Book Review: For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1) by Hannah Whitten

Title: For the Wolf (Wilderwood #1)
Author: Hannah Whitten
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Retelling
Publication Date: June 1st, 2021
Publisher: Orbit Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher for sending me out a finished copy to review! All opinions are my own.

The first daughter is for the Throne.
The second daughter is for the Wolf.

For fans of Uprooted and The Bear and the Nightingale comes a dark fantasy novel about a young woman who must be sacrificed to the legendary Wolf of the Wood to save her kingdom. But not all legends are true, and the Wolf isn’t the only danger lurking in the Wilderwood.

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose-to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in the hope he’ll return the world’s captured gods.

Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the monsters the gods have become will swallow the Wilderwood-and her world-whole.” (Goodreads)

Red is one of two sisters and she is to be sacrificed to the Wolf while her sister gets the throne. This is such an intriguing premise for a plot and it definitely help up to my expectations for a lot of the book.

In the beginning we are introduced to Red and she is getting ready to be sacrificed. There is bits here and there that explain to an extent what it means to be a sacrifice and as to why they do it. I also like that the author doesn’t just give us all the information at once and you must continue reading on to truly understand what happens/happened to those that have went before Red.

The book is told from the perspective of Red and her sister Neve. I’m glad that it is written this way since they each have their paths as well as being in different places for a majority of the book. It keeps the tension as you switch between each one with plot twists ending some of their chapters. I also enjoyed this because I do adore sister bonds. You can tell how much Neve wants to help her sister and will do anything to bring her home. Red is also the same way but has left home to protect her sister. It’s easy to understand the sisters actions even if some of them bring chaos.

The Wolf isn’t what I was expecting at all. He is broody and wants to be the one that carries all of the burdens. He is closed off but definitely a sweet cinnamon roll inside. Their relationship is a very slow one with not much really happening between them until farther into the book. It is very much enemies-to-lovers as they didn’t choose this life. They learn to make sacrifices for one another as well as learning to let people in. I will say that the romance was my least favorite part but it did still have me smiling a couple of times.

There are other characters that are involved with the plot but it’s better if you go in blind for them. I honestly wasn’t expecting some to have as big of roles as they did. It made the plot twists that much sweeter! I didn’t guess anything right and it had me wanting to pick up the book whenever I had to step away for a bit.

While reading through it gave me Uprooted, Beauty and the Beast, and Frozen 2 vibes but obviously its a lot darker. The woods was a mix between the first and third of those mentioned and I loved learning about the intricacies of it. I still think there will be more to explain with the Wilderwood in the next book since there is some unfinished business. I’m sure we will also see Red and the Wolf hone in more to their powers as well.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read and I’m so glad I have been able to read it now. I am looking forward to the sequel as the ending had me gasping. I seriously need to know what will happen next.

Arc Review: The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious #4) by Maureen Johnson

Title: The Box in the Woods (Truly Devious #4)
Author: Maureen Johnson
Genre: YA Mystery / Thriller
Publication Date: June 15th, 2021
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review!

After solving the case of Truly Devious, Stevie Bell investigates her first mystery outside of Ellingham Academy in this spine-chilling and hilarious stand-alone mystery from New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson.

Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.

But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.

Stevie agrees, as long as she can bring along her friends from Ellingham Academy. Nothing sounds better than a summer spent together, investigating old murders.

But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.” (Goodreads)

When I found out about this book at the beginning of the year I was so ecstatic that Stevie would have another adventure solving a mystery. Truly Devious was the first YA Mystery I read and it’s what got me out of a reading slump as well as started my love for mysteries! Maureen Johnson never disappoints and this one hooked me right from the beginning.

As with the previous books, there are two timelines as well as two-point-of-views. In the present timeline the point-of-view corresponds with Stevie Bell. The real life Sherlock who is obsessed with murder. The past timeline has a few different point-of-views as well as something else but it’s a secret and it ties everything in.

Stevie is still the same ‘ol Stevie and she is accompanied by Janelle and Nate. I have always enjoyed Nate as he is hilarious and really gives us the comedic relief. I would say that he is more present than Janelle at times but she is still always there for Stevie which I love. And of course, David does make appearances and I’m not going to lie I actually liked him a lot in this book.

