Audiobook Review: The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy  

Publishing Info: Audiobook, March 2021, Bloomsbury Publishing, narrated by Alana Kerr Collins

Star Rating: 4/5

Back Cover Summary:

For the past two hundred years the Scion government has led an oppressive campaign against unnaturalness in London.

Clairvoyance in all its forms has been decreed a criminal offence, and those who practise it viciously punished. Forced underground, a clairvoyant underworld has developed, combating persecution and evading capture.

Paige Mahoney, a powerful dreamwalker operating in the Seven Dials district of London, leads a double life, using her unnaturalness illegally while hiding her gift from her father, who works for the Scion regime…

Having enjoyed Samantha Shannon’s epic fantasy novel, The Priory of the Orange Tree, I decided to delve into her backlist and try her debut novel, The Bone Season. While The Bone Season is vastly different from Priory, being set in future London rather than a secondary world fantasy, the pages were still filled with Samantha Shannon’s rich, detailed worldbuilding and readable, engaging prose. The audiobook narration by Alana Kerr Collins was also excellent and drew me into the story.  

After an intriguing opening, The Bone Season very quickly went in a direction I was not expecting, giving me a kind of book whiplash. It left me feeling a little baffled at first, wondering what, exactly, it was I was reading. However, once I adjusted my expectations and got used to this complex and strange future world, I found myself becoming more and more invested in Paige’s story. I won’t talk about plot specifics, because I think this is one of those books where it’s best going in not knowing much at all. Many of the plot elements are familiar, but Samantha Shannon’s immersive world building makes it feel fresh.

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Illumicrate March 2022 Book Only Unboxing

Illumicrate’s featured book for March was Gallant by V. E. Schwab! I have only read a couple of her books so far but loved them so I was really excited Illumicrate would be doing Gallant so I could add another special edition to my Schwab collection. Let’s take a look at the book and the special finishes!

Illumicrate is a UK-based subscription box. Subscribers can choose between a full box or book only option. The full box includes a hardback book and 3-5 exclusive goodies around a theme, but I subscribe to the book only option.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Adult SFF on my TBR

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is a freebie and I’ve chosen to list some of the Adult SFF on my TBR. Over the last couple of years, I’ve been reading more Adult SFF in addition to YA, and I definitely want to read more of a mix going forward. Here are 10 Adult SFF books I missed out on in recent years which I’d love to pick up.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.


The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis

First Sister has no name and no voice. As a priestess of the Sisterhood, she travels the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth and Mars—the same ones who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed when she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no power, and a new captain—Saito Ren—whom she knows nothing about. She is commanded to spy on Captain Ren by the Sisterhood, but soon discovers that working for the war effort is much harder when you’re falling in love.

Lito val Lucius climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus but was defeated in combat by none other than Saito Ren, resulting in the disappearance of his partner, Hiro. When Lito learns that Hiro is both alive and a traitor to the cause, he now has a shot at redemption: track down and kill his former partner. But when he discovers recordings that Hiro secretly made, Lito’s own allegiances are put to the test. Ultimately, he must decide between following orders and following his heart.


Jade City by Fonda Lee

The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.

The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.

When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.


Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.

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March 2022 Wrap Up

I can’t believe it’s already April! March was a bit of a blur. I have still been busy with sorting things out in the new house so reading and blogging has taken a bit of a back seat. It’s starting to come together and feel more homely as we unpack and get our furnishings sorted.

You Truly Assumed by Laila Sabreen (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This contemporary YA novel follows three Black Muslim girls who create a blog after a terrorist attack causes a rise in Islamophobia. This was a great read and I really enjoyed following the stories of all three of the main characters, seeing how each of them was affected by what happened and how they came together to create a space to express themselves and create a community. You Truly Assumed is a powerful novel and an excellent debut. The three narrators were great as well so I’d definitely recommend the audiobook.  

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – Having loved The Priory of the Orange Tree, I was excited to read this one. The Bone Season is very different from Priory and, at first, I wasn’t sure if this book was for me. However, I became more and more invested, and ended up loving it. When I started this book, I didn’t think it was likely I would carry on with the rest of the series. Now I’ve finished it though, I will definitely be continuing. I’ll be posting a full review soon!

My Illumicrate exclusive edition of Gallant by V. E. Schwab arrived! No spoilers yet while people are still getting their boxes, but I will be sharing pics on my blog soon.

What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!

