Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.
At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.
When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.
Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture-and her father might be lost forever.
I feel like that synopsis is extremely detailed so I don’t need to lay out too many details on the plot! However, as for my opinions….stunning for a debut novel! So get this: not only was this book a beautiful cover buy, it was also an incredibly unique, action-packed, futuristic, and an intriguing book. It was so neat to imagine the world we know all being underwater. I’m not from London, but can you imagine Sherlock Holmes or the Queen of England living underwater?? Yeah, who thinks of that??!! London Shah! Strong on imagination yet mild on romance, I loved that The Light on the Bottom of the Ocean also was relevant on current topics like diversity and the idea of questioning authority and voicing opinions, even though it has a futuristic setting. These concepts are timeless and ring true in this story and I found it refreshing to see it anchoring this book down. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy!
About the Author:
Author London Shah is a British-born Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. She has lived in Britain’s capital city for most of her life via England’s beautiful North. When she’s not busy re-imagining the past, plotting an alternate present or dreaming up a surreal future, then she’s most likely drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Thames, getting lost on an evening in the city’s older, darker alleyways—preferably just after it’s rained—listening to punk rock, or losing herself in a fab SFF book or film. If she could have only one super power, it would be to breathe underwater. THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is her debut novel.
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Title: Well Met
Author: Jen DeLuca
Page Count: 336 pages – ebook edition
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Have you ever been swooned? Well Captain Simon and the Bar Wench Emily are about to swoon your ass off in this romcom! I remember reading the synopsis for this book a month or two ago and seeing the Renaissance Faire aspect of it made it an automatic must-read for me. The thought of working a Ren Faire for a summer is like working a fantasy summer camp to me. Like, how amazing would it be? Dressing up, acting in-character, playing with the patrons…so fun! And then in this book, we layer in this romance and some comedy?! Its so much fun!!
Just to give you an idea…in Well Met, our main character is Emily, who moves to this small town after her older sister is in a car wreck and now needs some help around the house and getting her daughter around for the summer. Well, daughter Caitlin finally old enough and is now volunteering for the town’s summer event which is the Renaissance Faire and in order for her to volunteer, she needs to have an adult work with her. Obviously her mom can’t because of her injury so Emily is recruited to be a part of the fair as well and she is assigned the role of Tavern Wench. From the moment she enters orientation, the guy in charge (Simon) hassles her about everything right down to filling out her form incorrectly. When Simon is in costume though, he is a completely different person. He is handfast to Emma, delivers her red roses, and recites Shakespeare. Is this new swagger all pirate Simon? Or does real Simon swoon for Emily as well?
I read this book so fast, I just could not get enough. Well Met was incredibly charming and filled with many emotions. First of all, I loved the small town setting and just the idea that Emily moved to town to help her sister April and she slowly grew to be accepted and to get to know everyone’s stories. Even April started to open up to the small town atmosphere a little more by the end so that was good too. Second, speaking of stories, I thought the background story of Mitch and the Faire and Simon’s extreme attachment to it was pretty decent. Overall though, I love how Emily really got it and how she and Simon talked it out. I thought their scene at the tree was an amazing scene for a chick lit/contemporary book and the ending was really nice.
The reason I gave this book only 4 stars rather than 5 is because I felt that Emily is a character that just got too critical and nervous and questioned every single thing that Simon said to her. It just got to be too much and felt obsessive to me. “He gave me a rose! Am I important? How do I handle this? What do I do next?” I was always wondering “Haven’t you ever been in a relationship before?” It just dimmed the shine on the story a little bit for me at times. Other than this though, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend! (especially the audiobook)
Book Soundtrack: Small Town Boy by Dustin Lynch (I love this song)
After escaping her kidnappers and destroying the black market where she was held captive, all Nita wants is to find a way to live her life without looking over her shoulder. But with a video of her ability to self-heal all over the dark web, Nita knows she’s still a prime target on the black market.
There’s only one way to keep herself safe.
Nita must make herself so feared that no one would ever dare come after her again. And the best way to start building her reputation? Take her revenge on Fabricio, the boy who sold Nita to her kidnappers. But killing Fabricio is harder than Nita thought it would be, even with Kovit by her side. Now caught in a game of kill or be killed, Nita will do whatever it takes to win.
