Hello, hello! August was an extremely mixed reading month for me. I ended up DNF’ing two books, one by a huge author that was just really tropey and predictable and the other by a new to me author that just didn’t grip me. Despite that I still managed to read 9 books and four of them really stood out to me. Three were by new to me authors, and one from an author whose books I just love. So strap in cause this will be a slightly longer than usual post!
The Boy With Fire by Aparna Verma
Yassen Knight was the Arohassin’s most notorious assassin until a horrible accident. Now, he’s on the run from the authorities and his former employer. But when Yassen seeks refuge with an old friend, he’s offered an irresistible deal: defend the heir of Ravence from the Arohassin, and earn his freedom.
Elena Ravence prepares to ascend the throne. Trained since birth in statecraft, warfare, and the desert ways, Elena knows she is ready. She only lacks one thing: the ability to hold Fire. With the coronation only weeks away, she must learn quickly or lose her kingdom.
Leo Ravence is not ready to give up the crown. There’s still too much work to be done, too many battles to be won. But when an ancient prophecy threatens to undo his lifetime of work, Leo wages war on the heavens themselves to protect his legacy.
“His stone eyes fixed on her. ‘You called them your countrymen.’
‘This was not what I meant. I called for unity. This, this is destruction.’
‘You can’t call for fire and then blame others when you can’t wield it.”
“She tried to mask her indecision, but he knew every inch and curve of her face, every tremble of her lip. Hers was a face he had been forced to study, but had grown to know as if it was his own. He knew the way her chin jutted when she spoke defiantly; the way her nose scrunched when drinking whiskey; the way her eyes crinkled when she laughed. If there was one thing Yassen could claim, it was this: that even in the darkness of death, he would know her.”
Certain Dark Things by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Welcome to Mexico City, an oasis in a sea of vampires. Domingo, a lonely garbage-collecting street kid, is just trying to survive its heavily policed streets when a jaded vampire on the run swoops into his life. Atl, the descendant of Aztec blood drinkers, is smart, beautiful, and dangerous. Domingo is mesmerized.
Atl needs to quickly escape the city, far from the rival narco-vampire clan relentlessly pursuing her. Her plan doesn’t include Domingo, but little by little, Atl finds herself warming up to the scrappy young man and his undeniable charm. As the trail of corpses stretches behind her, local cops and crime bosses both start closing in.
Vampires, humans, cops, and criminals collide in the dark streets of Mexico City. Do Atl and Domingo even stand a chance of making it out alive? Or will the city devour them all?
“Don’t deceive yourself…this is not a love story.”
“There is a point when a man may swim back to shore, but he was past it. There was nothing left but to be swallowed by the enormity of the sea.”
“He looked down when those boys went by, his hair falling over his face, and they didn’t see him, because nobody saw him. It was just like with the regular passengers; Domingo melted into the tiles, the grime, the shadows.”
Bloody Spade by Brittany M. Willows
The era of magic was once thought to be a myth, but after the Reemergence ushered forces both dark and light into the mundane world, it has since become a harsh reality. Now those affected by this strange power—a specialized group of Empowered called Jokers, known collectively as Cardplay—must protect their world from the darkness that threatens to consume it, all the while fighting for equality in a society clinging to normalcy.
But the Reemergence was only the beginning.
When another influx occurs on the seventh anniversary of that fateful event, an unfortunate encounter at ground zero lands Iori Ryone, a teenage boy in possession of a corrupt and legendary magic, in the care of recent Joker graduate Ellen Amelia Jane. From him, she learns the Reemergence may not have been the inevitable natural disaster it first seemed.
Someone is trying to tear down the barrier that separates the magical realms from the mundane. The question is, can Cardplay stop them before it’s too late?
“So this was what falling felt like. He wasn’t sure when it happened – when her smile became the highlight of his day, when his favourite music became the sweet cadence of her voice, or where his desire to hold and be held by her started – but it had. At some point, she’d stopped being his safety net and transformed into his goal, his inspiration to pursue the future he desired. And this was it. A future full of adventure and laughter and more moments like this – that was what he wanted, and he wanted to share it with her; this beautiful, vibrant, bubbly spirit who’s shown him how bright a person could shine and demonstrated that compassion didn’t have to be a transaction.”
“His leather gloves scrunched on the railing. The scared kid in him wanted to run. The vengeful monster thirsted for blood. Between them, a boy on the cusp of adulthood yearned for justice swiftly served. He wouldn’t give the kid what he wanted. The monster? He hadn’t decided yet.”
In the Watchful City by S. Qiouyi Lu
The city of Ora uses a complex living network called the Gleaming to surveil its inhabitants and maintain harmony. Anima is one of the cloistered extrasensory humans tasked with watching over Ora’s citizens. Although ær world is restricted to what æ can see and experience through the Gleaming, Anima takes pride and comfort in keeping Ora safe from all harm.
All that changes when a mysterious visitor enters the city carrying a cabinet of curiosities from around the world, with a story attached to each item. As Anima’s world expands beyond the borders of Ora to places—and possibilities—æ never before imagined to exist, æ finds ærself asking a question that throws into doubt ær entire purpose: What good is a city if it can’t protect its people?
“Anima opens Aer eyes and sees the world.”
“A hundred lives lived beyond your own.’
‘Maybe? I’ve considered that. Why this task? Why must each item be given- why can’t I take a hundred mementos from one person with a colourful life? Perhaps I am meant to kill only one thing: the ego. Only then am I free from the idea that life is singular. Free to see experience as collective, lives as interlinked’ Se smiles. ‘That makes taking any one life, especially your own, that much more difficult.”
“I understand.’ Vessel says, nodding. ‘Maybe you can write something down instead. Whether truth or fiction, that has always helped me. It doesn’t so much remove the pain as it domesticates it into something you can coexist with.”
Certain Dark Things actually looks really cool! I’ll have to check it out!
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It’s just so good! And so different from other Vampire novels I’ve read 😊
Some great sounding books on this list, Becky! Silvia Moreno-Garcia seems like an author who never disappoints – I am finally going to start Mexican Gothic this week. I hope you read lots of wonderful books in September!
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Thanks! And I hope you enjoy Mexican Gothic 😊
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All of these sound like such amazing reads! I really need to get on Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s boos already. I think the hype has been keeping me away cos I’m worried I won’t love them as much as literally everyone else but she keeps coming out with more amazing books (with gorgeous covers!) and I think I need to dive into her books ASAP! Hope you have a fabulous September 😍
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Haha yes you do! I’d actually never heard of her when I read Gods of Jade and Shadow, but quickly fell in love with her writing, and yea… she has some strong cover goals. Have a good reading month 😊