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If you've found this blog, thank you so much for taking time to check out my reviews. Please note that all the reviews are based very much on my own perception of the book and in no way should be taken as your only review source for the material. If you enjoyed a book I've reviewed, please feel free to share in the comments sections of the post.

23 February, 2021

[Review] The Circus Rose by Betsy Cornwell

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: 16 June, 2020
Publisher: Clarion Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction/Fantasy and Folk Lore/Fairytell Retelling/LGBTQIA+ Fiction/Romance
ISBN: 9781328639509
Edition: Hardback (available in audiobook, eBook, and paperback)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 9 September, 2020
Warnings: Magic, Queer relationships, Depictions of Humans being turned into animals
Summary:  
A queer retelling of “Snow White and Rose Red” in which teenage twins battle evil religious extremists to save their loves and their circus family.

Twins Rosie and Ivory have grown up at their ringmaster mother’s knee, and after years on the road, they’re returning to Port End, the closest place to home they know. Yet something has changed in the bustling city: fundamentalist flyers paper the walls and preachers fill the squares, warning of shadows falling over the land. The circus prepares a triumphant homecoming show, full of lights and spectacle that could chase away even the darkest shadow. But during Rosie’s tightrope act, disaster strikes.

In this lush, sensuous novel interwoven with themes of social justice and found family, it’s up to Ivory and her magician love—with the help of a dancing bear—to track down an evil priest and save their circus family before it’s too late.


See more by Betsy Cornwell at her website.

09 February, 2021

[Review] Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Terra Ignota #1
Release Date: 10 May, 2016
Publisher: Tor Books
Genre: Science Fiction/Futuristic/Political Science/Thriller/Suspense
ISBN: 9780765378002
Edition: Hardback (available in audiobook, eBook, and paperback)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 8 September, 2020
Warnings: Strong language, graphic description of violence and murder, cliffhanger
Summary:  
Mycroft Canner is a convict. For his crimes he is required, as is the custom of the 25th century, to wander the world being as useful as he can to all he meets. Carlyle Foster is a sensayer--a spiritual counselor in a world that has outlawed the public practice of religion, but which also knows that the inner lives of humans cannot be wished away.

The world into which Mycroft and Carlyle have been born is as strange to our 21st-century eyes as ours would be to a native of the 1500s. It is a hard-won utopia built on technologically-generated abundance, and also on complex and mandatory systems of labeling all public writing and speech. What seem to us normal gender distinctions are now distinctly taboo in most social situations. And most of the world's population is affiliated with globe-girdling clans of the like-minded, whose endless economic and cultural competition is carefully managed by central planners of inestimable subtlety. To us it seems like a mad combination of heaven and hell. To them, it seems like normal life.

And in this world, Mycroft and Carlyle have stumbled on the wild card that may destablize the system: the boy Bridger, who can effortlessly make his wishes come true. Who can, it would seem, bring inanimate objects to life... 


See more by Ada Palmer at her website.

26 January, 2021

[Review] Black Klansman: Race, Hate, and the Undercover Investigations of a Lifetime by Ron Stallworth

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: 5 June, 2018 (originally released May 13, 2014)
Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Genre: Non-Fiction/True Crime/Crime Investigations/Hate Crimes
ASIN: B07BC6DQ53
Edition: Audiobook (available in hardback, eBook, and paperback)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 4 September, 2020
Warnings: Strong Language, Mentions of Hate Crimes, Mentions of Death, Association with the KKK
Summary:  
The extraordinary true story of the black detective who goes undercover to investigate the KKK, the basis for the forthcoming major motion picture written and directed by Spike Lee and produced by Jordan Peele.

When detective Ron Stallworth, the first black detective in the history of the Colorado Springs Police Department, comes across a classified ad in the local paper asking for all those interested in joining the Ku Klux Klan to contact a PO box, Detective Stallworth does his job and responds with interest, using his real name while posing as a white man. He figures he'll receive a few brochures in the mail, maybe even a magazine, and learn more about a growing terrorist threat in his community.

A few weeks later the office phone rings, and the caller asks Ron a question he thought he'd never have to answer: "Would you like to join our cause?" This is 1978, and the KKK is on the rise in the United States. Its Grand Wizard, David Duke, has made a name for himself, appearing on talk shows and in major magazine interviews preaching a "kinder" Klan that wants nothing more than to preserve a heritage and to restore a nation to its former glory.

Ron answers the caller's question that night with a yes, launching what is surely one of the most audacious and incredible undercover investigations in history. Ron recruits his partner, Chuck, to play the "white" Ron Stallworth while Stallworth himself conducts all subsequent phone conversations. During the months-long investigation, Stallworth sabotages cross burnings, exposes white supremacists in the military, and even befriends David Duke himself.

Black Klansman is an amazing true story that unfolds like a crime thriller and a searing portrait of a divided America and the extraordinary heroes who dare to fight back.

See more by Ron Stallworth at his website.

