Followers – ARC review

Author: Megan Angelo
Publication date: January 14, 2020
Genre: science fiction, dystopian
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

A curious blend of incisive perception, dark humor, and horrifying prediction, Followers is a worthy addition to the rapidly expanding canon of Black Mirror-esque dystopian fiction, shining a critical lens on our fascination (obsession?) with technology, social media, and how far we will go to get what we think we deserve.

“I’ve done the actual math. There are eight million people here, and all of them want something as bad as I want what I want, as bad as you want what you want. We’re not all going to get it. It’s just not possible, that all these people could have their dreams come true in the same time, same place. It’s not enough to be talented, it’s not enough to work hard. You need to be disciplined, and you need to he ruthless. You have to do anything, everything, and you need to forget about doing the right thing…Leave that shit to people in the Midwest.”

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Nameless Queen – ARC review

Author: Rebecca McLaughlin
Publication date: January 7, 2020
Genre: young adult, fantasy
My rating: 2.5/5 stars

When broken down to its fundamental components, Nameless Queen has a lot of things that tend to make me automatically love a book: a protagonist who is a thief, hidden royalty, and commentary on classism and rigid social structures. But when taken as a whole, the novel failed to breathe much life or originality into those tropes. The result was a lukewarm story–not bad, but wholly unremarkable.

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This Is Going to Hurt – ARC review

Author: Adam Kay
Publication date: December 3, 2019
Genre: nonfiction, humor
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

This book was…laugh-out-loud hilarious? Painfully sad? Excellent validation that I made the right choice in not becoming a doctor? Honestly, all of the above. With candor and a never-ending stream of (often dark) humor, this collection of journal entries by a former medical resident paints a vivid picture of all parts of the medical profession: the funny, the bizarre, the awful, the heartwarming, the disgusting, the personal.

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Serpent & Dove – ARC review

Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publication Date: September 3, 2019 (yes, I’m aware that that was two months ago, but I received this ARC less than a week before the book came out, as part of a thank-you from Epic Reads, and it’s been hard to fit into my schedule…)
Genre: YA fantasy, romance
My rating: 3.5/5 stars

I really, really wanted to love this book. It sounded like my kind of story–witches! enemies-to-lovers! morally gray characters!–but the reality was disappointing in its execution.

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Fireborne – ARC review

Author: Rosaria Munda
Publication date: October 15, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
My rating: 4.5/5 stars

Until I started reading this book, I had forgotten a) how much I love books with dragons, and b) how long it had been since I had read one. With a fantastic blend of politics, questions of personal allegiance, dragon fights, ethical quandaries, and a dash of romance, Fireborne ended up being everything I hoped it would be.

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Resurrection Girls – ARC review

Author: Ava Morgyn
Publication date: October 1, 2019
Genre: YA contemporary/drama, magical realism
My rating: 4/5 stars

What a weird, yet beautiful, little book. I went in expecting something a little creepy, a little sad, a little quirky, but I closed the book (er, Kindle) with the sense that (a) I had just read a painfully real look at grief and loss, and (b) I just observed one of the most bizarre endings I had ever read. No, that isn’t a spoiler; trust me when I say it is not one you couldn’t predict even if you tried.

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The World That We Knew – ARC review

Author: Alice Hoffman
Publication Date: September 24, 2019
Genre: historical fiction, magical realism, fantasy
My Rating: 3.5/5 stars

This is a book that I’m sure many people will love. It’s a WWII story, an era which is always popular with the historical fiction crowd. The writing is quite lovely in its simplicity. The main characters are predominantly strong women, and one of the novel’s biggest themes is the strength of a mother’s love. And of course, it has a slight fantasy twist, drawing from Jewish mythology to further explore ideas about family, loyalty, and promises. But for me, the elements didn’t gel together quite as nicely as I would have liked.

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January – ARC review

“Doors are many things: fissures and cracks, ways between, mysteries and borders. But more than anything else, doors are change.

Author: Alix E. Harrow
Publication Date: September 10, 2019
Genre: Portal fantasy, historical fiction, young adult
Rating: 5/5 stars

Reading this book is like walking through a capital-D Door, out of this world and into an adjacent one filled with so much heart, magic, and mystery.The Ten Thousand Doors of January is the sort of book that you finish and say, “I can’t believe this is the author’s first novel.” It’s a lyrical, lovely fusion of historical fiction and portal fantasy—a combination that, frankly, has no right to work as well as it does.

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The Harp of Kings – ARC review

Author: Juliet Marillier
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 stars

Prior to winning this book in a Goodreads Giveaway, I had not heard of Juliet Marillier. Apparently, her most popular books came out when I was still a little too young to read them, but after skimming some of her info on Goodreads, I realized she has quite a devoted fanbase. Now, having read The Harp of Kings, I can see why. Brimming with Celtic mythology, fierce warriors, passionate musicians, and memorable characters, this book feels like a classic quest fantasy in all the best ways.

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Tiger Queen – ARC Review

Author: Annie Sullivan

Release Date: September 10, 2019

Fresh and fiercely feminist, this reimagining of a classic short story delivered the sort of kickass warrior girl action I love to read about.Even better, it belongs to the rare breed of fantasy that takes place in an entirely fictional world but does not rely on magic to make itself unique. But before I get ahead of myself, there’s a bit of explaining I need to do:

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