of Volts – Amanda Foody – ARC Review - Jonas Maccabees of the Scarhands has been executed, but with his last breath, has plunged New Reynes into chaos (yet again) by outing Enne as the last living Mizer. But Enne's identity being revealed quickly becomes a minor worry, as one last deadly Shadow Game has been initiated. The field has rapidly changed as a result of the election and recent street wars, and twenty two of New Reynes' most influential from all walks of life are chosen, and they have no choice but to play. The most dangerous opponent yet has appeared, seemingly stepping straight out of legend, and as the game grows more vicious by the day, it's not about winning or losing anymore - it's about surviving.…
Where Dreams Descend – Janella Angeles – ARC Review [300th Blog Post!] - Kallia has lived in Hellfire House, a private club, for most of her life, perfecting her performing magic under the master of the House, Jack. But she yearns to see the world outside the House, particularly the city that lies beyond the Dire Woods that surround it - Glorian. Jack has always been staunchly against it, stating that Glorian is no place for magicians until one day, Kallia discovers a flyer announcing a magician's competition in that very city. Uncovering some shocking secrets Jack has been keeping from her, Kallia escapes, determined to prove herself capable as she faces off against nine other magicians displaying their feats of magic in a city whose past is mired in mystery to win and become the headliner of the famous Conquering Circus. But she soon finds out that there might have been some weight to Jack's words after all, as competitors start to go missing and danger seems to lurk in the shadows.…
Ignite the Sun – Hanna Howard – ARC Review - Siria Nightingale lives in an island kingdom which has been shrouded by shadow for fifteen years by the witch Queen Iyzabel according to whom the light of the sun is dangerous. She has always been fascinated by stories of the old days when light still shone over the kingdom, something no one understands, especially her parents. But determined to please them and win their approval at long last, she sets out for the royal court, hoping to be chosen to serve the Queen. At the Choosing Ball however, she finds out that she is the last living sunchild, a fire nymph, capable of bringing back the sun. Siria must now journey north with a group of rebels and train her powers before the vernal equinox to lift the Darkness once and for all.…
Star Daughter – Shveta Thakrar – ARC Review - Sheetal Mistry is accustomed to secrets - after all, she's been hiding her true self all her life. Unknown to any but a few, Sheetal is the daughter of a star - her mother who returned to the celestial court many years ago. But her abilities have been acting up of late, and it is getting harder to hide by the day. When her starfire flares up and her father is accidentally injured in the process, she knows there is only one medicine that can heal him - a drop of blood from a full star. Accompanied by her friend Minal, Sheetal journeys to the celestial court where she hopes to reunite with her mother and finds that the competition to determine the next ruling house of the skies is about to begin. The flares of power she has been experiencing were in fact a summons, calling her to be her family's champion in this contest and in order to return to Earth with what she needs to save her father, she will need to win.…
Bookish and the Beast – Ashley Poston – ARC Review - The third installment in the Once Upon A Con series brings us a geekish retelling of Beauty and the Beast following Vance Reigns, who plays the villainous General Sond in the Starfield movie, and small town girl Rosie Thorn, a high school senior and Starfield fan who is trying to work her way through the aftermath of her mother's death. Vance has been basically Hollywood royalty since birth, but that also comes with a lot of scrutiny, and he isn't exactly the golden boy, so when his latest misadventure hits the tabloids, he is shipped off to a small town in North Caroline where the director of Starfield has a secluded house to lay low until things settle down. When Vance and Rosie's paths cross, resulting in a priceless book being damaged, Rosie agrees to work in the house's library to pay off the debt. They take an instant dislike to each other, and things only get more complicated when they realize that they've met before while cosplaying at the last ExcelsiCon and have been thinking about it since.…
Set Fire to the Gods – Sara Raasch & Kristen Simmons – ARC Review - In a world ruled by six gods, each possessing a specific type of energeia - elemental power - there are the Divine, who have inherited energeia from their god, and the powerless Undivine who are second class citizens. In the domain of the earth god Geoxus, Madoc has grown up fighting on the streets to support his family, but he guards a dangerous secret - his elemental power is not of the earth as it is supposed to be, but something that has never been seen before. Ash is from a line of gladiators directly descended from the fire god Ignitus himself, and has seen her mother fight in arenas all her life. When Ash interferes in a fight to help her mother, it sets off a disastrous chain of events, and Geoxus declares war on Ignitus. But war in this world is more of a festival, a two week long spectacle of gladiator fights, ending in a fight to the death between the champions of the two countries. Ash swears to avenge her mother by killing Ignitus and upon meeting Madoc, realizes at once that his power is unique and would be a useful weapon, but Madoc's priority is keeping his family safe and he is determined not to get involved. But there is a plot afoot as a famous gladiator disappears and turns up dead under mysterious circumstances, leading Ash and Madoc to suspect that not only are the gods involved somehow, but are in fact plotting something much bigger - something that will place Madoc at the center of an ancient war.…
