REVIEW: Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin (ARC)

40024139Title: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Rating: ★★★★★

ARC provided by the publisher.

“A witch and a witch hunter bound in holy matrimony. There was only one way such a story could end–a stake and a match.”

It’s only July, and already I have been blessed with another glorious debut. Shelby Mahurin has written a deliciously rich and enchanting fantasy. If Serpent & Dove hasn’t already made it onto your TBR yet, it needs to be.

Serpent & Dove is set in 17th century French inspired world, in which there is an ongoing enmity between cults of witches and the Church. The descriptive writing and the careful details woven into the worldbuilding really shine. Shelby Mahurin does an excellent job crafting and describing the society and the magic systems in a way that is believable and compelling. I loved that the book is not black and white: both the witches and the Chasseurs–the witch hunters belonging to the Church–have nuances to them that make them neither side totally wrong nor totally good.

This book contains the holy trinity of my favorite tropes: a forced/fake marriage, enemies-to-lovers, and slow-burn romance. The characters of this book absolutely drive the plot. Lou is an amazing heroine: she’s tenacious, cunning, and yet has a soft heart. Reid will steal your heart, as he did mine. He’s character growth throughout the story is off the charts. The dynamic between Lou and Reid is phenomenal. I was living for all that tension brewing between them. And for a YA book, this was surprisingly (and pleasantly) steamier than most. Nothing extreme, but definitely more mature. I loved it.

Shelby Mahurin pulled no punches with the last quarter of the book. The stakes are high throughout the story, but it all comes to an action-packed climax. There are a few delightful twists at the end and I am really looking forward to the sequel! Serpent & Dove is a not a book to miss.

REVIEW: The Kingdom – Jess Rothenberg

40864907Title: The Kingdom
Author: Jess Rothenberg
Rating: ★★★½

If you’re expecting The Kingdom to be a fluffier, young adult version of Westworld + Disney World, think again. Jess Rothenberg combines science fiction with murder mystery in this sinister, thrilling story about what it means to be human.

The Kingdom was a lot darker than I had anticipated. The book follows Ana, one of seven Fantasists – girls engineered to be beautiful, subservient, and made to cater to the wishes of visitors of the futuristic amusement park, The Kingdom. As the book goes on, things start to go awry in the park, and Ana (as well as the other girls) start to develop feelings and emotions not congruent with their programming. Eventually, Ana is charged with the murder of one of the park’s employers, Owen.

I really loved the themes present in the novel, especially the question of what it means to be “real” and human. I enjoyed following the journey of friendship that develops between Ana and Owen. Both of them are able to learn from the other and grow in character.

The book is written in a somewhat past and present format. The present are told through Ana’s POV, and the past is told through transcripts from Ana’s trial and other bits of “media” that are placed between chapters. I thought it was really well done and made it easy to fly through the pages.

The Kingdom was a book that never really got on my radar until more recently. I’m really glad I made the decision to read this because it was so good! The Kingdom is perfect for fans of dark science-fiction books with a bit of a murder mystery.

#ARCstravaganza: The Girl the Sea Gave Back – Adrienne Young

Happy Monday! #ARCstravaganza is a weekly meme now hosted by Flavia the Bibliophile where readers can show off their wonderful ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) and spread the word about upcoming releases. For more information about this meme and its origins check out this post.


THE GIRL THE SEA GAVE BACK – ADRIENNE YOUNG

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ABOUT THE BOOK

42867937Title: The Girl the Sea Gave Back
Author: Adrienne Young
Release: September 3, 2019

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

The ABC Book Challenge | L

Happy Friday! This week’s letter was much easier than the past few weeks. I was especially excited because it includes on of my all-time favorite books, Lady of the Eternal City! If you enjoyed Historical Fiction, I highly suggest that series! 


MEMORABLE TITLES THAT START WITH THE LETTER “L”


BOOKS STARTING WITH “L” ON MY TBR

 

2019 Mid-Year Book Freakout

I think I missed the halfway point of the year (oops) but I had such fun with this tag last summer and I really wanted to do it again for this year! 


BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2019

Fireborne by Rosaria Munda. I was awestruck by this amazing debut. Do yourselves a favor and add it to your TBR!


BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2019

The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War #2) by R. F. Kuang. Fans of the first book are not going to be disappointed by this action-packed, glorious sequel. Get ready for an onslaught of emotions and an ending that will stab you in the back. 


NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

Bloodwitch (Witchlands #3) by Susan Dennard. It took me two tries to finish Windwitch, so I think I’m just nervous to pick this one up.


MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASES FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

The Girl the Sea Gave Back by Adrienne Young and Queen of Nothing (The Folk of the Air #3) by Holly Black.


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Again, But Better by Christine Riccio. If you’ve seen my review, you know how disappointed I was by this. I couldn’t even finish the book.


BIGGEST SURPRISE

Enchantée by Gita Trelease. I’ll be honest, I was not expecting a whole lot from this, but it really impressed me!


FAVORITE NEW AUTHOR

Tessa Bailey has earned herself a new fan after Fix Her Up. I cannot wait to read more of her books!


FAVORITE NEW CRUSH

Tavin from The Merciful Crow by Margaret Owen and Reid from Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin are DELIGHTFUL. I cannot wait for the second books in both those series!


FAVORITE NEW CHARACTERS

Rasmira from Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller, Lee from Fireborne, and Louise from Serpent & Dove are characters I can think of from the top of my head that I really enjoyed. 


BOOKS THAT MADE YOU CRY

No book has made me cry yet, but the ending of The Dragon Republic was definitely a suckerpunch to the gut. Please fix what you did, R. F. Kuang 😫


A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

If I’m Being Honest by Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegmund-Broken was such a feel good book!


MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOKS YOU’VE BOUGHT SO FAR THIS YEAR

My OwlCrate edition of We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal is really stunning, and I’m also in love with the cover of The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. The cover is just so bright and tropical and fun!


WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR?

Other my most anticipated releases, the five books I need to read the most before the end of the year are: