Arc Review: Small Favors by Erin A. Craig

Title: Small Favors
Author: Erin A. Craig
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Horror / Magical Realism
Publication Date: July 27th, 2021
Publisher: Delacorte Press

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

“Ellerie Downing lives in the quiet town of Amity Falls in the Blackspire Mountain range–five narrow peaks stretching into the sky like a grasping hand, bordered by a nearly impenetrable forest from which the early townsfolk fought off the devils in the woods. To this day, visitors are few and rare. But when a supply party goes missing, some worry that the monsters that once stalked the region have returned.

As fall turns to winter, more strange activities plague the town. They point to a tribe of devilish and mystical creatures who promise to fulfill the residents’ deepest desires, however grand and impossible, for just a small favor. But their true intentions are much more sinister, and Ellerie finds herself in a race against time before all of Amity Falls, her family, and the boy she loves go up in flames.” (Goodreads)

This was a very interesting book! The blurb gives a few subtle hints as to what lurks in the pages but honestly, there were many surprises and it was darker than I had ever expected.

Ellerie Downing lives in a smaller town named Amity Falls. Visitors are few and far between. There are founding families and three make up the council for this town while also holding votes for certain circumstances. All of this makes for an interesting dynamic when it came to the setting and plot.

When a supply run caravan never comes back besides a horse with enormous gashes, things take a dark turn that left me with many questions, speculations, and being afraid to sleep at night, haha.

If it wasn’t for being tired and not wanting stay up past 11pm, I would have finished this in one sitting. Although it was a bit of a slow start and has parts that make it a tad bit slower, once it ramps up it really ramps up! The pacing does even out the farther you get into the book as it is split into seasons to help the readers understand the circumstances and give a bit of a backstory before crazier events take place.

There is a lot I can say about Ellerie. She is loyal to her family and wants what is best for her sisters. She has a twin brother who is debatable at times and her opinions of him do change over time. I do think even though he makes questionable choices, she wants to see him thrive. I also like that she manages bees with her father and enjoyed the moments we read about them. I honestly wasn’t sure how the bees would play into the overall theme of the story but it does make sense by the end.

My one complaint about Ellerie would be how trusting she is of newcomers. I understand the pull to them as you don’t get many visitors but trust should not be freely given. This one issue did make for the romance to be very instant and that wasn’t for me. I did like the love interests character and they do have fun banter but it just wasn’t believable enough for me.

When it comes to the plot, I can’t say too much because it’s better to go in not knowing much about it. It can be quite dark at times but I did like the use of human nature and the things we hide deep in our hearts. It shows that the world can be a cruel place. There is also magical realism tied into it and it added that extra spice!

The ending was the only other issue I had with the book. It is quite open-ended and I am left with questions that have no answers. These types of endings are hard for me to like because I just want everything to feel complete by the end.

Overall, this was a book I really enjoyed and lived up to my expectations from this author. As always, her writing is incredible and I can’t wait to see what else she writes.

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: 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.

Arc Review: Luck of the Titanic by Stacy Lee

Title: Luck of the Titanic
Author: Stacy Lee
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Retelling
Publication Date: May 4th, 2021
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers
Rating: 3 stars

Thank you to the publisher and BookishFirst for a finished copy of the book to read and review!

“Southampton, 1912: Seventeen-year-old British-Chinese Valora Luck has quit her job and smuggled herself aboard the Titanic with two goals in mind: to reunite with her twin brother Jamie–her only family now that both their parents are dead–and to convince a part-owner of the Ringling Brothers Circus to take the twins on as acrobats. Quick-thinking Val talks her way into opulent firstclass accommodations and finds Jamie with a group of fellow Chinese laborers in third class. But in the rigidly stratified world of the luxury liner, Val’s ruse can only last so long, and after two long years apart, it’s unclear if Jamie even wants the life Val proposes. Then, one moonless night in the North Atlantic, the unthinkable happens–the supposedly unsinkable ship is dealt a fatal blow–and Val and her companions suddenly find themselves in a race to survive.

Stacey Lee, master of historical fiction, brings a fresh perspective to an infamous tragedy, loosely inspired by the recently uncovered account of six Titanic survivors of Chinese descent.” (Goodreads)

There are a lot of good things about this book and one those being the historical aspect of it. I love when an author takes a historical event and adds onto it with their own style while also giving us information that we may not have known about. The author also added a note to give us a bit more information while also telling us where she got the idea from for the book. I actually didn’t know about the Chinese Exclusion Act or that the Chinese passengers who survived were vilified and called cowards for surviving that night. It is interesting to see what is left out of history or even movies that are based on historical events.