Harrow the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir – ARC Review - After the chaos that was the end of Gideon the Ninth, Harrow is now a Lyctor in the service of the God Emperor, fighting what seems to be a war on multiple fronts. On one hand, there are a group of rebels who are anti-necromancy, determined to take down the Emperor and on the other, a set of dangerous creatures known as Resurrection Beasts that are actually the ghosts of dead planets seeking revenge against the Emperor and his Lyctors for stealing their thanergy. Under the guidance of the other three Lyctors, she and Ianthe train in the Mithraeum, the Emperor's space station, in order to prepare for the battle against one of these beasts that has found their location. But settling into Lyctorhood is not easy for Harrow - her ascension has gone hugely wrong, she can't even trust her own mind, oh and one of her new teachers is actively trying to kill her for some reason.…
10 Things I Hate About Pinky – Sandhya Menon – ARC Review - Priyanka 'Pinky' Kumar is very passionate about the various social causes she supports, no matter how obscure, something her corporate lawyer parents aren't too pleased about. After years of being homeschooled due to his mother's ill health and smothered by her overprotectiveness, Samir is venturing all the way to DC for an internship with a reputed law firm. But when his internship falls through, Samir is not quite ready to return to California. Pinky on the other hand is tired of being harassed about her poor decisions even on vacation and comes up with a plan to have Harvard law-bound Samir, her sort of frenemy, be her fake boyfriend for the summer to prove that she is more than her past bad choices.…
The Crow Rider – Kalyn Josephson – ARC Review - After narrowly escaping Illucia, Thia, her storm crow Res, and her friends are seeking alliances with the other kingdoms in an effort to take down Queen Razel. With Res exhibiting a variety of powers not typical of Storm Crows, and Thia has to learn the extent of his abilities and train with him which will prove critical in the upcoming battles. Razel continues to relentlessly seek vengeance, but that's not all - an old enemy, long dismissed as mere myth, has risen in the shadows and is working with Razel to destroy Rhodaire and Thia for their own reasons. Thia must now step up into a leadership role to save her country and people and win the alliances they desperately need to survive.…
The Black Swan of Paris – Karen Robards – ARC Review - In wartime Paris, Genevieve Dumont is a celebrated singer favoured by the Nazis who uses her fame and the privileges she is afforded as an artist to help the resistance undetected - passing messages to allies, smuggling refugees across borders disguised as part of her troupe and more. The allied invasion is drawing closer when Lillian de Rocheford, Genevieve's estranged mother, is captured. To prevent her from giving away any information, the resistance is prepared to go to any length to silence her. But Genevieve is determined to save her, and she and her long-lost sister Emmie must put aside their differences and find a way to cross the dangerous territory of Occupied France to save their mother's life.…
Hunted by the Sky – Tanaz Bhathena – ARC Review - A prophecy foretells the downfall of the cruel Raja Lohar of Ambar at the hands of one who bears a star-shaped birthmark and ever since, girls across Swapnalok with this mark have been disappearing. As Gul, who bears such a mark, flees her home, hiding from the Sky Warriors who murdered her parents, she runs into a group of rebels known as the Sisterhood of the Golden Lotus who take her in and train her in magic. Two years pass and though Gul can only just barely wield her magic, her thirst for revenge has not abated, and she is determined to find a way into the palace. Enter Cavas, a non-magus boy who lives in the tenements with his ailing father and is considering leaving his position in the royal stables to join the king's army. A chance meeting at the bazaar on the night of the moon festival ends up with both of them being drawn into the plot as reluctant partners.…
Sisters of Sword and Song – Rebecca Ross – ARC Review - Evadne of Isaura is eagerly awaiting the return of her sister Halcyon who left to join the queen's army eight years ago. But when the time comes for the sisters to be reunited, Halcyon appears earlier than planned, on the run from her commander and charged with murder. At her trial, Halcyon is sentenced to a harsh punishment, but Eva is determined to find out the truth behind what happened and volunteers to take on part of her sentence. Eva begins her five year servitude in the commander's household, she quickly realizes that there is much more at stake than is initially evident.…
You Say It First – Katie Cotugno – ARC Review - Meg is a high school senior who has always been interested in politics and truly believes in the system, volunteering at various events and working part-time at a voter registration call centre, encouraging people to sign up and vote on election day. One such call connects her to a boy in Ohio who instantly gets under her skin. Colby, who has problems of his own and has been going through a difficult time lately, is not interested in being preached to and ends the conversation rather bluntly. Rather than ending matters there however, Meg, against the rules, reaches out again with an apology and one phone call turns into many more, resulting in a long-distance friendship between two people who couldn't be more different if they tried.…
