Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea Witch by Sarah HenningSea Witch by Sarah Henning
Published by HarperCollins on July 31st 2018
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368
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The sea is a fickle witch.
She is just as likely to bestow a kiss as to steal the breath from your lips.

 

I gave myself a bit of a headache trying to rate this book. Parts of it were 2 teacups, other parts 4/4.5, so in the end I’ve settled on this. But I will say one thing: this book is probably not what you are expecting. I hope it can find the right readers.

One StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

A Thousand Beginnings and EndingsA Thousand Beginnings and Endings Published by HarperCollins on June 26th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Short Stories, Young Adult
Pages: 336
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This is definitely one of the better YA short story collections I have read. As with all anthologies, some stories are much stronger than others, but I enjoyed far more than I disliked. Plus, it was just so great to see the exploration of mythologies we don’t often see in the mainstream. My average rating over the fifteen stories was 3.7.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The Poppy War by R.F. KuangThe Poppy War by R. F. Kuang
Published by HarperCollins on May 1st 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 544
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“But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.”

 

Holy hell, what did I just read??

➽ A fantasy military school
➽ A rich world based on modern Chinese history
➽ Shamans and gods
➽ Detailed characterization leading to unforgettable characters
➽ Adorable, opium-smoking mentors

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen

The Bird and the Blade by Megan BannenThe Bird and the Blade by Megan Bannen
Published by HarperCollins on June 5th 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 432
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“Should you fail to answer correctly each riddle by the end of seven minutes, you shall forfeit your life. Do you understand?”

 

Mongolian fantasy with ghosts and riddles, anyone?

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

My Plain Jane by Cynthia Hand

My Plain Jane by Cynthia HandMy Plain Jane by Cynthia HandBrodi AshtonJodi Meadows
Published by HarperCollins on June 26th 2018
Genres: Fantasy, Historical
Pages: 464
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I really wanted to love this. So badly. My Lady Jane was so so much fun when I read it last year, but I just felt like both the humour and the story were pretty bland in this book. I felt like the previous book was a hilarious historical comedy; this one was a meh Jane Eyre retelling.

One StarOne Star

The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst

The Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth DurstThe Queen of Sorrow by Sarah Beth Durst
Published by HarperCollins on May 15th 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 432
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I suppose I’ll need Jastra’s plan after all. Pity.
It would have been nice to avoid murdering anyone.

 

I have really enjoyed this series. I came to the end of The Queen of Sorrow and, aptly, felt a lot of sorrow at having to leave these characters behind. At least the author’s note promises a standalone set in the same world – in Belene this time – so I will get to return to, and explore more of, Renthia.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

The Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy

The Perfect Mother by Aimee MolloyThe Perfect Mother by Aimee Molloy
Published by HarperCollins on May 1st 2018
Genres: Fiction
Pages: 336
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I enjoyed this quite a lot.

The Perfect Mother definitely has something of a Moriarty vibe (Liane, not Jim) but I personally found it better paced. I struggled with the slowness and tame domesticity of Moriarty’s The Husband’s Secret and Truly Madly Guilty, though I enjoyed the HBO adaptation of Big Little Lies. I would say that this book is more like the latter. It’s predominantly about women and the relationships between them, with the thriller aspect of a missing baby providing the stage on which these complex friendships and loyalties play out.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic

Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana PopovicWicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic
Published by HarperCollins on August 15th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 416
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All the women in Iris and Malina’s family have the unique magical ability or “gleam” to manipulate beauty. Iris sees flowers as fractals and turns her kaleidoscope visions into glasswork, while Malina interprets moods as music. But their mother has strict rules to keep their gifts a secret, even in their secluded sea-side town. Iris and Malina are not allowed to share their magic with anyone, and above all, they are forbidden from falling in love. 
But when their mother is mysteriously attacked, the sisters will have to unearth the truth behind the quiet lives their mother has built for them. They will discover a wicked curse that haunts their family line—but will they find that the very magic that bonds them together is destined to tear them apart forever?

In some ways, I feel like I’m being generous. I’m upping my rating to two stars, and yet this book was so painfully slow and boring.

One StarOne Star

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

The Good Daughter by Karin SlaughterThe Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter
Published by HarperCollins on August 8th 2017
Genres: Mystery & Thriller
Pages: 528
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Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…
Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn's happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home. It left their mother dead. It left their father — Pikeville's notorious defense attorney — devastated. And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.
Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father's footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it's a case that unleashes the terrible memories she's spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won't stay buried forever…
Packed with twists and turns, brimming with emotion and heart, The Good Daughter is fiction at its most thrilling.

This is the second thriller I’ve read lately that opens with a shitstorm of drama. In the best kind of way, of course. But The Good Daughter is, in some ways, much darker than Stillhouse Lake, and in other ways slower and more character-driven.

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Hunted by Meagan SpoonerHunted by Meagan Spooner
Published by HarperCollins on March 14th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 384
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Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones—and in her blood. After all, her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering its secrets. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters out of their comfortable home among the aristocracy and back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. The Beast.
Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange creature back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of magical creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin, or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

“She wept because she did not know what she wanted, and because she wanted everything.”

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star