Most Anticipated Reads of September 2020

Morning, readers!

So I haven’t done a Most Anticipated Reads post in quite some time. I haven’t felt up to blogging lately. But I am back with a new post.

September is another wild month with new releases. So your bank account won’t be too happy any time soon! Now, this list isn’t complete, but they are the most anticipated.

Enjoy the post!

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Review | Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Published by: HarperTeen

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Witches

Page Count: 528

Rating: 5/5

Source: Purchase

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Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.


“I loved her. Despite everything. Despite the lies, the betrayal, the hurt…I don’t know if she returned that love, and I didn’t care. If she was destined to burn in Hell, I would burn with her.”

You can set my pyre on fire. I’ve found my new enemies-to-lovers fave. All I needed to know is that a witch and a witch hunter fall hard for each other. Then I’m hooked. But if you’re looking for a filthy but perfect romantic fantasy, Serpent & Dove is your book! I fell for this book. It took me weeks to dig through my emotions and thoughts. Shelby’s debut novel may be one of my favourite reads of 2019. And I wasn’t expecting such a reaction though.

Shelby crafts convincing, endearing main characters who make you invested in their journey and struggle. While the plot is a solid read, I believe the characters are what makes this debut. Louise le Blanc, a witch who abandoned her coven, makes me laugh, cry, and squeal. Yes, squeal! Her mouth is dirtier than mine. And I adore how she has survived so much. She’s ruthless, but she’s universal.

Shelby’s storytelling gives you a unique outlook into Lou’s and Reid’s inner thoughts. Each chapter offers up a stronger understanding of these multi-faceted characters who were pawns in a larger game. Reid Diggory, the holiest witch hunter I’ve ever read, may be my next love. Seeing him evolve from a naive boy into a male of worth is one of the best character developments I’ve seen lately.

The romance and the writing follow at a close second. I cannot separate them since they work together beautifully. This love story will break your heart. The writing and storytelling will keep you fighting through the pain. The hype is strong yet real, so don’t let that worry you though. Serpent & Dove is a superb debut worth the read.

“Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from you.”
“Where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay.”

Review | Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Bruja Born by Zoraida Córdova

Published by: Sourcebooks Fire

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

Genre: Fantasy, Magic

Page Count: 352

Rating: 4.5/5

Source: Purchase

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Three sisters. One spell. Countless dead.

Lula Mortiz feels like an outsider. Her sister’s newfound Encantrix powers have wounded her in ways that Lula’s bruja healing powers can’t fix, and she longs for the comfort her family once brought her. Thank the Deos for Maks, her sweet, steady boyfriend who sees the beauty within her and brings light to her life.


Then a bus crash turns Lula’s world upside down. Her classmates are all dead, including Maks. But Lula was born to heal, to fix. She can bring Maks back, even if it means seeking help from her sisters and defying Death herself. But magic that defies the laws of the deos is dangerous. Unpredictable. And when the dust settles, Maks isn’t the only one who’s been brought back.


“This is a love story. At least, it was, before my sister sent me to hell.”

Magic, lost love, tragic deaths, consequences, and one spell that changes everything, Bruja Born enchants readers who weren’t entranced by Labyrinth Lost. Going into this sequel, I had no expectations, but I can’t imagine skipping it now. I cried. I laughed. And I wanted more. Please, Zoraida, never let it end.

I wanted to love Labyrinth Lost, but it never hooked me like I wanted it to. With the sequel though, I finally understand why people love her work. I’ve been counting down the days when I find a witch story I love. And when it’s here, I am screaming for the final book.

Lula Mortiz tries to heal from the traumatic events that took place in Los Lagos, the in-between dimension her sister, Alex, sent her and their entire family to. I admit that I didn’t like her in Alex’s book. However, her vulnerabilities and her pain are what draws me to her now. And I love her character development. Losing her boyfriend, Maks, overpowers her every thought and self-control though. And the consequences to bring him back are more than she can handle.

