Thursday, 26 September 2019

Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin 

Publishing Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 528
YA Fantasy

The Premise from the Publisher: "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. As a huntsman of the Church, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. But when Lou pulls a wicked stunt, the two are forced into an impossible situation—marriage. Lou, unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, must make a choice. And love makes fools of us all" (HarperCollins)

My overall thoughts and review: Full disclosure before I write my review: I have not read a lot of YA this year. My reading interests definitely shifted more towards contemporary romance and manga, and I found myself not loving all of the YA fantasy I was picking up, so I really did take a break from YA fantasy. I had heard really good things about this book at two book events now and they comped it to Sarah J. Maas in a way where it was mature/sexy, and I'll be honest that kind of sold me alone. The lovely team at Indigo Teen also sent me a copy so I dove in, and I knew from the first two chapters I would be hooked. I found myself trying to pace my reading, to savor it so I didn't finish it so quickly. And when I finished, I wanted to flip right back to the beginning and start all over again.

FRIENDS. I LOVED THIS BOOK. I knew that it would be an interesting dynamic because you follow the lead, Lou, who is a witch on the run, and of course she finds herself in a weird predicament: married to a Chasseur, a witch hunter no less! Mahurin gives us dual perspectives and that honestly made the reading experience so much better for me. If you are going to write about a romance, you need two perspectives!! Lou is on the run from her mother and you don't really know why in the beginning, but it is a heist to steal a ring that may protect her and hide her that starts off the book. From there, a series of events happen that lead her to Reid, our witch-hunter. I loved their dynamic right from the start! They were both from different worlds, but as they had to be around each other often, they softened up around each other, and just got to know one another. I love the enemies to lovers trope so much, and Mahurin did a great job executing it here. Their story was incredibly swoonworthy, and I just loved how sex positive the book was. This may be something to flag for younger readers, since it does mention sex explicitly, but for those romance and YA readers, this is definitely a treat for you all.

In addition to that, the world building was fantastic in the book. It felt like France and all the lore surrounding the history of the Church and the witches really tied the story up nicely. The story was more than Lou and Reid's relationship, and it also emphasized the broken relationship between man and witch. The end of the book hinted at another coven which we'll see in the second book of this duology, so I'm super excited to learn more about this world.

Lastly, you know I'm all for a good group of friends to go alongside the main characters, and I just loved, loved, LOVED the secondary characters Coco and Ansel. They added so much to the story, but they were also such lovable characters on their own. I can't wait to see more of them next book.

All in all, like I said above, I LOVED this book. I'm a little bit sad that I have to wait for the second part of this duology, but I honestly can't wait to dive back into this world. This was a fantastic YA fantasy read, and truly, I haven't loved something like this since SJM, so well done, Mahurin! If you haven't read this yet, what are you waiting for? This is a MUST read. And if you have read it, please come talk to me about it on twitter or email. I want to talk all things Serpent & Dove, and I'm about ready to make t-shirts that say Lou & Reid 5eva.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Indigo OR Indigo Book Box feat. Serpent & Dove

Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book from Indigo Books & Music Inc. in exchange for an honest review.* #IndigoEmployee 

Wednesday, 18 September 2019

[Excerpt Reveal] Park Avenue Player by Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward

Park Avenue Player
Release date: 9/23/2019
A Contemporary Romance Novel
New York Times Bestselling Authors Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland

#IndigoYAPreview | September 15, 2019

This past Sunday, I was lucky enough to attend Indigo's YA Preview, hosted by the folks who run Indigo Teen. It's always such a great time to get together with fellow bloggers and talk all things YA. They featured a ton of books for us to learn about and I'm going to share my most anticipated releases for the rest of this year and early next year. If there's anything I didn't touch on, I did tweet a lot a few days ago if you want to go back and check my archives. I will most likely be doing some more posts featuring lists as we gear up for the holiday season featuring a lot of the books that I won't mention today, so be on the lookout for that! Lastly, let me know below in the comments what books you are most looking forward to and why!

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Review: Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

Are You Listening? by Tillie Walden

Publishing Date: September 10, 2019
Publisher: first second
Pages: 320
Young Adult Graphic Novel

The Premise from the Publisher: "The graphic novel Are You Listening? is an intimate and emotionally soaring story about friendship, grief, and healing from Eisner Award winner Tillie Walden. Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak-and a startling revelation about sexual assault-culminating in an exquisite example of human connection. This magical realistic adventure from the celebrated comics creator of Spinning and On a Sunbeam will stay with readers long after the final gorgeously illustrated page" (first second).

