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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Stacking the Shelves #97

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi everyone! I’m here again with more YALC books. Honestly, I’m going to be taking so many with me when we go, my suitcase will be so heavy! I still have a short list of books I want to buy, but I’m nearly there now 🙂 I think I’ll definitely be going on another book ban after YALC 😛

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Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead.
When Cass’s parents start hosting a TV show about the world’s most haunted places, the family heads off to Edinburgh. Here, graveyards, castles and secret passageways teem with restless phantoms.
But when Cass meets a girl who shares her “gift”, she realizes how much she still has to learn about the Veil—and herself. And she’ll have to learn fast. The city of ghosts is more dangerous than she ever imagined.

I actually picked this up a little on a whim in Dublin last weekend, knowing it would be a good introduction to VE Schwab’s work! I’ve already read it and enjoyed it, and you can see my review tomorrow.

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I knew I wanted to pick up the second book in this series eventually, so I managed to get a semi-cheap matching edition to the first book.

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In case you’re wondering, this is not a love story.
My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.
Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.
I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden.
I really don’t.

I actually ordered the new pink paperback of this, but of course they sent me the wrong one. The good thing is I managed to get a refund without sending the book back, so I’m going to use it as a trial to see if I want to buy Alice’s other books!

Did you buy any books this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! My Trip to Dublin

Hi all! I’ve briefly mentioned recently that I was travelling to Dublin to meet Sophie from Mind of a Bookdragon, and today’s post is all about that!

A little background: me and Sophie met through the bookish Instagram community years ago. We’re not exactly sure of the year, but we think it’s about 5 years! We’ve talked a lot since then, and video called, but never had the chance to meet as I live in the UK and she lives in the USA. Until now! We were lucky enough to find ourselves close enough for me to pay her a visit, so I flew over for the day to Dublin, which is a brand new city for me!

This is the exact place Sophie and I saw each other (and of course ran to give each other hugs) for the first time! The photo of us was taken just minutes after we first saw each other 🙂

We spent a very full day exploring the city, which Sophie knows better than me and showed me around. It’s such a beautiful city!

We visited The Book of Kells and the Long Room together, and we were definitely the perfect people to see this place with. I believe it’s from this scene in Harry Potter.

Other adventures were bookish and non-bookish! By complete chance, I happened to be visiting on the day of the Pride Parade, which we went to see. It was absolutely brilliant and so fun, it really gave the city a different vibe and I felt so lucky to be there to see it.

We also went to the castle, the National History Museum, the Library and St Stephen’s Green, among many other places while exploring the city together! We also visited so many bookshops, including Hodges Figgis which is the Irish version of the British bookshop Waterstones and Ireland’s Oldest Bookshop.

Thank you again to Sophie for the many years of friendship and for our long awaited day together. I can’t wait to do it all again one day 🙂

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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June Wrap-Up and July TBR

Hi all! Another month has passed and now I have under a month to read as much as I can on my YALC TBR, wish me luck 🙂 Unfortunately I didn’t manage to read as much in June, I got in a few small slumps and I started a new job, but I did still read 6!

Books I read in June

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I really loved a lot of these, but my favourite has to be Girls of Paper and Fire and my least favourite was either Meet Cute or The Last Namsara (even though I still enjoyed both).

Books I Bought in June

Bought
The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali – Sabina Khan
Girls of Paper and Fire – Natasha Ngan
Meet Cute – Various authors
A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Shwab
The Last Namsara – Kristen Ciccarelli
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman
The Priory of the Orange Tree – Samantha Shannon
Do You Dream of Terra Two? – Temi Oh

Received
The Storm Crow – Kalyn Josephson
Tonight the Streets Are Ours – Leila Sales
Made You Up – Francesca Zappia
Three Dark Crowns – Kendare Blake
One Dark Throne – Kendare Blake
Two Dark Reigns – Kendare Blake

I was so lucky to receive a copy of The Storm Crow from Sourcebooks Fire (thank you!). All of the other ‘received’ were gifts from my lovely friend Chloe – thank you again Chloe. The many books on the ‘bought’ list were in preparation for YALC, as usual.

Books I Want to Read in July

Arctic Zoo – Robert Muchamore
A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Shwab
Do You Dream of Terra Two? – Temi Oh
Noughts and Crosses – Malorie Blackman

I just want to get through Arctic Zoo and then read as many books off my YALC TBR as possible to be honest! These are at the top of my list, although there are many more :p I need all the luck I can get!

What did you read in May and what’s on your June TBR?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Beautiful Quote #130 / Isla and the Happily Ever After

Beautiful Quotes is a weekly meme hosted by me, where I post some of my favourite quotes. Any other bloggers are welcome to join me in this and just link my blog!

Hi all! I’m so tired today, I’ve had such a busy week but it’s been amazing. I finally met up with Sophie for the first time ever and we had such an incredible day exploring Dublin! I’ll be posting about our day later in the week.

