‘Vespertine’ by Margaret Rogerson

Thanks to Simon and Schuster UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I greatly enjoyed Rogerson’s last book ‘Sorcery of Thorns’ so I was really excited to be accepted for an advance copy for Vespertine (SUCH a great title) and I know it’s a hotly anticipated release as well so I had high expectations all around.
This book follows the story of Artemisia, a young woman training to be a nun who looks after the dead to ensure that they can pass successfully onto the next world and won’t return twisted and evil. As someone who has more than a slight morbid/creepy facet to her personality, I was already hooked after the first couple of pages. The story starts in a graveyard! I got a bit of a Red Sister vibe at the very beginning, but the books aren’t similar at all. I’m just highlighting that to say that if you are into reading about badass nuns (and who isn’t?) then this is a book that you want to check out.

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‘Defy the Night’ by Brigid Kemmerer

Thanks to Bloomsbury Publishing UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I enjoyed Kemmerer’s previous series, The Cursebreaker Series but I didn’t LOVE it. It was a solid YA offering but didn’t blow my mind, so my expectations were broadly similar for this book although the premise sounded a little more up my street.

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‘The Women of Troy’ by Pat Barker

Thanks to Penguin UK and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

‘The Women of Troy’ is a direct sequel to Barker’s 2018 ‘The Silence of the Girls’. Euripides’ ‘Trojan Women’ is probably my favourite Greek tragedy, so I was slightly miffed that Briseis is again the main character and narrator of this story seeing as she isn’t in the ‘original’. I guess I don’t find Briseis the most compelling character that the book could have focused on, but I imagine Barker wanted to continue where she started so here we are.

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‘Velvet Was the Night’ by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Thanks to Quercus Books and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I’m a really big fan of Silvia Moreno-Garcia and I always feel very privileged to get to read advance copies of her books before release. I like how she doesn’t pigeonhole herself into certain genres and readers can always be sure that they are going to get to read something a little different. Speaking purely selfishly I also like how prolific she is.

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“Kingdom of the Wicked” by Kerri Maniscalco

Thanks to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

I will admit my expectations for this book were pretty low. Not for any particular reason other than almost all of the YA Fantasy I’ve read recently have all been rather meh and I thought this would be much and such the same. In this instance however, I was very happy to be proven very wrong.

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“The Last Story of Mina Lee” by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

Thanks to Headline and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.

This book tells the story of Mina, a South Korean immigrant to the United States and her daughter Margot. The story is told from two different viewpoints, Mina in the past and Margot in the present day. The story chronicles Mina’s life as an immigrant and Margot’s journey to find out the cause of her mother’s unexpected death.

Mina’s story is definitely the stronger of the two, but I enjoyed Margot’s too. The narrative explores the dark side of the American dream and the challenges faced by undocumented immigrants and the Korean diaspora in the United States which makes for some tough reading at some points. The novel also delves into the enduring effects of past trauma, grief and loss and was often desperately sad.

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