Review: Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1)

Title: Blood Countess (Lady Slayers #1)
Author: Lana Popović
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Horror
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A historical YA horror novel based on the infamous real-life inspiration for Countess Dracula 

In 16th century Hungary, Anna Darvulia has just begun working as a scullery maid for the young and glamorous Countess Elizabeth Báthory. When Elizabeth takes a liking to Anna, she’s vaulted to the dream role of chambermaid, a far cry from the filthy servants’ quarters below. She receives wages generous enough to provide for her family, and the Countess begins to groom Anna as her friend and confidante. It’s not long before Anna falls completely under the Countess’s spell—and the Countess takes full advantage. Isolated from her former friends, family, and fiancé, Anna realizes she’s not a friend but a prisoner of the increasingly cruel Elizabeth. Then come the murders, and Anna knows it’s only a matter of time before the Blood Countess turns on her, too.

Review:

This was a creepy story inspired by a real woman.

Elizabeth Báthory was a real noblewoman who lived in the sixteenth century. She was the inspiration for Dracula because of her bloodlust. She was a serial killer who tortured many women.

This story follows Anna, who is from a small village. She goes to work for Elizabeth, and she is so proud of this job that will bring much needed money to her family. However, she soon learns that being with Elizabeth means witnessing and taking part in the torture and murder of girls who she used to call her friends. The story introduces Elizabeth as a misunderstood woman who is surrounded by rumors, before her true behavior is revealed.

Some parts of this story were quite gory and horrific. Elizabeth was relentless in her torture. It makes it all the more creepy to think that she is based on a real woman.

At first, I thought this was going to be a series about Elizabeth. Based on the ending, I believe this series will be about various “lady slayers” throughout history. I’m curious to see who will be in the next book.

Thank you Amulet Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White

Cadaver and Queen (Cadaver and Queen #1) by Alisa Kwitney

Have you read Blood Countess? What did you think of it?

First Lines Friday – January 31

This is a weekly meme hosted by Wandering Words, where you give the first few lines of a book to hook your readers before introducing the book.

Here are my first lines:

“They fire off a round of texts at me five minutes after midnight:
We’re coming.
Get ready.
They’re not threats, but my friends have a way of making even the simplest demands feel like ultimatums.”

Do you recognize these first lines?

And the book is… Little Monsters by Kara Thomas.

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Goodreads synopsis:

Kacey is the new girl in Broken Falls. When she moved in with her father, she stepped into a brand-new life. A life with a stepbrother, a stepmother, and strangest of all, an adoring younger half sister.

Kacey’s new life is eerily charming compared with the wild highs and lows of the old one she lived with her volatile mother. And everyone is so nice in Broken Falls—she’s even been welcomed into a tight new circle of friends. Bailey and Jade invite her to do everything with them.

Which is why it’s so odd when they start acting distant. And when they don’t invite her to the biggest party of the year, it doesn’t exactly feel like an accident.

But Kacey will never be able to ask, because Bailey never makes it home from that party. Suddenly, Broken Falls doesn’t seem so welcoming after all—especially once everyone starts looking to the new girl for answers.

Kacey is about to learn some very important lessons: Sometimes appearances can be deceiving. Sometimes when you’re the new girl, you shouldn’t trust anyone.

Have you read Little Monsters? What did you think of it?

Review: Fairy Unicorn Wishes (Fairy Mom and Me #3)

Title: Fairy Unicorn Wishes (Fairy Mom and Me #3)
Author: Sophie Kinsella, Marta Kissi (illustrations)
Genre: Children’s, Fantasy
Publisher: Puffin Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: January 28, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Fairies, unicorns and magical wishes combine in this third book of the Fairy Mom and Me series from New York Timesbestselling author Sophie Kinsella!

Ella’s one wish is to become a fairy like her mom. She dreams of the day she will have her sparkly crown and Computwand. Ella even imagines what her first spell would be: a glittery unicorn of her very own. 

But Ella knows that spells are often harder than they look, even with the special fairy apps available…and being a fairy in waiting is not all rainbows and butterflies. 

Will Ella learn more magic to help her become a fairy someday? Or will she learn she doesn’t need to be a fairy yet for all her wishes to come true?

Review:

This is another great book in the Fairy Mom and Me series.

This story was very funny. Ella’s mom is a fairy, but she is always making mistakes with her magic. Sometimes her spells go wrong, like when a twirling spell made pigs and sheep dance. Another time, she installed a new spell app on her wand, which ended up granting all of Ella’s wishes, including giving her a unicorn. There were lots of pictures, depicting these spells going wrong, which were also hilarious.

I like that these stories show kids that adults can make mistakes too. Adults are constantly learning new things, just like kids. Ella’s mom makes mistakes with her spells, but Ella still admires her and wants to be a fairy when she grows up.

