Game of Thrones meets Red Rising in a debut young adult fantasy that’s full of rivalry, romance… and dragons.
Annie and Lee were just children when a brutal revolution changed their world, giving everyone—even the lowborn—a chance to test into the governing class of dragonriders.
Now they are both rising stars in the new regime, despite backgrounds that couldn’t be more different. Annie’s lowborn family was executed by dragonfire, while Lee’s aristocratic family was murdered by revolutionaries. Growing up in the same orphanage forged their friendship, and seven years of training have made them rivals for the top position in the dragonriding fleet.
But everything changes when survivors from the old regime surface, bent on reclaiming the city.
With war on the horizon and his relationship with Annie changing fast, Lee must choose to kill the only family he has left or to betray everything he’s come to believe in. And Annie must decide whether to protect the boy she loves . . . or step up to be the champion her city needs.
From debut author Rosaria Munda comes a gripping adventure that calls into question which matters most: the family you were born into, or the one you’ve chosen.
Thank you The FFBC for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Fireborne will be published on October 15, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
what is it about?
Fireborne follows the story of Lee and Annie, two childhood friends who grew up together and their journey during the new regime in Callipolis. Although both of them were from the same orphanage and shared common goals when they were younger, the differences in their family backgrounds were too big to fill in the gap that started to arise as they grew older. Fueled by personal ambitions, fierce competitions, twisted lies, political intrigues, and emerging wars, Lee and Annie must choose between the family that they were born into or the one that they found along the way.
what do I think about it?
Hands down, Fireborne is one of the most solid debuts that I read this year. I’ve been discovering a lot of good books lately, but this one is truly a gem. I’m also incredibly excited since I buddy read this book with Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea and we had a great time discussing and swooning over it! Today’s review is going to be a bit different than my usual format because there are a lot of areas that I want to cover and talk about without causing any confusion, in case you haven’t got a chance to devour into this epic universe yet.
➤ Let’s start with how this book pitched as Aegon Targaryen and Hermione Granger with dragons. I don’t think if there’s any precise statement to explain this book aside from this one. If you’re intrigued to read this book after looking at that bold statement, let me convince you why you should continue your intention. The resemblance of Aegon Targaryen on Lee comes from Lee’s bloodline as the aristocratic family, commonly known as Dragonlords during the old regime. In this regime, Dragonlords are highborn in society and they had the birthright to ride dragons. After his family was murdered by revolutionaries and the regime changed, Lee joined the training to prove his worth to ride the dragons, but oftentimes, he still pondered whether he must compete for a title that should be his birthright. There are more resemblance of Aegon on Lee when the story got deeper, but I can’t really mention it without dropping spoilers! Meanwhile, the resemblance of Hermione Granger on Annie comes from Annie’s intelligence, hard works, and determination. Although she often got underestimated by her fellow classmates, even her teachers (it’s basically how Snape taking points from Gryffindor every time Hermione answered his questions in class!), for being a lowborn (um, Mudblood?!), she continuously improved herself to achieve her goals. #HustleHard
Because Firstrider is a title I’ve wanted since before the Revolution. It would be all the recognition, power, and respect that my family lost over the course of a single bloody month when I was eight years old, regained.
➤ But maybe, you don’t care about Aegon or Hermione. Maybe, you’re just fond of the dragons. That’s alright, too. Because if you do, Fireborne is the story set in a dragon land that you don’t want to miss. The dragons featured heavily in this story and I can assure you that you’ll enjoy every single second of it. My favorite part is the fact that the dragons weren’t just appeared for the sake of ‘coolness’ for being a dragon, but rather how it was blended so naturally with the characters, the plot, and the overall worldbuilding. We got a glimpse of the existence of dragons during the old regime through the characters’ throwback, a glimpse of how they choose their rider (much like how the wands choose the wizard!) through their first encounter, and a glimpse of how they become emotionally connected with their riders through the competition to become the Firstrider,
“Now tell me again why you want to make Firstrider?” “Because I’d be good at it.”
➤ And lastly, character-wise, plot-wise, and writing-wise, Fireborne is truly a masterpiece. I couldn’t find anything that I dislike about this book. I enjoyed every scene that was delivered, every intrigue and secret that was revealed, and every character that was involved. There’s no wasted potential in this debut. The complicated relationship between Lee and Annie was delivered beautifully. It was a slow-burn romance that I’m longing to read. The convoluted political intrigue which was the major plot in this story was extremely well-built, as they were no rights or wrongs because everyone has their own motives and reasons to be avenged. And Munda delivered all of these gracefully through her dazzling writings. This entire book is an absolute golden, but I always enjoyed the quotation that the characters took from the fictional literature in this story, which also the title of this series, The Aurelian Cycle. These proses give me chills and I wish I could read the book itself (especially now that it is banned in Callipolis!).
Bring what fury you have and I will answer it with ours.
The bottom line, Fireborne is an epic fantasy that you don’t want to miss. It’s an incredible first of the series that will leave you craving for more dragon duel, political secrets, and swoon-worthy romance.
Today’s post is a bit late than my usual schedule but I’m still as excited to bring you the list of my most anticipated debut releases for this month! There are a lot of debut releases this month, let me tell you. So, you can imagine how hard it is to narrow it down into these 16 titles! Regardless, I hope you find something to be added from this list to your overflowing TBR.
I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository When the news about Earth that might end in seven days spread, the paths of three high-schoolers crossed each other. Struggling with each of their own problems, getting to know one another while trying to survive the end of the world might not what they were expected to do during their last week on Earth.
Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Three strangers must overcome their differences in the game of lies and twists and work together to put an end to a deadly epidemic in this queer #OwnVoices science-fantasy novel from debut author, Rosiee Thor.
The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository At the end of the twenty-first century, life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface after an asteroid hit the Earth. When her father captured by the authority with vague reasoning, Leyla McQueen realized that she will risk everything to bring her father back, including joining a deadly sub-race or getting out of London illegally and explore the wild ocean for the very first time.
Shadow Frost by Coco Ma Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Going on a demon hunt to protect her kingdom, Asterin never imagined that she will unearth a plot to assassinate herself, The Princess, instead. Asterin and her companions begin to wonder how much of their lives have been lies, especially when they realize that the center of the web of deceit might very well be themselves.
A River of Royal Blood by Amanda Joy Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository A River of Royal Blood is an enthralling debut set in a lush North African inspired fantasy world that subtly but powerfully challenges our notions of power, history, and identity.
Crier’s War by Nina Varela Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository An impossible love between two girls—one human, one Made—whose romance could be the beginning of a revolution in this epic fantasy duology from debut author, Nina Varela.
The Good Luck Girls by Charlotte Nicole Davis Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Following the escape trip of five enslaved girls in their journey of finding freedom in the vicious land of Arketta, where people divided into ones with shadow and ones without one and demonic creatures and spirits wandered around.
The Memory Thief by Lauren Mansy Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository In the city of Craewick, memories are the currency, citizens are divided by ability, and Gifted individuals can take memories from others through touch as they please. Trying to save her threatened mother, Etta will do whatever it takes, even if it means rejoining the rebel group she swore off in the wake of the accident years earlier and steal a map of prison created by the bloodthirsty ruler of a neighboring Realm.
Fireborne by Rosaria Munda Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository When two childhood friends grow up together and the war is just over the edge, they must choose between the families they were born into or the one that they founded in each other.
Gravemaidens by Kelly Coon Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Gravemaidens is the start of a fierce fantasy duology about three maidens who are chosen for their land’s greatest honor…and one girl determined to save her sister from the grave.
The Last True Poets of the Sea by Julia Drake Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Epic, funny, and sweepingly romantic, The Last True Poets of the Sea is an astonishing debut about a missing piece of family history, weathering the storms of life, and the strength it takes to swim up from a wreck.
The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.
Full Disclosure by Camryn Garrett Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository In a community that isn’t always understanding, an HIV-positive teen must navigate fear, disclosure, and radical self-acceptance when she falls in love–and lust–for the first time.
Michigan vs. the Boys by Carrie S. Allen Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Michigan Manning lives and breathes hockey and her future depends on it, but when the girl’s team dismissed due to the budget cut, she was determined to find a way to keep playing, even if it means joining the boy’s team. Facing a culture of toxic masculinity, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up – even if it means putting her future on the line.
Scars Like Wings by Erin Stewart Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Relatable, heartbreaking, and real, this is a story of Ava Lee who has lost everything there is to lose: Her parents. Her best friend. Her home. Even her face. But when Ava meets a fellow survivor named Piper, she begins to feel like maybe she doesn’t have to face the nightmare alone.
The Library of Lost Things by Laura Taylor Namey Add to Goodreads • Buy on Book Depository Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. But when her only home suddenly hangs in the balance and her mother’s compulsive shopping habit pressure her even more, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works… and straight into her heart.
Which books that you’re the most excited to read this month?
