Song of Silver ,Flame like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao – book review/blog tour

I’m so pleased to be part of the blog tour for Song of Silver, Flame like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao- YA fantasy

Once, Lan had a different name. Now, she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and spends her days scavenging for remnants of the past. For anything that might help her understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother.No one can see the mysterious mark, an untranslatable Hin character, except Lan. Until the night a boy appears at the teahouse.
Zen is a practitioner – one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom, whose abilities were rumoured to be drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Magic to be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.
Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And destroy the world.

Review

One of the things I love about blog tours is coming across books that would never hit my radar like Song of Silver Flame like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao and I loved this YA Fantasy filled with magic, loss and anger.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

Power was a double-edged sword- but not to have it that was to have no weapon at all.

While this is a book about magic with all the usual themes you would expect in a YA book such as complicated romances, identity and angst, this book has so much more. It is a book that captures the feeling of being powerless and what anyone would do to protect themselves and the people they love.

The book describes the horrors of colonisation and the slow erosion of local culture either deliberately or accidentally as a result.

Lan and Zen are the two third-person narrators- Lan is searching for the truth about her mother and the seal she left on her arm as she died and Zen,  one of the last disciples of Hin magic and his own dark, secret.

I loved the world-building, the descriptions of the tea houses, the towns and the terrains Zen and Lan travel through are beautifully described and vivid, The magic used by the Hin magicians isn’t unique but the use of seals to hide and perform magic felt fresh and different.

The Elantians (the invaders) did feel a little one-dimensional but the Winter Magician felt truly evil and threatening.

The story races along and despite the sometimes dark themes, there is a humour and some sensual touches. The main plot of Lan’s identity does have a resolution ( to some degree) but the overriding arc of the story continues in the next book which I can’t wait to read

This is the first book that I have read by the author but I will be adding her backlist to my TBR list.

Content warning

Threats of sexual violence

Perfect for fans of

DAUGHTER OF THE MOON GODDESS by Sue Lynn Tan, THE FINAL STRIFE by Saara El-Arifi, and IRON WIDOW by Xiran Jay Zhao. The Shadow and Bone Trilogy by Leigh Burdago

Weyward by Emilia Hart – Book review

Here is my review of Weyward by Emilia Hart historical fantasy featuring three women from three generations and their fight to escape trapped their lives.

‘I had nature in my heart, she said. Like she did, and her mother before her. There was something about us – the Weyward women – that bonded us more tightly with the natural world.
We can feel it, she said, the same way we feel rage, sorrow or joy.’
In 2019, Kate flees an abusive relationship in London for Crows Beck, a remote Cumbrian village. Her destination is Weyward Cottage, inherited from her great Aunt Violet, an eccentric entomologist.
As Kate struggles with the trauma of her past, she uncovers a secret about the women in her family. A secret dating back to 1619, when her ancestor Altha Weyward was put on trial for witchcraft…

Review

Weyward by Emilia Hart is an ambitious story about three different women at three different times but all three need to escape their trapped lives.

I received a copy of the book for a free and unbiased opinion

The story of three women suffering from surprisingly similar problems is at times harrowing. Kate in 2019 is trapped in an abusive relationship and has escaped to a cottage she has inherited from her Great Aunt. Violet in 1942 whose father controls her life to an extreme degree and Altha who as a clever independent woman in 1619 is accused of witchcraft.

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City of Last Chances by Adrian Tchaikovsky- Book Review

Here is my review for City of Last Chances, epic fantasy  by Adrian Tchaikovsky


There has always been a darkness to Ilmar, but never more so than now. The city chafes under the heavy hand of the Palleseen occupation, the choke-hold of its criminal underworld, the boot of its factory owners, the weight of its wretched poor and the burden of its ancient curse.
What will be the spark that lights the conflagration?
Despite the city’s refugees, wanderers, murderers, madmen, fanatics and thieves, the catalyst, as always, will be the Anchorwood – that dark grove of trees, that primeval remnant, that portal, when the moon is full, to strange and distant shores.
Ilmar, some say, is the worst place in the world and the gateway to a thousand worse places.
Ilmar,
City of Long Shadows.
City of Bad Decisions.
City of Last Chances.

