ARC Review: Scorpica by G.R. Macallister

Title: Scorpica

Author: G.R. Macallister

Publisher: Saga Press

Genre: Fantasy

Content/Trigger Warnings: Blood, death, grief, an on-page sex scene (semi-vague), discussion of miscarriage, animal cruelty/death, alcoholism, violence, gore, child sacrifice, and execution (magical)

Rating: ★★★★

Book Links: Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

Goodreads Synopsis

A centuries-long peace is shattered in a matriarchal society when a decade passes without a single girl being born in this sweeping epic fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Circe.

Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. As the Drought of Girls stretches across a generation, it sets off a cascade of political and personal consequences across all five queendoms of the known world, throwing long-standing alliances into disarray as each queendom begins to turn on each other—and new threats to each nation rise from within.

Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughter’s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own ends—and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive.

My Review


Thank you to the publisher, Wunderkind PR, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

You all know how much I love a good fantasy novel. Fantasy is and will probably always be my go-to genre when I’m thinking of what to read next. I love the scale and scope that can be found inside the pages of a novel that transports you to another world. When I was offered an e-ARC of Scorpica and read the synopsis, I immediately knew I wanted to read this book. And, though it took me longer than I was expected, I savored every minute of it!

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Five Star Reads of 2021

Hello, reader!

Seeming as 2022 is literally right around the corner, it seemed like a good time to reflect on my reading in 2021. Now, last year, I made a top ten list for my top reads of the year, but I found that left out a lot of books that I truly loved. So we’re doing it a little different in 2021! This year, I’m going to include all my five star reads and I’m not ranking them. I read a lot of fantastic books and I honestly don’t think I could pick a clear winner out of the bunch if I tried.

So here, in no particular order, are my favorite reads of 2021!


Adult Fantasy lead the pack

If you’ve been around the blog any amount of time, you know how much I love fantasy. It is my top genre and I don’t see that changing any time soon. So it probably comes as no surprise that most of my five star reads this year were in fantasy. I was a little surprised that adult edged out YA, though I probably shouldn’t be. I am 39 years old, after all 😂

  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse was probably my most recommended book this year. Anyone who asked for an adult SFF recommendation had me shoving this book in their faces 😂 It was such a stunning read, I couldn’t help myself! It was vivid and lush, with masterful world-building and characters that immediately captured my interest. I read this book and instantly added Rebecca Roanhorse to my auto-buy author list, it was just that good! Also, give me more epic fantasy that isn’t Europe-centric, pleeeease.
  • Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe might be another little cheat. I’ve already read the entire Webtoon series (at least what is out so far), so I knew I loved it. But there is something about reading the physical bind up of the first few chapters that made me fall in love all over again! The art is gorgeous, the story is incredible, and I can’t wait to have the other chapters in my greedy, little hands.
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune was a book that I went into with a sprinkle of trepidation. It was just so hyped! Everyone was in love with this book. Well… almost everyone. There was some controversy about where the author got his inspiration for the orphanage featured in this story. As a non-indigenous reviewer, I highly suggest you seek out reviews from the affected community. All I can say is that this was one of the most heart-warming books I have ever read and it certainly made me want to read more of T.J. Klune’s work.
  • The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo was another hyped book that I was a little scared to pick up. All the raving gave me high expectations! Thankfully, this book not only matched, but far exceeding them. For such a short book, it certainly packed a punch! I adored the writing, the story-telling, and the characters featured in this novella. I can’t wait to continue the series!
  • Stones of Light by Zack Argyle did what not a lot of sequels can do: it far surpassed the first book! It was such a fantastic sequel that leveled up everything I loved about Voice of War! The world-building was top notch. The writing was even better than the first. And the character growth was just *chef’s kiss* There was definitely no middle-book-syndrome here and I cannot wait to see how this series ends. You can bet that the last book is high on my 2022 TBR!
  • The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang was my first five star read of 2021. Talk about starting the year on an emotional rollercoaster! This book absolutely gutted me, which could explain why I’m so nervous to pick up the last book in this trilogy 😅 I certainly want to know how Rin’s story ends, but I know it’s gonna hurt so bad… Still, this was yet another sequel that was just as good, if not better than, the first book.
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WWW Wednesday: Nov 10, 2021

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • You’ll Be the Death of Me by Karen M. McManus: When The Write Reads sent out tour sign-ups for the newest McManus book, you know I jumped all over that! I’ve loved every thriller she’s ever written and, so far, I’m loving this one, as well. She has a way of building her characters where I connect with them almost immediately, even if I don’t particularly like them. And I’m already curious about what is going on in this more murder-y take of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: I’m re-reading this for the book-club-that-isn’t-a-book club and, y’all, I forgot how much I love this book. I mean, I knew it’s one of my favorites. It was so good that I added Erin Morgenstern to my “favorite authors” list on the strength of this book alone. But I forgot just how incredible and immersive this story is! I’m falling in love all over again and I ain’t mad about it.
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Mini Reviews: Rivers of London Edition

Hello, reader!