Book Review: Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

Blazewrath Games by Amparo Ortiz

Genre: Young adult, contemporary fantasy

Publishing Info: October 2020 by Page Street Kids

Pages: 368

Star Rating: 3.5/5

Back Cover Summary:

Lana Torres has always preferred dragons to people. In a few weeks, sixteen countries will compete in the Blazewrath World Cup, a tournament where dragons and their riders fight for glory in a dangerous relay. Lana longs to represent her native Puerto Rico in their first ever World Cup appearance, and when Puerto Rico’s Runner—the only player without a dragon steed—is kicked off the team, she’s given the chance.

But when she discovers that a former Blazewrath superstar has teamed up with the Sire—a legendary dragon who’s cursed into human form—the safety of the Cup is jeopardized. The pair are burning down dragon sanctuaries around the world and refuse to stop unless the Cup gets cancelled. All Lana wanted was to represent her country. Now, to do that, she’ll have to navigate an international conspiracy that’s deadlier than her beloved sport.

Blazewrath Games is a creative and fun entry into the YA landscape, integrating fantasy elements into our contemporary world in a way that felt believable and magical. As much as I love high fantasy, there is something unique about the way contemporary fantasy makes magic feel closer, more real. The world Amparo Ortiz has created feels like a completely plausible alternative version of our own world. One where there are dragons, tournaments, and magic wand shops. Something about it just captured my imagination and that tingly magical feeling that you only get from some books.

We’re introduced to Lana, who dreams of playing in the Blazewrath World Cup for Puerto Rico. Lana is a very relatable character – she has dreams, is driven and has a strong belief in doing what is right. Amparo Ortiz also explores what it means to belong and Lana’s relationship with Puerto Rico after moving to the US as a child, and how that affects her identity and her place amongst the Puerto Rico team. A lot of readers will really connect to Lana’s internal struggles and appreciate seeing this represented on the page.

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Audiobook Review: Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin

Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance  

Publishing Info: Audiobook, July 2021, narrated by Holter Graham & Saskia Maarleveld

Star Rating: 3/5

Back Cover Summary:
The spellbinding conclusion to the New York Times and IndieBound bestselling trilogy Serpent & Dove. This stunning fantasy take on French witches and forbidden love is perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

Evil always seeks a foothold. We must not give it one.

After a heartbreaking loss, Lou, Reid, Beau, and Coco are bent on vengeance more than ever before—and none more so than Lou.

But this is no longer the Lou they thought they knew. No longer the Lou that captured a chasseur’s heart. A darkness has settled over her, and this time it will take more than love to drive it out.

Gods & Monsters is the concluding novel in Shelby Mahurin’s Serpent & Dove series and, following an unexpected twist at the end of the previous instalment, I was intrigued to see how the story would conclude. While many fans of the first book found Blood & Honey disappointing, I found the character development and evolution of Lou and Reid’s relationship engaging, though there was a little too much filler in the plot department. Still, Gods & Monsters had a lot of work to do to bring the story round to a good conclusion and, while it did have a satisfying ending, the third novel sadly suffered from issues with the overall series structure.

The opening section of Gods & Monsters didn’t quite draw me in as much as I had hoped. Nicholina’s character was incredibly creepy, which I expect was the author’s intention, and the audiobook narrator did an excellent job of making her disturbing. Perhaps too good a job, as I felt a bit uncomfortable listening to this part of the audiobook. Lou also only had a small part in the first section, and without her presence, there was something missing.

After a while, I settled into the familiarity of the characters and Shelby Mahurin’s writing style, simply enjoying being back with these characters and enjoying the story. The character development was once again strong, with the characters challenged to face their deepest fears and truths about themselves they have yet to acknowledge.

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January 2022 Wrap Up

Well, I can’t believe it’s already the end of the first month of 2022. I’ve not been blogging much for the last couple of weeks as I’ve not been feeling so well unfortunately. I’m moving house (again!) at the end of February as well so will probably not be around that much this month either. Once we’ve moved and things have settled down a bit I’m planning to be back posting more regularly again!

The Wisteria Society of Lady Scoundrels by India Holton (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – This book was absolutely not what I was expecting and was completely strange but kind of amazing at the same time. This historical adventure romance with a splash of magic (and tea) was a delightfully fun read.

Aurora’s End by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – It feels like forever since I read Aurora Burning and I was so desperate to see how this story would end! While I did enjoy it, the first book is still my favourite in the series, followed by the second, but Aurora’s End was still a good conclusion to the series.