The Arbella Stuart Conspiracy – Alexandra Walsh – ARC Review - Now safely back at Marquess House with the two Tudor rings, all that remains for this age old conspiracy to unfold is the missing silver locket. With the discovery of a previously sealed off grotto under the mansion, several chests of old journals and documents along with a few portraits are found, which may just hold the key to discovering what was hidden away at Marquess House all those centuries ago. As the sisters begin to unravel the last piece of this mystery, the story in the past timeline now sets its focus on Arbella Stuart towards the end of Elizabeth's reign. As a potential successor to the throne, Arbella has always played a precarious game at court, but she was also deeply involved in the elaborate plot concocted by the Ladies of Melusine to protect the Tudor twins. Marquess House holds secrets yet to be found, and the answer is within reach, yet the sisters are in more danger than ever before as their enemies seem to be drawing ever closer.…
The Paper Girl of Paris – Jordyn Taylor – ARC Review - Sixteen year old Alice Prewitt has just inherited an apartment in Paris from her grandmother that no one in the family has ever heard about before. She finds an apartment perfectly preserved in time, untouched since the years of World War II, but more interesting are some old photos and the diary of her great-aunt Adalyn, whom no one knew existed, which set her off on a quest to uncover long buried family secrets.…
The Jewel Thief – Jeannie Mobley – ARC Review - The Jewel Thief takes us back in time to 17th century France, to the court of the Sun King, Louis XIV, who has just acquired the diamond called the Tavernier Violet that is today known as the Hope Diamond. The Crown Jeweller, Jean Pitau, is entrusted with cutting this precious gem to make it shine, a herculean task, considering its odd shape. His daughter Juliette watches as the seemingly impossible demand the King has made sends her father into a deep depression and she resolves to do whatever it takes to get the job done. From her cell in the Bastille, Juliette narrates her story as she stands accused of stealing the diamond, and the court-appointed scribe, her lost love Rene, records the confession upon which her fate rests.…
The Archer At Dawn – Swati Teerdhala – ARC Review - Now allies in the quest to find the long-lost Princess Reha and rescue her from King Vardaan's clutches, Kunal and Esha undertake the next steps in the rebels' dangerous plan to take back the throne and restore the magical bond to the land. The Sun Mela, a grand yearly spectacle of games and celebrations provides the perfect opportunity - Kunal returns to his soldier's life, now as a newly promoted Senap, infiltrating the citadel as a Mela champion, while Esha accompanies the Dharkan delegation as an advisor to Prince Harun. But more forces are at play in the Jansan capital of Gwali than any of them realize - Vardaan has some surprises planned on top of the excitement of the festivities, not to mention the Scales, led by the mysterious Dharmdev, who have their own plans to topple Vardaan. The Sun Mela is about to prove to be a test of loyalty for both our heroes.…
Daughter of the Reich – Louise Fein – ARC Review - Hetty Heinrich is the perfect German daughter. With her father working his way up the ranks of the SS and her brother set to join the Luftwaffe, Hetty has been raised to be faithful to the Nazi ideology, and never thinks to question it until the day she runs into someone from her past - Walter Keller, a childhood friend estranged due to his being Jewish, who once saved her life. As they begin to spend more time together, fully aware of how risky it is, Hetty begins to realize that whatever she has been taught are all lies and she becomes determined to do something to fight it. But anti-Semitism is on the rise across Germany, and when it becomes so bad as to threaten Walter's life and any plans the two of them had for the future, Hetty is faced with some overwhelming decisions to make, conscious that one mistake could mean the end of everything for both of them.…
The Betrothed – Kiera Cass – ARC Review - Lady Hollis Brite is on the verge of having her dreams come true. King Jameson of Coroa has all but declared her his future queen, something she has always hoped for, having grown up in Keresken Castle amongst other daughters of nobility with the exact same aim. But while her elevation in status comes with many luxuries and honours, Hollis begins to realize the weight of expectations and responsibilities that will also fall on her shoulders with this step into royal life. When the Isolten Eastoffe family comes to court to seek refuge and settle in Coroa, she meets the mysterious Silas Eastoffe and starts to wonder if there is a life outside the palace for her, better than the one she has always striven for, where she can be something more than an ornament to the throne.…
The Queen of Paris: A Novel of Coco Chanel – Pamela Binnings Ewen – ARC Review - The Queen of Paris is a glimpse into the life of Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel better known as Coco Chanel during the years of World War II. On one hand, the Nazi occupy Paris, and on the other, Coco's business partner has escaped to America taking with him the confidential formula of the world famous Chanel No. 5 perfume. Fearing a double cross that might see her cut out of her business and the loss of her life's work, she begins a legal battle for the ownership of the House of Chanel and is determined to win at any cost, using the fact that her business partner is Jewish to her favour, and even collaborating with the Nazis.…