Since the mystery wraps up by the end the book is pretty quick paced and I was devouring it. It was hard to set it down once the timeline changed because the chapter would leave off on a cliffhanger and I had to know what would happen next. I may have stayed up past the time I usually go to bed because I kept saying, “just one more chapter!”. I also thought I would be murdered in my sleep but that is neither here nor there, haha. I’m a chicken!

There are a lot of suspenseful moments. I also kept trying to figure out who it could be and every time I had an idea along came another plot twist! I really wasn’t expecting the reveal as well as the why. It was intense and definitely unique.

Overall, this was another fantastic book from this author! It was just what I needed and left me wanting more. I really do hope that there will be more books because I love these characters and I never want it to end.

Goodreads Monday: Made In Korea by Sarah Suk

Hello Readers!

Goodreads Monday is hosted by Lauren’s Page Turners. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off.

Title: Made in Korea
Author: Sarah Suk
Genre: YA Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: May 18th, 2021
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good romantic comedy about two entrepreneurial Korean American teens who butt heads—and maybe fall in love—while running competing Korean beauty businesses at their high school.

There’s nothing Valerie Kwon loves more than making a good sale. Together with her cousin Charlie, they run V&C K-BEAUTY, their school’s most successful student-run enterprise. With each sale, Valerie gets closer to taking her beloved and adventurous halmeoni to her dream city, Paris.

Enter the new kid in class, Wes Jung, who is determined to pursue music after graduation despite his parents’ major disapproval. When his classmates clamor to buy the K-pop branded beauty products his mom gave him to “make new friends,” he sees an opportunity—one that may be the key to help him pay for the music school tuition he knows his parents won’t cover…

What he doesn’t realize, though, is that he is now V&C K-BEAUTY’s biggest competitor.

Stakes are high as Valerie and Wes try to outsell each other, make the most money, and take the throne for the best business in school—all while trying to resist the undeniable spark that’s crackling between them. From hiring spies to all-or-nothing bets, the competition is much more than either of them bargained for.

But one thing is clear: only one Korean business can come out on top.” (Goodreads)

I’m so glad my audiobook came in from the library for this one! I started it this morning and am really enjoying it so far! The plot is definitely unique when it comes to businesses in school.

Does this one sound like something you would read?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

First Lines Friday (6/11/21)

Hello Lovely Readers!

First Lines Fridays is a weekly feature for book lovers hosted by Wandering Words. What if instead of judging a book by its cover, its author or its prestige, we judged it by its opening lines?

  • Pick a book off your shelf (it could be your current read or on your TBR) and open to the first page
  • Copy the first few lines, but don’t give anything else about the book away just yet – you need to hook the reader first
  • Finally… reveal the book!
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“Aleja was a girl so hungry for adventure that sometimes she found herself in strange places.”

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The book is….

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I have seen reviews for this before on here and when you add in the gorgeous cover it’s an obvious add-to-tbr book! I am hoping to get to it this month and the first lines definitely have me ready to start!

Have you read this book?

Find me on Instagram / Goodreads

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Arc Review: Forest of Souls (Shamanborn #1) by Lori M. Lee

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Title: Forest of Souls (Shamanborn #1)
Author: Lori M. Lee
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: June 23rd, 2020
Publisher: PageStreet YA
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher for giving me a copy to review. All opinions are my own.

synopsis header
Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard.

Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.

And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.

Unveiled as the first soulguide in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a soulguide can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.” (Goodreads)

Edit: Just finished my reread of it as I get ready to start the sequel. I tried the audiobook at first but it was rather dull and I lost interest in reading it so I went back to physically reading my copy. I would say my opinion is still the same although I may have liked it just a tad bit more.

Original Review:

As a most anticipated read I was so excited for to finally have my hands on it early! I screamed when opening it because dang, that cover is everything! The thing is, this is an interesting read for various reasons but I was just expecting there to be a moment that would send me to the next level in my emotions but it just never came to fruition.

Sirscha is a girl that has come from nothing. She was orphaned and raise to be a soldier but even with gaining some rank, there are those who want to see her stay beneath them. I am always a fan of the underdog trope. It makes for great character development. I also like that Sirscha feels real. Her choices aren’t always the best and sometimes she does before she thinks. I’m curious to see how her development will continue in the next book.