I really enjoyed this cute story.

Thank you Penguin Random House Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish, Lynne Avril (illustrations)

Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth by Jane O’Connor, Robin Preiss Glasser (illustrations)

Other Books in the Series:

Have you read Fairy Unicorn Wishes? What did you think of it?

TBR Thursday – January 30

TBR Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Kimberly Faye Reads, where you post a title from your shelf or e-reader and find out what others think about it.

My pick this week is Wolf Hall (Thomas Cromwell #1) by Hilary Mantel.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor.

Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.

Have you read this book? What did you think of it?

Review: Woman on the Edge

Title: Woman on the Edge
Author: Samantha M. Bailey
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: November 26, 2019
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A moment on the subway platform changes two women’s lives forever—a debut thriller that will take your breath away.

A total stranger on the subway platform whispers, “Take my baby.”

She places her child in your arms. She says your name.

Then she jumps…

In a split second, Morgan Kincaid’s life changes forever. She’s on her way home from work when a mother begs her to take her baby, then places the infant in her arms. Before Morgan can stop her, the distraught mother jumps in front of an oncoming train.

Morgan has never seen this woman before, and she can’t understand what would cause a person to give away her child and take her own life. She also can’t understand how this woman knew her name.

The police take Morgan in for questioning. She soon learns that the woman who jumped was Nicole Markham, prominent CEO of the athletic brand Breathe. She also learns that no witness can corroborate her version of events, which means she’s just become a murder suspect.

To prove her innocence, Morgan frantically retraces the last days of Nicole’s life. Was Nicole a new mother struggling with paranoia or was she in danger? When strange things start happening to Morgan, she suddenly realizes she might be in danger, too.

Woman on the Edge is a pulse-pounding, propulsive thriller about the lengths to which a woman will go to protect her baby—even if that means sacrificing her own life.

Review:

This was a fast-paced, suspenseful thriller.

Each chapter ended with a cliffhanger. It was so hard to put down this book, because the big reveals and suspenseful moments at the end of each chapter made me want to keep reading to find out what would happen next. Each plot twist was equally creepy and mysterious.

I couldn’t guess the solution to why Nicole gave Morgan her baby, which made me like this book even more. The ending made sense, but it was still surprising. I liked that it kept me guessing until the end.

I really enjoyed this thriller!

Thank you Simon and Schuster Canada for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

Have you read Woman on the Edge? What did you think of it?

'Waiting on' Wednesday – January 29

This is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. In this post we highlight a book that’s highly anticipated.

The book that I’m waiting on this Wednesday is Ember Queen (Ash Princess Trilogy #3) by Laura Sebastian. The expected publication date is February 4, 2020.

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Goodreads Synopsis:

The thrilling conclusion to the series that began with the instant New York Times bestseller “made for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Sabaa Tahir” (Bustle), Ember Queen is an epic fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.

Princess Theodosia was a prisoner in her own country for a decade. Renamed the Ash Princess, she endured relentless abuse and ridicule from the Kaiser and his court. But though she wore a crown of ashes, there is fire in Theo’s blood. As the rightful heir to the Astrean crown, it runs in her veins. And if she learned nothing else from her mother, she learned that a Queen never cowers. 

Now free, with a misfit army of rebels to back her, Theo must liberate her enslaved people and face a terrifying new enemy: the new Kaiserin. Imbued with a magic no one understands, the Kaiserin is determined to burn down anyone and everything in her way. 

The Kaiserin’s strange power is growing stronger, and with Prinz Søren as her hostage, there is more at stake than ever. Theo must learn to embrace her own power if she has any hope of standing against the girl she once called her heart’s sister.

What books are you waiting on this week?

Review: Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1)

Title: Infinity Son (Infinity Cycle #1)
Author: Adam Silvera
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Purchased
Format: Hardcover
Release Date: January 14, 2020
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers—a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day.

Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own—one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be.

Brotherhood, love, and loyalty will be put to the test, and no one will escape the fight unscathed.

Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Review:

This story had all the elements of a great fantasy: a “chosen one” prophecy, twins, orphans, mythical creatures, and unexpected twists. This is a great start to a new series!

The world took a little work to get into. This book is set in an alternate New York where there are magical creatures called celestials and specters. Most people come into their powers naturally, if they will get any power at all. However, people can also use potions made of the blood of mythical creatures like phoenixes and hydras. The potions give people unexpected and dangerous powers.

This story had lots of drama and twists that I didn’t expect. It ended on quite a cliffhanger. I don’t know what will happen next but I’m excited for the next book!

What to read next:

Reverie by Ryan La Sala

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Have you read Infinity Son? What did you think of it?