I am in love with the Deathless series! First, The Gilded Ones blew me away with the amazing story of Deka and her finding out more about herself, and then The Merciless Ones threw some twists and spins I never expected and savagely devoured!
The Merciless Ones is a beautiful and inspiring continuation of the Deathless series and Deka’s adventures. As this book is the second book in the series, I strongly recommend reading The Gilded Ones first, to be able to enjoy the story to its full potential.
After the newly acquired knowledge from the end of book one and the intense cliffhanger, Deka continues her journey. Saving the women that are imprisoned and avenging everyone that lost their lives. However, things are never that easy. When she starts unlocking some additional powers, but also starting to lose power as well, things start to take an interesting turn. Deka finds out something that makes her doubt everything she knows. All of a sudden, she needs to find answers again and travel further away from everything she trusts.
I adored and devoured this book! There is intensity and adventure in every single chapter. The pace of the book gradually increases and the last few chapters are filled with anticipation and power.
If you are looking for a fantasy adventure with a lot of magic and fierce female characters, do not miss Deka’s story. It’s by far one of the most thrilling fantasy adventures I’ve ever read!
About The Author:
Namina Forna is a young adult novelist based in Los Angeles, and the author of the New York Times bestselling epic fantasy YA novel The Gilded Ones. Originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa, she moved to the US when she was nine and has been traveling back and forth ever since. Namina loves telling stories with fierce female leads and works as a screenwriter in LA.
Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof / Paperback
I can’t remember the last time I was so immersed in a book, that I spent a full all-nighter finishing it, gasped at every hint and literally jumped (all the while dropping the book in excitement) when I correctly guessed who’d done it!
The most popular and rich kid in Heybuckle School, Hugh Henry Van Boren, has been found dead. And as soon as the news arrive, the student body is very keen to find the murderer. Our main character, Jess, is a student in this school. Not being rich, she is working hard to keep her grades good and her record clean so she doesn’t lose her scholarship.
However, she finds herself at the centre of the investigation when it’s revealed that Hugh died in the exact same way as a character in a short story that she wrote. On top of this, Jess receives an anonymous tip, thanking her for the inspiration, and sending a threat her way.
Jess needs to solve this murder urgently, as time is running out. She may not only lose her scholarship, but she may end up also losing her life!
I greatly enjoyed “This Book Kills” and rooted for Jess from the very beginning.
We are instantly introduced to this posh high-school, where Jess feels an instant disadvantage being “the scholarship girl”. We can feel this through her interactions with the other students and teachers.
It also doesn’t help that the school has an anonymous secret club called the Regia Club, where students are asked to pull dangerous pranks on each other. And the adults know this is happening and yet decide to not act upon it, due to reputation.
“Just because things are easy for you, doesn’t mean they’re easy. Just because people are good to you, doesn’t mean they’re good. You can’t close your eyes and then claim ignorance – people who let bad stuff happen are just as bad as the people who do bad stuff.”
I wouldn’t say this is the deadliest thriller of 2023, but it’s for sure the most intriguing YA thriller I have read so far. It kept me on the edge of my seat; the clues, the drama, the plot twists just kept coming. I ended up predicting the culprit, but I don’t think it was very predictable. I loved the fact that the book stops at a certain point and tells you to make a prediction, because a reveal is about to happen. As soon as I got the reveal, I was beyond happy that I guessed it right. This interaction with the book made me completely forget whether my prediction was predictable or not.
I am certain that this book will take the reader community by storm in the new year. Jess is a heroine that we will want to be friends with, although we’d rather not be in her shoes. If you’re about to pick any YA thriller in the new year, let it be this one. As This Book Kills.
About The Author:
A born and bred Londoner, Ravena writes MG and YA, usually featuring antiheroines or snarky narrators. Growing up she always read the last page of books first, but discovering Agatha Christie in her early teens stopped that habit, igniting a love of twisty murder-mysteries with jaw-dropping endings the reader never saw coming. Ravena is a lawyer with a degree in biochemistry, and hopes to use the knowledge gained from her experiences to plot the perfect murder (for a book, of course!).
Bad Things Happen Here is a beautiful story with a lot of lessons to give. It has a little bit of everything and just enough to keep you intrigued and melt your heart!
