ARC Review: Outrun the Wind by Elizabeth Tammi // not very Greek but nicely sapphic

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own.  

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Summary: The Huntresses of Artemis must obey two rules: never disobey the goddess, and never fall in love. After being rescued from a harrowing life as an Oracle of Delphi, Kahina is glad to be a part of the Hunt; living among a group of female warriors gives her a chance to reclaim her strength, even while her prophetic powers linger. But when a routine mission goes awry, Kahina breaks the first rule in order to save the legendary huntress Atalanta.

To earn back Artemis’s favor, Kahina must complete a dangerous task in the kingdom of Arkadia— where the king’s daughter is revealed to be none other than Atalanta. Still reeling from her disastrous quest and her father’s insistence on marriage, Atalanta isn’t sure what to make of Kahina. As her connection to Atalanta deepens, Kahina finds herself in danger of breaking Artemis’ second rule.

She helps Atalanta devise a dangerous game to avoid marriage, and word spreads throughout Greece, attracting suitors willing to tempt fate to go up against Atalanta in a race for her hand. But when the men responsible for both the girls’ dark pasts arrive, the game turns deadly.

Release date: November, 27th

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★★★✩

I liked this book and especially for a debut I think the author did a great job, but there were also things I was looking for in a book set in ancient Greece that simply weren’t there, and that’s the reason why this isn’t a five star, but let’s slow down a little.

The book is narrated from two alternating POVs, Atalanta’s and Kahina’s. I think this type of narration was the best choice for it, but one problem I had with it is that the two voices weren’t distinct enough. I think it makes some sort of sense, because the two characters are kind of similar on many levels, but that made it difficult to differentiate their internal monologues. But other than that, I think they were both well-written, just like well-written was the whole book. Sometimes, dare I say, a little too well written. This might make no sense, but I don’t know how else to put it. I just felt like every sentence was thought over meticulously, with great attention paid to the show, don’t tell and other rules, but sometimes that made the narration a little dry and perhaps impersonal. That’s obviously a very minor thing and it’s not really something I even thought about until writing my review, and it didn’t influence my rating negatively.

My favorite aspect of the book was probably the f/f romance, and not just because it’s f/f. It honestly wasn’t even a huge part of the book, it’s just something that happens within the book, but that’s what made it special. I don’t really want to say much about it because it should be experienced while reading the book.

The plot was at times a little slow and I think a few elements could have been removed or made less relevant in order to focus more on other aspects. Something else I didn’t necessarily agree with is the characterization of Artemis and Apollo, but I respect the author’s choice, and it’s true that Greek mythology isn’t always consistent and that there’s not two versions of a god or a Greek hero that are the same.

But speaking of ancient Greece, I didn’t find it in this book. If you replaced the names of places and people with random ones, this would read as a generic fantasy. I didn’t see Greece in the culture, in the way gods were worshipped, in the way men and women related to each other, I simply didn’t see it anywhere. The author note explains that liberties were taken, since the mythological Atalanta belongs to the first generation of heroes, even before the Trojan war, and not a lot is known about many aspects of life back then. This, in my opinion, resulted in a worldbuilding that’s not here nor there. You could tell me it’s set in the same universe and time period as Cinderella and I’d believe it. I think that a retelling of a Greek myth loses a lot of its value if it doesn’t transport the reader back to ancient Greece, and that’s truly what bothered me most about an otherwise above-average book.

All in all, I would recommend it if you can look past the missing ancient Greece and are looking for a f/f romance that’s not the focus of the book.

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First Ever Book Haul // amazing what having space for physical books & finding out about online used books stores will do to your book buying habits

kay, first of all, can we agree that that’s the longest title I’ve ever had in a post? Second, welcome to an actual book haul, something I didn’t think I’d ever do! As most of you know, I’ve been reading predominantly ebooks for the past 4 or 5 years (long before I started blogging), and I never really saw the point of announcing to everyone what I’d bought (or maybe………………………..I was avoiding facing the hard truth that I always end up buying more books than I can read. But in the past month I’ve kind of given in and bought a few physical books and I decided I would try sharing it here.

Excuse very poor bookstagrammability of my photos but here’s all the books I bought:

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Also featured in the picture is my new plant which I called Dan (short for Danielle) because she’s orange and I’m rereading All for the Game so it was the obvious choice for a name. I hope she’ll enjoy her new house 🌸

Used books

dav  The reason I managed to buy so many is because, as the title says, I found an amazing site based in Germany which sells used books of all kinds. It has a very decent English (and even Italian and French, as far as I could see) section, which is both a blessing and a curse. I don’t know what they do in terms of selling abroad but if you’re in Europe it might be worth checking out their site. In any case, they have enough English books that after a while I gave up trying to scroll through it all and literally pulled out my goodreads TBR and searched for every book on it that I think I might want to own in physical copy, and lo and behold I actually found quite a lot. I also love the feeling of used books, plus all of these are in almost perfect conditions and if they have a little more signs of use the price definitely reflects that so it’s all worth it.