The Latina magic system has always intrigued me. And Zoraida reveals more of this intricate world, which is what I’ve been hoping to see, and she raises the stakes. I loved travelling to Los Lagos. And seeing the universe she has created pulls me deeper into this richly layered series. What makes me love this book is how the author effortlessly crafts a believable world and family structure. Even though magic is a strong theme throughout her writing, the Mortiz family is the core. And sisterhood means more than anything to the Mortiz girls.

This fast-paced sequel is what I needed to convince me to stick with Brooklyn Brujas. The mythology wraps around you and sucks you in, and the diversity just makes the story that more compelling. Characters keep the storyline flowing, and I cannot remember the last time I’ve laughed at all the one-liners in a book. The sisterly bond makes my heart swell, but the fantasy finishes off a spellbinding novel.

Bruja Born may start off with a love story, but it ends with the strength of three sisters who defy the gods themselves. If Labyrinth Lost didn’t persuade you to take a chance on Brooklyn Brujas, reconsider. I want to read it again so I can step back into this magical place.

What do you look for in a series that contains witches? Which ones are your favourites? Let’s chat!

Review | The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw

Published by: Simon Pulse

Publication Date: March 6, 2018

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Page Count: 320

Rating: 4/5

Source: Purchase

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Welcome to the cursed town of Sparrow…

Where, two centuries ago, three sisters were sentenced to death for witchery. Stones were tied to their ankles and they were drowned in the deep waters surrounding the town.

Now, for a brief time each summer, the sisters return, stealing the bodies of three weak-hearted girls so that they may seek their revenge, luring boys into the harbor and pulling them under.

Like many locals, seventeen-year-old Penny Talbot has accepted the fate of the town. But this year, on the eve of the sisters’ return, a boy named Bo Carter arrives; unaware of the danger he has just stumbled into.

Mistrust and lies spread quickly through the salty, rain-soaked streets. The townspeople turn against one another. Penny and Bo suspect each other of hiding secrets. And death comes swiftly to those who cannot resist the call of the sisters.

But only Penny sees what others cannot. And she will be forced to choose: save Bo, or save herself.


Love is an enchantress—devious and wild. It sneaks up behind you, soft and gentle and quiet, just before it slits your throat.

Hell has no fury than witches hell-bent on revenge. Shea Ernshaw’s debut novel The Wicked Deep is just as enchanting as it is haunting. For days to come, I’ll be mourning over this poignant and heartbreaking tale.

I will always have a penchant for witch stories. Witches have created the foundation of my love for fantasy books. Unfortunately, they’ve lost their luster over the years, but Shea will remind you why lore of witches is the backbone of a great novel. She’ll remind you why you love them.

I find writing this review hard. I’m an emotional reader even though I don’t like admitting that fact. And this beautiful and eloquent debut novel tore at me, and reading it took much longer than I thought it would. The Wicked Deep ensnares you, wraps around your heart, then rips it out, and all the while, you still have a smile on your face. I needed breaks while reading it.

Sparrow, Oregon is haunted by witches. In the 19th century, whether they’re witches or not, three sisters—Marguerite, Aurora, and Hazel Swan—who charmed the men of the town lost their lives when they were convicted of witchcraft and drowned for their crimes. And every year since, they torment the town by possessing the daughters who then, in turn, drown the sons. When an outsider, Bo Carter, wanders into town, Penny Talbot knows she must protect him even if the both of them are hiding secrets.

This town is perched on the edge of tragedy and revenge. The sisters’ death is woven throughout the fabric of the town as the residents and tourists flock to the water’s edge to celebrate the Swan season, the time when the sisters return. The Wicked Deep depends on the folklore of the town. Shea doesn’t incorporate a lot of world building, but Sparrow itself is a character that walks within this story. She injects an atmospheric tone that delivers a morbid and eerie storyline, one I haven’t seen in awhile. But what I enjoyed is the characters though.

