Mini Reviews: Recent Reads Edition

Hello, reader!

Because of who I am as a person, I am, once again, behind on reviews. I thought I’d take a moment to catch up with another edition of my mini reviews! This time, I’m focusing on three recent reads that I still need to put thought to paper (or keyboard) for since finishing them. These books are an eclectic mix, so there might be a little something for everyone here, haha.

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


Title: Nothing But Blackened Teeth

Author: Cassandra Khaw

Publisher: Tor Nightfire

Genre: Horror

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

Rating: ★★★

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

Well, this was certainly… a book. With words. Lots of five dollar words that seemed a tad bit unnecessary, if I’m honest.

At the heart of this story is a ghostly tale of love and betrayal. Unfortunately, the ghost story is not the focus of this novel. I say “unfortunately” because the ghost/ghost story was the best part about this book! The focus, however, is on a bunch of the most unlikeable characters I’ve come across in awhile. I’m not saying I can’t enjoy a book that has unlikeable characters, but these characters came across as caricatures of their unlikeable traits. They all fell incredibly flat for me which, when the whole book is centered around them, didn’t make for an enjoyable experience.

However, where this book shined was in the atmospheric writing and the beautifully creepy ghostly elements. There are some gruesome scenes in this book that fix themselves in your mind as you’re reading with the way they are written. Definitely check trigger warnings before getting into this one! This author has an incredible talent for building tension and setting the tone of a horror novel. As I mentioned, if we had more of that and less a bunch of horrible people being horrible to each other, I probably would have enjoyed this a lot more.

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BBNYA Finalist Blog Tour: Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow

Hello, reader!

I’ve got yet another blog tour for you today, this one featuring one of the 10 finalists from last year’s Book Bloggers Novel of the Year Award (BBNYA)! This YA fantasy is a quick, exciting read that had me completely wrapped in the story. It’s easy to see why Odriel’s Heirs by Hayley Reese Chow made it to the finals! But, first, let me tell you more about BBNYA.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!

As a note, I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest. Now, let’s get into the post!


Book Details


  • Title: Odriel’s Heirs
  • Author: Hayley Reese Chow
  • Publication date: March 1st, 2020
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age group: Young Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

B&N::Amazon::Goodreads

Synopsis


The brave, burning with fire, harnessed the Dragon’s Rage….

As the Dragon Heir, seventeen-year-old Kaia inherited the power of flame to protect her homeland from a godlike necromancer’s undead army. But after centuries of peace, the necromancer has faded to myth, and the Dragon Heir is feared by the people. Persecuted and cast out, Kaia struggles to embrace and control her seemingly useless gift while confined to her family’s farm.

But when the necromancer’s undead terrorize the land once again, Kaia runs away to join the battle.

With the help of her childhood rival, the handsome Shadow Heir, and a snarky, cursed cat, Kaia must figure out how to control both her fire and her confidence in time to save Okarria. If she fails, she will sacrifice her family, her new friends, and the enchanting world she has only just begun to see.

And time is running out.

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Blog Tour: Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir/Illustrated by Myisha Haynes

Hello, reader!

Today is my stop on the TBR & Beyond Tours book tour for a middle grade graphic novel that absolutely captured my heart: Anne of West Philly by Ivy Noelle Weir (author) and Myisha Haynes (illustrator)! This book is a graphic retelling of Anne of Green Gables set in modern day West Philly and it is an absolute delight.

Before I start gushing about this book, though, I want to thank some folks. First, I want to thank the team at TBR & Beyond Tours for letting me be a part of this tour. Second, I want to thank the publisher, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, for sending me a free copy of the book in exchange for my participation and an honest review. It is very much appreciated! One last thing; mine is just one stop on this magical mystery tour, so make sure you check out the other fabulous bloggers and bookstagrammers that will be celebrating this beautiful book! You can find the full schedule here.

Alright, let’s get to the post!