Sirscha has a wonderful friend, Saengo. There is a lot that happens between them but it also pulls them closer together. I am always here for a great friendship! I can see how they could be compared to Safiya and Iseult because just like them, Sirscha and Saengo are more than just friends.

The other characters weren’t as memorable for me. I feel like the two males that could potentially cause a love triangle (maybe?) will have more to do in book two with the plot. I am hoping so because their development just lacked a bit for me but I did enjoy what I read so far about them.

As for the plot, I’m glad that it centers around friendship and not romance. Sometimes the romance can make or break it but there is just something about a bond where the friends are more like sisters. There are definitely some twists that I wasn’t expecting and I’m curious to see how it will all play out. My only two complaints when it came to the plot was the pacing and just feeling like I needed more.

It was hard to fully immerse myself in the beginning because it is pretty slow during the first 100+ pages. Whenever something did happen, I was waiting for that spark or, in music terms, that drop where it would just take me to that next level.

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The world building is cool and I love the magic system. There is a awesome glossary in the front of the book that helps explain the kingdoms and what the different magics are. It was very helpful.

Overall, it’s a good YA Fantasy with an interesting setting and magic system but I’m hoping that the sequel will give me that next level I am looking for.

-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)

Book Review: The Forest of Stolen Girls by June Hur

Title: The Forest of Stolen Girls
Author: June Hur
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

“Suspenseful and richly atmospheric, June Hur’s The Forest of Stolen Girls is a haunting historical mystery sure to keep readers guessing until the last page.

1426, Joseon (Korea). Hwani’s family has never been the same since she and her younger sister went missing and were later found unconscious in the forest near a gruesome crime scene.

Years later, Detective Min—Hwani’s father—learns that thirteen girls have recently disappeared from the same forest that nearly stole his daughters. He travels to their hometown on the island of Jeju to investigate… only to vanish as well.

Determined to find her father and solve the case that tore their family apart, Hwani returns home to pick up the trail. As she digs into the secrets of the small village—and collides with her now estranged sister, Maewol—Hwani comes to realize that the answer could lie within her own buried memories of what happened in the forest all those years ago.” (Goodreads)

After enjoying this author’s debut last year I knew I needed to read this one. I love that she writes about historical events that aren’t talked about often or well known. It teaches me new things especially because she adds notes at the end to give us more information about the topic she included.

Although there is a couple mysteries to be solved, this book is also about the sibling relationship between Hwani and Maewol. They have lived apart for quite a few years and have taken on different roles and of course, have different personalities. I liked how through it all they still managed to cling to one another. Sibling relationships are just the best and I love to read about them.

As for the mysteries, both of them blended together nicely to form one big mystery. I liked learning about each character and trying to figure out why the girls went missing and who would do it. They also had to try and figure out what happened to their father as well. It got pretty intense at times and I found myself having a hard time putting the book down. Not every character is who they seem to be!

Overall, this was another enjoyable book from this author. I am looking forward to the next book which already had a title and a cover. It looks amazing!

Arc Review: Plot Twist by Bethany Turner

Title: Plot Twist
Author: Bethany Turner
Genre: Adult Contemporary / Romance
Publication Date: June 15th, 2021
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Rating: ⭐⭐

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

An aspiring screenwriter has a chance encounter with an actor who could be the man of her dreams. Over the next ten years, she’ll write the story . . . but will he end up being the star?

February 4, 2003, promises to be a typical day for Olivia Ross—a greeting card writer whose passion project is a screenplay of her own. But after she and a handsome actor have a magical meet-cute in a coffee shop, they make a spontaneous pact: in ten years, after they’ve found the success they’re just sure they’re going to achieve, they’ll return to the coffeehouse to partner up and make a film together. The only problem? Olivia neglected to get the stranger’s name. But she doesn’t forget his face—or the date.

Every February 4 for the next ten years, Olivia has a day full of coincidences and ironies. As men come and go and return to her life, she continues to write, but still wonders about the guy from the coffee shop—the nameless actor she’s almost certain has turned out to be Hamish MacDougal, now a famous A-lister and Hollywood leading man.