The book is told with one point-of-view and that comes from Valora Luck. She is definitely a girl with many hats as she portrays herself as different people on the boat, all for different reasons! Because of that, it showed the issues when it came to the class system and racism. It was hard for me to fully connect with her but I understood her passion for wanting her brother to be with her. Even if her family didn’t always care as much as she did, she still held on and embraced them, flaws and all. I also liked that she cared about those she hardly knew too. It really showed off her kindness.

At times the book did slow in areas and then it picked up towards the end. Some added twists felt unnecessary like the really minor romance for Valora. I sometimes feel like romance is added for the sake of the genre when it comes to YA. I’m still not entirely sure how I feel about the ending either. It is definitely heartbreaking though.

Overall, this was a good book. This was my first book by this author and she definitely writes historical fiction well as it’s not one of my favorite genres but I did like it for this one.

Arc Review: Southern Sun, Northern Star (Glass Alliance #3) by Joanna Hathaway

Title: Southern Sun, Northern Star (Glass Alliance #3)
Author: Joanna Hathaway
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction
Publication Date: April 20th, 2021
Publisher: Tor Teen
Rating: 5 Stars

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

Battles, revolution, and romance collide in Joanna Hathaway’s stunning, World Wars-inspired Southern Sun, Northern Star

Reeling from the tragedy that beset her family, Princess Aurelia has joined the resistance in Havenspur, spying on the Northern leaders who were once her allies and determined to stop her uncle’s machinations for war. Meanwhile, her beloved pilot Athan leads his squadron into battle as the Safire wage a losing war abroad and combat growing unrest back home.

When Athan is sent on leave to Havenspur following the death of a comrade, the pair reunite and rekindle their romance until Aurelia uncovers one of Athan’s secrets, a secret that could save countless lives. But exposing it to the right people will cost her Athan’s trust, and this time, their shared memories of love might not be enough to stop the fateful path of destruction that threatens all they’ve fought to defend.

As history unfolds around them, every move they make drives them one step closer to either recreating their parents’ shadowed past or redeeming the alliance that could bring peace.

The breathtaking finale to a legendary series. Part war drama, part romance, Southern Sun, Northern Star is the epic conclusion to the Glass Alliance series.” (Goodreads)

I am not even sure where to start with this review. I have many thoughts and I went through a whirlwind of feelings but I will do my best to type it out and hopefully it makes sense.

In the beginning, there is a prologue and I wasn’t sure how it fit into it all but it does show us the tragedy of war and that is quite fitting for this entire book.

As with the other books, there are two point-of-views: Athan and Aurelia. There is also a surprise one (besides the prologue) that is found much later in the book. I enjoyed being back in Athan’s and Aurelia’s mind. This time it was much different as war has really changed them both, especially Aurelia.

Aurelia aka Ali has seen and been through a lot through the course of the books. I have felt for her so many times but it was hard at times to like her in this one. She did a lot of things that didn’t fit who she was but it also made sense as war changes everyone. She had good intentions, but sometimes good intentions lead to bad results.

Athan is the same old pilot we know and love. He is out there doing his job and I loved reading about the plane fight scenes even if they were brutal at times. Thinking about it now, I would say that he has grown and in a good way. As with Aurelia, he wanted what was best for his people. He did have good intentions as well and again, some led to bad results. It’s easy to see the similarities between them, but at the same time he knew where his loyalty was. I couldn’t always say the same for Aurelia.

The romance between them wasn’t as big as the other two books but it worked well for the plot as it focuses more on their jobs and being away from each other. Aurelia doesn’t always make it easy on Athan to love her but he still sticks by her no matter what. I will say that he is very dedicated because I definitely wouldn’t have been so understanding in a few of the situations. I still can’t deny their love though. It’s one of my favorites.

With war comes violence and tragic losses. I’m trying not to cry just writing this out, ha. I was worried who would head to the grave and I definitely felt the losses. I cried for one and it wasn’t even for the one I was most upset about! This is a very brutal book and it will tug at your heartstrings.

When it came to the pacing, there was a few slow moments but it wasn’t hard to continue on because I needed to know what would happen next.

The ending was not what I expected and had me in tears. Don’t worry it was for a good reason!

Overall, I loved this book! It’s hard to put into words what I feel for it. As the finale for a trilogy, it’s hard to say goodbye to the characters and the journey they have taken to get here. I have loved each book dearly. I know these books will remain on my shelf for many, many years and I also know I will revisit them one day down the road.