As you may or may not have picked up on, I’m participating in a relaxed readalong for the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch. I had honestly never heard of this series before one of the TWR gang suggested this readalong, but the premise pulled me in. It’s a police procedural and a fantasy all wrapped up into one incredible package!

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying this series, but I’m woefully behind on my reviews. Which is why I’m doing another installment of my mini reviews! Let’s go ahead and dive in.


Title: Rivers of London (UK)/Midnight Riot (US)

Author: Ben Aaronovitch

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery

Source: Borrowed (library)

CW/TW: For a list of content and trigger warnings, please check out BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★★

Links:
Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

The first book in the Rivers of London series was a great starter. I loved getting to know Peter Grant, our sarcastic main character who is a PC for the Metropolitan in London that discovers that magic is very real. Not only is magic real, but there’s an entire division of the Met that is dedicated to taking care of “the weird stuff”. I mean… there was only one person assigned to the unit before Peter, but it still exists! The build up of this world that is very like and unlike our own was wonderful and definitely got me invested in the series.

Though there is a lot of set up in this book, it still has a gripping plot that completely sucked me into the book. I also loved the characters though I will admit that I found Peter a tad frustrating in this first story. Not to the point where I thought he was annoying or anything. No, I was just worried about his reckless self, lol. Peter’s tone of voice makes this story such a fun and engaging read. And the magical elements gave it an ominous feel that I love!

As first books in a series go, this one was pretty stellar.

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Blog Tour: Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs

Hello, reader!

Welcome to another blog tour posted hosted by the ever fabulous The Write Reads! My tour stop today features a book that is perfect for this time of year. It features demons, an ancient artifact, and perhaps a touch of the end of the world as we know it. It’s a dark fantasy novel that doesn’t hold back on the gore… or the sexual tension: Shadow-Stained by Rachel Hobbs!

Now, before I jump into my stop and my review, I want to say thank you to Dave @ The Write Reads and the author for providing me with a free e-book in exchange for participation with this tour. It is, as always, much appreciated. All views written here are definitely my own!

Now, let’s get to the post.


Book Details


  • Title: Shadow-Stained
  • Author: Rachel Hobbs
  • Publication date: April 14th, 2020
  • Genre: Dark Fantasy
  • Age group: Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Book Links

Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

Synopsis


“For her, it’s her late grandma’s legacy. For him, the mother of all black arts spoils, granting one demon the power of a God. Immortality.

When occult-magnet Ruby falls victim to Demon Lord Drayvex’s viperous allure, she loses a sentient dark relic to his light fingers and appetite for power. Like calls to like. But when Drayvex himself loses the relic to a traitor to the throne, Ruby coerces him – the tyrant king with a soft spot for humanity – into helping her save her pokey old world village from becoming a ground zero of mass demonic carnage.

Both invested in reclaiming the relic, the one thing Ruby and Drayvex agree on is that it’s in the wrong hands. Co-existing in a precarious arrangement between predator and prey, to save the planet they both love for different reasons, they must become a formidable double-team in the face of an apocalyptic takeover. Now, the fate of both human and demon alike rests with a killer that walks between worlds, and a woman with a curse in her bloodline.”

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WWW Wednesday: Sep 29, 2021

It’s time for another WWW Wednesday! This is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words where bloggers answer the 3 Ws:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

If you’d like to learn more about any of these books, click on the cover to be taken to the Goodreads page.


Current Reads

  • A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik: This is the only book I’ve started since I’ve last updated y’all, though I don’t think I’ll be finishing it before the end of tomorrow. But it’s got the perfect vibes for going into October, so I guess it works! So far, I’m really enjoying the writing style and the world-building. It’s almost stream-of-consciousness, which I don’t usually enjoy, but I’m vibing with it right now. Hopefully I continue to enjoy it!
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#5OnMyTBR – Magical School

#5OnMyTBR is a bookish meme hosted by E. @ Local Bee Hunter’s Nook where you chose five books from your to-be-read pile that fit that week’s theme. If you’d like more info, head over to the announcement post!


Hello, reader!

Another Monday has arrived, which means that’s time for 5 On My TBR! And there was no way I was missing this one. Why? Because our theme today is all about magical schools! This is one of my favorite bookish tropes, though I haven’t read a ton lately. That just means there is plenty on my TBR from which to choose.

That being said, let’s get to the post!


#1. Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

I can’t talk about books with magical schools (or Wundrous Societies) and not include this book. I fell in love with this series when the Middle Grade Marvels group read as one of our monthly books. I’ve been meaning to continue the story for quite some time, but I just haven’t gotten around to it. I need more Morrigan, Jupiter, and Fenestra!

