Review: This Poison Heart (#1) by Kalynn Bayron

54860241

Goodreads | Waterstones

Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.
When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.
When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.

I love that this is a retelling of The Secret Garden, and it was done so damn well. I read Cinderella is Dead by the same author earlier this year and I really enjoyed it, and I knew I wanted to pick this one up. Trust me, it didn’t disappoint! This was such a clever and modern twist on the original story, and I loved the way it reflected the original book while bringing something so fresh and interesting.

Briseis was such a great main character and I loved her a lot. She spends this book struggling with her own power, learning about herself and those around her. She also has an amazing support network in her parents, and I loved their sapphic relationship! It was so wholesome and felt so real, and I just fell in love with their family dynamic.

The people we love are never really gone from us,” Mom said. “Try to remember that. I know it’s hard.

The house itself felt like a true reflection of the manor in The Secret Garden and I could picture it so well. It was perfectly creepy but also beautiful, and I loved how it bought out Briseis’ power. I loved how visual Bayron’s writing was, and it made picturing the entire story so easy. I chose this book for my bookoplathon TBR for the prompt gods/myths/legends, as it was steeped in Greek mythology, but in a way I found so much more accessible than some other books I’ve read recently

The plot was so compelling and I honestly found it hard to put this book down. It was so easy to read and the plot was changing all the time. Especially towards the end, we had so many unpredictable plot twists that made it so hard to stop reading!

 It feels like the whole world should just stop spinnin’, but it doesn’t. And we’ve gotta find a way to pick up the pieces.

Overall, I really loved this book and I feel like it’s one I will remember for a while to come. If you’re a fan of The Secret Garden but want something with a twist, this is perfect!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Booktube | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron

48855787. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

It’s 200 years since Cinderella found her prince, but the fairytale is over.
Sophia knows the story though, off by heart. Because every girl has to recite it daily, from when she’s tiny until the night she’s sent to the royal ball for choosing. And every girl knows that she has only one chance. For the lives of those not chosen by a man at the ball . are forfeit.
But Sophia doesn’t want to be chosen – she’s in love with her best friend, Erin, and hates the idea of being traded like cattle. And when Sophia’s night at the ball goes horribly wrong, she must run for her life. Alone and terrified, she finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s tomb. And there she meets someone who will show her that she has the power to remake her world.

I’ve heard mixed things about this but I honestly really enjoyed it. I read most of it in a day and if I didn’t have so much going on, would have probably finished it in the same day rather than two days. I loved the characters, I found it easy to read, fast paced and couldn’t put it down!

We follow Sophia, a Queer Black girl in a world dominated by men. Taking inspiration from Cinderella’s story, who died 200 years prior to this book, their world is very focused on marrying a man and settling down. Women are oppressed and being Queer is not seen as an option. But Sophia is ready to fight back.

I don’t want to be saved by some knight in shining armour.

I loved the way this book twisted the fairytale of Cinderella and gave it a whole new meaning, while also creating a whole world and patriarchy inspired by the tale itself. The retelling of Cinderella is quite dark and creepy, but I enjoyed the twisted side of it. This book as a whole was very powerful and some of the scenes in particular I loved and could picture very vividly. I really felt for the women in this world and I loved the main character of Sophia.

Sophia was not afraid to stand up for what she believed in and I really admired that about her. Seeing a strong, female, badass, Black main character is so amazing to see in YA and I love her as a role model for younger readers. My only criticism is this book did lack a little character development and didn’t make full use of the side characters, which was a shame as I found some of their dynamics really interesting.

 I’d like to be the one in the armour, and I’d like to be the one doing the saving.

However, it is worth remembering this book is fairly short and almost doesn’t have the space to deep dive into characters or setting. I actually enjoyed how punchy it was and flew through it. I would highly recommend this one for an accessible fantasy read with kick-ass Black women taking down the patriarchy!

★★★★
4 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Booktube | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere