Monday, August 29, 2022

Blog Tour: The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais

 

Hiya, Booknerds! I was lucky enough to be selected to be a host for the HarperCollins Blog Tour for The Witches of Moonshyne Manor by Bianca Marais. As such, I will give you some details about another one of the interesting books as well as its lovely author. 

And you also get a BOOKISH BONUS! Keep reading to get it. 

ABOUT THE BOOK:



THE WITCHES OF MOONSHYNE MANOR by Bianca Marais 

Publisher: 
HarperCollins
Release Date: August 23, 2022
Genre: Fiction / Magical Realism
Pages
400

THE STORY:
Five octogenarian witches gather as an angry mob threatens to demolish Moonshyne Manor. All eyes turn to the witch in charge, Queenie, who confesses they’ve fallen far behind on their mortgage payments. Still, there’s hope, since the imminent return of Ruby—one of the sisterhood who’s been gone for thirty-three years—will surely be their salvation.
But the mob is only the start of their troubles. One man is hellbent on avenging his family for the theft of a legacy he claims was rightfully his. In an act of desperation, Queenie makes a bargain with an evil far more powerful than anything they’ve ever faced. Then things take a turn for the worse when Ruby’s homecoming reveals a seemingly insurmountable obstacle instead of the solution to all their problems.
The witches are determined to save their home and themselves, but their aging powers are no match for increasingly malicious threats. Thankfully, they get a bit of help from Persephone, a feisty TikToker eager to smash the patriarchy. As the deadline to save the manor approaches, fractures among the sisterhood are revealed, and long-held secrets are exposed, culminating in a fiery confrontation with their enemies.
Funny, tender and uplifting, the novel explores the formidable power that can be discovered in aging, found family and unlikely friendships. Marais’ clever prose offers as much laughter as insight, delving deeply into feminism, identity and power dynamics while stirring up intrigue and drama through secrets, lies and sex. Heartbreaking and heart-mending, it will make you grateful for the amazing women in your life.
BUY LINKS:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound







EXCERPT:

Chapter 1:

Saturday, October 23rd

Morning

Half an hour before the alarm will be sounded for the first time in decades—drawing four frantic old women and a geriatric crow from all corners of the sprawling manor—Ursula is awoken by insistent knocking, like giant knuckles rapping against glass. It’s an ominous sign, to be sure. The first of many.

Trying to rid herself of the sticky cobwebs of sleep, Ursula throws back the covers, groaning as her joints loudly voice their displeasure. She’s slept in the buff, as is her usual habit, and as she pads across the room, she’s more naked than the day she was born (being, as she is, one of those rare babies who came into the world fully encased in a caul).

Upon reaching the window, the cause of the ruckus is immediately obvious to Ursula; one of the Angel Oak’s sturdy branches is thumping against her third-floor window. Strong winds whip through the tree, making it shimmy and shake, giving the impression that it’s espousing the old adage to dance like no one’s watching, a quality that rather has to be admired in a tree. Either that, or it’s trembling uncontrollably with fear.

The forest, encroaching at the garden’s boundary, looks disquieted. It hangs its head low, bowing to a master who’s ordered it to bend the knee. As the charcoal sky churns, not a bird to be seen, the trees in the wood whisper incessantly. Whether they’re secrets or warnings, Ursula can’t tell, which only unsettles her further.

That infernal billboard that the city recently erected across from the manor property—with its aggressive gigantic lettering shouting, ‘Critchley Hackle Mega Complex Coming Soon!’—snaps in the wind, issuing small cracks of thunder. A storm is on its way, that much is clear. You don’t need to have Ivy’s particular powers to know as much.

Turning her back on the ominous view, Ursula heads for the calendar to mark off another mostly sleepless night. It seems impossible that after so many of them—night upon night, strung up after each other seemingly endlessly—only two remain until Ruby’s return, upon which Ursula will discover her fate.

Either Ruby knows or she doesn’t.