About The Book:
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Format I read it in: Uncorrected Proof / Paperback
Luca Laine Thomas has lived in Parris Island all her life. And one year ago, she lost Polly, her best friend. Now there’s a new girl that moved into Polly’s house and the curse that surrounds this island strikes again.
Young women keep being murdered and the cases remain unsolved. Now it’s Luca’s turn to do some investigating on her own and figure out what the hell is wrong with this island.
Luca is such a refreshing character.
She is mixed-race, queer and plus sized, but most importantly, she’s hilarious, smart, and not afraid to stand up for herself. I was glad to see her embrace her mental health journey and show us how she is dealing with grief. She is not afraid to open about her feelings – and thank God for that – we need more Luca’s in our lives and on our pages, so that people start realising that talking about emotions is okay.
The story is intriguing and captivating. Meeting a log of characters and having those parties on the island gave me some “We Were Liars” vibes. The chapters are short and the way they end prompts you to continue. I stayed up until 2am, finishing this book.
“People lie about where they were when they don’t want anyone to know what they were doing and where they were doing it.”
I liked the mystery elements, although I think there were some flaws. Luca relied on just one source to give her clues, and if that source ceased for some reason, she wouldn’t have been able to reveal anything. Additionally, I think in real life, that person would never reveal anything at all, because of how it relates to them and the connection, in my opinion. And even though we get one reveal in the end, we don’t get answers to the old cases at all. There was supposed to be some connection between all the murders, and it was never entertained afterwards. It left me slightly disappointed from that point of view.
I liked the romantic connection Luca had, and how real it all was. Especially towards the end. It proves to show that you can love and care for someone so deeply, but still cannot forgive or forget if they hurt you bad enough. We don’t always get the happy ever afters. And maybe time will heal their wounds and destiny will guide them to each other again. We’ll never know, and we can only hope, and that’s the beauty of it.
About The Author:
Rebecca Barrow is the critically acclaimed author of Bad Things Happen Here, Interview with the Vixen, This Is What It Feels Like, and You Don’t Know Me But I Know You. She is a lover of sunshine, Old Hollywood icons, and all things high femme. She lives and writes in England. Visit her at www.rebecca-barrow.com
The prequel to We Were Liars takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come.
A windswept private island off the coast of Massachusetts. A hungry ocean, churning with secrets and sorrow. A fiery, addicted heiress. An irresistible, unpredictable boy. A summer of unforgivable betrayal and terrible mistakes.
Welcome back to the Sinclair family. They were always liars.
“Family of Liars” is the prequel of “We Were Liars” and it features the parents from “We Were Liars” as teenagers. “Family of Liars” contains spoilers for “We Were Liars”, so if you haven’t read any of the books, I strongly recommend reading “We Were Liars” first, and then reading “Family of Liars”. I won’t give too much information on the synopsis – same like the first book, this one is better reading blind. I’ll just say this -it features the same private island, the year is 1987 and some new characters join our characters for the summer, when everything kicks off.
If you enjoyed “We Were Liars”, you will also enjoy this book! I don’t want to say it follows the same template, but it kind of does. The chapter flows in the same way, as well as the writing – still beautiful and easy to read. This writing style is a style I really enjoyed reading. If for some reason the writing bothered you in the first book, be aware that it’s very similar here too.
The emotion side was more enhanced in this book. I felt more love, heartbreak, anger and sadness and I loved it so much! I was expecting a twist this time though, and I did get it. And then I got a few more I wasn’t expecting. However, the twists in this book didn’t give the chock or wow factor and didn’t have the same intensity. They were still very cleverly done and I did not see them coming.
In my opinion, “We Were Liars” was amazing and “Family of Liars” just couldn’t top that. But that being set aside, this book was extremely enjoyable and incredibly gripping. A must-read for the fans of this genre and fans of the series. There’s definitely something about this private island that will always tickle my curiosity!
About The Author:
E. Lockhart is the author of Again Again, Genuine Fraud, We Were Liars, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and several other books. Whistle: A New Gotham CIty Hero is a graphic novel.