But a lot can happen in ten years, and while waiting for the curtain to rise on her fate, the true story of Olivia’s life is being written—and if she’s not careful, she’ll completely miss the real-life romantic comedy playing out right before her eyes.” (Goodreads)

I thought this would be an interesting read as the encounter from the blurb sounded really interesting. Sadly, this book just didn’t work for me and maybe it’s just a me thing.

The book begins on February 4th, 2003 with an encounter that Olivia will never forget and it also will play a huge role in her life on the same day for the next ten years. I can’t recall reading a book like this besides maybe One Day in December which I couldn’t get into so my brain is a little hazy on how that one worked out.

I can’t say that I ever connected to Olivia but I did like that she didn’t give up on her dream of writing a script even if it took longer than she had first anticipated. The rest of her life was kind of a mess which I get. No life is perfect and we all do rash things but a lot of her actions were pretty selfish, especially when it came to her friend and ex-boyfriend.

Spoilers in this next Paragraphs:

There is one thing that I can’t stand and that is cheating. Although Olivia wasn’t in a relationship at the time, her ex was and she kissed him not only once but twice when he was in two different relationships, one being her friend. That is just not okay and it really turned me off.

It also made me not like Liam because in the beginning he was this laid back guy and then when they broke up and she found herself in a relationship with his friend who cheated on her, Liam had a lot to say about it but also does the same thing. It doesn’t matter if you only have eyes for one person, don’t be in a relationship or stay far away from the person who keeps trying to get you back but then still walks away.

End of Spoilers.

The plot does match the title as it definitely didn’t turn out like I thought it would but I also think the plot was bogged down by all of the celebrity name dropping and the drama of Olivia’s life.

Overall, this was okay but it just wasn’t a book for me as I’m just not the right reader for it.

Arc Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Title: The Wolf and the Woodsman
Author: Ava Reid
Genre: Adult Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Mythology
Publication Date: June 8th, 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Rating: 3 stars

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review.

“In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.” (Goodreads)

Since I’ve liked books by both authors mentioned in the blurb on Goodreads (Katherine Arden and Naomi Novik) I decided I wanted to give this book a try. The blurb for it also sounded promising as well.

There are a lot of things I enjoyed about this book. The use of mythology was refreshing from others I have read as I can’t recall ever reading a book about Jewish Mythology. It was also interesting from a historical perspective as the author blended in Hungarian History. Both of these topics I know nothing of so I can’t comment on them besides from a readers perspective.

In the beginning of the book we are introduced to Évike who is 25 years-old and known as a wolf-girl. She is a pagan to those who don’t share the same beliefs as those in her village and ever year the Woodsmen who work for the king come and take one wolf-girl away. Her mother was taken ten years before and so Évike was raised by the village táltos. Not only has she struggled with that and not knowing her father, she also is barren when it comes to the magic of their gods. I can’t say that I connected with Évike but I did admire her determination and forgiveness. She also remained calm in a lot of situations I wouldn’t have been.

The plot is filled with religion, politics, and can be on the darker side at times. There is a hint of romance but it is very minor and it didn’t really add anything to the story for me. I felt that their progression was quick and then it just died off for angst and inner turmoil from the characters.

The pacing at times can be a bit off and this is probably why I lost interest at times to read.

Overall, this was good. I had my issues with it but I can see many readers liking this one especially if they are a fan of lyrical prose writing.

Arc Review: Daughter of Sparta (Daughter of Sparta #1) by Claire M. Andrews

Title: Daughter of Sparta (Daughter of Sparta #1)
Author: Claire M. Andrews
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Mythology
Publication Date: June 8th, 2021
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson Books
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for an earc to read in exchange for a review.

Sparta forged her into a deadly weapon. Now the Gods need her to save the world!

Seventeen-year-old Daphne has spent her entire life honing her body and mind into that of a warrior, hoping to be accepted by the unyielding people of ancient Sparta. But an unexpected encounter with the goddess Artemis—who holds Daphne’s brother’s fate in her hands—upends the life she’s worked so hard to build. Nine mysterious items have been stolen from Mount Olympus and if Daphne cannot find them, the gods’ waning powers will fade away, the mortal world will descend into chaos, and her brother’s life will be forfeit.