The Councillor by E. J. Beaton (audiobook) ⭐⭐⭐⭐ – With political manoeuvring, intrigue, twists, elemental magic, a great protagonist and engaging narration from Moira Quirk, I absolutely loved this fantasy novel!    

Another month without much writing! I think covid knocked me really bad because I am really struggling with my energy levels so I haven’t been feeling up to writing. My books are having some time to simmer in my mind though, maybe I’ll brew some new ideas.

What books have you enjoyed this month? Chat with me in the comments!

Top 10 Tuesday: 2021 Releases I Was Excited to Read But Didn’t Get To

I didn’t do a great job of reading my anticipated releases last year so there are quite a few 2021 books that I really wanted to read but didn’t get round to. Here are ten of them! Hopefully I will get to some, if not all, of these this year.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.

Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller

Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

Thronebreakers by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Vespertine by Margaret Rogerson

Gods & Monsters by Shelby Mahurin

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Broken Web by Lori M. Lee

What releases were you excited for in 2021? Are there any you didn’t get round to reading? Chat with me in the comments!

Wrap Up: 2021 in Books

It’s time to do a wrap up of all the books I read last year! I hit my goal of reading 35 books by reading 36. I am pleased I managed to read so many, despite having a bit of a rough year health-wise. I ended the year with quite a few audiobooks as I’ve been struggling with back and shoulder pain. Because of this continuing issue, I have set a lower goal for 2022 to avoid any unnecessary pressure, and am aiming to read 25 books.

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Top 10 Tuesday: Most Anticipated Releases for the First Half of 2022

There are some exciting looking sequels coming out this year but I am so behind on reading 2021 releases so there are very few sequels on this list! There are, however, many debuts and new releases by familiar authors that I am very excited for this year.

Top 10 Tuesday was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish, but has now moved to That Artsy Reader Girl. If you’re interested in taking part click here.


Scorpica by G. R. Macallister

A centuries-long peace is shattered in a matriarchal society when a decade passes without a single girl being born in this sweeping epic fantasy that’s perfect for fans of Robin Hobb and Circe.

Five hundred years of peace between queendoms shatters when girls inexplicably stop being born. As the Drought of Girls stretches across a generation, it sets off a cascade of political and personal consequences across all five queendoms of the known world, throwing long-standing alliances into disarray as each queendom begins to turn on each other—and new threats to each nation rise from within.

Uniting the stories of women from across the queendoms, this propulsive, gripping epic fantasy follows a warrior queen who must rise from childbirth bed to fight for her life and her throne, a healer in hiding desperate to protect the secret of her daughter’s explosive power, a queen whose desperation to retain control leads her to risk using the darkest magic, a near-immortal sorcerer demigod powerful enough to remake the world for her own ends—and the generation of lastborn girls, the ones born just before the Drought, who must bear the hopes and traditions of their nations if the queendoms are to survive.

The synopsis for this book gives me Priory of the Orange Tree vibes and I would love to read more epic fantasy with queendoms, so I am highly anticipating this one’s release.


Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian

A spellbinding story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown. Immerse yourself in the first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the author of the New York Times bestselling Ash Princess series.

Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.

Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.

The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.

Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other?

I’ve not read Laura Sebastian’s previous books, but something about this cover and description caught my attention. I love multi perspective stories, and the concept behind this one sounds really intriguing.


Gallant by V. E. Schwab

Sixteen-year-old Olivia Prior is missing three things: a mother, a father, and a voice. Her mother vanished all at once, and her father by degrees, and her voice was a thing she never had to start with.

She grew up at Merilance School for Girls. Now, nearing the end of her time there, Olivia receives a letter from an uncle she’s never met, her father’s older brother, summoning her to his estate, a place called Gallant. But when she arrives, she discovers that the letter she received was several years old. Her uncle is dead. The estate is empty, save for the servants. Olivia is permitted to remain, but must follow two rules: don’t go out after dusk, and always stay on the right side of a wall that runs along the estate’s western edge.

Beyond it is another realm, ancient and magical, which calls to Olivia through her blood…

From the Sunday Times-bestselling author of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and A Darker Shade of Magic comes a standalone novel where The Secret Garden meets Stardust.

I only discovered V. E. Schwab a couple of years ago (I know, very late to the party) and have loved both of her books I’ve read so far, so of course I’ll be snapping up her latest release.

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