Ruthless Gods – Emily A. Duncan – ARC Review - Since the end of Wicked Saints, when the plot to kill the King of Tranavia went awry, Malachiasz has retreated to the Salt Mines in his new monstrous form following his failed attempt to become a god. Serefin is now king, but the suspicious circumstances behind his ascension to the throne has done him no favours with the nobility and his young reign is already under threat - and that's not even considering the new voice in his head, possibly a God's. Nadya is still at the Tranavian court, posing as a minor noble - but the deception is coming apart and if it is revealed that she is in fact a Kalyazin cleric, her life will be in danger. The war between Tranavia and Kalyazin still rages, but they are the main players anymore. A darker and more dangerous force is taking over, and they are now merely pawns in the game. …
Mini Reviews #10 - Hello readers! It's time for another round of Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don't write full length reviews for. This installment, let's chat about: The Shadows Between Us, Raavan: Enemy of Aryavarta and The Warrior Queen.…
All Your Twisted Secrets – Diana Urban – ARC Review - All Your Twisted Secrets follows six high school students who are invited to a scholarship dinner, but arrive to find themselves trapped in a room. On the table is a syringe containing poison, a bomb and a note saying that they have one hour to decide who amongst themselves will die, or the bomb goes off and kills them all. Amber is determined to get everyone out alive, but even as they frantically search for a way out, the bigger question is why they are all there - six students who couldn't be more unalike, but each have secrets tying them to the others, secrets that could ruin them, and as the hour ticks by and logic gives way to panic, they are all about to be revealed.…
The Devil’s Thief – Lisa Maxwell - Picking up right after the shocking ending of The Last Magician, The Devil's Thief finds Esta and Harte somehow managing to cross the Brink and make it off the island, as they begin their quest to retrieve the four stones scattered across America. But the world beyond the Brink is very different from what they have been told. With the book's power now inside Harte, and Esta's affinity also affected by it, an attempt to make a short jump in time to save themselves from Jack results in an accidental two year jump into the future, landing them in a much changed world of 1904 where they head to St Louis and the World's Fair to find the first of the stones. Back in 1902, Violet and Jianyu find themselves in very precarious positions after Dolph's murder, no longer under the protection of the Devil's Own in a city increasingly controlled by the Order, the gangs, or in certain cases, an alliance of both. With Nibsy Lorcan manipulating events in both the past and future, the stakes are about to become higher than ever.…
The Vanishing Deep – Astrid Scholte – ARC Review - The Vanishing Deep is set in a future where nearly all land has been submerged due to the Great Waves. One of many now surviving in floating cities built on reefs, Tempe is a diver who searches the ruins of the sunken cities for things she can sell, and ever since her sister Elysea died, she has been saving up for a very expensive program that will revive her for a single day so that she can discover the truth of what really happened to her parents. Elysea has other plans once revived though and she and Tempe break out of the facility on Palindromena in search of answers. Two employees are not far behind though. Lor and Raylan know they must get Elysea back before the twenty four hours are up or the consequences will be disastrous - for more than just Elysea, because the true cost of the revival process is a dark secret Palindromena has guarded all these years.…
Mini Reviews #9 - Hello readers! It's time for another round of Mini Reviews, where I talk about some of the books I don't write full length reviews for. This installment, let's chat about three books: We Unleash the Merciless Storm, Blood Countess, and Scavenge the Stars.…
Of Curses and Kisses – Sandhya Menon – ARC Review - Princess Jaya Rao arrives at the elite St Rosetta's Academy with a single goal in mind - get revenge on her family's longtime enemies, the aristocratic Emersons, more specifically, the heir, by breaking his heart, in retaliation for slandering her little sister Isha in the media. Lord Grey Emerson has gone through life believing himself the victim of a centuries-old curse by a Rao matriarch, and his father has always told him that he was doomed to die on his eighteenth birthday, causing him to isolate himself. When Jaya, his known familial rival shows up at St Rosetta's, wearing a very familiar ruby rose pendant, he immediately questions her intentions. But time is ticking down for Grey, and with each day, the curse seems to be a step closer to coming true.…
Diamond City – Francesca Flores – ARC Review - Diamond City follows the story of Aina Solis, who is rescued from a life on the streets of Kosin by a gang lord and trained as an assassin. Years later, she is given her toughest job yet, but also the one that could be her way out of the gang. All Aina has ever wanted was to fulfill her debt to her boss, Kohl Pavel, and open her own tradehouse - and Kohl agrees, as long as she successfully completes this one last big job for him. But when the assassination attempt goes wrong, she finds herself for the first time in years, not only out of the boss' protection, at the mercy of Kosin's cutthroat streets, but also caught in an increasingly dangerous game of politics.…