I ended up picking these four up:

📕 If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio – I’ve heard it’s gay and that everyone who reads it cries a lot

📕 A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – this is not a book I intend to read anytime soon but it was literally less than 3€ and it’s one of those books I want to read when I’m like, a Proper Adult and my mental health is stable enough that I don’t need books for escapism

📕 The Secret History by Donna Tartt – do I know anything about this book? No but it was 2.50€ and all of my friends loved it.

📕 The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury – I’ve actually read this years ago! And I really liked it and I want to reread it at some point. Also the cover is stunning.

New books


davI decided to also treat myself to some new books:

📗  Six of Crows (collector’s edition) by Leigh Bardugo – I pre-ordered this back in July when it was announced and I don’t regret it one bit because it’s stunning with its fanart and maps and red sprayed edges!!!

📗 Check, Please! (Vol.1, #Hockey) by Ngozi Ukazu – I read this as a webcomic in March 2017 and I loved it so much. I haven’t kept up with it and I’ve been meaning to reread it and catch up with it for ages, so when I saw it was coming out as a physical book I wanted to get it so I can reread without having to click “next” on tumblr and also I wanted to support the author because this is such a feel-good comic and she deserves it. I can’t wait to read it again!

📗 9 From The Nine Worlds by Rick Riordan – I want to own anything related to the Magnus Chase universe in physical copy eventually, so this was a first step towards that. Also the cover is so pretty, a picture doesn’t do it justice.

Extra – Library books

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I also wanted to mention library books because I think more hauls should include them.

My friend recommended the Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer and when I was at the library to return some stuff I saw they have most of the series so I tried getting the first book. I still haven’t read it but I’m looking forward to it.

Not featured in the pictures are a physics and a chemistry textbooks and three books full of music sheets because I had to study for the audition of my choir. I got them at a different library than the Artemis Fowl one and can I just say libraries are awesome?

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That’s it for this haul! Have you read any of these? Did you like them? Also, would you guys be interested in seeing more hauls, even if most of the time I would be talking about ebooks? Please let me know in the comments! 

Book Blitz: The Fever King by Victoria Lee — Excerpt & Giveaway

A few weeks ago I received an ARC of The Fever King by Victoria Lee, one of my most anticipated releases of next year, and weeks after having read it I’m still thinking about it. This is a book you can’t miss out on (YA political fantasy! all-queer cast! important and always-relevant themes such as intergenerational trauma!) and I’m so happy to be able to be part of the book blitz that Xpresso Tours organized, so thank you so much to them for the opportunity!

Read on to find info and preorder links, as well as an excerpt from chapter one and a giveaway for a chance to win one of five ARCs!

 

The Fever King
Victoria Lee
Published by: Skyscape
Publication date: March 1st 2019
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult

In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.

The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.

Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 1:

He stood there for a second, staring woozily at the mess while sirens shrieked in his ears. He was sick. Magic festered in his veins, ready to consume him whole.

An outbreak.

His father, when Noam managed to weave his way back to his side, had fallen unconscious. His head lolled forward, and there was a bloody patch on his lap, yellow electricity flickering over the stain. The world undulated around them both in watery waves.

“It’s okay,” Noam said, knowing his dad couldn’t hear him. He sucked in a sharp breath and hitched his father’s body out of the chair. He shouldn’t—he couldn’t just leave him there like that. Noam had carried him around for three years, but today his father weighed twice as much as before. Noam’s arms quivered. His thoughts were white noise.

It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay, a voice kept repeating in Noam’s head.

He dumped his father’s body on the bed, skinny limbs sprawling. Noam tried to nudge him into a more comfortable position, but even that took effort. But this . . . it was more than he’d done for his mother. He’d left her corpse swinging on that rope for hours before Brennan had shown up to take her down.

His father still breathed, for now.

How long did it take to die? God, Noam couldn’t remember.

On shaky legs, Noam made his way back to the chair by the window. He couldn’t manage much more. The television kept turning itself on and off again, images blazing across a field of static snow and vanishing just as quickly. Noam saw it out of the corners of his eyes even when he tried not to look, the same way he saw his father’s unconscious body. That would be Noam soon.

