Review: Threadneedle by Cari Thomas

Series: The Language of Magic #1
Goodreads: Threadneedle
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Buy: Bookshop.org UK 
Synopsis: Within the boroughs of London, nestled among its streets, hides another city, filled with magic.

Magic is the first sin. It must be bound.

Ever since Anna can remember, her aunt has warned her of the dangers of magic. She has taught her to fear how it twists and knots and turns into something dark and deadly.

It was, after all, magic that killed her parents and left her in her aunt’s care. It’s why she has been protected from the magical world and, in one year’s time, what little magic she has will be bound. She will join her aunt alongside the other Binders who believe magic is a sin not to be used, but denied. Only one more year and she will be free of the curse of magic, her aunt’s teachings and the disappointment of the little she is capable of.

Nothing – and no one – could change her mind before then. Could it?

Review: I received this digital copy in exchange for an honest review, thanks HarperVoyager.

It’s so lovely when a publisher invites you to review a book that’s been on your to be read since they announced it, and ho boy was I excited to immerse myself in a modern witch aesthetic set in London. It’s also really rather nice when the book actually manages to live up to the pre-release hype, which for me Threadneedle managed to do.

Firstly, I think it should be mentioned that Threadneedle has the feel of a young adult novel rather than the adult fantasy it’s been marketed as; it is a first in series so maybe it’ll get more adult as it goes along, but for now, this book reads a little young to sit firmly in the adult fantasy category. That’s not to say that this detracted from the story, Threadneedle is excellent, but if you’re not a lover of a very teenage voice then it’s something to consider.

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Review: A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

Series: Hades and Persephone #1
Goodreads: A Touch of Darkness
Publisher: Self Published
Buy: Bookshop.org UK | US
Synopsis: Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible. After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever. The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows – and it’s forbidden.

Review: I’ve recently descended into booktok hell and alongside that swift descent I rekindled my love of Greek mythology, so when A Touch of Darkness popped up on my for you page it felt like fate. A spicy Hades and Persephone retelling while I’m gripped by Lore Olympus, yes please, but this book ended up being a major flop for me.

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Review: These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Series: These Violent Delights #1
Goodreads: These Violent Delights
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Buy: Bookshop.org UK | US
Synopsis: The year is 1926, and Shanghai hums to the tune of debauchery.

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

Review: I received this digital copy in exchange for an honest review, thanks Hodder & Stoughton.

I’ve been struggling with this review in the same way I struggled to finish this book. I think it may be a case of covid brain and an ill-timed Hades play-through that meant I read this in bits and couldn’t settle into it, but I’m going to try my best to explain why I didn’t click with this book.

The Shanghai that Chloe Gong developed was so intricate and interesting, and I really felt as though I was walking the city streets alongside Juliette and Roma. It’s vivid, and the clashes between the different cultures alongside the colonisation of Shanghai, and Juliette’s discomfort with the westernisation of her home is palpable. Juliette was certainly my favourite part of the These Violent Delights. She’s tough, whip smart, plus I loved the fact she was torn between her loyalty to the gang and working with Roma to save Shanghai. Juliette returns to the city from America with something to prove and a lot to lose, and you can really feel how on edge she feels walking round an often unfamiliar Shanghai. She’s wonderfully well developed, and I was always disappointed when we moved away from her perspective!

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Review: The Damned by Renée Ahdieh

Series: The Beautiful #2
Goodreads: The Damned
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Book Depository
Synopsis: Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly. But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien.

Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.

Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.

Review:  I received this digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

So at the end of my review of The Beautiful I said that I felt the series had a lot of potential, and despite not being wild about the book I was rather excited for the sequel. I figured The Damned would put Celine at the centre of a Vampire vs Werewolf conflict, and in some ways I was right, but at the same time so, so, wrong.

I asked for more vampires and The Damned definitely delivered. The lack of vampire action was one of my biggest issues with The Beautiful, but this book has supernatural creatures in spades. There’s a whole lot of world development in this one, some of which should have been mentioned in the first novel, but this book really revealed New Orleans’ supernatural underbelly and I loved it.

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Review: Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Series: Alex Stern #1
Goodreads: Ninth House
Publisher: Gollancz
Book Depository
Synopsis: Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

Review: Right, first off there a bunch of trigger warnings that come alongside this book. The book is dark, and as Leigh herself said, definitely not a Young Adult title: There’s graphic sexual assault including child rape and a magical date rape drug, violence, abuse, suicide, substance abuse, and self-harm. As always if this is something that you are not comfortable reading then this probably isn’t the book for you. It is also worth mentioning here that nothing I’ve ever read by Leigh Bardugo before has been quite like Ninth House. This is a testament to Bardugo’s talent, but also means that you shouldn’t be disheartened if you don’t like this as much as the Grisha-verse.

I, admittedly, absolutely devoured Ninth House. I love the way Leigh Bardugo writes, she always manages to drag me into the story and not let me go until the end. I picked this book up when I attended Leigh’s signing in Oxford back in October, which was amazing by the way, and it took me forever to read because of a rather long reading slump. I think I also put the book off due to some of the discourse surrounding a few of the triggers listed above, I definitely don’t mind dark and edgy, but I was a little worried that some of it would come across as gratuitous.

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Sunday Book Crush!!

Goodreads: Elysium
Amazon: UK | US

Evelyn Notte’s had sixteen years to make Elysium her home, but not by choice: she only survived her husband’s betrayal by fusing with the ley line beneath the asylum’s foundation. Now rumor has it Adam is back to his old tricks, and if Adam’s alive maybe there’s still a chance for the newborn daughter he stole from Evelyn so many years ago. 

The only way out of Elysium is the Nightmare buried at its core. Waking him means reigniting a long-stalled war and giving up what little is left of her humanity, but Evelyn’s not going to lose her daughter again – and she’s sure as hell not going to let Adam walk away a second time.

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War for The Oaks by Emma Bull

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Publisher: Penguin
Amazon: UK|US
Goodreads: War for the Oaks


Synopsis: Eddi McCandry sings rock and roll. But her boyfriend just dumped her, her band just broke up, and life could hardly be worse. Then, walking home through downtown Minneapolis on a dark night, she finds herself drafted into an invisible war between the faerie folk. Now, more than her own survival is at risk-and her own preferences, musical and personal, are very much beside the point.

War for the Oaks is a brilliantly entertaining fantasy novel that’s as much about this world as about the imagined one.


Review: I picked up this book in Waterstones where they were describing it as a forgotten classic, and honestly I think it is one; from reading this I can clearly see the foundations for books like Cassie Clare’s The Mortal Instruments, with its melding of the supernatural world and a very urban human environment. This book is honestly my favourite book of 2016 it’s jam packed with action and charismatic characters, I found myself unable to put it down.

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