Book Details


  • Title: Anne of West Philly
  • Author: Ivy Noelle Weir
  • Illustrator: Myisha Haynes
  • Publication date: March 1st, 2022
  • Genre: Contemporary Graphic Novel
  • Age group: Middle Grade

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

Synopsis


Anne of Green Gables with a twist: in this follow-up to Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy and The Secret Garden on 81st Street, this full-color graphic novel moves Anne Shirley to modern-day West Philadelphia, where where she finds new friends, new rivals, and a new family.

When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert decide to foster a teenage girl for the first time, their lives are changed forever. Their redheaded foster daughter, Anne Shirley, is in search of an exciting life and has decided that West Philly is where she’s going to find it. Armed with a big personality and unstoppable creativity, Anne takes her new home by storm as she joins the robotics club, makes new friends in Diana and Gilbert, experiences first love, and turns the ordinary into the extraordinary. But as Anne starts to get comfortable, she discovers one thing she wasn’t looking for: a family.

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Blog Tour: Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn

Hello, reader!

Back at you again with a fresh new The Write Reads blog tour! It should be very obvious that I just can’t say no to Dave @ The Write Reads at this point 😂 Honestly, though, when I heard the premise of this story, I couldn’t help but sign up. Today, I’m featuring a book all about rebellious princesses and striving to be the person you want to be in a world that would tear you down for it. It’s an incredible YA fantasy called Undercover Princess by Connie Glynn!

I’m excited to participating in this unique blog tour as this post is a lead up to another I’ll be making later that highlights the fifth book in the Rosewood Chronicles, Princess Ever After. Having never read any of this series, but want to join in on the tour, I signed up to give this book a read and I’m very glad that I did! Before we get into my review, though, I want to thank all the crew at The Write Reads, the publisher, Penguin, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-book in exchange for my participation with this tour and an honest review. It is, as always, very much appreciated.

Alright, now let’s get to the tour stop post!


Book Details


  • Title: Undercover Princess
  • Author: Connie Glynn
  • Series: The Rosewood Chronicles #1
  • Publication date: November 2nd, 2017
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age group: Young Adult
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

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

Synopsis


When fairy tale obsessed Lottie Pumpkin starts at the infamous Rosewood Hall, she is not expecting to share a room with the Crown Princess of Maradova, Ellie Wolf. Due to a series of lies and coincidences, 14-year-old Lottie finds herself pretending to be the princess so that Ellie can live a more normal teenage life.

Lottie is thrust into the real world of royalty – a world filled with secrets, intrigue and betrayal. She must do everything she can to help Ellie keep her secret, but with school, the looming Maradovian ball and the mysterious new boy Jamie, she’ll soon discover that reality doesn’t always have the happily ever after you’d expect…

A thrilling world of parties, politics and bad ass princesses, this is the first book in the brand new series THE ROSEWOOD CHRONICLES.

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BBNYA Finalist Blog Tour: Shadow of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire

Hello, reader!

Today on the blog, I’m participating in another BBNYA blog tour hosted by The Write Reads! And this one is featuring one of my favorite reads as a panelist, a complex and humorous fantasy that I ate up: Shadows of a Dead God by Patrick Samphire! First, let me tell you a bit more about the Book Blogger Novel of the Year Award.

BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.

The sign-ups will soon be open for the 2022 BBNYA competition, be it for authors to enter their books, or for bloggers wanting to be part of the new panel, so keep your eyes peeled!!

As a note, I received this book to read and review as part of the 2021 BBNYA competition and the BBNYA tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest. Now, let’s get into the post!


Book Details


  • Title: Shadow of a Dead God
  • Author: Patrick Samphire
  • Publication date: May 27th, 2020
  • 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

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

Synopsis


It was only supposed to be one little job – a simple curse-breaking for Mennik Thorn to pay back a favour to his oldest friend. But then it all blew up in his face. Now he’s been framed for a murder he didn’t commit.

