Mini Reviews || The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant and To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

Mini Review Banner for The Court of Miracles and To Kill a Kingdom

I’m not the biggest fan of writing reviews for books I didn’t love.

That said, I do it anyway. Just doesn’t feel right to read a book without reviewing it anymore, I suppose. But to spare my brain from getting too worked up about what I didn’t care for, and to spare you all from me going on at length, we’re changing up the format of the reviews for a moment. Today, we’re doing mini reviews, no more than a couple short paragraphs of highly condensed opinion!

Plus, I’ll also rec a couple of substitutes that I hope will prove to be better reads (for you and for me)!

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Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

Blood Water Paint Review banner with cover and 3 star rating

Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough

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Her mother died when she was twelve, and suddenly Artemisia Gentileschi had a stark choice: a life as a nun in a convent or a life grinding pigment for her father’s paint.

She chose paint.

By the time she was seventeen, Artemisia did more than grind pigment. She was one of Rome’s most talented painters, even if no one knew her name. But Rome in 1610 was a city where men took what they wanted from women, and in the aftermath of rape Artemisia faced another terrible choice: a life of silence or a life of truth, no matter the cost.

He will not consume
my every thought.
I am a painter.
I will paint.

I will show you
what a woman can do.

3 STARS

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The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

“Perhaps this was one of the things that had made her so different all along—that she saw the truth of things. That beauty could sometimes be ugly, and that you didn’t always find good and evil where you expected to—or where you’d been told to find them.”

The Beast is an Animal Cover.jpg

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A girl with a secret talent must save her village from the encroaching darkness in this haunting and deeply satisfying tale.

Alys was seven when the soul eaters came to her village.

These soul eaters, twin sisters who were abandoned by their father and slowly morphed into something not quite human, devour human souls. Alys, and all the other children, were spared—and they were sent to live in a neighboring village. There the devout people created a strict world where good and evil are as fundamental as the nursery rhymes children sing. Fear of the soul eaters—and of the Beast they believe guides them—rule village life. But the Beast is not what they think it is. And neither is Alys.

Inside, Alys feels connected to the soul eaters, and maybe even to the Beast itself. As she grows from a child to a teenager, she longs for the freedom of the forest. And she has a gift she can tell no one, for fear they will call her a witch. When disaster strikes, Alys finds herself on a journey to heal herself and her world. A journey that will take her through the darkest parts of the forest, where danger threatens her from the outside—and from within her own heart and soul.

DISCLAIMERI was gifted an ARC by a friend, and it is possible parts of my review do not line up with the finished copy.

4 STARS

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The Lady Rogue by Jenn Bennett

“I’ve yet to hold the devil’s handiwork. Everything evil I’ve found was made by human hands.”

The Lady Rogue Cover.jpg

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Some legends never die…

Traveling with her treasure-hunting father has always been a dream for Theodora. She’s read every book in his library, has an impressive knowledge of the world’s most sought-after relics, and has all the ambition in the world. What she doesn’t have is her father’s permission. That honor goes to her father’s nineteen-year-old protégé—and once-upon-a-time love of Theodora’s life—Huck Gallagher, while Theodora is left to sit alone in her hotel in Istanbul.

Until Huck arrives from an expedition without her father and enlists Theodora’s help in rescuing him. Armed with her father’s travel journal, the reluctant duo learns that her father had been digging up information on a legendary and magical ring that once belonged to Vlad the Impaler—more widely known as Dracula—and that it just might be the key to finding him.

Journeying into Romania, Theodora and Huck embark on a captivating adventure through Gothic villages and dark castles in the misty Carpathian Mountains to recover the notorious ring. But they aren’t the only ones who are searching for it. A secretive and dangerous occult society with a powerful link to Vlad the Impaler himself is hunting for it, too. And they will go to any lengths—including murder—to possess it.

DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

EXPECTED SEPTEMBER 3, 2019

4 STARS

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow

“It is at the moments when doors open, when things flow between worlds, that stories happen.”

The Ten Thousand Doors of January Cover.jpg

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In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

EXPECTED SEPTEMBER 10, 2019

5 STARS

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The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

The Prince and the Dressmaker Cover.jpg

Goodreads || B&N || Jen’s Twitter

Paris, at the dawn of the modern age:

Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion!

Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend? Jen Wang weaves an exuberantly romantic tale of identity, young love, art, and family. A fairy tale for any age, The Prince and the Dressmaker will steal your heart.

4.5 STARS

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The Hummingbird Dagger by Cindy Anstey

The Hummingbird Dagger Cover

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1833. After young Lord James Ellerby witnesses a near-fatal carriage accident on the outskirts of his estate, he doesn’t think twice about bringing the young woman injured in the wreck to his family’s manor to recuperate. But then she finally regains consciousness only to find that she has no memory of who she is or where she belongs.

Beth, as she takes to calling herself, is an enigma even to herself. She has the rough hands of a servant, but the bearing and apparent education of a lady. Her only clue to her identity is a gruesome recurring nightmare about a hummingbird dripping blood from its steel beak.

With the help of James and his sister, Caroline, Beth slowly begins to unravel the mystery behind her identity and the sinister circumstances that brought her to their door. But the dangerous secrets they discover in doing so could have deadly ramifications reaching the highest tiers of London society.

DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

EXPECTED APRIL 16, 2019

1.5 STARS

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Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

“To go to the morgue was to poke the grim reaper in the ribs, to tell him he was riveting. Because if he was riveting, he wasn’t scary. Death was for other people.”

spectacle cover

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Paris, 1887.

Sixteen-year-old Nathalie Baudin writes the daily morgue column for Le Petit Journal. Her job is to summarize each day’s new arrivals, a task she finds both fascinating and routine. That is, until the day she has a vision of the newest body, a young woman, being murdered–from the perspective of the murderer himself.

When the body of another woman is retrieved from the Seine days later, Paris begins to buzz with rumors that this victim may not be the last. Nathalie’s search for answers sends her down a long, twisty road involving her mentally ill aunt, a brilliant but deluded scientist, and eventually into the Parisian Catacombs. As the killer continues to haunt the streets of Paris, it becomes clear that Nathalie’s strange new ability may make her the only one who can discover the killer’s identity–and she’ll have to do it before she becomes a target herself.

DISCLAIMER: I received an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

EXPECTED FEBRUARY 12, 2019

3 STARS

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The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell || Time Traveling Thieves, HECK YEAH

“But then, liars do make the best magicians, and he happened to be exceptional.”

The Last Magician Cover

Goodreads || Amazon || Maxwell’s Twitter

Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

4.5 STARS

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A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge || Ethereal and Unusual

“If someone throws aside their pride and begs with all their heart, and if they do so in vain, then they are never quite the same person afterwards. Something in them dies, and something else comes to life.”
Skinful of Shadows Cover

This is the story of a bear-hearted girl . . .

Sometimes, when a person dies, their spirit goes looking for somewhere to hide. 
Some people have space within them, perfect for hiding. 

Twelve-year-old Makepeace has learned to defend herself from the ghosts which try to possess her in the night, desperate for refuge, but one day a dreadful event causes her to drop her guard. 

And now there’s a spirit inside her. 

The spirit is wild, brutish and strong, and it may be her only defence when she is sent to live with her father’s rich and powerful ancestors. There is talk of civil war, and they need people like her to protect their dark and terrible family secret. 

But as she plans her escape and heads out into a country torn apart by war, Makepeace must decide which is worse: possession – or death.

4 STARS

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