And if she does know, there’s the chance that she’ll want nothing more to do with Ursula. The thought makes her breath hitch, the accompanying stab of pain almost too much to bear. The best she can hope for under the circumstances is that Ruby will forgive her, releasing Ursula from the invisible prison her guilt has sentenced her to.

Too preoccupied with thoughts of Ruby to remember to don her robe, Ursula takes a seat at her mahogany escritoire. She lights a cone of mugwort and sweet laurel incense, watching as the tendril of smoke unfurls, inscribing itself upon the air. Inhaling the sweet scent, she picks up a purple silk pouch and unties it, spilling the contents onto her palm.

The tarot cards are all frayed around the edges, worn down from countless hours spent jostling through Ursula’s hands. Despite their shabbiness, they crackle with electricity, sparks flying as she shuffles them. After cutting the deck in three, Ursula begins laying the cards down, one after the other, on top of the heptagram she carved into the writing desk’s surface almost eighty years ago.

The first card, placed in the center, is The Tower. Unfortunate souls tumble from the top of a fortress that’s been struck by lightning, flames engulfing it. Ursula experiences a jolt of alarm at the sight of it for The Tower has to signify the manor; and anything threatening their home, threatens them all.

The second card, placed above the first at the one o’clock position, can only represent Tabitha. It’s the Ten of Swords, depicting a person lying face down with ten swords buried in their back. The last time Ursula saw the card, she’d made a mental note to make an appointment with her acupuncturist, but now, following so soon after The Tower, it makes her shift nervously.

The third, fourth and fifth cards, placed at the three o’clock, four-thirty and six o’clock positions, depict a person (who must be Queenie) struggling under too heavy a load; a heart pierced by swords (signifying Ursula); and a horned beast towering above a man and woman who are shackled together (obviously Jezebel). Ursula whimpers to see so many dreaded cards clustered together.

Moving faster now, she lays out the sixth, seventh and eighth cards at the seven-thirty, nine and eleven o’ clock positions. Ursula gasps as she studies the man crying in his bed, nine swords hovering above him (which can only denote Ursula’s guilt as it pertains to Ruby); the armored skeleton on horseback (representing the town of Critchley Hackle); and the two bedraggled souls trudging barefoot through the snow (definitely Ivy). Taking in all eight sinister cards makes Ursula tremble much like the Angel Oak.

Based on the spread, Ursula absolutely should sound the alarm immediately, but she’s made mistakes in the past—lapses in judgment that resulted in terrible consequences—and so she wants to be a hundred percent certain first.

She shuffles the cards again, laying them down more deliberately this time, only to see the exact same shocking formation, the impending threat even more vivid than before. It couldn’t be any clearer if the Goddess herself had sent a homing pigeon with a memo bearing the message: Calamity is on its way! It’s knocking at the window, just waiting to be let in!

And yet, Ursula still doesn’t sound the alarm, because that’s what doubt does; it slips through the chinks in our defenses, eroding all sense of self until the only voice that should matter becomes the one that we don’t recognize anymore, the one we trust the least.

As a result of this estrangement from herself, Ursula has developed something of a compulsion, needing to triple check the signs before she calls attention to them, and so she stands and grabs her wand. She makes her way down the hallway past Ruby’s and Jezebel’s bedrooms at a bit of a clip before descending the west wing stairs.

It’s just before she reaches Ivy’s glass conservatory that Ursula breaks out into a panicked run.