Review

I’ve enjoyed Adrian Tchaikovsky’s science fiction books so I was keen to see how his fantasy compared to this and was happy my request was approved by NetGalley for the arc of  City Of Last Chances.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

This is a hard review to write. I didn’t really love the book as much as I thought I would ( although I didn’t dislike the book as much as I thought I would after I finished it either).

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Kaikeyi By Vaishnavi Patel – Book review

This alternate take on a much maligned woman was difficult to put down. Here is my review this fantasy- Kaikeyi by Vaishnavi Patel.

Publication date 27 October 2022

Kaikeyi retells the story of Rama ( an avatar of the Hindu God Lord Vishnu) from the Ramayana from the first-person point of view of Kaikeyi, Rama’s stepmother. In the original story, Kaikeyi asks her husband to exile his heir and favourite son Rama to a forest for 14 years and place her son on the throne. Rama’s banishment eventually leads to a battle of good and evil- his triumphant return to Ayodhya is celebrated during the annual festival of Diwali.

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The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman- book review

I enjoyed this South-East Asian Inspired YA Fantasy featuring secret societies, dying magic, royal intrigue and four conflicting siblings. Here is my review of the Ivory Key – the first in a duology.

Vira is desperate to get out of her mother’s shadow and establish her legacy as a revered queen of Ashoka. But with the country’s only quarry running out of magic–a precious resource that has kept Ashoka safe from conflict–she can barely protect her citizens from the looming threat of war. And if her enemies discover this, they’ll stop at nothing to seize the last of the magic.
Vira’s only hope is  the Ivory Key, rumored to unlock a new source of magic. But in order to infiltrate enemy territory and retrieve it, she must reunite with her siblings. Each of them has something to gain from finding the Ivory Key.They must work together to survive the treacherous journey. But with each sibling harboring secrets and their own agendas, the very thing that brought them together could tear apart their family–and their world–for good. 

Review

I loved this South-East Asian inspired fantasy-The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman, the first in a YA duology.

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A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows- Book review

Here is my review of A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows – a queer, romantic fantasy

Velasin vin Aaro never planned to marry at all, let alone a girl from neighboring Tithena. When an ugly confrontation reveals his preference for men, Vel fears he’s ruined the diplomatic union before it can even begin. But while his family is ready to disown him, the Tithenai envoy has a different solution: for Vel to marry his former intended’s brother instead.
Caethari Aeduria always knew he might end up in a political marriage, but his sudden betrothal to a man from Ralia, where such relationships are forbidden, comes as a shock.
With an unknown faction willing to kill to end their new alliance, Vel and Cae have no choice but to trust each other. Survival is one thing, but love—as both will learn—is quite another.

Review

A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows was one of my anticipated reads of 2022 as I enjoy books with intrigue, fantasy, magic and very occasionally a bit of romance and this book seemed to have it all. But I have to admit to feeling a little disappointed.

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The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff – Book review/Blog tour

I’m pleased to be part of the The Write Reads blog tour for the The Wild Court by E. G Radcliffe- a YA fantasy with faeries, magic, power, love and Aed, the former Hidden King.

Book Info

Genre: YA Fantasy

Length: 488 Pages

Published: 29th June 2021

What perils await on the other side of the veil?
In the seventh year of Áed’s reign, night descends on the autumn festival. But a time of revelry turns into one of fiery destruction—as fae pour across the veil and the Gut becomes a battlefield in an otherworldly war.
Determined to protect his kingdom and the people he loves, Áed finds himself catapulted into a realm as unfamiliar as it is dangerous, where magic is king and wild courts vie for supremacy.
While the faerie Queen’s missing consort holds the key to life and death, tenuous alliances raise questions about Áed’s connection to the mysterious Bone court. His survival hinges on cunning as much as illusion.
On a mission like no other, only one thing is certain: no one will survive unscathed.

Book review

The Wild Court by E. G Radcliff continues Áed’s, the half-faerie King, story and journey as a leader.

Continue reading The Wild Court by E.G. Radcliff – Book review/Blog tour

The Silver Queendom By Don Koboldt- Book review

Here is my review of The Silver Queendom by Don Koboldt- my favourite kind of fantasy with lots of magic, action and a clever heist.


They may be bad at running an inn, but they’re the best team of con artists in the Old Queendom. When a prospective client approaches Darin with a high-paying job, he knows he should refuse. But the job is boosting a shipment of priceless imperial dream wine, the most coveted and expensive drink in the world. And, thanks to a stretch of bad luck, he’s in deep to The Dame, who oversees criminal enterprises in this part of the Queendom.
If they fail, they’re as good as dead, but if they succeed… well, it’s enough money to get square with the Dame and make all of their dreams come true. Plus, it’s an option for Darin to stick it to the empress, who he has good reason to despise. Then again, there’s a very good reason no one has ever stolen imperial dream wine.

Review

I love a good heist story especially when it’s a heist story with magic and The Silver Queendom by Don Koboldt doesn’t disappoint.  This was an easy, quick and fun read.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion

The book is told from the points of view of the four main people carrying out the con- Darin, the charismatic leader, a reluctant magic wielder and a magnet for trouble. Evie, the noblewoman fallen from grace, Tom, the friendly muscle and Kat, the newest recruit.

Darin and his gang pull off con after con but they always seem to end up in more trouble after each one and they hope this heist will be final.

The heists are suitably twisty and clever. The plot is fast-paced with plenty of swordfights and crossbow action. There is just a hint of romance between Darin and Evie ( which was perfect) and the magic was subtle enough to enhance the story but not overpower it. The world-building was easy to understand as is the politics. The characters were a little predictable, but I loved all of them with their little quicks.

I’m not sure if this is part of a series but I really hope we read more about Darin and the Rooster Inn gang.

Perfect for fans of

The Six crows or Hustle or Knave of Secrets ( review here)

Content warning

Reference to domestic violence, child labour

Genre: Fantasy      Source: Angry Robot and Netgalley  Publication: 23 August 2022

Tune in Tomorrow by Randee Dawn- Book review

Here is my review of Turn in Tomorrow by Randee Dawn- The Curious, Calamitous Cockamamie Story of Starr Weatherby and the greatest Mythic Reality Show ever. I think the title says it all.

Publication date: 16th of August 2022

Genre: Sci-fi/humour

Source: With thanks from the publisher Rebellion

She’s just a small town girl, with big mythic dreams.
Starr Weatherby came to New York to become… well, a star. But after ten years and no luck, she’s offered a big role – on a show no one has ever heard of. And there’s a reason for that. It’s a ‘reality’ show beyond the Veil, human drama, performed for the entertainment of the Fae.
But as Starr shifts from astounded newcomer to rising fan favorite, she learns about the show’s dark underbelly – and mysterious disappearance of her predecessor. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep her dream job – though she might just bring down the show in the process.

Review

I can safely say that Tune in Tomorrow by Randee Dawn is unlike any other book I’ve read- a strange concoction of sci-fi, fantasy, expose of behind the scenes of a reality TV show, humour and romance. But despite this, it was a fun and easy read.

I received a copy of this book for a free and unbiased opinion.

Starr Weatherby( or Sam) is the easy-to-like main point of view character and you could sympathise with her conflicting wonder and bewilderment of suddenly being part of a reality TV show for mythical beings ( which is actually scripted). But Starr has to learn about this new world all the while trying to deal with the homicidal lead actress, Fiona.

The world-building was unique and it is safe to say there isn’t a fantasy world quite like this- a television studio filled with mythical creatures with horns and tails and brownies as well as an unseen audience.

I found some parts of the book really funny and it was a quick enjoyable read. There is a hint of romance between Starr and her leading man ( or men) as well as a hint of an unsolved mystery- what happened to Amelia the actress who vanished before Starr started.

I thought Fiona felt a little two-dimensional as a villain and a bit boring considering how vivid the other characters are. The book was sometimes a little confusing and I found it hard to figure out what was going on.

Perfect for fans of

The closest book I could compare this to would The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy