Book Review: Foul Lady Fortune by Chloe Gong

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder Books for the advanced reader copy of this book.

Foul Lady Fortune is a reimaging of As You Like It and follows on from the These Violent Delights Duology. Having not read These Violent Delights and Our Violent Ends prior to this book I will say there are a fair few spoilers for the prior duology.

The book takes place in 1931 Shanghai following the main character Rosalind Lang who four years ago was brought back from the brink of death. However the experiment that saved her prevents her from sleeping and ageing and allows her to heal from all wounds. 

With these new abilities and desperate for redemption from her past she becomes an assassin for her country with the codename Fortune. 

As a series of murders starts to cause unrest in Shanghai with suspicion surrounding the Japanese Imperial Army Rosalind has a new mission. To infiltrate foreign society and identify the culprits behind the terror plot. To do this she must pose as the wife of another Nationalist spy Orion Hong. Both have clashing personalities and secrets of their own that they want to keep buried. 

I must admit I did struggle with the first half of this book and it was not the writing I believe it was because this isn't the usual type of genre that I read. However by the second half of the book I was caught up in the twists and turns of the plot. 

Regarding the characters I found it difficult to care for some of them as they seem very much sidelined. Maybe if I had read the prior books I would already have a bit more background on these characters and a vested interest. My main interest in this book was the interaction and banter between Rosalind and Orion's characters and I found these parts of the story the most enjoyable.

The book ended with many twists that seemed to appear out of nowhere ncad while I enjoyed these twists I feel they could have been built up more rather than just being dropped in at the end. Maybe the second book in this series will build up more of a background on these reveals.

While I enjoyed this book overall it would not be one I rush to read again anytime soon. However I would be willing to give the sequel a chance to see if strengthens the twists in the first book with more background.

Thanks For Reading! 

Book Review: Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes by Eric LaRocca

Saturday, 27 August 2022

 Thank you Netgalley and Titan Books for an arc of this title to read and review honestly.

I finished this title in one evening the book comprised of three short horror stories each completely different yet thought provoking and disturbing in their own ways.

The first story follows an exchange between two women Zoe and Agnes which leads to a contract with one woman becoming a sponsor and the other woman a drudge who has to do everything the sponsor says in return for love and money.

The second story follows a couple who have moved to an isolated island during winter season while mourning the loss of their son. While on this island they meet a man who's become stranded and needs help.

The third and final story follows an old man who finds a bone in his yard with his neighbours initials on it. He reaches out to the neighbour and gets involved in a game of betting that gets more sordid per bet.

Overall each story was disturbing in its own way and kept me reading wanting to see how it ended. 

These short stories were really well crafted and perfectly encapsulated the horror genre each for different reasons. 

Some of themes left me feeling uncomfortable and disturbed which was exactly what the author was intending I believe. 

I would recommend this title for fellow horror fans who want a book of short stories they can get through quickly within a day.  

Book Review: Belladonna by Adalyn Grace

Sunday, 7 August 2022

Thank you to Hodder Books and Netgalley for the advance e-Arc of Belladonna by Adalyn Grace to read in exchange for an honest review.

I must admit I did not know much about this story before diving into it other than the novel had gothic themes and was highly anticipated by many readers.

This book was a massive surprise and the writing had me hooked from the first chapter.

The story follows Signa Farrow who has been able to see death since a young age following the death of her parents. Set to inherit a vast fortune when she turns 20 Signa has moved from guardian to guardian with death always following. Following her aunts death Signa arrives at Thorn Grove where she discovers the Hawthorne family are also plagued by death.

Her cousin Blythe is ill with the same affliction that took her mother Lillian and with days to go Signa must uncover the mystery of Thorngrove and the curse that seems to be upon the family all while keeping death at bay.

This story was a complete surprise to me I was so hooked that I finished this within a day.