So how is a second-rate mage, broke, traumatized, and with a habit of annoying the wrong people, supposed to prove his innocence when everyone believes he’s guilty?

Mennik has no choice if he wants to get out of this: he is going to have to throw himself into the corrupt world of the city’s high mages, a world he fled years ago. Faced by supernatural beasts, the mage-killing Ash Guard, and a ruthless, unknown adversary, it’s going to take every trick Mennik can summon just to keep him and his friend alive.

But a new, dark power is rising in Agatos, and all that stands in its way is one damaged mage…

Third place in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2020 (SPFBO6)

Finalist in the Book Bloggers’ Book of the Year Award (BBNYA) 2021

Shortlisted for the Booknest Fantasy Award Best Self-published Novel 2020

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Book Review: The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood

Title: The Love Hypothesis

Author: Ali Hazelwood

Publisher: Berkley Books

Genre: Romance

Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

Rating: ★★★★

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

Goodreads Synopsis

As a third-year Ph.D. candidate, Olive Smith doesn’t believe in lasting romantic relationships–but her best friend does, and that’s what got her into this situation. Convincing Anh that Olive is dating and well on her way to a happily ever after was always going to take more than hand-wavy Jedi mind tricks: Scientists require proof. So, like any self-respecting biologist, Olive panics and kisses the first man she sees.

That man is none other than Adam Carlsen, a young hotshot professor–and well-known ass. Which is why Olive is positively floored when Stanford’s reigning lab tyrant agrees to keep her charade a secret and be her fake boyfriend. But when a big science conference goes haywire, putting Olive’s career on the Bunsen burner, Adam surprises her again with his unyielding support and even more unyielding… six-pack abs.

Suddenly their little experiment feels dangerously close to combustion. And Olive discovers that the only thing more complicated than a hypothesis on love is putting her own heart under the microscope.

My Review


“Did you… Did you just kiss me?” He sounded puzzled, and maybe a little out of breath. His lips were full and plump and… God. Kissed. There was simply no way Olive could get away with denying what she had just done.

Still, it was worth a try.

“Nope.”

As you may or may not know, I’m still a relative newbie when it comes to the romance genre. I’m still trying to figure out which tropes do and don’t work for me. So I went into this fake dating rom-com with an open mind and, happily, it didn’t not disappoint!

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Book Review: The Five by Hallie Rubenhold

Title: The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper

Author: Hallie Rubenhold

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Genre: Non-fiction

Content/Trigger Warnings: Violence against women, poverty, homelessness, murder

Rating: ★★★★

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

Goodreads Synopsis

Five devastating human stories and a dark and moving portrait of Victorian London – the untold lives of the women killed by Jack the Ripper.

Polly, Annie, Elizabeth, Catherine and Mary-Jane are famous for the same thing, though they never met. They came from Fleet Street, Knightsbridge, Wolverhampton, Sweden and Wales. They wrote ballads, ran coffee houses, lived on country estates, they breathed ink-dust from printing presses and escaped people-traffickers. What they had in common was the year of their murders: 1888. The person responsible was never identified, but the character created by the press to fill that gap has become far more famous than any of these five women.

For more than a century, newspapers have been keen to tell us that ‘the Ripper’ preyed on prostitutes. Not only is this untrue, as historian Hallie Rubenhold has discovered, it has prevented the real stories of these fascinating women from being told. Now, in this devastating narrative of five lives, Rubenhold finally sets the record straight, revealing a world not just of Dickens and Queen Victoria, but of poverty, homelessness and rampant misogyny. They died because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time – but their greatest misfortune was to be born a woman.

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Blog Tour: Revenge of the Beast by Jack Meggitt-Phillips

Hello, reader!

I have yet another exciting blog tour for you today! It’s my stop on the tour put on by The Write Reads for a middle grade sequel I have been dying to read.

Not literally, mind you. No matter what the Beast may prefer.

This is the tour for Revenge of the Beast by Jack Meggitt-Phillips! I had just as much fun with this book as I did with the first one. It was funny, touching, and, yes, ghastly, and I loved every moment of it.