Travelling and talking about Europe with Sophie reminded me of the Anna and the French Kiss series by Stephanie Perkins, so today’s quote is from Isla and the Happily Ever After! I’ve always heard this is people’s least favourite in the series, but I think it was actually my favourite at the time 🙂

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“What are you working on?” I ask.
“The last page.” He gestures towards the table, where a pencilled sketch is being turned into inked brushstrokes. It’s a drawing of us, in this café, in this moment.
I smile up at him “It’s beautiful. But what comes next?”
“The best part.” And he pulls me back into his arms. “The happily ever after.” 
― Stephanie Perkins, Isla and the Happily Ever After

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Stacking the Shelves #96

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga where we share books we’ve bought this week. Find out more and join in here!

Hi everyone! All of the books featured in today’s post were gifts from my lovely friend Chloe, who I’m actually attending YALC with! Thank you so much again Chloe 🙂

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Recklessly loyal.
That’s how seventeen-year-old Arden Huntley has always thought of herself. Caring for her loved ones is what gives Arden purpose in her life and makes her feel like she matters. But lately she’s grown resentful of everyone—including her needy best friend and her absent mom—taking her loyalty for granted.
Then Arden stumbles upon a website called Tonight the Streets Are Ours, the musings of a young New York City writer named Peter, who gives voice to feelings that Arden has never known how to express. He seems to get her in a way that no one else does, and he hasn’t even met her.
Until Arden sets out on a road trip to find him.
During one crazy night out in New York City filled with parties, dancing, and music—the type of night when anything can happen, and nearly everything does—Arden discovers that Peter isn’t exactly who she thought he was. And maybe she isn’t exactly who she thought she was, either.

I’ve had this book on my TBR for years, yet I’ve never picked it up! I was so excited to have this copy.

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Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal. 

It’s the exact same situation with this book, I can’t wait to try it.

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In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown. 

I’ve had these on my TBR for a while now, and they sound so intriguing.

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Did you buy any books this week?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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Let’s Discuss! Books I Love But Never Mention

Hey readers! I’ve had this post idea for so long (like over a year), and I’m finally getting around to doing it. You know those books that just fade into the background but still deserve to be shouted about? Maybe they’ve been overshadowed, or aren’t talked about enough, or you read them years ago but still love them. These are those books for me!

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Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true
.

I definitely think this one is overshadowed by Everything Everything! As much as I love both books, this one deserves to be talked about too..and I’m so excited for the movie.

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Mitsuha, a high school girl living in a rural town deep in the mountains, has a dream that she is a boy living an unfamiliar life in Tokyo. Taki, a high school boy living in Tokyo, dreams that he is a girl living in the mountains. As they realize they are changing places, their encounter sets the cogs of fate into motion. The light novel is written by director Makoto Shinkai of the animated film Your Name.

This one is a little different, mainly because I would usually talk about the movie, but I adore the light novel version too.

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It’s 2002, a year after 9/11. It’s an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who’s tired of being stereotyped.
Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She’s tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments—even the physical violence—she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she’s built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.
But then she meets Ocean James. He’s the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her—they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds—and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to let it down.

I do not see this book enough! It was one of my favourites of 2018, and was such an important read for me.

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On the anniversary of her daredevil brother’s death, Jaycee attempts to break into Jake’s favorite hideout—the petrifying ruins of an insane asylum. Joined by four classmates, each with their own brand of dysfunction, Jaycee discovers a map detailing her brother’s exploration and the unfinished dares he left behind.
As a tribute to Jake, Jaycee vows to complete the dares, no matter how terrifying or dangerous. What she doesn’t bargain on is her eccentric band of friends who challenge her to do the unthinkable: reveal the parts of herself that she buried with her brother.

I reckon this one is the most underhyped on this list, because it’s one of my favourite books ever but is never talked about. This book focuses heavily on grief and friendship, but the most awesome thing ever is that it’s set in abandoned buildings in Ohio. They’re real places too – how cool is that?

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Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.
Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.
When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

I mean, I can’t exactly say this book is underhyped. It was actually my favourite book for a long time, but the reason I don’t mention it much anymore is because I don’t know how I’d feel about it if I read it now, and a big part of me doesn’t want to risk reading it in case I don’t enjoy it!

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Natalie Cleary must risk her future and leap blindly into a vast unknown for the chance to build a new world with the boy she loves. 
Natalie’s last summer in her small Kentucky hometown is off to a magical start… until she starts seeing the “wrong things.” They’re just momentary glimpses at first—her front door is red instead of its usual green, there’s a pre-school where the garden store should be. But then her whole town disappears for hours, fading away into rolling hills and grazing buffalo, and Nat knows something isn’t right.
That’s when she gets a visit from the kind but mysterious apparition she calls “Grandmother,” who tells her: “You have three months to save him.” The next night, under the stadium lights of the high school football field, she meets a beautiful boy named Beau, and it’s as if time just stops and nothing exists. Nothing, except Natalie and Beau.

Another really underhyped book that I adored when I read it. Romance and time travel? Yes and yes.

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In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.
Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

I loved this book, but I read it all the way back in 2016. I’m desperate to get my hands on The Rose and the Dagger, but I just don’t have time right now to reread the first one.

Other books I don’t mention enough are The Raven Cycle, Six of Crows and A Court of Thorns and Roses! Who else is excited for Call Down the Hawk in November?

Which books do you love but never talk about?

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

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