Excerpted from The Witches of Moonshyne Manor @ 2022 by Bianca Marais, used with permission by MIRA Books.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Bianca Marais cohosts the popular podcast The Sh*t No One Tells You About Writing, aimed at emerging writers. She was named the winner of the Excellence in Teaching Award for Creative Writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies in 2021. She is the author of two novels, Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want to Make God Laugh, as well as the Audible Original The Prynne Viper. She lives in Toronto with her husband and fur babies.
Social Links: Author website: https://www.biancamarais.com/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/biancamaraisauthor Twitter: https://twitter.com/biancam_author/ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/biancamarais_author/


Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Wishlist Wednesday


*Wishlist Wednesday is where you show a book that is on your bookish wishlist*

THE SACRIFICE by RIn Chupeco

Publisher
Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: October 4, 2022 
Pages: 332

THE STORY:

An island oasis turns deadly when a terrifying legend threatens to kill off visitors one by one in this haunting novel from the highly acclaimed author of The Girl from the Well and the Bone Witch trilogy.
Pristine beaches, lush greenery, and perfect weather, the island of Kisapmata would be the vacation destination...if not for the curse. The Philippine locals speak of it in hushed voices and refuse to step foot on the island. They know the lives it has claimed. They won't be next.
A Hollywood film crew won't be dissuaded. Legend claims a Dreamer god sleeps, waiting to grant unimaginable powers in exchange for eight sacrifices. The producers are determined to document the evidence. And they convince Alon, a local teen, to be their guide.
Within minutes of their arrival, a giant sinkhole appears, revealing a giant balete tree with a mummified corpse entwined in its gnarled branches. And the crew start seeing strange visions. Alon knows they are falling victim to the island's curse. If Alon can't convince them to leave, there is no telling who will survive. Or how much the Dreamer god will destroy...
Creepy and suspenseful, The Sacrifice is perfect for readers looking for:
* Spooky, scary books for young adults
* Horror novels
* Ghost story books for teens
* East Asian folklore
LINK: Goodreads


MEET THE AUTHOR





Rin Chupeco[1] is a Chinese Filipino writer of young adult fiction, best known for their books The Bone Witch, The Girl from the Well, and The Never-Tilting World series.





Want to see my entire Wishlist? Check it out on Amazon: Bookish Wishlist

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 11, 2022

In My Mailbox

*In My Mailbox features books received in the mail whether bought, gifted, or sent by publishers and authors*

Gahhhhh! I cannot tell you how excited I am to get this package! Huge thank you to EpicReads at HarperCollins for sending me this lovely, highly anticipated ARC.

This influencer box includes an ARC of THE WEIGHT OF BLOOD as well as promo swag.


𝒬π’ͺπ’―π’Ÿ: 𝒲𝒽𝒢𝓉 π’Ύπ“ˆ 𝒢𝓃 π’œπ‘…π’ž π“Žπ‘œπ“Š π“Œπ‘œπ“Šπ“π’Ή 𝓀𝒾𝓁𝓁 π“‰π‘œ 𝑔𝑒𝓉 π“Žπ‘œπ“Šπ“‡ π’½π’Άπ“ƒπ’Ήπ“ˆ π‘œπ“ƒ 𝓇𝒾𝑔𝒽𝓉 π“ƒπ‘œπ“Œ?

For more bookish unboxings and pictures, check out my Bookstagram

Happy Reading!




Friday, August 5, 2022

Feature Friday ARC Review: Ruthless by Gena Showalter

*Feature Friday ARC Review is a meme hosted by The Tattered Page to review books not yet released.  

*Warning: This review may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk.

PublisherHQN
Release Date: August 9, 2022
Pages: 415 
Source: ARC 

THE STORY:

Forbidden. Powerful. Ruthless. 

Micah the Unwilling, fae King of the Forgotten, can tame even the most violent of beasts. Forged on the battlefield, this iron-willed warrior considers his soldiers his family, and he will stop at nothing to reclaim their dispossessed land. Gearing for war with a sadistic enemy, he is disciplined and focused—until a feral beauty he encountered long ago wanders into his camp. 

Viori de Aoibheall wields a terrifying ability to sing monsters to life. Having spent her childhood in a forest, raising herself and her frightening creations—the only friends she’s ever known—she’s ill-prepared for the scarred royal and his fearsome brutality. Not to mention the ferocity of their connection and the carnality of his touch. But the real problem? Her brother is Micah’s greatest foe. And though the sensual king makes her burn, she must stop him, whatever the cost.
LINKS: Goodreads |  Amazon


RATING

ONE-WORD REVIEW: ANGSTY

TAG LINE:


Forbidden. Powerful. Ruthless. 

