Posted in Blog Tour

Happy Book Birthday to A GOLDEN FURY by Samantha Cohoe!

Today is the day you can finally get a copy of A Golden Fury in your hands!

I was very excited to be asked to be a part of the blog tour for this magical, historical new release! Make sure to check out my review from last week here.

And just to get you even more pumped about this story, I have included some praise about the novel, provided by the publisher, below:

*A Nerd Daily YA Debut to Watch Out for in 2020*

“Sharply written with a crackling, compassionately determined heroine, A Golden Fury is a vivid ride through eighteenth century Europe with darkness and dread creeping at its corners. Utterly enchanting.” – Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints

“An engaging concoction of fantasy, romance, and historical fiction.” Booklist

“Cohoe situates the supernatural among the historical, referencing the French Revolution and the Enlightenment while…keeping a sense of urgency as Thea struggles with the magical, demonic pull of the Stone.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“The attention to detail in the story is excellent. Thea herself is a confident lead with a strong voice. A solid fantasy to flesh out the world of alchemy that most readers know only from ‘Harry Potter.'” School Library Journal

“Cohoe transmutes the legend of the Philosopher’s Stone into a dark, intoxicating tale of ambition, obsession, and sacrifice. Prepare for a magic that will consume you.” – Rosamund Hodge, New York Times bestselling author of Cruel Beauty and Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

“Steeped in mystery and magic, Samantha Cohoe’s A Golden Fury immerses readers in beautifully rendered world where magic and science mix, and where the intoxication of power can be deadly. Whip-smart Thea is a heroine readers will root for.” – Lisa Maxwell, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Magician

Jacket Copy: Set in eighteenth century England, Samantha Cohoe’s debut novel, A GOLDEN FURY (Wednesday Books; October 13, 2020), follows a young alchemist as she tries to save the people she loves from the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone. The streets of London and Oxford come to life as this historical fantasy unravels. Weaving together an alluring story of magic and danger, Samantha’s debut has her heroine making messy decisions as she toes the line between good and evil while it becomes blurred.

Thea Hope longs to be an alchemist out of the shadow of her famous mother. The two of them are close to creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—whose properties include immortality and can turn any metal into gold—but just when the promise of the Stone’s riches is in their grasp, Thea’s mother destroys the Stone in a sudden fit of violent madness.

While combing through her mother’s notes, Thea learns that there’s a curse on the Stone that causes anyone who tries to make it to lose their sanity. With the threat of the French Revolution looming, Thea is sent to Oxford for her safety, to live with the father who doesn’t know she exists.

But in Oxford, there are alchemists after the Stone who don’t believe Thea’s warning about the curse—instead, they’ll stop at nothing to steal Thea’s knowledge of how to create the Stone. But Thea can only run for so long, and soon she will have to choose: create the Stone and sacrifice her sanity, or let the people she loves die.

A GOLDEN FURY and the curse of the Philosopher’s Stone will haunt you long after the final page.

About the Author: Samantha Cohoe writes historically-inspired young adult fantasy. She was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She currently lives in Denver with her family and divides her time among teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. A Golden Fury is her debut novel.

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Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews

A GOLDEN FURY by Samantha Cohoe

3/5 Stars

I’m feeling a bit conflicted about this one!

A Golden Fury follows 17-year-old budding alchemist Thea Hope in French Revolution-era Europe. She has a toxic, complicated relationship with her mother, a renowned alchemist who views her more as her apprentice than her daughter. As they work on forging the infamous Philosopher’s Stone, an unprecedented danger greets them and Thea must branch out on her own to save her mother. She goes to Oxford to seek help from her father, who hadn’t known she existed, but finds that this familial bond is also lacking in trust, driving her to create the Stone on her own.

I found Thea’s journey toward independence to be quite interesting. She found that she could not rely on her family, nor the other few people she placed her trust in over the years. With such a burden on her shoulders, Thea stands out as an inspirational character who was easy to root for.

However, my main issues with the novel involve the plotting. There was a lot of movement and travel involved in the story and I feel like it never quite found its footing in one storyline. The major motivating factor of creating the Philosopher’s Stone was a solid thread that drove the plot. But then there were a lot of characters and obstacles thrown in there that I wish were further developed.

While I appreciated the concept of alchemy in this story, I found the execution of this magic system to be a bit too ambiguous to fully enjoy. I just couldn’t quite picture what Thea was doing to make her so talented. This vagueness also messed with my understanding of alchemy’s limitations in this world. It seemed at any point anything could go wrong, so I never knew what to reasonably expect.

While there were some points that took away from my overall enjoyment of the novel, I did really like how fast-paced this story is. I enjoyed Cohoe’s writing and will likely pick up her future works!

