4 stars

Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Sky Weaver! I’m really excited to work with Orion Publishing for this tour, because The Sky Weaver is a book that I’ve been anticipating for ages. See below for my honest review of the book (provided for free by the publisher), and make sure you check out the other stops on the tour!

Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver by Kristen CiccarelliThe Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Iskari #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 14th November 2019
Publisher: Orion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars
Lavish, romantic and magical, The Sky Weaver is a new standalone story set in the world of The Last Namsara - one that fans of Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black and Laini Taylor will flock to. . .

At the end of one world, there always lies another.

Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard-helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.

Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as The Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman ability to move between worlds.

When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?

Then Safire and Eris-sworn enemies-find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara.

From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Sky Isles, their search and their stories become threaded ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they're hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world, and the next.

The Sky Weaver was an utterly addictive read that I spent just three hours on because I was enjoying it that much. As soon as I opened the first page I was swept back into Ciccarelli’s Iskari world, and I couldn’t put the book down. I’m now really sad that the book – and the trilogy – is over, because now that I’m back in this world I want more!

Full disclosure, I only read The Last Namsara prior to reading The Sky Weaver. I haven’t read The Caged Queen yet, partly because I heard bad things, and partly because it kind of flew over my radar. Thankfully, I don’t think I missed out on anything, since Ciccarelli did a good job of recapping everything for me. It seems to me that most of the things that are relevant happened in The Last Namsara anyway!

While this book is being marketed as being full of pirate-y goodness, I wouldn’t say it’s the focus of it. There are lots of pirate-y moments and scenes, but the main draws of the book are Safire, the dragon king’s commander, and Eris, someone who can shadow-walk.

I absolutely loved both of these characters, and I adored spending time with both of them. Their enemies-to-lovers romance made me smile a lot, and I’m so happy that I read their story. I have to say that I felt a bit detached from Eris to begin with, since she has no connection to Asha’s family and she kind of came out of nowhere. That said, she really grew on me, and by the end I was truly invested in her story.

I also have to mention that, as usual, I adored the stories that Kristen Ciccarelli was able to weave (ha!) in there. The interwoven stories were something that I loved the most about The Last Namsara, and I was so pleased to see that they were back in this book. They really help with the world building and the mythology, not to mention the overarching story! I feel like they do spoil things sometimes, but they’re meant to be a sort of low-key build up to the things that are happening in present day.

Not to mention that stories themselves play a massive part in this world, since it’s how humans connect with dragons! I just really love everything about them.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. It was a highly enjoyable read, and while it’s not an all time favourite, I genuinely loved reading about the gods, the dragons, and the dragon riders!

Blog Tour: The How & the Why by Cynthia Hand

It’s my stop on the blog tour for The How & the Why, a new contemporary book by Cynthia Hand. I absolutely loved this book, and I’m excited to share my thoughts on it! I also put together a (somewhat messy) playlist for the book, so scroll to the bottom for that. It’s not in any particular order, but the songs all relate to scenes in the book. You can view the full tour schedule here to check out posts from the other tour hosts! I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Blog Tour: The How & the Why by Cynthia HandThe How & the Why by Cynthia Hand
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 5th November 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

A poignant exploration of family and the ties that bind, perfect for fans of Far From the Tree, from New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand.

Today Melly had us writing letters to our babies…

Cassandra McMurtrey has the best parents a girl could ask for. They’ve given Cass a life she wouldn’t trade for the world. She has everything she needs—except maybe the one thing she wants. Like, to know who she is. Where she came from. Questions her adoptive parents can’t answer, no matter how much they love her.

But eighteen years ago, someone wrote Cass a series of letters. And they may just hold the answers Cass has been searching for.

Alternating between Cass’s search for answers and letters from the pregnant teen who gave her up for adoption, this voice-driven narrative is the perfect read for fans of Nina LaCour and Jandy Nelson.

The How & the Why is the first Cynthia Hand book I’ve read in years. I started her paranormal series, Unearthly, when it first came out, and I remember absolutely loving it. In fact, I think only statement on Goodreads was gushing about the book and then promising that a review was to come (spoiler: a review didn’t come). After remembering all of this, I was very excited to read her newest contemporary, because I’m always happy when authors switch genres.

