Lore by Alexandra Bracken is a novel and I want to thank Hachette Australia for the review copy.
Trigger warnings: blood, violence, gore, attempted murder, murder, murder of children (graphic), murder of parents (graphic), terminal illness, abuse, attempted rape, arranged marriage
Every seven years, the Agon begins. As punishment for a past rebellion, nine Greek gods are forced to walk the earth as mortals, hunted by the descendants of ancient bloodlines, all eager to kill a god and seize their divine power and immortality.
Long ago, Lore Perseous fled that brutal world in the wake of her family’s sadistic murder by a rival line, turning her back on the hunt’s promises of eternal glory. For years she’s pushed away any thought of revenge against the man–now a god–responsible for their deaths.
Yet as the next hunt dawns over New York City, two participants seek out her help: Castor, a childhood friend of Lore believed long dead, and a gravely wounded Athena, among the last of the original gods.
The goddess offers an alliance against their mutual enemy and, at last, a way for Lore to leave the Agon behind forever. But Lore’s decision to bind her fate to Athena’s and rejoin the hunt will come at a deadly cost–and still may not be enough to stop the rise of a new god with the power to bring humanity to its knees.
I absolutely love Greek mythology so it was great to have another book full of Greek gods. The relationships between the characters and the plot was excited very well.
I really enjoyed the main character Lore and the complexity of her pas and how it relates to what happens in the present, however, I still have questions that need to answered.
I definitely recommend it to lovers of Greek mythology but the book may not be for everyone.
Witch by Finbar Hawkins is an amazing debut which is set in the 17th century. I want to thank HarperCollins Publishers Australia for the review copy
After witnessing the brutal murder of her mother by witch-hunters, Evey vows to avenge her and track down the killers. Fury burns in her bright and strong. But she has promised her mother that she will keep Dill, her little sister, safe.
As the lust for blood and retribution rises to fever pitch, will Evey keep true to the bonds of sisterhood and to the magick that is her destiny?
Hawkins did an amazing job creating a dark and haunting atmosphere in his novel. This book features witchcraft, revenge, the trauma from grief and strong family ties. It also deals with the witch trials which has intrigued me.
This book fit perfectly in the era and had me entranced from the first page.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong is a Romeo and Juliet retelling and a debut novel.
Trigger warnings: blood, violence, gore, murder, transphobia, alcohol consumption and parental abuse.
The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.
A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.
But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.
It was a fantastic debut novel by Chloe Gong. It was great to read a story set in 1920 Shanghai with the story giving me West Side Story vibes with the rival gangs. Gong has done an amazing job describing the locations and characters as well as having a fast paced plot.
I enjoyed the relationship between Juliette and Roma as their relation ship blurred the line between love and hate as well as the roles they played in the plot. I loved the mysterious creature aspect and how the characters figure out what’s happening. The side characters were also amazing.
I’m looking forward to the next book!
The Thief on the Winged Horse by Kate Mascarenhas. I would like to thank HarperCollins Publicity Australia for the review copy.
The Kendrick family have been making world-famous dolls since the early 1800s. But their dolls aren’t coveted for the craftmanship alone. Each one has a specific emotion laid on it by its creator. A magic that can make you feel bucolic bliss or consuming paranoia at a single touch. Though founded by sisters, now only men may know the secrets of the workshop.
Persephone Kendrick longs to break tradition and learn the family craft, and when a handsome stranger arrives claiming doll-making talent and a blood tie to the Kendricks, she sees a chance to grasp all she desires.
But then, one night, the family’s most valuable doll is stolen. Only someone with knowledge of magic could have taken her. Only a Kendrick could have committed this crime..
I was intrigued by the book from its cover and synopsis. This book was written really well and was interesting but had a slow build.
I enjoyed the characters and the use of magic is interesting. There are interesting characters but none that really made me care about them.
I will give this book another go to see if my thoughts change about the book.
When Wishes Bleed is the first book in the duology by Casey L Bond.
One Prince. One Witch. One Fate.
The upheaval in my life began the moment a prince stumbled into my house and asked me to read his fortune. Any other night, I might have made an excuse to get him to leave, but this was no normal visit. My fingers prickled to touch him. So, I granted his request by handing him a single wishbone. When he snapped it, the wish … bled.
Hearing me suck in a shocked breath, he asked what it meant. Such an ominous omen could only mean one thing: his death was imminent. Fate revealed that he wouldn’t die of natural causes. Someone wanted him dead. Stunned by the revelation, the man I now knew as Prince Tauren disappeared into a night I feared he wouldn’t survive. The following day, I received an invitation to the castle. While it seemed the prince believed I could intervene and uncover who was plotting his death, his motives didn’t stop there. I was being summoned to join twelve other women in vying for the opportunity to be his wife and future queen.
Going could mean jeopardizing my plans to reclaim my heritage and resurrect the House of Fate. But staying would guarantee Tauren’s death, and the blood of his wish would be on my hands.