Magic crawled like ivy up the sides of the fire escape next door.

Noam imagined his mother waiting for him with a smile and open arms, the past three years just a blink against eternity.

His hands sparked with something silver-blue and bright. Bolts shot between his fingers and flickered up his arms. The effect would have been beautiful were it not so deadly. And yet . . .

A shiver ricocheted up his spine.

Noam held a storm in his hands, and he couldn’t feel a thing.

 

Author Bio:

Victoria Lee grew up in Durham, North Carolina, where she spent twelve ascetic years as a vegetarian before discovering that spicy chicken wings are, in fact, a delicacy. She’s been a state finalist competitive pianist, a hitchhiker, a pizza connoisseur, an EMT, an expat in China and Sweden, and a science doctoral student. She’s also a bit of a snob about fancy whiskey. Lee writes early in the morning and then spends the rest of the day trying to impress her border collie puppy and make her experiments work. She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her partner.

For exclusive updates, excerpts, and giveaways, sign up for Victoria’s newsletter at https://victorialeewrites.com/newsletter/

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

 

ENTER THE GIVEAWAY!
(US/Canada only; ends November 15th)

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October Wrap-Up

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Hey everyone! October seemed to have simultaneously passed in a heartbeat and have lasted 348 years. How does time do that??

IRL, I spent my time getting used to my new house and settling into uni life again. Yes, I’m going to finish my studies after having to take some time away from it. That means you’re all going to have to be patient with me because not only the thing I’m studying isn’t the easiest, I also have to do it in German. So that means less time for books and for blogging, even though I hope to find a rhythm that works for me.

Other exciting things I got to do this month are joining my university’s choir (I used to sing throughout high school and I missed it so much) and meeting my friend Lea, whom some of you might know as DrumsOfAutumn from BookTube!

books

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This is everything I read this past month! From memory/feeling alone I honestly thought I’d read like, three books, but it’s actually more like 17 ahahhaahahah anyway most of them are comics or novellas/short stories so it’s not that impressive, but considering I thought I wouldn’t manage to read anything it’s still good.

○ 2 audiobooks

○ 6 rereads

○ 3 comics or webcomics

○ 4 ARCs

○ 1 beta read

highlights

📖 A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab (reread/audiobook) – I started this reread in September and then I didn’t touch it for almost an entire month (I was trying to spare my feelings). Inevitably I ended up crying for more than one hour straight (not that anything I do is ever straight but you get me) which is more than I cried the first time so I’d call that a success (?????????). If you haven’t picked up this series please do it! It’s so amazing and it gets better with each book. ★★★★★/5

📖 Vengeful by V.E. Schwab – I still uh…haven’t fully processed the fuckupness of this book. The same exact thing happened as when I first read Vicious: the book was just so perfect that I was analyzing all the ways it was perfect more than actually reading it as a book. Like, I felt like humble amateur writer me was trying to learn everything she could from this book and that’s a really weird way to read a book and I can’t fully explain it either, all I know is that I obviously still did read it as a piece of fiction and I Get what happened but I think I will only Feel it when I reread (which is, again, the same exact thing that happened with Vicious). Anyway I love this fucking family. ★★★★★/5

📖 The Fever King by Victoria Lee (ARC) –  This book is so, so important. I’m still trying to write my review and I’m not entirely sure what to write in it. I feel so lucky that I got to read it so early because it’s one of my most anticipated books of 2019. Some things in the writing didn’t completely work for me but the story and characters made it all worth it. I’m still deciding on a rating but probably ★★★★✩/5 

📖 Shrewd Angel by Anyta Sunday (beta-read) – Guys, I did my first beta-read??? Technically it’s my second one but the first one didn’t get published yet. Anyway WOW I beta read a book that I can actually talk about, I feel Accomplished! This book is a standalone part of a Christmas series that will be published in December and it’s a M/M romance set in New Zealand featuring music, found families and enemies to lovers. It’s not too heavy on the Xmas element which is something I appreciated a lot since I’m not big on Xmas. If you’re into the genre and are looking forward to some slightly xmasy romances I can definitely recommend this. ★★★★.5✩/5

📖 L’Ascesa dei Re by C.S. Pacat (reread) – I finally finished my Italian capri reread! I honestly don’t know how y’all keep reading books in your first language. This hurt so much more to read in my first language than it hurt in English (which already hurt a lot), I definitely never want to do that again. I still am not the biggest fan of the translation because I’m pretty sure a lot of parts were translated so liberally that the original meaning actually got lost, but one thing I did love was the fact that my language has formal and informal yous and I’m not going to spoil but I love what was done about that in regards to how the MCs used those between each other, which is something that obviously can’t happen in the original English version. Anyway, please read this series (be careful of the TWs though) and then come talk to me. ★★★★★/5

