Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

Hey guys!
Another day, another book review. Kingdom of the Wicked is one I got in a subscription box, so I’m getting a teeny-tiny bit closer to finally catching up with all of those novels!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

Two sisters.

One brutal murder.

A quest for vengeance that will unleash Hell itself…

And an intoxicating romance.

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

The Rating:

When I reached the last page of this I had two problems: It’s over. It’s not over. You see, when I opened this book, I didn’t realize it’s the first in a series. I kept expecting more information and just more resolution but then the novel ended and it was a cliffhanger! 😅

Anyhow, I mourned for a second but then got excited that there would be way more space to explore the concept Maniscalco came up with. Let’s talk about that for a second!

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Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo (King of Scars #2)

Hey guys!
I was so excited for the second King of Scars book to be finally published but then I got swamped with work and didn’t have time to read it and after that other novels kept snagging my attention. Well, long story short I *finally* sat down to read Rule of Wolves!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

The Demon King. As Fjerda’s massive army prepares to invade, Nikolai Lantsov will summon every bit of his ingenuity and charm—and even the monster within—to win this fight. But a dark threat looms that cannot be defeated by a young king’s gift for the impossible.

The Stormwitch. Zoya Nazyalensky has lost too much to war. She saw her mentor die and her worst enemy resurrected, and she refuses to bury another friend. Now duty demands she embrace her powers to become the weapon her country needs. No matter the cost.

The Queen of Mourning. Deep undercover, Nina Zenik risks discovery and death as she wages war on Fjerda from inside its capital. But her desire for revenge may cost her country its chance at freedom and Nina the chance to heal her grieving heart.

King. General. Spy. Together they must find a way to forge a future in the darkness. Or watch a nation fall.

The Rating:

I have a tiny little problem. See, I was convinced that I wouldn’t need to re-read King of Scars because of course I’d remember everything going into this book. Of course I didn’t. I had essentially no memory of just about everything and was rather confused for a good amount of pages. After the new story jogged my memory, there were some things that came back to me, but others – still a total blank on my end. Oopsie!

Despite that little mishap on my end, I enjoyed the book a lot. There is so much going on – maybe too much.

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

Hey guys!
Today I bring you a novel I am beyond excited about. I can’t even wait until the review portion to tell you how much I loved The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. Let’s find out why, shall we? 😉

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name. 

The Rating:

Oh, the concept, the main character, the French setting, the New York setting, the *everything*!

Schwab really nailed it with this one. First of all, I adore the setting, or rather the settings. Addie lived through hundreds of years and we get to experience that with her. So many amazing places we get to visit, historical sites, important events to experience. It was a true pleasure to waltz through the ages like that – even if almost all the occasions were sad ones.

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Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

Hey guys!
Today we’re gonna talk about a debut novel that came with one of the most stunning covers I have ever seen. Let’s see if the story inside is just as gorgeous!

The Plot (according to Goodreads):

If the night sky holds many secrets, it holds Sheetal Mistry’s secret the closest. A secret that explains why her hair is the silver of starlight, or why some nights the stars call Sheetal by name.

Stars like her mother, who returned to her place in the constellation Pushya years ago. Since that day, Sheetal has been forced to hide.

But as her seventeenth birthday draws near, the pull from the sky is growing stronger. So strong that Sheetal loses control, and a flare of starfire burns her human father—an injury only a full star’s blood can heal.

Sheetal has no choice but to answer the starsong and ascend to the sky. But her celestial family has summoned her for a reason: to act as their human champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of heavens.

Desperate to save her father, Sheetal agrees. But nothing could have prepared Sheetal to face the stars’ dark history—or the forces that are working to shut the gate between the realms for good. 

The Rating:

I wanted to like this more than I actually did. There are a few issue I need to talk about, so let’s get down to it.
Initially, I was super excited that this book builds on hindu-mythology. I don’t know pretty much anything about that but I’m super into mythology stuff (looks at all the Rick Riordan, Neil Gaiman, etc. novels I read), so I was happy to learn about this. Only thing is, I didn’t. There is essentially zero explanation in this novel, as if the author expects you to be familiar with Hindu mythology already. I didn’t put down my book three times in during every chapter just to google stuff, so I feel like a lost was lost on my as I simply didn’t understand any of the references. I would have been happy had there been a glossary that gives you information (kinda like Rick Riordan always includes), but having some more depth in that regard in the actual text would have been optimal.

But that’s not the only complaint I have.

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The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

Hello, my lovely readers!
After being recommended this particular book again and again by a friend, I fianlly had time to pick it up. Let’s see if it really is as great as he lead me to believe!

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

One hot spring, the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a retinue that includes a beautiful naked witch and an immense talking black cat with a fondness for chess and vodka. The visitors quickly wreak havoc in a city that refuses to believe in either God or Satan. But they also bring peace to two unhappy Muscovites: one is the Master, a writer pilloried for daring to write a novel about Christ and Pontius Pilate; the other is Margarita, who loves the Master so deeply that she is willing literally to go to hell for him. 

The Rating:

Okay, so I might have gone into this with some inaccurate expectations that had been fuelled by my friend. He sold this to me as a book about witches. Well, yeah at some point there are witches but it’s just a small part of the story that only occurs like halfway through. While the book is interesting, it was off to a slow start for me and kept asking my friend when the witches will *finally* show up.

Why the slow start? So we kick off with two guys sitting on a park bench and having a chat when they are joined by a stranger. I was happy until the stranger started telling a story. That’s when they lost me. They story was about Pilate and Jesus and it was a rather long chapter. And not just that, we keep going back to that story continously throughout the book with many a chapter continuing that. I’m so sorry, but I just couldn’t be bothered to actually care about this.

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The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Hello, guys!
Y’all know I’m always down for a good about witches, so you can imagine my excitement when The Once and Future Witches showed up in a subscription box a while ago. Let’s hope it holds up to all my expectations!

The Plot (as found on Goodreads):

In 1893, there’s no such thing as witches. There used to be, in the wild, dark days before the burnings began, but now witching is nothing but tidy charms and nursery rhymes. If the modern woman wants any measure of power, she must find it at the ballot box.

But when the Eastwood sisters–James Juniper, Agnes Amaranth, and Beatrice Belladonna–join the suffragists of New Salem, they begin to pursue the forgotten words and ways that might turn the women’s movement into the witch’s movement. Stalked by shadows and sickness, hunted by forces who will not suffer a witch to vote-and perhaps not even to live-the sisters will need to delve into the oldest magics, draw new alliances, and heal the bond between them if they want to survive.

There’s no such thing as witches. But there will be.

The Rating:

Oh, I love love loved this book.
I fulfilled every single one of my expectations and more. You can tell how excited I am! Honestly, The Once and Future Witches gave me everything I wanted and more!

We get three brilliant main characters. They are sister and while they share blood, they are as different as possible. Harrow did an amazing job creating these three ladies, each one kickass and outstanding in her own right. You’ll be able to relate to every single one of them in one way or another. You’ll come to appreciate all three of them for different things, and all I can say is that Harrow 100% nailed it.
On a little side note: I absolutely loved the concept of those women having basically two given names, the second one chosen by their mother that is related to something in nature. It’s witchy in this perfect way wher the author understood the underlying vibe without being super in your face about it!

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