What an amazing and intriguing book by Casey Bond. From the beginning of the book, I was hooked. I have read other books with witches and witchcraft but this has topped my list.
Fate, I knew all too well, was real. He wasn't an obscure concept of destiny, or a dream of what the future might hold. And he certainly wasn't luck or a wishing well. He was sentient and very much alive. I was Fate's daughter, and he lived inside me.
The world building and characters are varied and rich. I can truely imagine myself walking through the streets and seeing the people along with Sable. Sable hasn’t had the easiest life and on her birthday things will change for her.
Children would ignore their own experiences and feelings if adults pressed them hard enough into the straight and narrow line. It was how prejudice and ignorance were perpetuated through the generations.
Sable’s life changes as soon as she gets a visitor looking for a reading, who turns out to be the prince. I loved the relationship that built between Tauren and Sable as she heads to the palace to stop his death.
Besides, every girl, witch or not, dreamed of becoming a princess. Not with crowns and gowns, but princess of the of someone she loved, and who loved her in return. Witches only hoped to tolerate their hand-fasted for a year.
This book explores different societal structures as well as beliefs about marriage. I loved the coming together over Sable and Tauren, who love each other but have different backgrounds, find a way to be together. The ending was fantastic and I’m looking forward to The Omen of Stones.
We had to process death with emotion, and experiencing death, and mourning the loss of someone you loved, was not only inevitable for all of us, it was something that transformed us into a stronger version of ourselves.
This book had me at the end and had me cry! I definitely recommend this book.
Curse of the Celts by Charlie N. Holmberg is the second book in The Once and Future Queen trilogy.
You are accused of crimes against the Code. How do you plead?
After failing to escape the Roman metropolis of Londinium with Devyn, her lover, and Marcus, her betrothed, Cassandra wakes in inky darkness to find the ground giving way to sand beneath her feet.
All three of them have been carted back to the notorious arena at the heart of the city to stand trial by public vote. Cass knows they must escape at any cost: to warn the Celts of the mysterious blood curse ravaging their kin, to foil the schemes of the imperial council…
To find the fabled Lady of the Lake, the one who could save them all.
But even as the jaws of death close in around her, another threat looms in the shadows, a danger she never could have foreseen, a betrayal that could burn down her entire world.
I enjoyed jumping back into this world again. I really loved seeing what Cass, Devyn and Marcus got up to in this book.
The story was interesting and the ending has me wanting the last book already. I really like how O’Conner expanded on the world and law in this book which I absolutely love.
The Mist Children is the second book in the Foxfires Trilogy by E.C. Hibbs.
When power rises, so does the truth…
The Sun Spirit has risen again and the Northlands are slowly stirring from their slumber. The snow still lies thick, but life moves on, and the villages prepare their reindeer for the long migration to the coast.
However, when Tuomas returns from the World Above, he knows something is wrong. The young people are falling ill with a mysterious sickness, the mages are unable to connect with the Spirits, and there are whispers of a strange little boy haunting the lakes. Although struggling to come to terms with his own power, Tuomas once again joins forces with Lilja and Elin to face an evil which has waited for him for centuries.
But high in the sky, the Spirit of the Lights is watching, and she sees more than any human can…
I really enjoyed this book as it builds on the first book and has the same amazing story telling as well as adding some great spooky scenes. Hibbs did a great job portraying the helplessness and fear in the face of illness and death.
It was great following Tuomas’ journey and story as well as working through his feelings about being the Sun Spirit.
I’m looking forward to what happens next.
The Winter Spirits is the first book in The Firefoxes Trilogy by E.C. Hibbs.
If you sing to the Spirits, be prepared for their answer…
The Long Dark has come and the Northlands will not see daylight for two months. Silence falls with the snow, and Spirits roam the three Worlds. It is a time of beauty, magic, and danger.
When the Spirit of the Northern Lights steals his best friend’s soul, apprentice mage Tuomas is determined to find help. However, his own fledgling power gets the better of him, and he accidentally rips the Spirit out of the sky, trapping her in human form. Alongside his feared icy companion and the mysterious wandering mage Lilja, Tuomas begins a quest across frozen tundra and into ethereal Spirit realms.
But a terrible shadow lingers just out of sight, its gaze fixed on him. And behind her composed façade, the Spirit holds secrets of her own..
I truely loved being introduced to a pair of traveling mage’s Kari and Lilja. This book has a feeling of fairytales and you can see where Hibbs has pulled from Arctic cultures.
It was fantastic to look at the landscape through Tuomas’ eyes as the respect for the cold and repercussions grew while reading this book. There is no solid location of villages as they migrate, but the sense of togetherness is real throughout the book. I also really enjoyed Lilja as she has made choices to wander and stay where she chooses.
The story has some twists but I was so taken with the story. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.