Towards the end of 2020 I was reading like crazy to hit my target of 366 books read (yes, I am absolutely insane, and no I will not be reading anywhere close to that in 2021 with my new job and everything). So here are a bunch of mini-reviews. I hope one of these takes your fancy!
All Our Hidden Gifts by Caroline O’Donoghue will be published by Walker Books on February 4th. The book centres on Maeve Chambers, who finds a mysterious Tarot deck while cleaning out a storage room at school. Set in Ireland, Maeve at last finds her calling in these cards and starts providing uncannily accurate readings for her schoolmates. Until her ex-best friend Lily goes missing after a reading goes awry. Together with her friend and her crush Roe, Lily’s sibling, she sets out to get her back before it’s too late. Gripping, mysterious and addictive, I read All Our Hidden Gifts in a single sitting. It’s not a perfect book by any means, but it’s an enjoyable read and a solid addition to the current UKYA market (well, Irish YA, but published in the UK). If you’re anything like me and love Tarot, creepy but intriguing books and wonderful teenage characters, check this one out. Add it to Goodreads here, and order a copy from Bookshop here (affiliate link).
The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni, out on April 1st from Hodder, is the start of an exciting series. Set in Zalindov, a prison for multiple kingdoms, the book centres around Kiva, the seventeen-year-old in charge of medicine in the facility. When a high-profile prisoner gets brought in and Kiva tasked with her survival until the prisoner is supposed to undergo a trial by ordeal, Kiva unexpectedly volunteers to take her place. Aided by a mysterious young man, a guard who is more compassionate than any of the others and a boy Kiva feels responsible for, she fights to survive the trial which no one has survived before. An intriguing world full of rebellion and deception. I enjoyed The Prison Healer, although I felt that some of the plot twists were too left field and for me personally destroyed much of the build-up. I am curious to read book two though. Add The Prison Healer on Goodreads here, or order a copy from Bookshop here (affiliate link).
Ghost Wood Song by Erica Waters is a wonderful queer Southern Gothic debut. It came out from HarperTeen in August 2020 (WOW am I behind!). Shady Grove can conjure spirits with her father’s fiddle, and has to embrace her powers when her brother is accused of murder. Together with her new friends, she fights to figure out the truth with the help of the magic fiddle. A haunting story, with a bisexual main character and blossoming love triangle, Ghost Wood Song is perfect for fans of Anna-Marie McLemore or Rosemary Clement-Moore. The characters are wonderfully crafted and deal with grief throughout the book. I loved this one and highly recommend it – I’m also very excited for Erica Waters’ next book, The River Has Teeth! Add it to Goodreads here, or order a copy from Bookshop here (affiliate link).
Master of One by Jaida Jones and Dani Bennett will be out on the 7th of January from HarperTeen in the UK. A queer heist story, Master of One is set around Rags, a thief, a sadistic sorcerer and a fae prince, Shining Talon. Rags is forced to steal an ancient fae relic, which turns out to be Shining Talon who can then lead them to the remaining parts, and things just get weirder from there… Sadly, I didn’t get along with Master of One at all – I started reading the eARC and was bored, and then switched to audio on Scribd. I had to force myself to finish, as I wasn’t pulled in by the plot, and the characters fell flat. I can see fans of The Cruel Prince and similar books really liking this one, but sadly it wasn’t for me. Find Master of One on Goodreads here, and on Bookshop here (affiliate link).
Thank you to the publishers for providing me with eARCs of all of these, all opinions are entirely my own.