📖 Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert (ARC) – you can read my review here but okay who allowed Talia Hibbert to write romance so perfectly? This is a genre (paranormal M/F romance with a werewolf) that I wouldn’t have reached for if I wasn’t sent an ARC and if I didn’t already trust Talia Hibbert to write books that always steal my heart. I’m so glad I didn’t pass on the opportunity to read it because it was simply amazing. ★★★★★/5

📖 Empire of Storms by SJM (reread – audiobook ) – I want to read KoA but I wanted to refresh my memory and also back then when it came out I really loved EoS and it has a lot of moments that I will always remember fondly and that helped me a lot when I was going through a really tough time so I wanted to read it again to also sort of say goodbye because I think after KoA I’m probably not gonna read this series again. Anyway I reread it as audio on 2x speed which made it so much easier and also made it impossible to see all the em dashes and ellipses, so the book was definitely more enjoyable that way and I’ve decided to listen to KoA too. And while I’m not going to change my original rating from two years ago (five stars)I still enjoyed it a lot and I would probably give it four stars now. I just wish people stopped purring and snarling and being weird about the whole mate thing and also like, can we get some real fucking diversity tho.

📖 The Foxhole Court by Nora Sakavic (reread) – I’ve postponed rereading this series for almost two years for a number of reasons (this is my third time reading it), but I’m glad I finally felt good enough to decide to embark on this journey again. The first book is undeniably Uncomfortable to read and honestly not That Good but it’s all worth it to get to the rest of the series (pain. only pain awaits you. be warned. and google the TWs because there’s a lot.) ★★★★✩/5 

current

🔖 The Raven King by Nora Sakavic – obviously I am continuing my reread and I’m about to be in a lot of pain because this book has some of the most heartbreaking fucking shit ever

🔖 Love like This by Melissa Brayden – this is an ARC I got through Netgalley and it’s a fluffy f/f romance. I have to say I was quite enjoying it but I got so annoyed when the first kiss was a non-consensual one that’s depicted as romantic. I haven’t read it in two weeks and I’m actually thinking of DNF’ing it without a rating for the reason above.

🔖 Nine Perfect Strangers by Liane Moriarty – I’m audiobooking this and it’s probably the best way to do this since it’s a lot of character development all thrown together in the best possible way, which is something I love but I would probably have no patience to read with my own two eyes right now. If you love a book with a focus on a lot of different characters with minimal plot (at least up until the point I reached), this is definitely a book for you. I can already see myself giving it five stars, easily.

blog

This month I’ve been nowhere near where I would like to be when it comes to scheduling and the types of posts I put out. But as I said I’ve been busy and I’m at least glad that even if the only reviews I’ve written were ones for ARCs, I’ve still managed to write a few of them, plus a couple of miscellaneous posts.

📜 I shared my most anticipated releases until the end of the year (spoiler: there’s a lot)

📜 In my only T5W post this month, I talked abut my favorite magic systems

📜 I did my first ever (!!!) author interview with Tara Gilboy, who wrote the middle age novel Unwritten which I enjoyed and highly recommend

📜 ARC Review: Age of Magic by Elise Kova and Lynn Larsh

📜 ARC Review: Thrall by Avon Gale and Roan Parrish

📜 ARC Review: Pisces Hooks Taurus by Anyta Sunday

📜 ARC Review: Mating the Huntress by Talia Hibbert

📜 ARC Review: A Hidden Hope by Laura Ambrose

 

watched

260px-avatar_logoThe only thing I’ve watched is Avatar: The Last Airbender (yes I’m late don’t judge) and it was probably the best animated series (excluding anime) I’ve ever watched. I mean, it’s up there with The Dragon Prince but since TDP is still ongoing I’m not going to put them on the same level. I’m so happy I’ve finally done it and if I’m somehow not the last one to have seen it, I definitely recommend catching up with the world. Whether you’re just interested in a fun story or want to see what the fuss is about, there is absolutely NO reason why you shouldn’t watch it. I also recommend it if you’re a writer or creator and are looking for inspiration, because there’s so many tropes that are used so well and I personally was inspired by a few specific episodes or scenes that got me like, “Ohhh, that‘s what I would like in a story!”

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What have you read this past month? How are you dealing with the fact that there are only two months left this year? Are you a Waterbender, Earthbender, Firebender or Airbender? I’m a Waterbender (you can do a quiz here) which doesn’t surprise me at all.