Guided by Artemis’s twin-the handsome and entirely-too-self-assured god Apollo-Daphne’s journey will take her from the labyrinth of the Minotaur to the riddle-spinning Sphinx of Thebes, team her up with mythological legends such as Theseus and Hippolyta of the Amazons, and pit her against the gods themselves.

A reinterpretation of the classic Greek myth of Daphne and Apollo, Daughter of Sparta by debut author Claire Andrews turns the traditionally male-dominated mythology we know into a heart-pounding and empowering female-led adventure.” (Goodreads)

I was looking forward to this one as I am always intrigued by mythology. Sadly, I was a bit disappointed in it for a couple of reasons and it just made the whole journey less enjoyable for me.

Daphne is a girl who tries to show her strength to those that think less of her because she wasn’t born a Spartan but has lived among them since her mother died. Strong female characters can be a hit or miss for me depending on a lot of things. I didn’t entirely dislike Daphne and thought she had good qualities about her but the development for her, as well as the other characters, just wasn’t there for me.

Most readers would know and understand who the gods and goddesses are that are mentioned in this book and I’m assuming that is why there is little development for them. It doesn’t make sense as to why it happened to the main character. This caused disconnect for me from the story. This disconnect could also stem from the fact that is more plot-driven and the pacing moves quickly leaving little room for the development that I needed.

Another issue I had was the romance. It was a big miss and I just don’t feel the spark between them as it moved right on into insta-love.

As for the mythology/retelling aspect, I think that it had it’s moments and I liked that the author mentioned in her acknowledgment that she wanted to give a voice to the women that never got it. I can appreciate it.

Overall, it was good during certain parts but ultimately not a book for me and I won’t be continuing on with the series. I do think that other readers will enjoy this one much more than me, especially if you are one who likes plot-driven books.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books On My Radar (6/1/21)

Hello Bookworms!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018.

Today’s prompt is a freebie so I am going with Books On My Radar. The books listed are ones that have been recently added to my tbr and I can’t wait to learn more about! Maybe you will find some books to add to your tbr too, haha.

1.) She Who Rides the Storm by Caitlin Sangster

In this atmospheric YA fantasy that is Wicked Saints meets There Will Come a Darkness, four teens are drawn into a high-stakes heist in the perilous tomb of an ancient shapeshifter king.

Long ago, shapeshifting monsters ruled the Commonwealth using blasphemous magic that fed on the souls of their subjects. Now, hundreds of years later, a new tomb has been uncovered, and despite the legends that disturbing a shapeshifter’s final resting place will wake them once again, the Warlord is determined to dig it up.

But it isn’t just the Warlord who means to brave the traps and pitfalls guarding the crypt.

A healer obsessed with tracking down the man who murdered her twin brother.

A runaway member of the Warlord’s Devoted order, haunted by his sister’s ghost.

A snotty archaeologist bent on finding the cure to his magical wasting disease.

A girl desperate to escape the cloistered life she didn’t choose.

All four are out to steal the same cursed sword rumored to be at the very bottom of the tomb. But of course, some treasures should never see the light of day, and some secrets are best left buried…” (Goodreads)

2.) Luminous by Mara Rutherford

From the author of Crown of Coral and Pearl comes an immersive new fantasy about a witch who must learn to harness her power–or risk losing her loved ones forever.

Liora has spent her life in hiding, knowing discovery could mean falling prey to the king’s warlock, Darius, who uses mages’ magic to grow his own power. But when her worst nightmare comes to pass, Darius doesn’t take her. Instead, he demands that her younger sister return to the capital with him. To make matters worse, Evran, Liora’s childhood friend and the only one who knows her secret, goes missing following Darius’s visit, leaving her without anyone to turn to.

To find Evran and to save her sister, Liora must embrace the power she has always feared. But the greatest danger she’ll face is yet to come, for Darius has plans in motion that will cause the world to fall into chaos–and Liora and Evran may be the only ones who can stop him.” (Goodreads)

3.) Sway With Me by Syed M. Masood

She’s All That goes desi in this hilarious, affecting, and sweetly romantic comedy by the author of More Than Just a Pretty Face.