But, before I get to post, I have to say my thanks! First, thank you to Dave @ The Write Reads and all the incredible people working behind the scenes for allowing me to be a part of this tour. Second, thank you to the publisher, Farshore, and Netgalley for providing me with a free e-ARC in exchange for my participation in this tour and an honest review. It is always appreciated!

So, let’s get into it, shall we?


Book Details


  • Title: Revenge of the Beast
  • Author: Jack Meggitt-Phillips
  • Illustrations: Isabelle Follath
  • Publication date: September 30th, 2021
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Age group: Middle Grade
  • Content/Trigger Warnings: For a list of potential content and trigger warnings, check out this book’s page on BookTriggerWarnings.com

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

Synopsis


Lemony Snicket meets Roald Dahl in this riotously funny, deliciously macabre, and highly illustrated sequel to The Beast and the Bethany in which Bethany and Ebenezer try to turn over a new leaf, only to have someone—or something—thwart them at every turn.

Once upon a very badly behaved time, 511-year-old Ebenezer kept a beast in his attic. He would feed the beast all manner of objects and creatures and in return the beast would vomit him up expensive presents. But then the Bethany arrived.

Now notorious prankster Bethany, along with her new feathery friend Claudette, is determined that she and Ebenezer are going to de-beast their lives and Do Good. But Bethany finds that being a former prankster makes it hard to get taken on for voluntary work. And Ebenezer secretly misses the beast’s vomity gifts. And neither of them are all that sure what “good people” do anyway.

Then there’s Claudette, who’s not been feeling herself recently. Has she eaten something that has disagreed with her?

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Book Review: The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins

Title: The Wife Upstairs

Author: Rachel Hawkins

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Genre: Thriller

Content/Trigger Warnings: Murder, mentions of drowning, blackmail, forced captivity, infidelity, blood, alcohol, alcohol abuse

Rating: ★★★★

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

One Sentence Synopsis:

A young dog-walker named Jane, who has a past filled with secrets, finds her path crossing with the mysterious, handsome Mr. Rochester, who’s past may be just as dark as hers.

Favorite Quote:

“I’ve gone so long trying not to be seen that there’s something intoxicating about letting him really see me.”

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Mini Reviews: Novellas Edition

Hello, reader!

I’m back with some mini reviews today. As a big consumer of fantasy, I tend to read a lot of longer books. Fantasy writers have a lot to get into a story and, sometimes, that can lead to some chonky books. Lately, though, I’ve found myself really getting into shorter fiction. That’s why I figured it was time to do a mini review of some mini books, aka novellas!

I’ve been having a great time with the novellas I’ve read recently, but am so behind on actually reviewing them! That being said, let’s jump into this post, shall we?


Title: Remote Control

Author: Nnedi Okorafor

Publisher: Tor.com

Genre: Science Fiction

CW/TW: Child abuse, body horror, grief & loss depiction, death of a family member, gun violence, animal death

Rating: ★★★★

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

Nnedi Okorafor has been on my radar for quite some time, but this was my first experience reading her work. Now, I wish to read everything she has ever written!

In Remote Control, we follow the story of a young girl who has lost her name and been adopted by Death. After a tragic event, Sankofa becomes her new name and death follows wherever she goes. She spends her days wandering Ghana with her small fox companion, trying to find answers and an object that fell from the sky and changed her life.

This was such an incredible, quiet read. You would think a book about a girl that brings death with her would be more in-you-face, but this book is much more a character study that was strangely calm. Even when the character was surrounded by death and destruction. I absolutely loved the writing in this story and how it gripped me from beginning to end. I loved Fatima/Sankofa and following her around as she searches for answers to her suffering. Watching her character growth and her interactions with the world around her was a treat! And, even though I could have followed this story for chapters and chapters more, it still felt like a fully formed and finished book in this short amount of pages. I can’t wait to read more from this author!

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