[BOOK REVIEW] Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin @TitanBooks #OtherWordsforSmoke

The synopsis for Other Words for Smoke reminded me of The Diviners by Libba Bray with its supernatural element. Having read the book, I can still say that it gave me The Diviners vibe which I loved!

Other Words for Smoke centers around two twins – Mae and Rossa – who spend two summers with their aunt Rita and her teenage ward Bevan in an unusual house. Having spent two summers in the house they’ve been looped in on its happenings. During their first summer with Rita and Bevan, Mae finds out that they’re witches who also have a talking cat… but that’s not all, evil lurks in this house in the form of a spirit that lurks behind the wallpaper called Sweet James. Sweet James has an effect on Bevan and he whispers things he can do for her but only if she brings him gifts. Mae begins to fall for Bevan, not knowing what secrets she holds, and Sweet James becomes intrigued by the new flesh that has come to the house.

Although I wouldn’t call this book amazing, I did find it very enjoyable and it offered me escape when life was hectic. I love how the author has gorgeous writing skills and certain scenes she created made me escape this world. The twin characters were great although annoying at times but that’s understandable since they’re almost-teenagers (if not already). The whole mystery surrounding Sweet James was so enjoyable to read and creepy as well! I loved reading about Bevan and the trance in which Sweet James put her in order to get his way. I found the storyline to end very abruptly because I wanted more from it – I wanted to be lost in it fully. I felt like certain parts ended abruptly which made me frustrated because I was enjoying them. I love how the author included an LGBTQ+ character to her story and made us experience that feeling of first love. The story in itself was very enjoyable for me and I really had a great time reading it.

Lovers of fantasy, magic, witchy kind of books will definitely devour this book!

I would like to thank the publisher Titan Books for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book from the publisher.

My rating:

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Sarah Maria Griffin lives in Dublin, Ireland, in a small red brick house by the sea, with her husband and cat. She writes about monsters, growing up, and everything those two things have in common. Her first book, SPARE AND FOUND PARTS, is out now.
Find her on: Goodreads and Twitter

[BOOK REVIEW] Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James #BlackLeopardRedWolf

First of all I’d like to note that I’m not a fantasy reader and this book was out of my comfort zone and that’s why I chose to read it. I pride myself on writing honest reviews that reflect my experience with each book I read so this one will be no exception.

As I’ve mentioned above I’m not a huge fantasy buff but I do like to include a few fantasy books into my TBR and read more ‘widely’ because I like expanding my mind with different genres. Black Leopard, Red Wolf is a novel which I’m sure every person who’s familiar with the book world will have heard of. The novel is book one of a trilogy called The Dark Star trilogy which will include two more books written from different perspectives on the same happenings. The first book Black Leopard, Red Wolf follows Tracker, a hunter known for his excellent sense of smell which has given him quite a reputation. Tracker is put on a quest to find a missing boy and along this quest he’s got many creatures much different than him, one of them being a shape-shifting creature called Leopard. Tracker’s quest to find the missing boy leads him to many ancient cities, forests and many dark places with much darker creatures who are not so welcome. What Tracker must do is find out who exactly is the boy and why do so many people want to find him?

Black Leopard, Red Wolf is such a unique book in every sense of the world. As I’ve said – I’m not that big on fantasy but of all the fantasy I’ve read this book has to be the most unique with its world-building and characters as well as the language. What I found interesting in this book were James’ characters and how peculiar they were. I have to admit that the first two-hundred pages were the most fun for me and then the rest kind of lost me. There are some very memorable scenes which stayed with me still – little background: I’ve been reading it since the beginning of March and have paused quite a few times because of Uni – and I actually really liked that because it shows that James has amazing skills as a writer. I found myself lost at times while reading, perhaps because it was a bit ‘too fantasy’ for me? I’m used to reading books that are quickly engaging and where the story flows but BLRW is one complex behemoth of a book. In order to successfully get through it you need to take your time with it and follow it slowly. I would very much like to read/hear the experience of a well-read fantasy genre lover when it comes to this book because I’m sure they would appreciate it more and find more meaning in it. I’ve been pondering for a while on how I should rate this book and I honestly don’t know because I feel like my experience with it wasn’t full.. I wouldn’t say it’s a book you should definitely avoid because you’ll be missing out but I’m also not intent on saying it’s the best of the best and you should grab a copy immediately. What I’ll say about Black Leopard, Red Wolf is that if you wish to experience something unique and have the time to solely focus on it then go ahead and get it from your local bookshop, online or from your library and enter the world that the mind of Marlon James has created.

I would love to hear other people’s opinion on Black Leopard, Red Wolf so if you’ve read it please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts on it with me!

I would like to thank the publisher Hamish Hamilton for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed here are my own and weren’t influenced by the fact that I got this book for free from the publisher.

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Marlon James is a Jamaican-born writer. He has published three novels: John Crow’s Devil(2005), The Book of Night Women (2009) and A Brief History of Seven Killings (2014), winner of the 2015 Man Booker Prize. Now living in Minneapolis, James teaches literature at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. James was born in Kingston, Jamaica, to parents who were both in the Jamaican police: his mother (who gave him his first prose book, a collection of stories by O. Henry) became a detective and his father (from whom James took a love of Shakespeare and Coleridge) a lawyer. James is a 1991 graduate of the University of the West Indies, where he read Language and Literature. He received a master’s degree in creative writing from Wilkes University (2006).

Find him on: Goodreads

(BLOG TOUR)[REVIEW] Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett @JoFletcherBooks @robertjbennett

Robert Jackson Bennett is an author I’m familiar with because I bought his first novel City of Stairs two years ago for my birthday so when I saw that he had a new trilogy coming out I jumped at a chance to see what his writing is all about. I’ve yet to read City of Stairs but after Foundryside I am sure I’ll be reading more of him.

I don’t usually read fantasy books but I am always interested in trying new genres and seeing how I’ll like them so this since this is my first fantasy in a long time. Read the synopsis below:

She thought it was just another job. But her discovery could bring the city to its knees . . .

The city of Tevanne runs on scrivings, industrialised magical inscriptions that make inanimate objects sentient; they power everything, from walls to wheels to weapons. Scrivings have brought enormous progress and enormous wealth – but only to the four merchant Houses who control them. Everyone else is a servant or slave, or they eke a precarious living in the hellhole called the Commons.

There’s not much in the way of work for an escaped slave like Sancia Grado, but she has an unnatural talent that makes her one of the best thieves in the city. When she’s offered a lucrative job to steal an ancient artefact from a heavily guarded warehouse, Sancia agrees, dreaming of leaving the Commons – but instead, she finds herself the target of a murderous conspiracy. Someone powerful in Tevanne wants the artefact, and Sancia dead – and whoever it is already wields power beyond imagining.

Sancia will need every ally, and every ounce of wits at her disposal, if she is to survive – because if her enemy gets the artefact and unlocks its secrets, thousands will die, and, even worse, it will allow ancient evils back into the world and turn their city into a devastated battleground.

Considering that this is my first fantasy book in a while I have to say that I genuinely enjoyed being lost in the world that Robert Jackson Bennett has created. What I liked the most is how skilled the author is at world-building and how he describes certain things. I find the author to be hugely creative and loved reading his descriptions but at times I did feel like they were long and tiring. Our main character Sancia Grado is such a good one because of her strength and resilience – what I loved most about her character is her intelligence. Oh I have to mention Clef! Oh how much I adored Clef (Mr. Clef :D)! He was so funny and I loved the bond that Sancia and he made because it added more depth to the story. I loved the whole magic system that Bennett has created and its complexity. There are also many other characters in this book who are smart, brave, crafty, some who are pure evil! who will enrich your reading experience. The beginning of the book grabbed me because it started off with a heist and it was so action packed that you couldn’t look away. There were parts where I felt the book dragged and that made me frustrated at times but the last two-hundred pages were very fast-paced and action packed. This is the first book in a trilogy called Founders and the book leaves a satisfying ending and also leaves us with something more to look forward and discover in the second book.

What can one say? Foundryside is a very good action-packed, cleverly written and thought out book that every fantasy lover should read.

I would like to thank the publisher Jo Fletcher Books for sending a copy of this book my way in exchange for an honest review. All opinions written here are my own and haven’t been influenced by anything.

My rating: 

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Robert Jackson Bennett is a two-time award winner of the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel, an Edgar Award winner for Best Paperback Original, and is also the 2010 recipient of the Sydney J Bounds Award for Best Newcomer, and a Philip K Dick Award Citation of Excellence. His fifth novel, City of Stairs, is in stores now. He lives in Austin with his wife and son.

Find him on: Website, Goodreads and Twitter.