Penny is an outcast who cares for her mother, who mourns over the disappearance of her father. She’s content with her life even if her friend wants her to leave. But Bo changes everything for her. They both complement each other. Their relationship is built on delicate layers of lies, hasty trust, and intense yet rushed attraction. But I would prefer for a better set up though. It has an insta-love feel, which leads to the story’s predictable climax. I was hoping to see more of the sisters though, but Shea does include flashbacks to the past.

I could rave about Shea’s writing for days. She’s has a wonderful talent that I hope to see more of. And I’m counting down the days to her next story. The Wicked Deep is a captivating novel steeped in whimsical lore. It will take you on an emotional journey that may surprise you. I recommend this as your next read. Sparrow will capture you just as much as it has me.

But how do you let yourself unravel in front of someone, knowing your armor is the only thing keeping you safe?

Blog Tour Review: Haven by Mary Lindsey

 

Haven by Mary Lindsey

Published by: Entangled Publishing

Publication Date: November 7, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal

Page Count: 400

Rating: 4/5

Source: eARC from Rockstar Book Tours

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“We all hold a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Rain Ryland has never belonged anywhere, He’s used to people judging him for his rough background, his intimidating size, and now, his orphan status. He’s always been on the outside, looking in, and he’s fine with that. Until he moves to New Wurzburg and meets Friederike Burkhart.

Freddie isn’t like normal teen girls, though. And someone wants her dead for it. Freddie warns he’d better stay far away if he wants to stay alive, but Rain’s never been good at running from trouble. For the first time, Rain has something worth fighting for, worth living for. Worth dying for.


I’ve received an eARC for an honest review. It doesn’t affect my rating.

 

“I believe we all hide a beast inside. The only difference is what form it takes when freed.”

Are you looking for a dark, twisted, and sizzling new YA fantasy? Haven‘s your book. With betrayals, forbidden love, power plays, and family secrets, it will surely keep you up at night as it did with me.

Rain Ryland, a misunderstood teen who can’t get a break in life, becomes an orphan when he loses his mother, who dies unexpectedly. He thinks he has an opportunity for a new start when he finds out he has an aunt, who lives in New Wurzburg, where he meets Friederike “Freddie” Burkhart, who warns him to stay away from her. Unfortunately, this new opportunity comes with a price, but he’s determined to save Freddie, find her father’s killer, and fight for someone who’s worth dying for.

I have to admit. I get an insta-love vibe off of this book, but, don’t let that fool you. Mary plays on that rather well. Haven reminds me of a shape-shaping version of Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. And I love how she doesn’t go with the female POV. It’s strictly Rain’s perspective throughout the entire book. I don’t see that often, so I enjoyed the change. Haven has a few rough edges, like Rain describing Freddie as perfect, but it kept me wanting more, kept me reading long into the night. It’s a refreshing story for anyone who’s looking for a quick read.

What surprises me the most is the backstory of the book. Mary wonderfully creates an intricate world with unique characters and intriguing history. Rain has stumbled upon a town where Weavers (witches) rule, and Watchers (shape-shifters/werewolves) obey. These characters originated from Germany and immigrated to the States when the German witch trials occured. Each character adds to the mystery of the town, which shapes into a character itself.

My favourites, obviously, are Rain and Freddie. Their chemistry is hot and intense and will keep you turning the page. Freddie, the only-female Alpha, refuses to back down, will protect her family and pact, and never runs away from a fight. I love her strong-willed attitude and her vulnerability because of her father’s murder. I’m a sucker for a tortured character, and Rain matches that through and through.

The world building is superb. Mary puts in a new twist in the overused werewolf and witch story. The politics in the world adds layers to this story and creates more mystery and suspense. I wasn’t expecting this kind of political play, but Mary pulls it off nicely. Haven is a fast-paced, intense, and dark adventure any fantasy lover will love to jump into.

 

“It’s said that on a full moon, that power of the earth reaches for the heavens at that one spot, infusing the surrounding area with magic strong enough to change man to beast.”