OPENING LINE:

Five-year-old Viori de Aoibheall raced to her parents' bedchamber, frantic.



REVIEW:

I have been a fan of Gena Showalter since reading the Lord of the Underworld series. Her characters are always so dynamic, the smut tantalizing, and the plot the perfect mix of action, tension, and romance. RUTHLESS is the awaited sequel to HEARTLESS, Gena's new adult romance series, Immortal Enemies. Huge thank you to Gena and Naomi for picking me for the ARC Team!

As I said before, the plot of RUTHLESS was the perfect blend of romance, tension, humor, and action to boot. Not to mention the ANGST! Especially from my baby Micah. You could really feel the yearning flow off the pages as you read the inner workings of Micha's mind. The story starts in the past when the two main characters are teenagers--loved this--before continuing the story where we left off in HEARTLESS. After having heard about Viori all throughout HEARTLESS and her being one of the main driving forces of why Kaysar became the Unhinged, I was excited to get to know the missing, mysterious little sister. And I was not disappointed. 

He, the king who made others yearn to peel the skin from their bones, had made a beautiful feral kitten purr. 

Mostly, both Micah and Vee just wanted love. Micah’s greatest wish was to be loved and accepted. He is also big on having a wife and family and wasn’t shy about admitting that. Vee just wanted to be worthy of her older brother’s love—she longed for it. These wishes also brought forth their main source of friction since Micah wanted Vee but Vee wanted her brother’s love. And her brother is Micah’s greatest enemy.

Speaking of Kaysar (MMC in HEARTLESS), he and his younger sister both doted on each other as children. Their cruel separation was incredibly difficult for the pair and a defining moment that shaped the course of their lives. *Chaos ensued* Kaysar became unhinged and hellbent on revenge and Vee became untrusting and hellbent on atonement. But without the terrible events of their outcomes, they would have never met the loves of their lives or had a story to tell.

On that note, like Vee, Micah also had a tragic start in life. As a chimera he was abandoned and left to be found and raised by the only person who ever felt like family—before Vee. After stumbling into a supernaturally guarding clearing where Vee slumbered when he was just 15, he was smitten with her. Separate by circumstance, RUTHLESS is a sexy, smoldering story of their reunion filled with tension, tedious trust, and heartbreaking betrayal. And the impossible choice between true love and the love of the only family you have left.

"I should have offered you a proper greeting when I first awoke, Majesty. Allow me to remedy my mistake." She wetted her lips, and he groaned, the sound reverberating deep in the core. Using her sultriest voice, she said, "Good morning, Micah. I'm very glad to see you..."

Now, on to the annoying. Things were gravy until I was around 44% through. Then all hell broke loose as Vee lost her ever-loving mind—and not in a fun way. Honestly, I was *this* close to wanting to DNF (no, not really lol) because, quite frankly, her behavior convinced me she did not deserve Micah. She went apeshit on him for literally protecting who he thought was his mate and wife as well as the people under their care. The whole time she lied to and plotted against him from the beginning. Which is the reason why they were in their predicament in the first place! Then had the nerve to be rageful and vengeful at him for protecting her??? Girl, no. I would gladly take Michah off your hands psycho. He deserves to be pampered and treated like the fierce cinnamon roll king he is. Vee definitely fell down a few pegs in my book for this.

Vee was toxic as fuck though she hid it good as hell for while. Even after all of the innocents she and her children murdered and harmed, even after she repeatedly hurt him—physically and emotionally—he was still gentle with her, hoping to straighten things out. Then she made him vow to protect her and the children talking about if he had any honor at all in his being—bitch you have some nerve!