Twin Crowns was such a magical read. From the moment I read the synopsis, I wanted to know more about these two sister twins. The action starts from the very first page, and it never stops. Even when it ended, I was immediately craving to read the second book in the Twin Crowns series. Needless to say, I will be pestering and stalking both authors for book spoilers and updates.
About The Book:
Format I read it in: Paperback / Limited Edition Uncorrected Proof
Two sisters. One throne. Who will ultimately rise to power and wear the crown?
Wren Greenrock has always known that one day she would steal her sister’s place in the palace. Trained from birth to avenge her parents’ murder and usurp the princess, she will do anything to rise to power and protect the community of witches she loves.
Princess Rose Valhart knows that with power comes responsibility including marriage into a brutal kingdom. Life outside the palace walls is a place to be feared and she is soon to discover that it’s wilder than she ever imagined.
Twin sisters separated at birth and raised into entirely different worlds are about to get to know each other’s lives a whole lot better…
The royal theme entwined with magic really hooked me. The stories about the witches were some of my favourite scenes whilst reading this book. All the awful things that happened to them, things that were done to them. How they were forced to go into hiding and give up so many things, the throne being one of them. However, what really made me love them was the willpower for them to keep fighting. They never give up and finally come back to fight for what truly belongs to them.
“When you break open the stone heart of Anadawn Palace and seize your rightful place on its throne, all the winds of Eana will sing your name. May the courage of the witches go with you, my little bird.”
I also loved that this book features twin sisters.
I was very glad that we didn’t have any of those stereotypical moments that authors like to do with twins. It was such a relief! Wren and Rose are two completely different people with different personalities, and this book really explores that. They are both so very lovable in their own unique way. I connected with Wren slightly more than I did with Rose. Perhaps due to the fact that Wren is more adventurous, outspoken and sarcastic. However, Rose is also amazing – and her story is very emotional. The development she is going through is inspiring. It’s not easy to suddenly realise that your whole life has been based on lies, and now you are away from home and have to relearn everything from the beginning.
“I imagine the battles a princess must fight don’t often call for knives and swords.”
Everything about this book captivated me. The world, the twin sisters, the witches… Then Tor and Shen, the Cliffs, the desert and the unknown places we are still yet to explore. I can vividly imagine every detail in this world, because it was so perfectly described. The story itself carried excitement and suspense at the end of each chapter. It made me desperate to keep reading. And the chapters swapping between Wren and Rose’s points of view only add up to the fast pace the book has.
The romance in this book is adorable.
We have a few slow burn romances entwined with humour. I am so invested in these people’s relationships and I can’t wait to read about their happy ever afters. The bonds that they make are very wholesome and adorable, and I am here for it.
Rose glared at him. “Do you always talk to women the way you talk to your horse?” “You should be flattered. There’s no one in this world I respect more than Storm.”
I also had the privilege to attend two online meetings and meet both authors. They shared so many incredible details about the book, the places and the motivation behind it. Reading this book with some amazing bookstagrammers as part of a readalong and also whilst chatting with the authors made this book very special to me. I will forever cherish that experience!
To sum up, although I could go on forever, please pick this book up! It’s the magic YA fantasy you’ve been yearning for. As soon as you finish the first chapter and the magic starts working, you won’t be able to put Twin Crowns down. I am sure Wren’s enchantment spells have something to do with this!
About The Authors:
Catherine Doyle grew up in the West of Ireland. She holds a first-class BA in Psychology and a first-class MA in Publishing. She is the author of the Young Adult Blood for Blood trilogy (Vendetta, Inferno and Mafiosa), which is often described as Romeo and Juliet meets the Godfather. Her debut Middle Grade novel, The Storm Keeper’s Island (Bloomsbury, 2018), is an adventure story about family, bravery and self-discovery.
Aside from more conventional interests in movies, running and travelling, Catherine also enjoys writing about herself in the third-person.
Katherine Webber was born in Southern California in 1987. She currently lives in London with her husband, Kevin, and their young daughter. In addition to her YA, Katherine also co-writes young fiction, as Katie Tsang, with Kevin.
She loves an adventure, whether it is found in a book or in real life and has travelled to over 45 countries. Travel, books, and eating out are her favourite indulgences.