Belle Révolte – Linsey Miller – ARC Review - Emilie des Marais is a Comtesse born to wealth and comfort, destined for finishing school to study the midnight arts of divining and illusion, but all she wants is to study the noonday arts and become a physician, something forbidden to women, particularly noblewomen. But when she meets Annette, a commoner, who wants nothing more than to study magic, Emilie devises a plan. Annette will go to finishing school in her place while she will head to the university to become a physician's assistant. But unrest is rife in the country with an underground resistance group against the king called Laurel , and when war is declared with the neighbouring country, the girls find themselves uncovering some very dangerous secrets and must work together to bring the truth to light and end the king's atrocities.…
Deathless Divide – Justina Ireland – ARC Review - Deathless Divide finds our characters fleeing the now overrun town of Summerland in search of safety to Nicodemus, another nearby town which is supposedly free of the inequality and discrimination that plagued Summerland. But Nicodemus has problems of its own, not counting those that have followed them from Summerland, and the horde is slowly, but surely making its way there as well.…
Spellhacker – M K England – ARC Review - Magic, known as maz, was freely available in Kyrkarta before an earthquake contaminated it with a plague, killing thousands, and a corporation stepped in and commercialized it. Years later, Diz and her friends are running their last job illegally siphoning maz when they accidentally siphon something they weren't supposed to find. Now they have said corporation, the MMC, wanting to kill them so that they don't expose the secret of what turns out to be the secret, fifteenth strain of maz. But the friends have stumbled onto something far more dangerous than just a new strain of maz - they've accidentally unearthed a conspiracy that will have massive repercussions and possibly destroy the world if the MMC is not stopped.…
Dark and Deepest Red – Anna Marie McLemore – ARC Review - In this retelling of The Red Shoes, a dancing fever strikes Strasbourg in the year 1518, and amidst accusation of witchcraft, the blame turns to the most easy targets - Lavinia and her aunt who are Romani in hiding. Five hundred years later, the fever strikes again, and this time, the victim is Rosella Oliva, whose family is famous for the red shoes they make. But the shoes seem to be leading her straight to Emil, who, unknown to her, is related to Lavinia, and uncovering the truth of past events may be what decides if Rosella will survive the dancing curse.…
Infinity Son – Adam Silvera – ARC Review - Adam Silvera's first fantasy novel takes us into New York in an alternate world where there are some people who are born with powers known as celestials and specters, who kill magical creatures to get powers. Brighton has always longed to be a celestial and join the heroic Spell Walkers, while his brother Emil wants no part in it and just seeks some peace in the middle of all the conflict. The fight between the Spell Walkers and specters is escalating by the day, and the people are beginning to turn against those with powers. But when the brothers get into a brawl with a specter, it's Emil who gains a power, one never seen before, and Emil, who never wanted to be a hero, or fight, finds himself catapulted into the heart of the conflict that is quickly turning into a fight for their lives.…
The King’s Questioner – Nikki Katz – ARC Review - Kalen, who has the gift of seeing people's memory with a single touch, is the King's Questioner, and assists in questioning prisoners for the King. But when Prince Cirrus falls into a coma one day and Kalen goes into his mind to wake him, he comes across a long buried memory that hides a terrible secret - the prince has a sister, who was sent away due to her terrifying gift. A sister, who was prophesied to be either the survival or destruction of the kingdom. And with unrest against the crown rising in the city, Kalen must now set off on a quest with his once-friend, Prince Cirrus, to bring home the princess.…
A Heart So Fierce And Broken – Brigid Kemmerer – ARC Review - Rhen's curse is finally broken, but Emberfall isn't out of trouble yet. Rumours of him not being the true heir continue to circulate and the people are discontent. Meanwhile, Grey has made it out of the modern world and back home, but is living in hiding, determined to keep the knowledge of his birth a secret. But when Karis Luran threatens to invade once again and his secret is revealed, the only way to save Emberfall might be to challenge Rhen after all.…
Dangerous Alliance: An Austentacious Romance – Jennieke Cohen – ARC Review - Lady Victoria Aston leads a comfortable and idyllic life on her family's country estate, and with her older sister well married, she enjoys a considerable amount of freedom. But when her sister unexpectedly arrives home, fleeing her abusive husband, Vicky must marry quickly before the matter becomes public and the family is ruined. However, her beloved Austen novels are little help against the London season and worse, she finds herself the victim of several mysterious accidents as the days go by, making her question everyone and everything around her.…