12 January, 2021

[Review] Romanov by Nadine Brandes

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone
Release Date: 20 June, 2019
Publisher: Dreamscape Media LLC.
Genre: Young Adult Romance|Magical Realism|Fantasy|Eurasian Fiction
ISBN: 9781974927258
Edition: Audiobook (available in hardback, eBook, and paperback)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 4 September, 2020
Warnings: Historical Death, Magic, Spellwork, Torture
Summary:  
The history books say I died.

They don’t know the half of it.

Anastasia “Nastya” Romanov was given a single mission: to smuggle an ancient spell into her suitcase on her way to exile in Siberia. It might be her family’s only salvation. But the leader of the Bolshevik army is after them . . . and he’s hunted Romanov before.

Nastya’s only chances of survival are to either release the spell, and deal with the consequences, or enlist help from Zash, the handsome soldier who doesn’t act like the average Bolshevik. Nastya’s never dabbled in magic before, but it doesn’t frighten her as much as her growing attraction for Zash. She likes him. She thinks he might even like her . . .

That is, until she’s on one side of a firing squad . . . and he’s on the other.

See more by Nadine Brandes at her website.

29 December, 2020

[Review] Will Save the Galaxy For Food by Yahtzee Croshaw

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Jacques McKeown #1
Release Date: 14 February, 2017
Publisher: Dark Horse Books
Genre: Space Opera/Science Fiction/Parody
ISBN: 9781506701653
Edition: Paperback (available in eBook, and audiobook)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 6 August, 2020
Warnings: Death, Violence, Sexual Tension
Summary:  
A not-quite epic science fiction adventure about a down-on-his luck galactic pilot caught in a cross-galaxy struggle for survival! Space travel just isn't what it used to be. With the invention of Quantum Teleportation, space heroes aren't needed anymore. When one particularly unlucky ex-adventurer masquerades as famous pilot and hate figure Jacques McKeown, he's sucked into an ever-deepening corporate and political intrigue. Between space pirates, adorable deadly creatures, and a missing fortune in royalties, saving the universe was never this difficult!

See more by Yahtzee Croshaw at his website.

15 December, 2020

[Review] A Song of Wrath and Ruins by Roseanne A. Brown

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: A Song of Wrath and Ruins #1
Release Date: 2 June, 2020
Publisher: HarperAudio (an imprint of HarperCollins)
Genre: African Fantasy/Fantasy/Young Adult/Young Adult Romance
ASIN: B07XM8PJ9B
Edition: Audiobook (available in eBook, and hardback)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 6 August, 2020
Warnings: Death, Violence, Sexual Exploits, Magic
Summary:  
For Malik, the Solstasia festival is a chance to escape his war-stricken home and start a new life with his sisters in the prosperous desert city of Ziran. But when a vengeful spirit abducts his younger sister, Nadia, as payment to enter the city, Malik strikes a fatal deal - kill Karina, Crown Princess of Ziran, for Nadia’s freedom.



But Karina has deadly aspirations of her own. Her mother, the Sultana, has been assassinated; her court threatens mutiny; and Solstasia looms like a knife over her neck. Grief-stricken, Karina decides to resurrect her mother through ancient magic...requiring the beating heart of a king. And she knows just how to obtain one: by offering her hand in marriage to the victor of the Solstasia competition.




When Malik rigs his way into the contest, they are set on a heart-pounding course to destroy each other. But as attraction flares between them and ancient evils stir, will they be able to see their tasks to the death?


See more by Roseanne A Brown at her website.

01 December, 2020

[Review] Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix by Julie C. Dao

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Cover image from the goodreads website.

Series or Stand Alone: Rise of the Empress Duology #2
Release Date: 6 November, 2018
Publisher: Philomel Books (an imprint of Penguin Random House)
Genre: Folklore/Fantasy/Asian Fantasy/Legends/Fairy Tale Retellings
ISBN: 9781524738310
Edition: Hardback (available in paperback, eBook, and audiobook)
Rating: ★★
Review Written: 6 August, 2020
Warnings: Death, Mild Sexual Scenes, Violence
Summary:  
This fairy tale retelling lives in a mystical world inspired by the Far East, where the Dragon Lord and the Serpent God battle for control of the earthly realm; it is here that the flawed heroine of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns finally meets her match. An epic fantasy finale to the Rise of the Empress novels.

Princess Jade has grown up in exile, hidden away in a monastery while her stepmother, the ruthless Xifeng, rules as Empress of Feng Lu. But the empire is in distress and its people are sinking into poverty and despair. Even though Jade doesn't want the crown, she knows she is the only one who can dethrone the Empress and set the world right. Ready to reclaim her place as rightful heir, Jade embarks on a quest to raise the Dragon Lords and defeat Xifeng and the Serpent God once and for all. But will the same darkness that took Xifeng take Jade, too? Or will she find the strength within to save herself, her friends, and her empire?

Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with breathtaking pain and beauty, Kingdom of the Blazing Phoenix is filled with dazzling magic, powerful prose, and characters readers won't soon forget.

Fans of Stealing Snow, Red Queen, and The Wrath and the Dawn will hungrily devour this page-turning read.


See more by Julie C. Dao at her website.

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