 


About Mary

Mary Lindsey is a multi award-winning, RITA® nominated author of romance for adults and teens. She lives on an island in the middle of a river. Seriously, she does. When not writing, she wrangles her rowdy pack of three teens, two Cairn Terriers, and one husband.

Inexplicably, her favorite animal is the giant anteater and at one point, she had over 200 “pet” Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. The roaches are a long story involving three science-crazed kids and a soft spot for rescue animals. The good news is, the “pet” roaches found a home… somewhere else.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest | Goodreads

 


Giveaway

Does Haven sound like your next YA fantasy read? Here’s your chance to win a free copy of it. One winner will receive a finished copy of Haven. Giveaway is for US residents only. ENTER HERE.

 


Tour Schedule

Week One
10/23/2017- Twinning for Books — Review
10/23/2017- Flyleaf Chronicles — Review

10/24/2017- Blushing Bibliophile — Review
10/24/2017- Ex Libris — Review

10/25/2017- Omg Books and More Books — Review
10/25/2017- Novelties — Review

10/26/2017- Deep Dark Feminist Reviews — Review
10/26/2017- Mama Reads Blog — Review

10/27/2017- Kendra Loves Books — Review
10/27/2017- Why I Read — Review

 

Week Two
10/30/2017- Bibliobakes — Review
10/30/2017- Betwixt the Pages — Review

10/31/2017- For the Lover of Books — Review
10/31/2017- Kati’s Bookaholic Rambling Reviews — Review

11/1/2017- Adventures Thru Wonderland — Review
11/1/2017- Tea With Mermaids — Review

11/2/2017- Hauntedbybooks13 — Review
11/2/2017- The Best Books Ever — Review

11/3/2017- Portrait of a Book — Review
11/3/2017- Nerdophiles — Review

Book Haul: October 2016

Well, you see, this month I’ve gone through a bit of a buying splurge. I don’t know why. No, I do, but I’m trying to cushion the blow. I still have books waiting on my shelf, but alas, once I see a great deal, I kind of destroy my bank account. Or my savings, to be exact.

I can’t wait to get my hands on these pretties! BUT WHY DID I BLOODY AGREE TO HAVE THE LAST TWO BOOKS BE CHRISTMAS PRESENTS?! What was I thinking? I am a masochist. Through and through. Ahem. Now cue the regularly scheduled squee moment. 😂

16096824.jpgA Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

I’ve been hearing pretty good reviews of this series, particularly the sequel, so I had to buy the first book. I haven’t gotten into fairy tale retellings, though. I’m a little late on this band wagon, but I can’t pass up on a book that retells Beauty and the Beast and also has faeries in it. I hope it’s great!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

17927395.jpgA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Why would I start a series and just not buy the sequel? That excuse is what I’m going with. I’m not that much of a masochistic. Screw that. I still am. But I need more faeries in my life, and I’ll be damned if I’ll wait for an already released sequel.

Some of my blogger friends (oh, hi darlings!) have told me that this instalment makes up for a few issues in the first book.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

23299512.jpgThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

Don’t hate me, but This Savage Song will be the first Schwab book I’ve ever read. But her Shades of Magic series has been sitting on my TBR list for a year. I love that there are ZERO love stories in this book. ZERO. ZILCH. But tons of monsters. What more can a woman ask for? MONSTERS. Give me monsters.

…And I’m more twisted than my Mom thinks I am. Wonderful. PHEER ME.

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository

27969081.jpgLabyrinth Lost by Zoraida Córdova

Ah mah gerd. It’s here. Besides Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows, Labyrinth Lost is one of the most gorgeous books I’ve seen this year. And FINALLY I get to see more diversity and LGBTG storylines in books (I have to give Sabaa Tahir more credit here, though).

I also adore how Zoriada has incorporated brujas/brujos and Latin American themes into her book.

A fellow blogger’s post pushed me to buy it. Yeah, I’m talking about you, Danya @ Fine Print!

Goodreads | Indigo | Amazon CAN | Amazon US | Book Depository