Crown of Oblivion – Julie Eshbaugh – ARC Review - Astrid is an Outsider, a class of people in Lanoria who do not hold citizenship or have access to magic, and serve the citizens as indentured servants. As a surrogate to the Princess, Astrid bears the punishment for any of her misdemeanours. There is one way out however - the deadly race of Oblivion, which grants the winner and their family citizenships and full rights. Circumstances lead to Astrid signing up for the race, and with her memory wiped clean by the drug Oblivion, she must make her way through the deadly race, all the while trying to figure out her past, and more importantly, why she has abilities - magic - that no Outsider should have, something that, if known to others, would get her arrested before she can win.…
The First Lady and the Rebel – Susan Higginbotham – ARC Review - The First Lady and the Rebel is narrated from the perspectives of two sisters on opposing sides of the unfolding American Civil War as their family is divided by politics - First Lady Mary Lincoln and her sister Emily Helm, who was married to the confederate general Hardin Helm.…
The Athena Protocol – Shamim Sarif – ARC Review - The Athena Protocol is a vigilante organization of female spies who go on missions around the world to enact justice and save girls and women. But when Jessie takes things into her own hands on a mission and kills a man holding a group of girls hostage, she is forced to leave the organization - right before a big mission to stop a human trafficker in Belgrade. Regardless, Jessie starts her own investigation into the situation as she is sure there is a link her teammates are missing. As she digs deeper into the trafficking, she must also dodge her former teammates even as the mission grows more dangerous by the day.…
The Memory Thief – Lauren Mansy – ARC Review - Etta lives in the city of Craewick which is ruled by the ruthless Madame. In this world, Gifted individuals can transfer memories through touch. Four years ago, after an accident that left her mother in a coma, Etta made a deal with Madame to keep her safe in the asylum. But now, Madame threatens to put her mother up for auction, to sell all her memories, and the only way Etta can save her is to seek the aid of the rebel group known as the Shadows - the same group Etta was once sworn to, and betrayed. To prove her loyalty this time though, she must embark on a quest to steal a map of a dangerous prison known as the Maze from the mind of the cruel ruler of a neighbouring city and free someone she has thought long dead.…
Shadow Frost – Coco Ma – ARC Review - A mysterious demon has been terrorizing the kingdom of Axaria, and after several unsuccessful attempts to subdue it, Princess Asterin is unwilling to risk anyone else. She sets out with a set of trusted companions to kill it herself. But as their hunt progresses, they begin to realize there is far more at play than meets the eye - starting with an assassination attempt on the Princess herself.…
Angel Mage – Garth Nix – ARC Review - If there was one ARC I was hoping for this year, it was this one. I've followed the Old Kingdom series over the years and I completely adore it, so when I heard about Angel Mage, it was an automatic addition to my TBR. Like all of Garth Nix's other books I've read before, Angel Mage takes its time setting up the world, all the while building the mystery. The world itself is heavily influenced by The Three Musketeers, and I love how much attention has been given to detail in this aspect.…
Cursed – Thomas Wheeler & Frank Miller – ARC Review – Blog Tour - Cursed retells the famous legend, with one major difference. It isn't Arthur the Sword of Power chooses, but Nimue. Nimue belongs to the clan of Fey known as the Sky Folk, and due to a run in with a dark beast when she was young, she has a connection to dark magic which has always made her an outcast in her village. But when the Red Paladins, a section of the Church who have made it their mission to wipe out the Fey Folk, attack her village, Nimue finds herself journeying across England to fulfill her mother's last wish: to return the sword to Merlin. But knowledge that the Sword of Power has surfaced again has spread across the country, and Nimue is caught between multiple forces who all want to claim the sword for themselves - King Uther Pendragon, the Viking Ice King and the Catholic Church, all fixated on the ancient prophecy.…
Slay – Brittney Morris – ARC Review - Kiera Johnson is a high school student who has secretly developed an online game called Slay to create a safe space for black gamers in a community that is not all that inclusive for them, a game specifically for black people. But when a tragedy occurs over a dispute in the game, and a player is murdered, news of the game is made public, and Slay is labelled as a racist and violent game by the media, despite never having played the game themselves. What's worse, if her identity as the developer of the game is revealed, she even might face a lawsuit.…
Tiger Queen – Annie Sullivan – ARC Review - As per an ancient law, Kateri, Princess of the desert kingdom of Achra must triumph over twelve suitors in the arena to prove her right and suitability to rule. But the situation in the city is far more troublesome. The King has decreased water rations again due to the continuing drought and the people are not happy. What's more, a group of thieves known as the Desert Boys frequently raid the wells and deplete the already low reserves of water. Kateri has now defeated eleven suitors, but the twelfth she knows she cannot beat - unless she has some outside help. And so she finds herself turning to the last person she ever thought she'd ask, the leader of the Desert Boys himself.…
Gideon the Ninth – Tamsyn Muir – ARC Review - Gideon Nav is an abandoned orphan who has been raised in the Ninth House, surrounded by skeletons and various undead, always considered as an outsider and she has had enough of it. Nothing is going to stop her from escaping, except for Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter and de facto Lady of the Ninth House - and also her chief nemesis. But when a summons arrives from the Emperor, inviting the heirs of the nine houses to face a deadly set of trials for an opportunity to earn the title of Lyctor, Harrow offers her a deal - if Gideon becomes her cavalier and accompanies her through the trials, Harrow will set her free. But there is something dangerous at work in the First House, and as adepts and their cavaliers start getting murdered, Harrow and Gideon find themselves fighting for their lives even as the competition continues.…
A Treason of Thorns – Laura E. Weymouth – ARC Review - Burleigh House is one of six great houses in England, and Violet's family have been its caretakers for generations. But when her father commits treason and is punished with House arrest, which can only end with his death, Violet is forced to leave her home. When she finally returns seven years later, Burleigh lies in ruin and it's magic has become corrupt, severely damaging the countryside. Violet is in a race against time to do what she can to fix things before the king burns it down, but the House holds many secrets, and the price to free Burleigh is far higher than she knows.…
Eclipse the Skies – Maura Milan – ARC Review - With Einn's betrayal and the revelation of his plans to destroy the universe, Ia now finds herself fighting on the side of the Commonwealth. Brinn has accepted her Tawny identity, but public opinions on refugees are still the same, and with the Refugee act abolished, violence in the streets is rising by the day, placing her family at risk. Knives is now headmaster of Aphelion following Bastian's death, a position he never asked for and with war on the horizon, he finds himself caught between his duties and the weight of expectations placed on him as an office and following Ia's more unconventional tactics.…
The Lady Rogue – Jenn Bennett – ARC Review - Theodora Fox's father is a famous treasure hunter, and she has always wanted to travel the world with him, searching for these priceless artifacts, but is always left behind. But when Huck Gallagher, her father's protégé, arrives at her Istanbul hotel with the grave news that her father is missing, Theo and Huck set out on a journey across Romania, tracing his path to uncover the secret behind a magical ring that once belonged to the infamous Vlad the Impaler.…
Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin – ARC Review - Louise le Blanc is a witch who left her coven, living as a pickpocket in the city of Cesarine and hiding her magic in a city where witches are hunted and burned. Reid Diggory is a Chasseur, a witch-hunter, in service to the church and he lives by a single edict - to hunt down witches. When a robbery goes wrong, Lou and Reid cross paths, and through a series of completely unforeseen events, end up in an arranged marriage. Now living in the Chasseur's Tower, Lou is in the heart of enemy territory. But it isn't just the Chasseurs she has to hide from. The coven she fled two years ago is still searching for her, and being found out by either side means death for Lou.…
There Will Come A Darkness – Katy Rose Pool – ARC Review – 100th Blog Post! - The Order of the Last Light has kept secret the final prophecy given by the Prophets before their disappearance for a hundred years. The prophecy speaks of an age of darkness, but also of a saviour, the final Prophet who may be able to overcome the evil threatening the lands. And now at long last the Prophet has been found, and the prophecy is in motion. Hassan, Ephyra, Anton, Jude and Beru, all from completely different walks of life, are brought together unexpectedly due to the prophecy. Which of them can cause the end the world and which of them can save it?…
Crown of Coral and Pearl – Mara Rutherford – ARC Review - In the ocean village of Varenia, beauty is everything. After all, the most beautiful girl of each generation is chosen to marry the Crown Prince of Ilara, to leave the village and see the world, something forbidden to other Varenians. It has long been expected that Zadie will be the chosen girl, but in a twist of events, it is her twin sister Nor who finds herself journeying to Ilara - pretending to be Zadie. But neither Ilara nor Prince Ceren are quite what Nor expected, and she finds herself adrift in a dangerous royal court where she must watch every step she takes.…
Rage – Cora Carmack – ARC Review - Aurora's adventure and brief freedom has drawn to an end as she returns to Pavan, now determined to retake the kingdom from the Lockes who have established themselves as the rulers following her "kidnapping". Still using the alias Roar, she ends up joining a rebellion even as fiercer and more violent storms descend on Pavan.…
Stepsister – Jennifer Donnelly - Stepsister begins with the ending of the original Grimm brothers' version Cinderella, immediately creating that delightful dark fairytale vibe. Ella and the prince ride off to their happy ending, but this story is about her stepsisters Isabelle and Octavia who are now stuck in a town which hates them for their mistreatment of Ella.…
The Merciful Crow – Margaret Owen – ARC Review - The Merciful Crow introduces us to the kingdom of Sabor which is split into twelve castes named after various birds. As the only caste immune to the fatal Sinner's Plague, the Crows' job is to act as a sort of mercy killers for those infected and safely dispose of the bodies. Fie, a future Crow chieftain, finds herself caught up in a conspiracy when, on their latest assignment, the bodies they are hauling away are not only alive, but the Crown Prince Jasimir of Sabor escaping the palace and his stepmother, Queen Rhusana, with his bodyguard Tavin in tow.…