Audiobook Review: Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Title: Something Strange and Deadly
Author: Susan Dennard
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction / Zombies
Publication Date: July 24th, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: 2 stars

New York Times bestselling author Susan Dennard adds a “never before in print” e-novella and a gorgeous new cover to the first book in the Something Strange and Deadly trilogy. Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series.

Sixteen-year-old Eleanor Fitt’s brother is missing. After discovering the Dead are rising and wreaking havoc in Philadelphia, she knows that her brother is involved.

So Eleanor enlists the help of the Spirit-Hunters. This motley crew, hired to protect the city from supernatural forces, is after the necromancer who has been reanimating corpses. Their skills can save her brother. Yet as Eleanor spends time with the Spirit-Hunters and their handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. Now not only is her reputation at risk, but her very life hangs in the balance.

In Something Strange and Deadly, Susan Dennard weaves together beautifully imagined scenes of action, adventure, and vivid Victorian life to create an entertaining steampunk tapestry of humor, horror, and romance. Readers will be intrigued from the start.” (Goodreads)

After enjoying The Witchland series by this author, I decided to check out this one.

This wouldn’t be my usual read as anything that mentions zombies is a no-go for me. I am traumatized by them from my childhood and will have nightmares about them every few months. It’s not a fun life to live, haha. I also am not a huge fan of historical fiction but every once and while something like this piques my interest because it isn’t strictly historical fiction.

The sad thing is that I didn’t like this book. I found it to be okay and just left me feeling lackluster. I finished it only hoping something amazing would happen but it never did and plot twists felt predictable. 🤷‍♀️ I also never connected with Eleanor and kind of felt like the characters were very flat.

There was some romance thrown in, if you can call it that. I knew from the beginning it would be him but they didn’t interact a lot and if they did they would never see eye-to-eye. He would do a few nice things but it just never made me feel anything.

When it came to the undead and talk of the necromancer, I really wish there was more to it. Everyone just seemed so chill that where they lived was being overran by the undead. They had an alarm bell but still went on with their daily lives and even through parties. If that was happening today, you wouldn’t see me until the mystery was solved. I’ll have someone who doesn’t care do all my shopping for me. I also expected the zombies to be more menacing and actually doing what zombies do but they were very mild. I mean, as someone who doesn’t like zombies that’s fine but also if I am going to read something with my worst fear then make me scared to sleep! (I know I have problems. 😂)

Overall, it was okay but nothing stood out to me. It’s one of those books I will forget about it and I won’t be continuing on as I have no interest in doing so.

Book Review: The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer #2) and The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3) by Elizabeth May

Title: The Vanishing Throne (The Falconer #2)
Author: Elizabeth May
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction/ Fae
Publication Date: November 19th, 2015
Publisher: Chronicle Books

Everything she loved is gone.

Trapped. Aileana Kameron, the Falconer, disappeared through the fae portal she was trying to close forever. Now she wakes in an alien world of mirrors, magic, and deception—a prisoner of the evil fae Lonnrach, who has a desperate and deadly plan for his new captive.

Tortured. Time after agonizing time Lonnrach steals Aileana’s memories, searching for knowledge to save his world. Just when she’s about to lose all hope, Aileana is rescued by an unexpected ally and returns home, only to confront a terrifying truth. The city of Edinburgh is now an unrecognizable wasteland. And Aileana knows the devastation is all her fault.

Transformed. The few human survivors are living in an underground colony, in an uneasy truce with a remnant of the fae. It is a fragile alliance, but an even greater danger awaits: the human and fae worlds may disappear forever. Only Aileana can save both worlds, but in order to do so she must awaken her latent Falconer powers. And the price of doing so might be her life…” (Goodreads)

I don’t know why but I didn’t like this one as much as the first. It is still good but I feel like it was a bit slower to start and the characters just didn’t grasp me as much. This may have to do with Kirian and Aileana already professing their feelings in a way so that their banter is lacking.

Their romance still isn’t a favorite of mine as I feel like it lacked the development it needed. It’s just kind of generic.

There are great plot twists though and I really wasn’t expecting any of them. I am quite curious about Sorcha and feel like she has been given development but also not enough because she is playing the field when it comes to her loyalty. I also have many questions about the ending and hopefully I will get more answers in the last book.

Title: The Fallen Kingdom (The Falconer #3)
Author: Elizabeth May
Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical Fiction/ Fae
Publication Date: June 13th, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books

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She’s on borrowed time…and she has only one chance to set things right.

Find life.

Deep in a forest, Aileana Kameron claws her way out of the earth. Back from the dead with no memory of who she is or what has happened to her, the Falconer now possesses even greater otherworldly powers and a ruthless instinct to kill—and the one piece of knowledge that can change everything.

