Review | Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

redwhiteandroyalblueTitleRed, White & Royal Blue (2019)
Author: Casey McQuiston
Publisher: St Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: 14th May 2019
Read: 19th – 20th April
Genre: LGBTQIA; romance; contemporary
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When his mother became President, Alex Claremont-Diaz was promptly cast as the American equivalent of a young royal. Handsome, charismatic, genius—his image is pure millennial-marketing gold for the White House. There’s only one problem: Alex has a beef with the actual prince, Henry, across the pond. And when the tabloids get hold of a photo involving an Alex-Henry altercation, U.S./British relations take a turn for the worse. Heads of family, state, and other handlers devise a plan for damage control: staging a truce between the two rivals. What at first begins as a fake, Instragramable friendship grows deeper, and more dangerous, than either Alex or Henry could have imagined. Soon Alex finds himself hurtling into a secret romance with a surprisingly unstuffy Henry that could derail the campaign and upend two nations and begs the question: Can love save the world after all? Where do we find the courage, and the power, to be the people we are meant to be? And how can we learn to let our true colors shine through? Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue proves: true love isn’t always diplomatic. (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

Review | The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

prioryTitleThe Priory of the Orange Tree (2019)
Author: Samantha Shannon
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Read: 3rd – 28th March 2019
Genre: fantasy
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens. The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep. (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

Review | Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik

throneofjadeTitleThrone of Jade (2006)
Author: Naomi Novik
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Read: 5th – 16th March 2019
Genre: fantasy; historical fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Captain William Laurence of the British Air Corps and his dragon, Temeraire, begin their slow voyage to China, fearful that upon landing they will be forced to part by Imperial decree. Temeraire is a Celestial dragon, the most highly-prized of all draconic breeds; famed for their intelligence, agility and most of all for the Divine Wind – their terrible roar capable of shattering the heavy timbers of war ships, shattering woodland and destroying other dragons mid-flight. Temeraire’s egg was captured and claimed by the British at sea, but he was meant to be the companion of the Emperor Napoleon and not captained by a mere officer in the British Air Corps. The Chinese have demanded his return and the British cannot refuse them – they cannot afford to provoke the asian super-power into allying themselves with the French – even if it costs them the most powerful weapon in their arsenal and inflicts the most unimaginable pain upon Laurence and his dragon. (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

Review | The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

startouchedTitleThe Star-Touched Queen (2016)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Read: 26th – 27th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; mythology
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire… But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself. (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

Review | The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

cityofbrassTitleThe City of Brass (2017)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Read: 8th – 20th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; historical fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Among the bustling markets of eighteenth century Cairo, the city’s outcasts eke out a living swindling rich Ottoman nobles and foreign invaders alike. But alongside this new world the old stories linger. Tales of djinn and spirits. Of cities hidden among the swirling sands of the desert, full of enchantment, desire and riches. Where magic pours down every street, hanging in the air like dust. Many wish their lives could be filled with such wonder, but not Nahri. She knows the trades she uses to get by are just tricks and sleights of hand: there’s nothing magical about them. She only wishes to one day leave Cairo, but as the saying goes. Be careful what you wish for.” (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

Review | Emma by Jane Austen

emmaTitleEmma (1815)
Author: Jane Austen
Publisher/Edition: Penguin/Penguin Red Classics
Read: 6th – 12th January 2019
Genre: classics
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“Beautiful, clever, rich-and single-Emma Woodhouse is perfectly content with her life and sees no need for either love or marriage. Nothing, however, delights her more than interfering in the romantic lives of others. But when she ignores the warnings of her good friend Mr. Knightley and attempts to arrange a suitable match for her protégée Harriet Smith, her carefully laid plans soon unravel and have consequences that she never expected.” (Synopsis from the publisher’s website)

Continue reading

Review | Enchantée by Gita Trelease

enchanteeTitleEnchantée (2019)
Author: Gita Trelease
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Release Date: 21st February 2019
Read: 23rd – 26th January 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; historical fantasy
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries – and magicians… When seventeen-year-old Camille is left orphaned, she has to provide for her frail sister and her volatile brother. In desperation, she survives by using the petty magic she learnt from her mother. But when her brother disappears Camille decides to pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Using dark magic Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine‘ and presents herself at the court of Versaille, where she soon finds herself swept up in a dizzying life of riches, finery and suitors. But Camille’s resentment of the rich is at odds with the allure of their glamour and excess, and she soon discovers that she’s not the only one leading a double life.” (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

Review | King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

kingofscarsTitleKing of Scars (2019)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Read: 29th January – 5th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Face your demons… or feed them. Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war – and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army. Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried–and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.” (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

Review | Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

girlsofpaperTitleGirls of Paper and Fire (2018)
Author: Natasha Ngan
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Read: 4th – 8th February 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; LGBTQ
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

“Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honour they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire. Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. Ten years ago, her mother was snatched by the royal guards, and her fate remains unknown. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after – the girl with the golden eyes, whose rumoured beauty has piqued the king’s interest. Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learn the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, Lei does the unthinkable – she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.” (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading

Review | The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

gildedwolvesTitleThe Gilded Wolves (2019)
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Read: 19th – 23rd January 2019
Genre: fantasy; young-adult; historical fiction;
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

“It’s 1889. The city is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. Here, no one keeps tabs on dark truths better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. When the elite, ever-powerful Order of Babel coerces him to help them on a mission, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To hunt down the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin calls upon a band of unlikely experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian banished from his home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in arms if not blood. Together, they will join Séverin as he explores the dark, glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the course of history–but only if they can stay alive.” (Synopsis from publisher)

Continue reading