We left off in book #1 (Not Even Bones–link to my review) on a huge cliffhanger. Our main character Nita is coming face-to-face with the guy who she set free and then turned around and sold her to the black market. Or did he? I’m not convinced. But Nita is. She is reunited with her mother, only to truly see how slimy and irritating she truly is. Nita says no more and sets off on her own. But she reunites with our favorite Zannie–Kovit–soon and, of course, the dark adventures and terrors begin.
I wish I could truly tell you about this book, but I don’t want to spoil anything. You really have to experience it for yourself. I loved that the cast of characters expands in this book, and more than anything, I love seeing more of Kovit in this book! Give me a dark, moody book boyfriend any day! Although. Here’s the catch. This relationship reminded me of the…I don’t know what to call it…Edward and Bella…where she is the only female who is immune to his powers and is therefore more attractive to him. More or less. All of that being said, I don’t care, because I loved their fragility both together and separate. It made for such a dynamic book! There is the violence and the action and the chase…but then there is this questioning and moral greyness, and there is actual time spent to dissect it. Love it!
Rebecca Schaeffer was born and raised in the Canadian prairies. Her itchy feet took her far from home when she turned eighteen, and she hasn’t returned for more than a few months here or there since. You can find her sitting in a cafe on the other side of the world, writing about villains, antiheroes and morally ambiguous characters.
Her debut , Not Even Bones, is about a girl who dissects and sells monsters on the internet. Not Even Bones received a starred review from Booklist, was shortlisted for the Sunburst Award for Speculative Fiction, as well as the Cybilis awards.
Title: Not Even Bones Author: Rebecca Schaeffer Published: September 4, 2018 Pages: 368 (Hardcover) Publisher: HMH Books
Young Adult, Paranormal, Horror, Urban Fantasy
Goodreads Synopsis: Nita doesn’t murder supernatural beings and sell their body parts on the internet—her mother does that. Nita just dissects the bodies after they’ve been “acquired.” Until her mom brings home a live specimen and Nita decides she wants out; dissecting a scared teenage boy is a step too far. But when she decides to save her mother’s victim, she ends up sold in his place—because Nita herself isn’t exactly “human.” She has the ability to alter her biology, a talent that is priceless on the black market. Now on the other side of the bars, if she wants to escape, Nita must ask herself if she’s willing to become the worst kind of monster.
This book has been on my TBR for a while. Why? The description calls it a mix of Dexter and V.E. Schwab’s This Savage Song, which is a pretty epic combination when you think about it. Main character Nita has a fascination with anatomy and takes comfort in dissecting the bodies of supernaturals–like herself–which are then sold as parts on the black market by her mother. She is used to her subjects being cold on her table until one day, her mother brings a live victim to their basement and this is where the story really begins.
Fast forwarding so as to not spoil details in the story, Nita finds herself caged and up for sale on the black market. As she tries to work out who betrayed her location and her secret of being an unnatural, she attempts to escape to safe territory. In this unique world, there are all kinds of different ‘monsters,’ their various parts being of varying uses and values. This, of course, is where a lot of gore comes into play because Nita has to either cut them up, watch them being consumed or extracted or detached, and of course there is violence in the being imprisoned, escape attempts, etc.
The book leaves off on a cliffhanger after Nita comes face-to-face with…well, I can’t tell you that. Just know that this is a book that is incredibly unique and keeps you on your toes the entire time. It is certainly full of blood and guts, monsters, black market mafia, and action. I would say there isn’t a ton of character development as of yet, but book 2 is releasing September 3, 2019 so we will find out soon!
Author: Cat Winters Publisher: Amulet Books Release Date: April 16, 2019 Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Fantasy
The Raven’s Tale is another book that is honestly rather difficult to give a rating to so I think I need to go by some pro’s and con’s:
♦ Poor pacing and repetition. This book really was not action-driven, so don’t open it expecting the adventures of Poe and his muse. There are many pretty (dark, sultry) words, but not a whole lot going on. If you are an artist of any kind, read this book. If you are an adventurer, a fast-paced reader, looking for the high stakes, etc…..search elsewhere.