Find Kiaran.

Two fae monarchs, Aithinne and Kadamach, stand on the brink of war, and according to an ancient curse, one must die at the hand of the other or all the worlds will perish. Once, Kadamach was known as Kiaran, and he was mentor, protector, and lover to Aileana. Now, under the grip of the curse, his better nature seems lost forever.

Find the book.

Aileana’s only hope lies in the legendary Book of Remembrance, a book of spells so powerful that it can break the fae curse and even turn back time. But the book has been lost for centuries, and many are looking for it, including its creator, the Morrigan—a faery of terrifying malevolence and cruelty.

Sacrifice everything.

To obtain the book and defeat the Morrigan, Aileana must form an unthinkable alliance, one that challenges every vow she has made to herself—even as the powers that brought her to life are slowly but surely killing her.” (Goodreads)

I have finally finished this trilogy!

After starting and finishing the first book a couple years ago, I knew I needed to finish it up sooner or later. I’m glad to get another book off my unfinished series list!

This book was different than the rest as it focuses more on saving the realm that has been broken. It is left up to Aileana and she does have her work cut out for her!

The romance is still not a favorite of mine but I do like them together. You can tell that he really cares for her and she helps keep him in line.

I also enjoyed seeing his sister come back because she is so odd but a really fun character.

The ending wasn’t what I had expected but it did surprised and I am always here for that.

Overall, this trilogy was a good one about Fae and it was unique too! I’d definitely recommend if you like fae.

Audiobook Review: The Inventor’s Secret by Andrea Cremer

Title: The Inventor’s Secret
Author: Andrea Cremer
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Steampunk / Sci-Fi
Publication Date: July 14th, 2014
Publisher: Speak

A new steampunk series from Andrea Cremer, the New York Times bestselling author of the Nightshade novels

Perfect for fans of Libba Bray’s The Diviners, Cassandra Clare’s Clockwork Angel, Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan and Phillip Reeve’s Mortal Engines.

In this world, sixteen-year-old Charlotte and her fellow refugees have scraped out an existence on the edge of Britain’s industrial empire. Though they live by the skin of their teeth, they have their health (at least when they can find enough food and avoid the Imperial Labor Gatherers) and each other. When a new exile with no memory of his escape  or even his own name seeks shelter in their camp he brings new dangers with him and secrets about the terrible future that awaits all those who have struggled has to live free of the bonds of the empire’s Machineworks.” (Goodreads)

I was curious about this ever since I read a different book by this author. The blurb also gets me because I did love the Mortal Engines series and although I don’t read steampunk books very often, sometimes you just need to pick up a different subgenre than usual.

I’ve been busy with other ebooks and physical books to read this one in that format but luckily my library has this trilogy on audiobook. I actually started it in the morning and by the afternoon I had finished already. It was actually really quick even if I was listening to it at a x2 speed. Even though I did get through this fast, I did have some issues but not enough to make me dislike.

The book starts off with not much of an introduction for anything and as the story progresses we learn more and more about the rebellion and the children/teens that are a part of it while their parents are out on the frontlines.

Charlotte is a daughter to rebellions and lives in a cave away from the Imperial. She also has a brother there with her who does a lot of inventing. I’m always fascinated with the different inventions authors can think of while being different from other books from the same genre. There is a few interactions between them but there wasn’t enough to really feel the sibling bond. I think this was the case for many of the characters though. Charlotte is very stubborn and she does want what is best for this around her. I did like seeing how she dealt with her certain circumstances.

There are a lot of other characters but I just didn’t feel a connection with any of them. I think it’s because there isn’t much development but at least the plot is good enough for me.

It does start off slow as things are explained but the action and plot twists do ramp up during the last half. I really liked the plot point that involves a boy who is found and doesn’t remember anything. The plot twists for him are pretty intense and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

There is a bit of romance but it is very small. I do like Charlotte’s love interest but it did feel a bit instant-love even if they have known each other for a few years. It’s hard to believe it when it’s off the pages. If you aren’t a fan of love triangles then I would skip this book.

Overall, I liked this one but it also lacked in a lot of areas. The plot kept me intrigued and I will continue on to book two and hopefully I will get more development for the characters.

Edit: I did end up dnfing the second book as it was just very slow and nothing seemed to be developing.