Comparable titles:
The Falconer by Elizabeth May
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

***Thank you to Wednesday Books for sending me an e-ARC as a part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Blog Tour

Happy Book Birthday to WHERE DREAMS DESCEND by Janella Angeles!

I loved this book and am so happy to be a part of the blog tour for its release and share how wonderfully whimsical it is with all of you!

You can check out my review from last week here, if you haven’t already! Here are some more exciting blurbs and praise, provided by the publisher, to get you hyped to read this book ASAP:

Jacket Copy:

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.

As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.

The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost

The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told

The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide

Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.

Author bio:

JANELLA ANGELES is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fanfiction at a young age—which eventually led to penning a few of her own, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of books, she’s lucky enough to be working in the business of publishing them on top of writing them. She currently resides in Massachusetts, where she’s most likely to be found listening to musicals on repeat and daydreaming too much for her own good. Where Dreams Descend is her first book.


Early Praise:

“Janella Angeles steals the 2020 show with her fiercely imagined debut starring larger than life characters, a dangerous world alive with magic, and a dizzying dose of grab-a-fainting-couch-and-swoon-away romance!” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves

Where Dreams Descend is a glamorous dark gem of a tale, sparkling with romance, magic, and intrigue. Readers will be captivated by prima donna Kallia as the mystery is slowly unmasked. Bravissima!” – Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

“Lavish and opulent in a way that feels warmly familiar yet demands your attention. There are secrets upon secrets, a girl who’s boldly ambitious, and truly riveting stage magic. I didn’t want the show to stop.” – Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints

“Vibrant imagery, jaw-dropping set pieces, sizzling romantic tension, and unstoppable heroine Kallia bring this ambitious debut novel to spectacular life. Fans of Caraval and The Night Circus will be delighted!” – Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn  

“[A] spellbinding melody of a book, and the true magic is how Angeles puts all the best parts of an enrapturing theatrical performance onto paper and ink. From the gripping twists in the first pages all the way to the final, heartbreaking crescendo, Where Dreams Descend will surge you to your feet in a standing ovation.” – Sara Raasch, New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy

Buy Link: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/where-dreams-descend/
Social Links:  Twitter: @Janella_Angeles // Instagram: @Janella_Angeles

Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND by Janella Angeles

4/5 Stars

I LOVED THIS BOOK!

I have a weak spot for stories about circuses and competition. There is just so much potential for drama! and magic! and darkness! And Where Dreams Descend certainly delivered on this tall order!

Kallia is a protagonist who was very easy to root for. I genuinely liked her and wanted her to succeed! It was really refreshing to see the confidence she brought to her performances and life, even as she was facing so many unknowns (new places, judgmental people, and a society she knew nothing about) and while nobody believed in her but herself.

Jack and Demarco were also both interesting characters in very different ways. I feel like I know them a bit less than Kallia, mostly on account of the mystery surrounding their characters that was significant to the plot. I hope moving forward in the sequel that we get more candid looks at their values and motivations.

The storyline was a lot of fun. I just love the way competition-style plots create such a heightened, condensed arena for drama and intrigue. My one critique which held me back from giving it five stars was that the ending felt a bit rushed. It certainly captured the *wow* moment I was expecting from all the suspense throughout the rising action, but I wish we had a bit more time afterward to digest what just happened.

Altogether, though, this is certainly a book to look out for this summer/fall! I will definitely be recommending it to many friends and YA fantasy fans.

Comparable Titles:
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

***I received an e-ARC from Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review as a part of the blog tour!

Posted in Blog Tour

Happy book birthday to LOBIZONA!

LOBIZONA by Romina Garber is out today!

I participated in the blog tour and posted my review last week. Make sure to check it out here if you haven’t already!

Here is a little bit of what the book is about (provided by the publisher):

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past—a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

Author bio:

ROMINA GARBER (pen name Romina Russell) is a New York Times and international bestselling author. Originally from Argentina, she landed her first writing gig as a teen—a weekly column for the Miami Herald that was later nationally syndicated—and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Her books include Lobizona. When she’s not working on a novel, Romina can be found producing movie trailers, taking photographs, or daydreaming about buying a new drum set. She is a graduate of Harvard College and a Virgo to the core.