#2. The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

This book has been on my TBR for quite some time, so I honestly forgot that it was set at a school! The premise captured my interest, but I recall there was some controversy about it that made me put it on the back-burner TBR. Still, a book about a young woman who is trying to get from under the shadow of her famous, witchy grandmother sounds intriguing.

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Down the TBR Hole #9

Hello, reader!

It’s time for a new round of Down the TBR Hole! This is where I go through my Goodreads ‘Want to Read’ shelf and do a bit of cleaning up. If you want to see the full description of what this post is all about, check out my first round HERE.


It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Down the TBR Hole post, hasn’t it? And you know what that means. My Goodreads Want to Read shelf has gotten quite a few additions 😅 I ended my last post with 625 books on the TBR. Where am I currently sitting? *cough668bookscough* I mean… I’m proud of myself for not breaking into the 700s! There’s that 😂 But I’m still in the part of my Want to Read shelf that I added when I first joined Goodreads, so there’s a fair chance I’ll be able to pare this down a bit this round.

With that being said, let’s jump in to round nine!


Woman with a Blue Pencil by Gordon McAlpine

Starting off with a tricky one! The premise of this one sounds intriguing, if potentially confusing. We are following a Japanese character who has been written out of a story but is still trying to finish it! We also get snippets of the editor’s letters to the author, who is a Japanese-American imprisoned at an internment camp during WWII, urging him to make his story more “patriotic”. And that’s where my hesitation lies because this was written by a white, contemporary author. I’m not saying he can’t do a wonderful, nuanced job of capturing the emotions surrounding the circumstances. But it’s just not the same as someone of actual Japanese or Japanese-American descent telling this story, in my opinion. Perhaps future-me will change her mind, but, for now, it’s off the TBR.

Verdict: Remove


Hellraisers by Alexander Gordon Smith

This is a YA paranormal dystopian/horror and I haven’t been a fan of YA dystopian books in ages. Not saying that this couldn’t pull me back into the fray, but it was published around the time when I fell out of love with dystopian novels in general. Beyond that, the premise doesn’t sound like anything spectacular. It’s about a teen gaining massive demonic powers to help save the world at great peril to himself and probably those closest to him. It just doesn’t capture my interest anymore, so off it goes!

Verdict: Remove


Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

For someone who claims that her favorite bookish trope is “books about books”. this one has been on my TBR for an embarrassingly long amount of time 😅 I mean, it’s set in a potentially magical bookstore! It sounds like something I would genuinely love, so of course it gets to stay. Now I just need to make time to read it!

Verdict: Keep

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BBNYA Spotlight: All or None by Aurora Lee Thornton

Hello, reader!

It’s the second to last day of the BBNYA spotlights for this year’s semi-finalists! Participating as a panelist and following along with this tour has helped me discover so many incredible, indie authors. For today’s spotlight, I’ll be highlighting a book that sounds like it would be a right up my alley; a fantasy that promises magic and romance: All or None by Aurora Lee Thornton! But before we get into the post, let’s talk more about this spotlight tour and BBNYA in general.

This year, the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) is celebrating the 65 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 10 finalists and one overall winner. 

If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA Website https://www.bbnya.com/ or take a peek over on Twitter @BBNYA_Official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.


Book Details


  • Title: All or None
  • Author: Aurora Lee Thornton
  • Publication date: May 15th, 2020
  • Genre: Fantasy Romance
  • Age group: Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Book Links

Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

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BBNYA Spotlight: Duplicity of Power by S. Lynn Helton

Hello, reader!

It’s time for another BBNYA spotlight of one of our fabulous semi-finalists. We’re coming to the end of our tour and I’m hoping you’ve discovered some incredible books along the way. For today’s spotlight, I’ll be talking about a fantasy that involved high stakes and magical quests: Duplicity of Power by S. Lynn Helton! But before we get into the post, let’s talk more about this spotlight tour and BBNYA in general.

This year, the Book Bloggers’ Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA) is celebrating the 65 books that made it into Round Two with a mini spotlight blitz tour for each title. BBNYA is a yearly competition where book bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors, ending with 10 finalists and one overall winner. 

If you want some more information about BBNYA, check out the BBNYA Website https://www.bbnya.com/ or take a peek over on Twitter @BBNYA_Official. BBNYA is brought to you in association with the @Foliosociety (if you love beautiful books, you NEED to check out their website!) and the book blogger support group @The_WriteReads.


Book Details


  • Title: Duplicity of Power
  • Author: S. Lynn Helton
  • Publication date: October 25, 2018
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age group: Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Book Links

Bookshop::TBD::B&N::Amazon::
Goodreads

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