Blog Tour & Review: The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson

Hello readers! I was lucky enough to be selected by Source Books Fire through Midas Public Relations to take part in this blog tour. It was such an exciting tour to be a part of and I’m really grateful for the ARC copy they sent me in exchange for this honest review. Thank you again, Source Books Fire!

I’m finishing up this tour alongside DMCI Reads and The Library Looter. Go check them out!

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In the tropical kingdom of Rhodaire, magical, elemental Crows are part of every aspect of life…until the Illucian empire invades, destroying everything.
That terrible night has thrown Princess Anthia into a deep depression. Her sister Caliza is busy running the kingdom after their mother’s death, but all Thia can do is think of all she has lost.
But when Caliza is forced to agree to a marriage between Thia and the crown prince of Illucia, Thia is finally spurred into action. And after stumbling upon a hidden Crow egg in the rubble of a rookery, she and her sister devise a dangerous plan to hatch the egg in secret and get back what was taken from them.

I fell in love with this book the moment I saw it. I mean, the beautiful cover is a pretty good start, right? As soon as I started reading, I felt somehow comforted, in the sense I just knew I was going to enjoy this one.

It felt so lovely to read a good fantasy. I recently read The Last Namsara, and even though I liked it, The Storm Crow just seemed to add the things I missed in that one. For a start, the world was beautiful and so well described – I felt enveloped in the rich, lush description of the lands and kingdoms. The writing was poetic and lovely.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the first chapter. It was full of action and intrigue, and kept me intrigued for the lulls and slower parts. And unfortunately, the only downside for me was that this book did lull. Although the writing was great, the pacing unfortunately wasn’t. The action was very sporadic and I felt left for the majority of the book without any. Part of me understands due to Thia’s mental health, and the slow plot did make me sympathise with her personal struggles.

But that’s where my complaints end – I adored everything else about The Storm Crow. Thia resonated deeply with me in a way characters in fantasy don’t usually. I find with fantasy there can be some disconnect if the characters seem unattainable or unrealistic. With Thia, things are different. She struggles openly with grief and depression, and the way this was discussed felt so important. She was still a badass, passionate and heroic woman, but she was also struggling and surviving day by day. It made her so much more real.

My love for the characters doesn’t end there. This book had a great cast of side characters too, and I loved them all for their own roles. Thia’s relationship with her sister felt well written, and so did her friendship with Kiva, who I loved. Her friendship with Caylus and difficult friendship with her husband-to-be also offered interesting, dynamic relationships I became quickly invested in. And I can’t write this review without giving a shoutout to a villain I absolutely loved to hate, Razal.

The whole crow element to this book is something I’ve not really seen before in YA, and I loved it. Having such a strong connection to the magic and animals gave the story a whole different dynamic and focus, rather than just the politics. Instead, the story flickered between politics and magic and Thia’s passionate love for the crows, which kept me on my toes and interested.

Overall, this book encompassed me in such a love for a rich world, diverse (in all ways), lovable characters, magic and passionate writing. All in all, the only reason this didn’t quite get 5 full stars from me is unfortunately the pacing – everything else was there and I loved it.

★★★★★ 
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Blog Tour: All the Good Things by Clare Fisher

A big thank you once again to Penguin Random House UK for inviting me to take part in this blog tour! Blog tours are very exciting, and I invite you to check out the other lovely bloggers taking part alongside me.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Penguin UK in exchange for an honest review. This has not changed my views in any way.

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Twenty-one year old Beth is in prison. The thing she did is so bad she doesn’t deserve to ever feel good again.

But her counsellor, Erika, won’t give up on her. She asks Beth to make a list of all the good things in her life. So Beth starts to write down her story, from sharing silences with Foster Dad No. 1, to flirting in the Odeon on Orange Wednesdays, to the very first time she sniffed her baby’s head.
But at the end of her story, Beth must confront the bad thing.

What is the truth hiding behind her crime? And does anyone-even a 100% bad person-deserve a chance to be good?

The easiest way I can describe All the Good Things is raw. This is pure, honest feelings. There is absolutely no filter, and I loved it.

Beth is the perfect protagonist. She tells her story in a great way – and I loved the use of flashbacks to all the different parts of her life. The cast of characters is large, and I actually enjoyed that. Most of the time I find it easier to focus on just a couple or small group of main characters, but this time, it worked. I knew who everyone was, why they were there and what they added to the story. And that’s the other great thing – all of the characters fitted. All of them worked well together, and they were all needed to complete the story.

The story Beth tells is one of the most difficult I have ever read – but at the same time, I couldn’t stop reading. I became very attached to Beth, the damaged soul she is, and I wanted to know she would be okay.

The writing is extremely clever, in that we get to know Beth before finding out about this ‘bad thing’. In fact, we know everything about her and her life before this ‘bad thing’, and it works so well.

This stopped the judgement surrounding people in prison. It stopped the way we feel towards people who have committed crimes this serious, because we, strangely, were forced to understand. We were forced to relate. The fact that Fisher could do this in words baffles me. I look up to her and respect her as an author, because she did something beyond belief.

I love the lead up to the big ending in the story. The book follows a series of sessions Beth has with her counselor, Erika, in which she writes a list of all the good things in her life. With each point on this list, another part is added to the story.

So…did I guess the ending? I have to admit, I did. Not completely, but it was like this thing in my head was nudging me, going ‘it could be this, it could be this’, and it was right. But, the same as Beth, I didn’t want to accept the fate. And, the same as Beth, I ignored the nudging. This means the book works whether you guess the ending or not – because you still don’t want to face it, and you still want to find out what really happened.

Overall, this book was harrowing, but it needed to be. It was real. It was human. It showed a very important thing – we are complicated creatures. We are all different, and we are not defined by one single thing.

A beautifully written debut, and one I would thoroughly recommend to all readers.

☽ ☽ ☽ ☽ ☽
5 out of 5 moons

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Blog Tour: My Name Is Leon

Thank you to Penguin Random House for letting me take part in this tour!

So readers, I am proud and happy to welcome you to my very first blog tour. Hopefully it is the first of many! Before we start, I received a copy of this book from the publishing company for review, but all of my opinions are my own.

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A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one.

Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas. But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not.

As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum..

It’s been a while since I’ve read a book about adoption/fostering, and I was a little apprehensive as it’s been so long. But I actually really enjoyed this one!

The plot…is steady, easy to follow and flows very well.

The characters…are touching. I loved Leon – and that the book was from his POV. His tender love for his family runs throughout this novel and it shines through to make this book what it is.

The writing…is amazing! I know I would struggle to write from a child’s viewpoint, but Kit De Waal really pulls it off.

Something I liked…this book…it really makes you feel for the characters. They are young, and therefore I felt so much sympathy for them – more I think than if it was in the POV of an adult.

Something I disliked…honestly, I can’t pick out anything. In it’s own right, this book is amazing. It’s not something I’d usually choose, but I’m very glad to have read it!

My thoughts…My Name Is Leon gives you everything you could ever want from a book. It’s emotional, extremely touching and it makes you think. I’d definitely recommend it!

My rating is…

☽ ☽ ☽ ☽
4 out of 5 moons

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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