I loved the mystery meets gothic theme of the story and the almost enemies to lovers arc between herself and death. The book itself had many twists and turns that it took awhile to decipher. The mystery was well crafted and the revelation of the person who murdered Lillian and has been poisoning Blythe did keep you guessing throughout.

Main plot aside I also enjoyed the interactions between her and death when she is learning more about the powers she possesses and how to use them to solve the mystery.

I also enjoyed the relationship built between Signa and Blythe following their first rocky encounter as they rely on each other more and become almost like sisters. I hope this continues in the sequel.

The book ends on a cliffhanger with another mystery to solve and the announcement of the sequel Foxglove. This is a sequel I will definitely be reading and I recommend Belladonna to anyone who is a fan of mystery fiction and gothic themes.

Thanks for Reading! 

Book Review: Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen

Friday, 5 August 2022

Thank you to Netgalley and Hodder Books for the advance arc of Violet Made of Thorns by Gina Chen.

This book had been on my radar for awhile and as it was suggested for fans of The Cruel Prince it was one of my highly anticipated releases of this year and I have to say it did not disappoint.

The story follows Violet a prophet to the king who earned her place by saving the prince's life when they were both children. Under the Kings command Violet has spun many lies based on her visions while growing up. However Prince Cyrus who she saved plans to have her stripped of her title once he is crowned King.

Following previous predictions of a curse only to be broken by the Prince finding his one true love, Violet is tasked to weave her greatest lie of all and as the line between love and hate blurs between Violet and Cyrus the curse and the right path forward become much more complicated.

This book was definitely one for the fairytale lovers out there it had everything magic, prophecy and a curse only to be broken by the prince finding his true love. It had many themes similar to the sleeping beauty tale but with an entertaining enemies to lovers trope added in.

The characters were all well crafted and I could feel myself getting lost in the story the more that I read. Based on the ending and the questions left unanswered I am hoping this book will become a series.

If you are thinking about picking up this book to read do not hesitate it was great escapism from the mundane day to day and I struggled to put it down once I started reading.

Thanks for Reading! 

The Dragon's Promise by Elizabeth Lim Book Review

Friday, 15 July 2022

Firstly I am going to start by saying thank you to both Hodder Books and Netgalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of The Dragon's Promise by Elizabeth Lim for an honest review.

This book was one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2022 after receiving Six Crimson Cranes for Christmas and falling head over heels for the story and its Characters. Please be aware this review will contain spoilers so if you have not read this book do not read ahead.

Following on from Six Crimson Cranes we start with Shiori entering the underwater dragon city to meet with the Dragon King to honour Raikama's last wish that the pearl be reunited with its rightful owner, I felt this would be a major plot arc in the story and that we would get more of Seryu's character in this book - maybe even a bit of a love triangle. However while I am glad the author steered away from the love triangle aspect the arc of the plot within this world seems to end rather quickly and Seryu's character is not heard of again until the end of the book. We are also introduced to a few new characters like Gen for example who seem like they are going to become included deeply within the plot only to be dropped a few chapters later. This portion of the story felt almost disconnected as if it wasn't developed enough alongside the main plot arc or the pacing wasn't quite right.

The book then jumps back to the plot with the demons trying to escape the mountain led by the main plot villain Bandur. This part of the story I thoroughly enjoyed, I have just recently finished reading Spin the Dawn and enjoyed that this duology almost is the backstory to how Bandur became trapped on Lapzur island. This part of the story all felt connected and I was hooked on the plot line to see how this would play out.

However again following on from this we then head back to Kiata after successfully trapping Bandur on Lapzur island where the book almost felt like it was at a natural end point but with what looked to be 100 pages left I could see we had more storyline to go but I couldn't see how with the main villain already defeated? Enter again the high priestesses who have been against Shiori since her return as she is the bloodsake predicted to free the demons from the mountain rift. This brings another curse upon Shiori either allow Kiata to burn to the ground  from demon fire or sacrifice herself to the flames. This again felt a bit disjointed from the plot we had just been following with Bandur and the demons and I understand it was linked to the ending however it just felt abit randomly thrown in and not quite as cohesive as the plot of Six Crimson Cranes.