♦ Mostly unengaging. The Raven’s Tale is told in alternating points of view between Edgar and his personified muse, Lenore. Over and over, Edgar struggles to embrace his art (through/with Lenore) because of his adoptive father, who killed his own muse when he was young. At the age of seventeen, Edgar has to decide if he will obey his demanding father and inherit the family accounting business or make his own path.
♦ This book was thoroughly researched (as much was allowed given the historical handicap), and it shows in the story. In Cat’s author notes in the back of the book, her references and notes are extensive. I found it fascinating how she was able to piece together a story from the scraps of what remained from Poe’s life story. She made gold from the heresay of those who didn’t like Poe or from what was published in papers about him, for better or worse.
♦ Probably some of the most beautiful writing and one of the most unique concepts I have read. To take a real and very famous literary figure and piece together facts with the beautiful fantasy concept of a muse and fully pose that that is how his writings came to life…I thought it was exquisite. I also loved that Cat was able to write her own short poems in the book in the style of Poe and honestly, I never knew the difference. The book was still amazing to read.
To wrap up, I wouldn’t say that this was the best book that I have ever read in terms of a story, but I will say that the writing was great and it was everything I expected in terms of something Poe-ish. It was quite dark, very unique, and overall very morose in the best of ways.
We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler Published: April 2, 2019 Genres: YA Fiction, Contemporary Synopsis: It’s been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia’s memory is spotty at best. She’s left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it could consume her.
As the rest of Mia’s family struggles with their own grief, Mia is sent to New York City to spend the summer with a grandmother she’s never met. All Mia wants to do is hide from the world, but instead she’s stuck with a summer job in the bustling kitchens of the cafe down the street. There she meets Fig–blue-haired, friendly, and vivacious–who takes Mia under her wing. As Mia gets to know Fig and her friends–including Cooper, the artistic boy who is always on Mia’s mind–she realizes that she’s not the only one with a painful past.
Over the summer, Mia begins to learn that redemption isn’t as impossible as she once thought, but her scars inside run deep and aren’t nearly so simple to heal … especially when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the night Rachel died.
Hi everyone! I am coming to you today with a review of this really great YA contemporary novel about grief, trauma, friendship, beauty, and forgiveness. I was drawn into the book from the very first pages as the main character, Mia, says goodbye to her father and climbs onto a train heading toward New York. She is going to be spending the summer with her estranged grandmother because life hasn’t been the same since she lost her sister in a car accident last year. Her mom left and her dad has checked out mentally. Mia herself has been left with a scarred face and no memory of the night of the accident. Living with her grandmother means attending church and starting a summer job working at Brunelli’s Diner.
So here is where we meet most of our characters. First off, our main character Mia is scarred both outside and in. She is quiet and shy, but throughout the book it is so clear that she is exactly where she needs to be and with exactly the right people to help her through her situation. Grandma Victoria is an awesome character. She seems rather cold and a stickler for manners in the beginning, but she makes a strong effort to provide for Mia. The best thing of all is that Mia gives back to her too. She gives her happiness and fun. And lastly, there is Fig and the Brunelli family. Within this new circle of friends, Mia finds new support she has never had before. Little by little she regains her confidence and learns (as corny and cliche as this sounds) to finally accept herself and live a full life.
About the Author: Heather Hepler
I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, which I think is one of the cooler places to be born, because initially people think I’m being funny—like I’m saying I was born on the moon, but then they see I’m actually being serious. It feels like since then I’ve lived nearly everywhere (well, only in the US—which is a bummer because I want to travel so much). In high school, I was in band and honors society and science club and worked on the school newspaper. All this in Texas where football was king and cheerleaders were the school royalty. When people ask me what I remember about middle school and high school, I stand there for several seconds not saying anything. This isn’t because I can’t remember anything, but because I remember too many things and I can’t figure out what to say out loud.
I spent the first part of college in Alaska, which was amazing. The first time I saw Northern Lights, I thought I was imagining it. I just couldn’t get my head around the idea that something so beautiful existed in the real world. That’s when I first started writing. This was my bad poetry phase. I think it was the combination of living there with long very cold winters and being in love with a guy that barely knew I existed that made me do it. People ask me all the time if I write poetry. I wish I could and maybe I will someday, but for now I am firmly a fiction writer.