Mind Games – Shana Silver – ARC Review - Arden Varga is a computer genius and a skilled hacker. At the exclusive STEM focussed high school she attends, everyone uses a technology called HiveMind, created by her father, which syncs to a persons brainwaves and allows them to upload all their memories into the cloud and access them at any time, essentially ensuring that you'll never forget anything. Arden however, has hacked this system, and has a business of stealing and selling others' memories along with her friend Zoey. Everything is great until Arden realizes that her own memory has not only been hacked but thousands of her memories are missing. Sebastian Cuomo, supposedly her project partner, has lost all of his memories, and the two of them quickly figure out that this whole thing is centred around their final project - something that was apparently life-changing, and something that the hacker doesn't want to see completed.…
Beasts of the Frozen Sun – Jill Criswell – ARC Review - Beasts of the Frozen Sun follows the story of Lira, daughter of the chieftain of clan Stone, and Reyker, a warrior from a distant, frozen land who is forced to fight for a warlord known as the Dragon.…
The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson – ARC Review - Elemental Crows are a key part of life in the kingdom of Rhodaire. When Illucian empire invades, they specifically target the Crows, burning down the rookeries and leaving the Queen and many others dead. As nearly all industries were dependent on the Crows' powers, the invasion, though Illucia failed to takeover, leaves Rhodaire not only vulnerable but also facing poverty, food shortages and unemployment. With the threat of a second attack by Illucia, Caliza, the new queen, is forced to agree to wed her younger sister Anthia to Ericen, the crown prince of Illucia. It is this that finally snaps Thia out of her depression and as she stumbles upon one solitary Crow egg, hidden in the rubble of a rookery, she knows that hatching the egg is the only way to reclaim what they lost and for Rhodaire to prosper once more.…
The Candle and the Flame – Nafiza Azad - Fatima is one of the only three survivors from the day the Shayateen slaughtered the people of Noor. Years later, Noor is thriving once more as an important city along the Silk Route, where humans and Ifrit djinn live side by side. But when one of the most powerful Ifrit dies, one Fatima is well acquainted with, it changes her and she enters a whole new world with a purpose far greater than anything she imagined.…
Sorcery of Thorns – Margaret Rogerson – ARC Review - Elisabeth Scrivener is an apprentice at the Great Library of Summershall, and dreams of one day becoming a warden, to safeguard the kingdom from the grimoires that the Libraries house.…
The Elizabeth Tudor Conspiracy – Alexandra Walsh – ARC Review - In this what-if story of Tudor England, it has been more than four decades since the birth of the twin children of Catherine Howard - two unknown, legitimate heirs to the Tudor throne. And Queen Elizabeth I has kept this secret close ever since the Lady Anne of Cleves entrusted it to her on her deathbed. But the unforeseen has happened - Philip II of Spain has found out about this and sees in it his opportunity to oust Elizabeth from the English throne.…
There’s Something About Sweetie – Sandhya Menon – ARC Review - This review is spoiler-free! Ashish Patel, star basketball player, is not in a very good place post breakup with his girlfriend and he's lost his confidence. Annoyed by his parents' comments that they could find someone perfect for him, he challenges them to set him up with an Indian-American girl like they did for his older brother Rishi.…
Oracle’s War – David Hair and Cath Mayo – ARC Review - Odysseus has returned home to Ithaca after his adventures and fallen back into routine, albeit an uneasy one, now that his entire family is aware of his heritage. Not for long though, as chaos descends upon his sister Ctimene's wedding, Odysseus sets out once more to avenge his family honour…
Descendant of the Crane – Joan He – ARC Review - This review is spoiler-free! Poised to ascend the throne after her father's sudden death, Princess Hesina of Yan suspects that his death was in fact a murder. Desperate to find more information, she consults a soothsayer - an act considered treasonous in Yan - who tells her that there is a convict who can help her find the killer.…
King of Fools – Amanda Foody – ARC Review - With the Chancellor dead at the end of the Shadow Game, Levi and Enne are now wanted criminals. The political situation in the city takes a nosedive and a street war seems imminent…
The Catherine Howard Conspiracy – Alexandra Walsh – ARC Review - A historical thriller with some Da Vinci Code style mystery, The Catherine Howard Conspiracy is a what if novel, positing that the tale of Henry VIII's fifth queen is not quite what it seems. Alexandra Walsh's take on Catherine Howard melds historical facts with some pretty realistic sounding fiction in a thoroughly engrossing read.…
Athena’s Champion – David Hair and Cath Mayo – ARC Review - Prince Odysseus of Ithaca travels to the Oracle at Pytho to be affirmed as his father's heir. But what should have been merely a routine ritual takes a shocking turn as a closely guarded secret is revealed, resulting in Odysseus being cast out into the world alone - a world where monsters and worse are bent upon killing him merely for who he is.…