This being said the ending battle following this curse with Shiori, her brothers and Takkan and the Priestesses army had me gripped and I felt incredibly emotionally invested in the characters endings. I will not spoil how the story ends but it was definitely bittersweet in the best kind of way not a completely happy ending but one that leaves Shiori becoming a legendary tale in her own right with a spark of joy left.

Despite some of the story feeling disjointed there were many elements of the book I enjoyed including revisiting the characters I loved so much from the first book Shiori and her brothers, Kiki and Takkan and it was wonderful to get more backstory on Raikama, her past and how she had come to be in Kiata with the Dragon's pearl.  The writing as always with Elizabeth Lim was endearing, magical and eloquent. The descriptions of the different world's and islands visited was compelling and left you feeling as if you were there with the characters while reading.

I just wish the plot with the demons and the plot with Seryu could have been a bit more interwoven with less of a sharp change in storyline. As well as this that we could have had more development of the characters like Gen or Seryu but I appreciate that maybe the length of the book and the story we had to cover could prevent much of this development.

Overall I am incredibly grateful for receiving this advance arc and the title and if you are a fan of the first book or any of Elizabeth Lim's writing this story is definitely worth adding to the TBR. Despite the few criticisms I have made of the story I still feel the plot points I enjoyed, the characters and the writing deserve this book 4 out of 5 stars. Not quite as good as Six Crimson Cranes but then sequels are never as good as the originals.

Will you be reading or purchasing The Dragon's Promise when it is released in August?

Comment below on your thoughts and whether you will be giving this book a go.

Thanks for Reading!

Ski Weekend by Rektok Ross

Sunday, 7 November 2021

The premise of this book and its tagline captured my interest immediately. Six teens and one dog versus a major snowstorm. Who will win? 

I was provided an advance copy of this story for an honest review. Thank you to the author Rektok Ross and Spark Press for the opportunity to read and review this story before its release. 

The story begins after our characters take a shortcut while heading on a ski holiday. The poor weather conditions and snow lead to them crashing the car in a snowy embankment in the mountains. The six teens must then use their wits and survival skills to keep themselves and their dog champion alive while attempting to find rescue. 

The characters all started with their own trope; Hunter is the stereotypical jock, Britney the popular mean girl, Lily the smart girl, Gavin the love interest for Sam, Stuart her brother who is overcoming his long term scoliosis and finally Sam portrayed as the loner, the 'final girl' of the group so to speak. 

Our main protagonist is Sam who volunteers in her spare time at an animal shelter. We see the story unfold through her eyes and are introduced to the 5 other characters from her perspective of them. 

It was a fascinating addition to the story about how her prejudices of each character changed as the story and the peril of the situation they were all in progressed. Also how the tropes of each character were broken down once you could see the depth to who they really were. It really showed how every characters personalities affected Sam and changed her way of thinking. 

The setting is haunting with eeirie silence, snow filled landscapes and no other person to be seen for miles. The writing really made me feel as if I was there within this landscape going through the trials with the characters. 

During their attempts to find help many characters sustain injuries leading to an increase in the tension and fear building within the group as the days progress without help appearing. How they overcome these trials and tribulations I found fascinating to read. 

This really added to the suspense and thrill of the story leading to a race against time to try and find rescue and to overcome the harsh mountain elements. 

The story itself was unlike any YA that I have read before. I was fascinated by the slow burn horror that gradually increased in intensity as the teenagers situation progressively gets worse. 

A simple premise that was executed well resulting in a thrilling and suspenseful survivalist thriller. 

I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys YA Thrillers, it was the perfect wintery read while I was tucked up cosy at home on a cold autumn day. 

Thank you again to the author Rektok Ross and Spark Press for the opportunity to read this story before it's release.

Thanks for Reading! 

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