Initially, on the very last day of the readathon, I thought that I failed it because I only completed three and a half books from my TBR. But turns out, just a few minutes ago, after I read my TBR post again, I realized that with those three books only (I finished the other half by now but it’s not counted, right?), I actually completed the whole seven prompts of this readathon! So… Nope, I didn’t manage to read all of the books that I originally placed on my TBR, but hey, I completed the whole prompts anyway? So, it’s a success? Haha, jk, unless? But, since I’ve read four books in total until this very second, I think I’d just talk about them all in today’s wrap-up post!
➤ Six Goodbyes We Never Said by Candace Ganger (2019 + diverse + illustrated + hard-hitting)
I wish I could enjoy this book more, but unfortunately, its formatting didn’t really do me a favor for experiencing the whole story. Regardless, it was clear that this story holds a strong attachment to the author and the mental illnesses’ representation in it was spot on.
➤ Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks (2019 + yellow cover + diverse + illustrated + plants)
This one entered my favorite graphic novel list for this year easily. Hands down! It was so freaking good. The slow burn romance was executed very well and natural, the pumpkin patch park was a whole fun adventure, and don’t get me started on all the delicious seasonal foods and deserts that mentioned throughout this story!
➤ Permanent Record by Mary H. K. Choi (2019 + diverse + illustrated + beloved by Melanie)
Although I was having a terrible time with Emergency Contact, it doesn’t mean that I’m not interested in Choi’s newest contemporary. I buddy read this one with Rita and sadly, we both agree that we didn’t enjoy it as much.
➤ Frankly in Love by David Yoon (2019 + yellow cover + diverse + beloved by Noura)
I’m excited to announce that I enjoyed this so much more than I expected! Frank Li was a really interesting character to follow and although I questioned his decision sometimes, but considering he’s a senior and stressing out over college, struggling as a Korean-American, and dealing with too many pressure from his parents, I’ll let it slide.
Have you read any of the titles above?What do you think about them?
Olivia Foster hasn’t felt alive since her little brother drowned in the backyard pool three years ago. Then Kara Hallas moves in across the street with her mother and grandmother, and Olivia is immediately drawn to these three generations of women. Kara is particularly intoxicating, so much so that Olivia not only comes to accept Kara’s morbid habit of writing to men on death row, she helps her do it. They sign their letters as the Resurrection Girls.
But as Kara’s friendship pulls Olivia out of the dark fog she’s been living in, Olivia realizes that a different kind of darkness taints the otherwise lively Hallas women—an impulse that is strange, magical, and possibly deadly.
Thank you YA Bound Book Tours for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. Resurrection Girls was published on October 1, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
what is it about?
Resurrection Girls started three years after Olivia Foster’s little brother, Robby, drowned in the pool in their backyard. Broken and crushed, her mother was consuming pills to escape the grief and her father wasn’t around that much, arriving home during late hours and avoiding conversation or any sort of social interaction with the remains of his family. When three generations of women moving into a house across the street, Olivia didn’t realize that her lonesome journey will take turns. The Hallas women are intoxicating and mysterious, and soon Olivia made friends with Kara, who’s full of confidence, odd, and seems to know a lot about Olivia ever since their very first encounter.
what do I think about it?
The first thing that strikes my mind about this book is that it was far from what I was expected. Looking at the cover, reading the synopsis, checking the genres’ list, I was expecting this book will be heavier on the fantasy, magical, and witchy elements. But in reality, this is a story of grieving, losing your loved ones, dealing with unavoidable emptiness, and healing. Although I’m not complaning, because Morgyn did an awesome job for delivering this story with her haunting and poetic narratives.
I had a great time with this book, especially diving in its odd plot and exploring its quirky characters. The originality of Resurrection Girls was outstanding and it was bizarre when I first read about Olivia and Kara’s correspondences with the prisoned criminals, but it was so bizarre that it actually attracted me to keep reading. Their friendship also dynamic and always interesting to be followed, as I keep wondering what’s the next thing that they were gonna do after I finished each chapter.
Unfortunately, there were other things that prevent me from having that extraordinary, one of a kind reading experience. The inconsistentency of the plot was my first issue, and I’ve been thinking about it since the earlier chapters, especially because things are slow during those earlier chapters and I didn’t feel that many of those scenes contributed big impact on the bigger picture of the story, yet it took a fast route every since Olivia met Kara. I also couldn’t fully engaged and resonated with the rest of Olivia’s family. And I had so many questions that bugging me throughout the story, especially towards the Hallas. What’s their history? How exactly are their “magic” works? Are they naturally born with their charms to manipulate people or is it a work of magic? Why there were no men in their family tree? Where was Kara’s father? Why was Kara grow an interest to penpal prisoned criminals? I wish there’d be more explanation about all of these since the Hallas was the reason why this story happening in the first place.