My overall review and thoughts: It's been a while since I've read a graphic novel since I primarily read manga. But when they pitched this book at the #TeensReadFeed Raincoast Preview not too long ago, I was definitely intrigued by it! They described it as a magical realism text, drawing inspiration from Miyazaki. The story follows Bea and Lou, who end up on a road trip together. Bea is running away from home and Lou is trying to take some time to get over the death of her mother. They knew of one another from the neighborhood they grew up in, but not much more than that. As they travel together, they get to know one another and their anxieties, and just really open up to one another. They also pick up a furry friend along the way, D, a cat. They make a pact to get the cat home safely, but they are followed by some strange men. It's when the book definitely blends into that magical realism territory. The ARC copy I got was mostly in black and white with some teaser color pages, so I had a look through the finished copy in-store and it's just stunning. The black and white was lovely, but seeing the final product, it's definitely worth picking up. It follows two people who were running away from something and in the trip together, they just find themselves, but also a new friend in each other which was really nice to see. The book tackles themes of family, friendship, sexual assault, sexuality, and loss. I think fans of Walden's previous books will definitely enjoy this one. It kind of reminded me David Arnold's Mosquitoland!

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮½ - 3.5/5 stars

Available for purchase:
Indigo/Chapters - Kobo - Amazon - Kindle - Book Depository
Disclaimer: I received an advanced reader's copy from Raincoast Books in exchange for consideration/review. All opinions are my own.

Tuesday, 10 September 2019

[Release Blitz] Truly Yours by Kennedy Fox - Review

Truly Yours, the anticipated conclusion of Mason & Sophie's story is HERE from Kennedy Fox! 

This is a friends-to-lovers roommate romance filled with drama, suspense, and, of course, plenty of angsty slow burn goodness you've come to expect in a Kennedy Fox book!

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

Review: Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Butterfly in Frost by Sylvia Day

Publishing Date: August 27, 2019
Publisher: Amazon Publishing - Montlake Romance
Pages: 204
Contemporary Romance

The Premise from the Publisher: "Once, I would never have imagined myself here. But I’m settled now. In a place I love, in a home I renovated, spending time with new friends I adore, and working a job that fulfills me. I am reconciling the past and laying the groundwork for the future. Then Garrett Frost moves in next door. He’s obstinate and too bold, a raging force of nature that disrupts the careful order of my life. I recognize the ghosts that haunt him, the torment driving him. Garrett would be risky in any form, but wounded, he’s far more dangerous. I fear I’m too fragile for the storm raging inside him, too delicate to withstand the pain that buffets him. But he’s too determined…and too tempting. And sometimes hope soars above even the iciest desolation" (Montlake Romance).

My overall thoughts and review: So I have to admit something... I haven't read a book by Sylvia Day before this one. I know, shocker! I remember her Crossfire series becoming really popular after the hype of 50 shades died down, but for some reason, I just didn't get around to them. As I primarily read romance and contemporary now, I will definitely make it a purpose to go back and read them. This is Day's return after a few years since her last release in 2016. This is a short novella that follows a doctor who is trying to get settled in a new place, but she ends up falling for her next door neighbor. I will say that right off the bat, I was surprised by how fast things moved, but then again, I had to remind myself that it was a shorter story/novella. Teagan and Garrett's chemistry was off the charts, and I loved seeing them just get to know one another. In addition to that, I liked that Day even gave us fully fleshed out secondary characters such as Roxy and her husband. I know that this takes place in the Crossfire world, and I will read it again once I've tackled that series, just so I can make all the connections needed.  There's a lot wrapped up in here and it feels more than simply a short story that has some steam in it. You learn more about both characters and I just loved delving deeper into their back stories. The twist is quite a twist, as I definitely had to flip back to double check that I got it all. If you are looking for a steamy short read, I would definitely recommend this one! I think this would make a nice stocking stuffer for the romance reader in your life too as the holiday season approaches.

My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)

Available for purchase at:
Indigo, Amazon, Kindle, and Book Depository
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Thomas Allen & Sons. for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own.