Wicked Saints(Something Dark and Holy #1) by Emily A Duncan
Hardcover Edition 400 pages
Publish Date April 2nd 2019 by Wednesday Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
“The girl, the monster, and the prince…”
All the stars!!
My new favorite 2019 release!!
Yes I’m gushing!! But I can’t help it!!
Ok, I need to calm down. This book is far too dark and serious for that much excitement. I feel that it is difficult to know where to even begin with setting this book up for you all without either a) confusing the crows out of you, or b) spoiling everything for you. I will try my best though.
Our three main characters are Nadya (cleric from Kalyazin), Malachaisz (runaway mage from Tranavia), and Serefin (blood mage and Prince of Tranavia). War is raging between the lands, not just involving the countries, but between magics–mages, the gods(clerics), and the Vultures, who are a powerful cult. Nadya is her people’s only hope to restore the power of their gods to the land. Serefin was raised to battle all believers in the gods. And Malachaisz just wants the fighting to stop and the first step, he says, is to kill the king. Told from Nadya and Serefin’s dual points of view, we really see into these characters and feel how real they are. Nadya has had the voices of these gods in her head her entire life, and there are at least a dozen? And then there is Serafin, who has been brought up under a tyrannical king and all he has known is war.
The passion and the drama in this book is absolutely non-stop from beginning to end. I tell you there is action, there is friendship and travel and romance and magic and betrayal and just…everything! Emily Duncan is an author who does not hold back. Personally, I am no author. But if I were to write a book, Emily has literally taken what I was wanting and thinking and penned it in this book practically word-for-word from my own head and heart. She is not brief with her descriptions of love or fear or doubt or pain. She hits you with it and if you’re like me, you will grip this book until your hands hurt waiting to see what happens next! Even the magic systems are evolving, and to me, that’s impressive. There is no lack of diversity either so truly, I feel that this woman has created something wonderful here.
So, I can’t end this review without mentioning that this book does need a couple trigger and content warnings. We do have ourselves alcohol consumption (maybe addiction to), violence, self-harm (literally blood mages, of their own blood) and talk of self-harm in the past.
Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for granting me an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own. Because the quotes from above were taken from the ARC, they are subject to change by the time of publication.
Book Soundtrack: “Inside a Boy (Album Version)” by My Brightest Diamond
The Bear and the Nightingale really has so many aesthetics within it–it is magical, whimsical, spiritual, family-oriented, and just plain beautiful. The story is about Vasya, the youngest child of Pyotor and Marina Vladimirovic. Marina dies in childbirth, and Vasya grows up to be a fiercely independent and strong-willed young woman who cares not only for her family members, but for the spirits of her house and of the woods. But these are the “old gods,” pushed out when Christianity comes to the villiage.
To me, the story unfolded incredibly slowly. I was very tempted to walk away in the beginning. But then, the Russian folklore begins to weave into the story–snowdrops in midwinter, Father Frost, the Sea-King’s Daughter, and Vasilisa the Beautiful (feel free to use Google for any of these stories!). How they were written and their seamlessness in the story was so great. What I did not like, however, was how confusing a few of the characters were, as well as the passing of time. Katherine Arden’s writing can be so beautiful and descriptive about certain things, but then I feel like I’m completely missing out on details regarding certain other things.
Now, here is my final comment: I realize that so many people loved this book. Maybe I took the wrong path by listening to the audiobook. I really did not enjoy this book, so I am going to give this one some time and try to pick up a hard copy later down the line and see if reading it with my own eyes gives me a different experience. Or maybe I should just move on and read book two in hard copy format. I’ll think about it. Either way, I am interested in the plot and the folklore aspect so I’m not ready to give up on Vasilisa yet.