I was initially drawn to The How & the Why because after reading Far From the Tree, I’ve been really interested in adoption stories. I actually think this fascination started way earlier, but FFTT kicked things off again. You’ll probably see a lot of comparisons between the two books because they deal with a very similar subject matter, although FFTT deals more with sibling relationships than best friendships and the teen trying to find their birth mother.

I absolutely loved the main character, Cass, in The How & the Why. She was incredibly relatable in so many ways, and the relationship between her and her best friend, Nyla, was amazing. I loved the way it was written, and I loved that the focus on them didn’t sway when a potential love interest showed up.

The How & the Why is incredibly deep and heartwarming. The letters from S, Cass’s birth mother, were adorable, and such a good insight into how a teen mother-to-be could be feeling. I would have read a whole story about S, to be honest.

The ending was both satisfying… and not. It had really great build up, but I wanted more, and I think a lot of readers will feel the same way. I wasn’t disappointed in the ending at all, and I don’t think it detracts from the book, but I would definitely love it if Cynthia Hand were to write a sequel or a short story about what happened there at the end. Of course, it wouldn’t really align with the personal story that Cynthia Hand was telling, but I’m so attached to these characters now that I want to read more about them.

I’m so incredibly glad that I picked this book up on a whim because I would have missed out on so much heart warming goodness if I had skipped over it. Apparently I’m not sick of YA contemporary yet, I’m just sick of YA romances! Who’d have thought.

Review: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist

Review: Missing, Presumed Dead by Emma BerquistMissing, Presumed Dead by Emma Berquist
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: 21st May 2019
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

With a touch, Lexi can sense how and when someone will die. Some say it’s a gift. But to Lexi it’s a curse—one that keeps her friendless and alone. All that changes when Lexi foresees the violent death of a young woman, Jane, outside a club. But Jane doesn’t go to the afterlife quietly. Her ghost remains behind, determined to hunt down her murderer, and she needs Lexi’s help. In life, Jane was everything Lexi is not—outgoing, happy, popular. But in death, all Jane wants is revenge. Lexi will do anything to help Jane, to make up for the fact that she didn’t—couldn’t—save Jane’s life, and to keep this beautiful ghost of a girl by her side for as long as possible.

I read Emma Berquist’s debut novel, Devils Unto Dust, last year and really enjoyed it. It was the perfect Western horror. I picked up Missing, Presumed Dead quite eagerly, even though I’m kind of out of my paranormal phase.

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Review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

Review: Kingdom of Souls by Rena BarronKingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
Series: Kingdom of Souls #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 3rd September 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

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.

Here’s my review of Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron! I’m very excited to have the opportunity to review Kingdom of Souls, which I thought was a great fantasy debut.

I have so many thoughts on this one! I’m going to try to be as coherent as possible. And no, that doesn’t mean this was a five star read (not quite!) but it ended up being a very solid four star one!

I read this book in two days. Partly because I had to (deadlines!) and partly because by the mid-way point I was kind of hooked. After about fifty percent, the book starts to kick off and I just could not put it down. But I should probably start from the beginning first.

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Review: Heroine by Mindy McGinnis

Review: Heroine by Mindy McGinnisHeroine by Mindy McGinnis
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 12th March 2019
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

When a car crash sidelines Mickey just before softball season, she has to find a way to hold on to her spot as the catcher for a team expected to make a historic tournament run. Behind the plate is the only place she’s ever felt comfortable, and the painkillers she’s been prescribed can help her get there.

The pills do more than take away pain; they make her feel good.

With a new circle of friends—fellow injured athletes, others with just time to kill—Mickey finds peaceful acceptance, and people with whom words come easily, even if it is just the pills loosening her tongue.

But as the pressure to be Mickey Catalan heightens, her need increases, and it becomes less about pain and more about want, something that could send her spiraling out of control.

I always enjoy Mindy McGinnis’ books, and Heroine is no exception. I went into this book knowing that it was going to be dark and difficult, and it was, but I also greatly appreciated reading about Mickey’s story.

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