E-Arc Review: Pride and Premeditation by Tirzah Price

Title: Pride and Premeditation (Jane Austen Murder Mystery #1)
Author: Tirzah Price
Genre: YA Historican Fiction / Mystery / Retellings
Publication Date: April 6th, 2021
Publisher: HarperTeen

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

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young woman who desires a law career must be in want of a case. So when seventeen-year-old Lizzie Bennet hears about a scandalous society murder, she sees an opportunity to prove herself as a solicitor by solving the case and ensuring justice is served.

Except the man accused of the crime already has a lawyer on his side: Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy, the stern young heir to the prestigious Pemberley Associates law firm. Lizzie is determined to solve the murder before Darcy can so that she can show the world that a woman can be just as good as a man. (The fact that Darcy is an infuriating snob doesn’t help.) But there’s still a killer on the loose, and as the case gets more complicated, Lizzie and Darcy may have to start working together to avoid becoming the next victims themselves.” (Goodreads)

When it comes to retellings, they can be a hit or miss. I wanted to try this one out because I love the cover, it’s P & P, and who doesn’t love a good mystery? Sadly, this one just missed the mark for me.

When it comes to the retelling aspect, it is very loose. The characters do tend to be a bit, or more depending on the character, different than their counterparts and I could name a couple but don’t want to include spoilers. Some characters, Lizzie’s sisters, are just background characters and don’t have much going for them like they did in the original. I will give credit to the author for thinking outside of the box though.

The romance just wasn’t there for me. There were only a few times up to 70% through that Darcy and Lizzie had anything to do with each other. 30% just isn’t enough time to make me believe in them being together. As someone who has read the original, this one was just lackluster.

As for the murder mystery, it also was a bit of a letdown. It’s more of a light mystery and I wouldn’t say anything ever thrilled me about it. It does take up a lot of the plot which is probably why the romance lacked. I also didn’t get certain parts of it but maybe that’s just me.

Overall, it was okay but just not for me. I can see this doing well for those who haven’t read the original or have and can see past it. It’s just hard for me to separate the two.

Arc Review: Muse by Brittany Cavallaro

Title: Muse (Muse #1)
Author: Brittany Cavallaro
Genre: YA Historical Fiction / Fantasy
Publication Date: February 2nd, 2021
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an earc to review! All opinions are my own.

“The year is 1893, and war is brewing in the First American Kingdom. But Claire Emerson has a bigger problem. While her father prepares to reveal the mighty weapon he’s created to showcase the might of their province, St. Cloud, in the World’s Fair, Claire is crafting a plan to escape.

Claire’s father is a sought-after inventor, but he believes his genius is a gift, granted to him by his daughter’s touch. He’s kept Claire under his control for years. As St. Cloud prepares for war, Claire plans to claim her life for herself, even as her best friend, Beatrix, tries to convince her to stay and help with the growing resistance movement that wants to see a woman on the throne. At any cost.

When her father’s weapon fails to fire on the fair’s opening day, Claire is taken captive by Governor Remy Duchamp, St. Cloud’s young, untried ruler. Remy believes that Claire’s touch bestows graces he’s never had, and with his governing power weakening and many political rivals planning his demise, Claire might be his only and best ally. But the last thing that Claire has ever wanted is to be someone else’s muse. Still, affections can change as quickly as the winds of war. And Claire has a choice to make: Will she quietly remake her world from the shadows—or bring it down in flames?” (Goodreads)

This was my first time reading a book by this author even though I have seen her other works floating around. I have them on my tbr but since it is a mile long I just haven’t had a chance, haha.

I will say that I do enjoy enjoy her writing and am now more likely to pick them up sooner even if this book missed the mark for me. It’s one of those “it’s me, not you.” because this is more historical fiction (even though it has its twists!) and the fantasy aspect is very minimal.

Historical Fiction and I have a love-hate relationship. Sometimes I can get swept away in it and other times I can’t. It’s usually never the author’s fault but it’s just my personal taste in general as was the case for this one.

Much like the book American Royals, this book is written with a new perspective on the historical events of the making of the United States. It’s cool to see what authors come up with when it comes to changes.

The characters weren’t ones that I ever connected with but I did like the relationship between Claire and Beatrix.

When it came to the plot, there were a lot of different sub plots: politics, inventions, and even the abuse Claire has suffered. At times I felt it was a bit too much because it left a lot of unanswered questions. I think my favorite sub plot was the inventions and it was awesome that both Claire and Beatrix took an interest in them. I would have liked it to be expanded on though. There is also some talk about Claire’s gift but it comes and go and we really don’t learn too much about it.

There is romance but it was a bit of a downer. I never felt the chemistry between them and just didn’t see it going in that way.

Overall, it was okay but it just wasn’t for me. I do think if you like Historical Fiction with strong female characters, you should check this one out.