Arsalan has learned everything he knows from Nana, his 100-year-old great-grandfather. This includes the fact that when Nana dies, Arsalan will be completely alone in the world, except for his estranged and abusive father. So he turns to Beenish, the step-daughter of a prominent matchmaker, to find him a future life partner. Beenish’s request in return? That Arsalan help her ruin her older sister’s wedding with a spectacular dance she’s been forbidden to perform.

Despite knowing as little about dancing as he does about girls, Arsalan wades into Beenish’s chaotic world to discover friends and family he never expected. And though Arsalan’s old-school manners and Beenish’s take-no-prisoners attitude clash every minute, they find themselves getting closer and closer—literally. All that’s left to realize is that the thing they both really want is each other, if only they can get in step.

At turns laugh-out-loud funny, poignant, and sincerely heartfelt, Sway With Me is a coming-of-age story for anyone trying to find their place in the world.” (Goodreads)

4.) The Last Words We Said by Leah Scheier

“Nine months ago, Danny disappeared and everything changed for his friends. Rae’s pouring herself into rage-baking. Deenie’s deepening her commitment to Orthodox Judaism. And Ellie—Danny’s best friend and girlfriend—is the only one who doesn’t believe he’s dead.

Because she still sees him.

Moving back and forth between past and present, the story of Ellie and Danny unspools, from their serendipitous meeting to Danny and Ellie falling for each other. In the past, they were the perfect couple—until it all went wrong. In the present, Ellie’s looking for answers. Her friends are worried about her mental health, but Ellie’s certain that the tragedy that’s rocked their modern Orthodox community isn’t as simple as they all believe. She’s determined to uncover the truth about what happened to the love of her life. But to do that, she’ll have to be more honest with herself.” (Goodreads)

5.) A Far Wilder Magic by Allison Saft

“When Margaret Welty spots the legendary hala, the last living mythical creature, she knows the Halfmoon Hunt will soon follow. Whoever is able to kill the hala will earn fame and riches, and unlock an ancient magical secret. If Margaret wins the hunt, it may finally bring her mother home. While Margaret is the best sharpshooter in town, only teams of two can register, and she needs an alchemist.

Weston Winters isn’t an alchemist–yet. Fired from every apprenticeship he’s landed, his last chance hinges on Master Welty taking him in. But when Wes arrives at Welty Manor, he finds only Margaret and her bloodhound Trouble. Margaret begrudgingly allows him to stay, but on one condition: he must join the hunt with her.

Although they make an unlikely team, Wes is in awe of the girl who has endured alone on the outskirts of a town that doesn’t want her, in this creaking house of ghosts and sorrow. And even though Wes disrupts every aspect of her life, Margaret is drawn to him. He, too, knows what it’s like to be an outsider. As the hunt looms closer and tensions rise, Margaret and Wes uncover dark magic that could be the key to winning the hunt – if they survive tht long. In A Far Wilder Magic, Allison Saft has written an achingly tender love story set against a deadly hunt in an atmospheric, rich fantasy world that will sweep you away.” (Goodreads)

6.) The Suite Spot by Trish Doller

“Rachel Beck has hit a brick wall. She’s a single mom, still living at home and trying to keep a dying relationship alive. Aside from her daughter, the one bright light in Rachel’s life is her job as the night reservations manager at a luxury hotel in Miami Beach—until the night she is fired for something she didn’t do.

On impulse, Rachel inquires about a management position at a brewery hotel on an island in Lake Erie called Kelleys Island. When she’s offered the job, Rachel packs up her daughter and makes the cross country move.

What she finds on Kelleys Island is Mason, a handsome, moody man who knows everything about brewing beer and nothing about running a hotel. Especially one that’s barely more than foundation and studs. It’s not the job Rachel was looking for, but Mason offers her a chance to help build a hotel—and rebuild her own life—from the ground up.

The big hearted companion to Float Plan, Trish Doller’s The Suite Spot is about taking a chance on a new life and a new love.” (Goodreads)

7.) Echoes and Empires by Morgan Rhodes

A snarky seventeen-year-old must team up with an enigmatic criminal to cure herself of dangerous forbidden magic in the first book of a new fantasy duology from Morgan Rhodes, the New York Times bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series.