Early Praise:
“With vivid characters that take on a life of their own, beautiful details that peel back the curtain on Romina’s Argentinian heritage, and cutting prose that shines a light on the difficulties of being the ‘other’ in America today, Romina Garber crafts a timely tale of identity and adventure that every teenager should read.”–Tomi Adeyemi New York Times bestselling author of Children of Blood and Bone

“Romina Garber has created an enthralling young adult fantasy led by an unforgettable Latinx character Manu. In Manu we find a young girl who not only must contend with the injustice of being undocumented she also discovers a hidden world that may explain her very existence. I fell in love with this world where wolves, witches and magic thrives, all in a rich Latinx setting!” –Lilliam Rivera, author of Dealing in Dreams and The Education of Margot Sanchez

Buy Link: https://read.macmillan.com/lp/lobizona/

Social LinksTwitter: @RominaRussell // Instagram: @RominaGarber

Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews

LOBIZONA by Romina Garber

4/5 Stars

I was very excited to be invited to be a part of the blog tour for Lobizona because I have been hearing buzz all over about this book (and also just look at that gorgeous cover!!!). I enjoyed reading this new spin on a paranormal fantasy school. The concept was cool and I found the beginning to be particularly gripping and difficult to put down. The narrative angle of Manu struggling with her identity of being viewed as an outsider (both within the grounded-to-reality immigration storyline and the fantastical structure of the society based around the bruja and lobizón) was a great launching point for the plot.

I did find that the balance between these two threads became much more lopsided in the paranormal school setting toward the latter half of the novel. From the onset of my reading, I wasn’t expecting this setting to be as present and it took away some of the urgency of the beginning of the novel to me. Obviously Manu was in a precarious situation with her hidden identity, but it didn’t have the same urgency as I felt during the exposition since the school was a bit of a safe haven (at least for her magical peers).

Altogether, I have pretty positive takeaways from this one and am interested to read more books from this author!

Comparable titles:
The Dysasters by P.C. Cast
The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Tithe by Holly Black

***I received an e-ARC from Wednesday Books in exchange for an honest review.

Posted in Blog Tour, Reviews

THE LOST CITY by Amanda Hocking

3/5 Stars

The Lost City was a pretty feel-good fantasy in that the stakes didn’t seem super high, but it was still enjoyable to read. The characters are charming and while the plot didn’t totally grip me, I feel like tonally this was a nice pandemic read that let me ponder a while about a fantasy world that is parallel to our own world.

I should say that this is my first Amanda Hocking book and I believe this is the start of a spin-off series to her earlier books. So I didn’t have the background of previous knowledge about this fantasy work. While I don’t think this greatly deterred my enjoyment, I did struggle a bit with understanding the scope of the world-building. It felt like there was lots of info-dumping at times in the narration or even just in the characters’ dialogue that felt kind of unnatural for me to believe that these characters would actually explain to one another verbatim. I do think this world has interesting potential with a lot of background and history for the different groups of trolls and other creatures featured in the story.

My major gripe was that it felt like a middle grade read, even though the main characters were firmly in YA. The language often seemed juvenile and the plot seemed to steer clear of taking risks and getting into the real nitty-gritty of what I think was intended to be a pretty dark fantasy world.

Overall, I was underwhelmed, but still intrigued enough to keep reading Hocking’s other novels!

Comparable books:
Tithe by Holly Black
Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
UnEnchanted by Chanda Hahn

***I received a free e-ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Posted in Blog Tour

Happy Book Birthday to THE LOST CITY by Amanda Hocking!

I am very excited to announce that I am a part of the blog tour for Amanda Hocking’s new book, The Lost City! I will be posting my book review this Friday, so stay tuned for that. For now, here is some teaser info about the book, provided by the publisher:

Amanda Hocking, the New York Times bestselling author of The Kanin Chronicles, returns to the magical world of the Trylle Trilogy with The Lost City, the first novel in The Omte Origins—and the final story arc in her beloved series.

The storm and the orphan

Twenty years ago, a woman sought safety from the spinning ice and darkness that descended upon a small village. She was given shelter for the night by the local innkeepers but in the morning, she disappeared—leaving behind an infant. Now nineteen, Ulla Tulin is ready to find who abandoned her as a baby or why.

The institution and the quest

Ulla knows the answers to her identity and heritage may be found at the Mimirin where scholars dedicate themselves to chronicling troll history. Granted an internship translating old documents, Ulla starts researching her own family lineage with help from her handsome and charming colleague Pan Soriano.

The runaway and the mystery

But then Ulla meets Eliana, a young girl who no memory of who she is but who possesses otherworldly abilities. When Eliana is pursued and captured by bounty hunters, Ulla and Pan find themselves wrapped up in a dangerous game where folklore and myth become very real and very deadly—but one that could lead Ulla to the answers she’s been looking for.

Author bio:

AMANDA HOCKING is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Early Praise for The Lost City:

“Hocking’s fast, engaging fantasy will draw in new and seasoned fans of the genre… [She] keeps the surprises coming, [leaving] readers eager to know more”

School Library Journal (starred review)