Overall, Resurrection Girls is a poignant debut that explores loss, grieving, and healing with such graceful way. The little incorporation of magical realism in this contemporary might be a hit or a miss, which all depends on your reading preference.
The Good Luck Girls follows the story of five girls and their escape journey to find freedom in the brutal land of Arketta. With a hope to get rid of their cursed markings, they will have to face a long trip full of demonic creatures, ruthless monsters, and not to mention the forces that chase them for a murder that one of them accidentally committed.
Westworld meets The Handmaid’s Tale in this stunning fantasy adventure from debut author Charlotte Nicole Davis.
Aster, the protector Violet, the favorite Tansy, the medic Mallow, the fighter Clementine, the catalyst
THE GOOD LUCK GIRLS
The country of Arketta calls them Good Luck Girls–they know their luck is anything but. Sold to a “welcome house” as children and branded with cursed markings. Trapped in a life they would never have chosen.
When Clementine accidentally murders a man, the girls risk a dangerous escape and harrowing journey to find freedom, justice, and revenge in a country that wants them to have none of those things. Pursued by Arketta’s most vicious and powerful forces, both human and inhuman, their only hope lies in a bedtime story passed from one Good Luck Girl to another, a story that only the youngest or most desperate would ever believe.
It’s going to take more than luck for them all to survive.
Thank you The Nerd Daily, Tor Teen and NetGalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy in exchange for an honest review. The Good Luck Girls was published on October 1, 2019 and available on Amazon, Book Depository, and other book retailers.
what is it about?
The story started in a brothel called Welcome House, where the five girls lived and tried their best to survive after being sold by their family to get money for a living, pay debts, or simply because it was seen as the better way because the brothel offered food and roof to stay. It was the sixteenth birthday of one of the girls, Clementine, and it marked her transformation from being a daybreak girl where she’d need to do daily chores, into a sundown girl where she’d started to accompany clients at nights, commonly called as brags. It was supposed to be her Lucky Night, until she accidentally killed her very first client. Her older sister, Aster, who’s already experienced the ugly side of being a sundown girl, realized that there was no way for them to get out of this unfortunate event without getting punish unless they run away and leave the brothel. With the other three girls, Mallow, Tansy, and Violet, Aster lead the escape journey not to just physically get out of the brothel, but also to get rid of the tattoos that marked them as good luck girls. Girls that are forced into sex slavery in Welcome House , girls that are forced to praise every brag that they encountered, girls that need to swallow drugs in order to escape their traumas, girls that are sold by their own family. Maybe, they were not so lucky after all.
what do I think about it?
Ever since its first page, The Good Luck Girls was nothing but continuous intensity, dynamic storyline, full-force action packs, excellent inclusivity and representation of multiple mental illnesses (anxiety, depression, PTSD, addiction), and delivery of well-researched topics including sex trafficking, sex slavery, social inequality, and oppression. It was raw and raging. Davis delivered a story which set in fantasy land but with issues that sadly still happened in our reality.
I thoroughly enjoyed the entire aspect of The Good Luck Girls. As much as being entertained by the magical universe that Davis created, I was also learning about multiple important issues that I’ve never aware of before. Yes, this story feels like a furious shout over devastating issues that still happening at this very moment, and I applaud Davis for sharing her awareness and knowledge, not just by simply writing this story but also for spending enormous efforts and time to deliver facts and truths by conducting researches (in case you want to see more behind the story about this and the book references that Davis used, check out the acknowledgment part).
Everyone deserved to be free, though. Everyone deserved to feel this.
The universe of The Good Luck Girls was exceptional. It was built on such detailed narratives that leave me craving for more. Davis was truly incredible in describing this magical world of hers, everything from the scab, the underworld, to the animal and other magical creatures that lived in it was delivered in such cinematic writing. Everything was vivid and authentic.
And clearly, this is neither a plot-driven or a character-driven story. Because it is both! There was always something happening that moved the characters forward. I’m not the biggest fan when this method used in a story because oftentimes, they feel forced and unnatural. But in The Good Luck Girls, it flows smoothly and although I’m tensed and scared for these characters’ life, I couldn’t wait for more twists and unfortunate events. (No offense, Aster. Your gang will be always in my pray)
In conclusion, I’m glad to pick this book as one of my most anticipated debut titles for this month, because it truly lives to my expectations! The ending was not a ‘happily ever after’, indeed, but it left many unanswered questions that hopefully will be revealed in the next book.
what’s the verdict?
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What’s your most anticipated debut for this month? Are you thinking about adding The Good Luck Girls to your next reading list?