Josslyn Drake knows only three things about magic: it’s rare, illegal, and always deadly. So when she’s caught up in a robbery gone wrong at the Queen’s Gala and infected by a dangerous piece of magic—one that allows her to step into the memories of an infamously evil warlock—she finds herself living her worst nightmare. Joss needs the magic removed before it corrupts her soul and kills her. But in Ironport, the cost of doing magic is death, and seeking help might mean scheduling her own execution. There’s nobody she can trust.

Nobody, that is, except wanted criminal Jericho Nox, who offers her a deal: his help extracting the magic in exchange for the magic itself. And though she’s not thrilled to be working with a thief, especially one as infuriating (and infuriatingly handsome) as Jericho, Joss is desperate enough to accept.

But Jericho is nothing like Joss expects. The closer she grows with Jericho and the more she sees of the world outside her pampered life in the city, the more Joss begins to question the beliefs she’s always taken for granted—beliefs about right and wrong, about power and magic, and even about herself.

In an empire built on lies, the truth may be her greatest weapon.” (Goodreads)

8.) Wendy, Darling by A.C. Wise

A lush, feminist re-imagining on what happened to Wendy after Neverland, for fans of Circe and The Mere Wife.

For those that lived there, Neverland was a children’s paradise. No rules, no adults, only endless adventure and enchanted forests – all led by the charismatic boy who would never grow old.

But Wendy Darling grew up. She left Neverland and became a woman, a mother, a patient, and a survivor. Because Neverland isn’t as perfect as she remembers. There’s darkness at the heart of the island, and now Peter Pan has returned to claim a new Wendy for his lost boys…” (Goodreads)

9.) Song of the Forever Rains by E.J. Mellows

From the award-winning author of the Dreamland series comes a new dark romantic fantasy about a young woman finding hope in her powers of destruction.

The Thief Kingdom is a place hidden within the world of Aadlior. Many whisper of its existence, but few have found this place, where magic and pleasure abound. There, the mysterious Thief King reigns supreme with the help of the Mousai, a trio of revered and feared sorceresses.

Larkyra Bassette may be the youngest of the Mousai, but when she sings her voice has the power to slay monsters. When it’s discovered the Duke of Lachlan is siphoning a poisonous drug from the Thief Kingdom and using it to abuse his tenants, Larkyra is offered her first solo mission to stop the duke. Eager to prove herself, Larkyra accepts by posing as the duke’s potential bride. But her plans grow complicated when she finds herself drawn to Lord Darius Mekenna, Lachlan’s rightful heir. Soon she suspects Darius has his own motivations for ridding Lachlan of the corrupt duke. Larkyra and Darius must learn to trust each other if there is to be any hope of saving the people of Lachlan—and themselves.

Welcome to the world of Aadilor, where lords and ladies can be murderers and thieves, and the most alluring notes are often the deadliest. Dare to listen?” (Goodreads)

10.) The Bones of Ruin by Sarah Raughley

An African tightrope walker who can’t die gets embroiled in a secret society’s deadly gladiatorial tournament in this thrilling historical fantasy set in an alternate 1880s London, perfect for fans of The Last Magician and The Gilded Wolves.

As an African tightrope dancer in Victorian London, Iris is used to being strange. She is certainly a strange sight for leering British audiences always eager for the spectacle of colonial curiosity. But Iris also has a secret that even “strange” doesn’t capture…​

She cannot die.

Haunted by her unnatural power and with no memories of her past, Iris is obsessed with discovering who she is. But that mission gets more complicated when she meets the dark and alluring Adam Temple, a member of a mysterious order called the Enlightenment Committee. Adam seems to know much more about her than he lets on, and he shares with her a terrifying revelation: the world is ending, and the Committee will decide who lives…and who doesn’t.

To help them choose a leader for the upcoming apocalypse, the Committee is holding the Tournament of Freaks, a macabre competition made up of vicious fighters with fantastical abilities. Adam wants Iris to be his champion, and in return he promises her the one thing she wants most: the truth about who she really is.

If Iris wants to learn about her shadowy past, she has no choice but to fight. But the further she gets in the grisly tournament, the more she begins to remember—and the more she wonders if the truth is something best left forgotten.” (Goodreads)

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Would you add any of these to your tbr? What’s a book that is on your radar?

Let me know in the comments below!

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-Joanna TheGeekishBrunette (1)