Okay, okay. Enough of that. It all worked out in the end as we knew it wouldI obviously read romance for the HEA so it did not disappoint. Vee redeemed herself. I am satisfied. :)

Made for each other. 
"Mm-hmm. I sure did. Maybe we're fated." She fiddled with his tunic.

All in all, RUTHLESS was a fantastic sequel to HEARTLESS and I am so glad I had the opportunity to read it! The two books complement each other well. RUTHLESS was soft whereas HEARTLESS was hard. HEARTLESS was rough and spicy and a little insane (like, have you met Kaysar and Cookie? THey’re both nutzos) whereas RUTHLESS was resilient and spicy and a little more rational.

CHARACTERS:

MICHAH THE UNWILLING: Micah is a fierce cinnamon roll—which just happens to be my favorite type of love interest! He is resilient, kind, loyal, true to his word, a provider and protector—even though not all under his care deserve it. 

Once, Micah had stood among the marriage hopefuls. After several decades of tracking and killing belua, he'd longed to experience the good life--family life. A wife to enjoy. Children to pamper, But the females of this settlement had preferred weak and cowardly mates over chimera.

VIORI DE AOIBHEALL: Viori (a.k.a Vee) is tough on the outside but soft on the inside. I sympathized with her character a lot. We had hardships early on in life and hold tightly onto past guilts we feel we need to atone for. Also, she yearned to have a true friend.

Micah bent, pressed his shoulder against her middle and lifted. Her body draped over his. "You dare to haul me like a sack of potatoes?" she demanded with shock and...amusement? "The indignity!"

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of over seventy books, including the acclaimed Lords of the Underworld series, the Gods of War series, the White Rabbit Chronicles, and the Forest of Good and Evil series. She writes sizzling paranormal romance, heartwarming contemporary romance, and unputdownable young adult novels, and lives in Oklahoma City with her family and menagerie of dogs and cats. 





Happy Reading!

 
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Wishlist Wednesday

*Wishlist Wednesday is where you show a book that is on your bookish wishlist*

ABOUT THE BOOK:





NOT THAT KIND OF EVER AFTER by Luci Adams

Publisher
St. Martin's Griffin
Release Date: March 14, 2023 
Pages: 400

THE STORY:
Fairytale meets feminism in Luci Adams's Not That Kind of Ever After, a frothy adventure of one woman’s journey to claim happily ever after in times of serial dating, swiping right, and the quest to find your soulmate…
Bella Marble’s life isn’t what she imagined. Instead of an author, she’s receptionist at a small press. Instead of happily married, she’s single, and her lovey-dovey parents are divorcing. And to top it off, her best friend of twenty-nine years, Ellie Mathews, is moving out and marrying the heinously boring Mark. (He’s not worthy of her. No one could be). Bella feels rudderless, only slightly soothed by time spent with Ellie’s (not hot) brother, (he’s not hot) Marty (okay, he’s hot. But he’s also the aggravating brother she never had—right)?
When Marty recommends Bella stop looking for “the one” and just have fun, Bella finds a new, empowered side of herself. But when she posts a fairy-tale retelling of a disastrous one night stand on a storytelling app, all of a sudden, Bella has become B.Enchanted. And she’s gone viral.
Now, Bella’s in a fight with Ellie, her new roommates are so, deeply, weird, and the pressure is mounting to find new fairy tales to write about—but she’s got to live them first.
LINK: Goodreads

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leaving LAMDA for Leeds and graduating with a first class degree in Maths, Luci spent her early career torn between creativity and logic until she realised it’s possible to do both.
She started out life in the tax world before swiftly seeing the light. She has since worked copywriting for Apple Music, assisting with Amazon and BBC productions at Working Title Television and now works as an analyst at the Guardian by day whilst writing tales of heartbreak, adventure and truly terrible dates by night. She lives in leafy St Albans and when she’s not writing, she spends her time drawing, animating and exploring the countryside with her little puppy.


Happy Reading!

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