From Goodreads: The year is 1922. The carnival is Pontilliar’s Spectactular Star Light Miraculum, set up on the Texas-Louisiana border. One blazing summer night, a mysterious stranger steps out onto the midway, lights a cigarette and forever changes the world around him. Tattooed snake charmer Ruby has traveled with her father’s carnival for most of her life and, jaded though she is, can’t help but be drawn to the tall man in the immaculate black suit who has joined the carnival as a geek, a man who bites the heads off live chickens. Mercurial and charismatic, Daniel charms everyone he encounters but his manipulation of Ruby becomes complicated when it no longer becomes clear who is holding all the cards. For all of Daniel’s secrets, Ruby has a few of her own. When one tragedy after another strikes the carnival, and it becomes clear that Daniel is somehow at the center of calamity, Ruby takes it upon herself to discover the mystery of the shadowy man pulling all the strings. Joined by Hayden, a roughneck-turned-mural-painter who has recently reentered her life, Ruby enters into a dangerous, eye-opening game with Daniel in which nothing and no one is as it seems and yet everything is at stake.
Miraculum was quite the magical ride! Really, it was more than that. There was magic, mythology, mysticism, and so much mystery! The setting of the carnival isn’t quite as central to the book as I expected. Our main character, Ruby, is a snake charmer. Basically a second-rate tattoo’d lady/snake charmer act who is cast aside for the most part. From the time Daniel, a stranger in upscale black suits, joins the cast, strange and terrible things begin happening. There really wasn’t much splendor or marvel to the Star Light Miraculum to begin with, however. I found it to be a little disappointing unfortunately. A little bit more American Horror Story than The Greatest Show. Moving on though….
What I did like, was the ancient history and mythology woven into the story. Samuel’s books and the hoodoo magic of the bayou held an immense amount of intrigue. I loved those story lines. Plus the interjections from throughout time every few chapters. These I found so fascinating, I looked forward to reading them every time they came around. They fueled the story in a vital way I felt. I wish that the characters were as fiery. I felt no connection to them, unfortunately. Not a one.
My final thoughts on this book: it was certainly a slow burn. The book is only 320 pages long but it felt like 500. I didn’t mind in the beginning because I thought things were interesting and I wanted to know where the story would go. Then the fiery interjections would come in a move things along a bit. I was so determined to do my duties as an ARC reader so I stuck with the slow reading. The ending was very good I thought. It wasn’t quite the battle I expected it to be, but of course, good pretty much won out so I was ultimately satisfied. If you like settings in the 1920’s, carnivals, magic, mythology, mystery, and don’t mind a slow burn read, then this book will be good for you. Miraculum releases on February 1st so keep an eye out!
I was provided with a free copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions are my own.
Oh my dragons, I loved this book! <u>Nimona</u> is a graphic novel set in medieval times…but then someone answers a phone and the Industry manufactures a secret genetic weapon. And then throw a little shape-shifting magic in there and we’re set up for something great!
The characters are great as well. Nimona, our main character, is absolutely hilarious! At times, she does get a little annoying because she can be aggressively self-pitying and take it out on others. So Nimona wants to be a villain and in order to do that, she seeks out the villiage villain, Lord Blackthorn. She calls him “Boss” and takes his “evil plans” of robbing a bank and tries to turn them into killing the king and taking over the throne so that he can be king. I loved the relationship and the banter between these two–it literally had me laughing out loud while reading on my breaks at work! And to make me like Nimona even more, at one point, she dyes her hair purple, and I love purple, so I got a little giddy over that. 😝 The rivalry between Blackthorn and Goldenloin (the “head knight” of the kingdom and the Industry) was fun as well. It was refreshing to see a heroic villain and a not-completely-heroic hero.
One more thing I want to highlight that I feel the book did really well was flashback sequences. I feel that these are very difficult to do in graphic novels, but Nimona did a variety of them, going back to Nimona’s childhood, Blackhood and Goldenloin’s early days of friendship, and the “legend” of the early knights and dragons. I felt that these scenes were woven into the story well and the storyboards looked different enough but still blended in nicely with the others to work out really nicely.
My only real qualm with the book (besides the aforementioned repetition of Nimona being self-pitying) is the tiny, microscopic text in the book. Seriously, its SO SMALL. The book (sorry, “graphic novel”) is only 250 pages long, I think we could expand a little for the sake of 1 size bigger font. I’ve never had this problem with a graphic novel before. 😞
Other than those tiny negatives, I LOVED this book. The graphics were good, it was SO very funny, the ideas were unique and creative, and it was just an all-around fun read. Honestly, one of my favorite graphic novels. I highly recommend it!