#FebruarySheWrote: What I’m Reading and Recommendations

Benjamin from the Youtube channel Literature & Lofi organized a reading event using the hashtag #FebruarySheWrote focusing on books by authors using she/her pronouns.

What I’m reading this month

I’ve got four books lined up for this month. Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key and Beneath Cruel Fathoms are books I have to read for tours, Wild and Wicked Things is an ARC, and Girls of Paper and Fire is one I want to read to finish my r/fantasy bingo card. It’s my last book so I want to finish that one soon. This morning, I already finished reading Octavia Bloom (review to come) and now I have to decide which one next. It’s hard because I want to read all of them and they’re so different. I still have time before I need to write my reviews for Beneath Cruel Fathoms and Wild and Wicked Things so I might pick Girls of Paper and Fire to read something for myself.

I’ll be checking the hashtag throughout the month to see which books others are reading and recommending. Are you joining in? Have you read any of the books below? And which book would you recommend?

Octavia Bloom and the Missing Key by Estelle Grace Tudor

Summary
One tiny discovery can have enormous consequences…
Almost 10-year-old Octavia Bloom is looking for adventure, but when it comes it’s in the shape of a tiny fairy door.
Dragging her reluctant sister and cousins into the mystery, Octavia discovers her family are hiding not ONE but TWO life-changing secrets.
Why is her mother searching for an elusive flower? And does she have what it takes to reunite her fractured family?
Octavia’s certain the answers lie behind the fairy door, if only she could just find the key…
Bravery, secrets & magic intertwine in this fantastical adventure.

Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May

Summary
In the aftermath of World War I, a naive woman is swept into a glittering world filled with dark magic, romance, and murder in this lush and decadent debut.

On Crow Island, people whisper, real magic lurks just below the surface.

Neither real magic nor faux magic interests Annie Mason. Not after it stole her future. She’s only on the island to settle her late father’s estate and, hopefully, reconnect with her long-absent best friend, Beatrice, who fled their dreary lives for a more glamorous one.

Yet Crow Island is brimming with temptation, and the biggest one may be her enigmatic new neighbor.

Mysterious and alluring, Emmeline Delacroix is a figure shadowed by rumors of witchcraft. And when Annie witnesses a confrontation between Bea and Emmeline at one of the island’s extravagant parties, she is drawn into a glittering, haunted world. A world where the boundaries of wickedness are tested, and the cost of illicit magic might be death.

Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen

Summary
After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls. But when Isaura discovers Eisland’s ruthless new Lord commands the storms, her life will be in more danger on land than it ever was at sea.

As guardian of the Fathoms, Leonel must find the cause of unnatural storms ravaging the tidal currents and destroying the sea life. There are rumors of dark magic stirring in the Orom Abyss, the resting place of old, vanquished gods who tried to submerge the land millennia ago. Yet without proof, no one in King Ægir’s court will listen to him. And if it’s discovered he broke the Blue Laws to save a shipwrecked landweller, he might not survive the consequences.

As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Summary
Each year, eight beautiful girls are chosen as Paper Girls to serve the king. It’s the highest honor they could hope for…and the most demeaning. This year, there’s a ninth. And instead of paper, she’s made of fire.

In this richly developed fantasy, Lei is a member of the Paper caste, the lowest and most persecuted class of people in Ikhara. She lives in a remote village with her father, where the decade-old trauma of watching her mother snatched by royal guards for an unknown fate still haunts her. Now, the guards are back and this time it’s Lei they’re after — the girl with the golden eyes whose rumored beauty has piqued the king’s interest.

Over weeks of training in the opulent but oppressive palace, Lei and eight other girls learns the skills and charm that befit a king’s consort. There, she does the unthinkable — she falls in love. Her forbidden romance becomes enmeshed with an explosive plot that threatens her world’s entire way of life. Lei, still the wide-eyed country girl at heart, must decide how far she’s willing to go for justice and revenge.

My recommendations

May Day by Josie Jaffrey

Read my review
May Day by Josie Jaffrey is my favourite urban fantasy vampire book. Jack Valentine (unrelated to the fourteenth day of this month) is badass but also a trouble maker. And if isn’t causing the trouble, it finds her. Josie’s vampire universe, the Silverse, is an interesting one with lots of intrigue and interesting characters. Even though the series is set in different times, May Day being closest to our current time, you see what happens over the course of a vampire’s lifetime. Recommended to urban fantasy fans and people who want more blood-sucking vampires.

Summary
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.

It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.

When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.
To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.

Body bags on standby.

The Thirteenth Hour by Trudie Skies

Read my review
I’m never going to shut up about this one. Never. I’ve only read six books so far this year but I already know it’s going to be in my top three if not the number one spot for best book. The world pulled me in immediately, and after meeting Quen, I was sold. But all of her characters are amazing. I love the struggles they face, how cruel the gods and the worlds are. Not because I want them to suffer (ok, maybe a little) but because for some people, that’s what real life is too. It’s relatable and I want to know how they’re going to fight the system. Let me live vicariously through these characters. Highly recommended if you enjoyed Arcane on Netflix.

Summary
When the saints fail, the sinners step up.

Cruel gods rule the steam-powered city of Chime, demanding worship and tribute from their mortal subjects. Kayl lost her faith in them long ago, and now seeks to protect vulnerable and downtrodden mortals from their gods’ whims. But when Kayl discovers powers that she didn’t know she had—and destroys a mortal’s soul by accident—she becomes Chime’s most wanted.

Quen’s job was to pursue sinners, until the visions started. Haunted by foreboding images of his beloved city’s destruction, Quen hunts soul-sucking creatures made of aether who prey on its citizens—and Kayl is his number one target.

To ensure Chime’s future, Kayl and Quen must discover the truth of Kayl’s divine abilities before the gods take matters into their own hands.

For a city that bows to cruel gods, it’ll take godless heathens to save it.

Good Neighbors by Stephanie Burgis

Read my review
A new release! Stephanie Burgis is a fantastic author and her newest book, Good Neighbors, is another lovely book. It’s a collection of four stories following the inventor Mia and her necromancer neighbor, Leander. Stephanie has a way of creating characters that make them feel so alive. They’re all their own person, with wants and needs. I loved these stories and I hope you’ll love them too.

Summary
When a grumpy inventor meets her outrageous new neighbor in the big black castle down the road, more than one type of spark will fly!

Mia Brandt knows better than to ever again allow her true powers to be discovered. Ever since her last neighbors burned down her workshop in a night of terror and flame, she’s been determined to stay solitary, safe, and – to all outside appearances – perfectly respectable…

But Leander Fabian, whose sinister castle looms over her cozy new cottage, has far more dangerous ideas in mind. When he persuades Mia into a reluctant alliance, she finds herself swept into an exhilarating world of midnight balls, interfering countesses, illicit opera house expeditions, necromantic duels, and a whole unnatural community of fellow magic-workers and outcasts, all of whom are facing a terrifying threat.

Luckily, Mia has unnatural powers of her own – but even her unique skills may not be enough to protect her new found family and help her resist the wickedly provoking neighbor who’s seen through all of her shields from the beginning.

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