Serpent & Dove

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Shelby Mahurin

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.           Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.          The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.          And love makes fools of us all.

This title just blew up in the book world. I’m guilty for purchasing this purely because of the hype!

I’m noticing a trend where witch-themes are making a come-back in publishing and Ms. Mahurin chose a great time to have this published. Many of the YA-fantasy Royals have reignited this adoration.

Set in a some-what historical setting in France during the time of the witch-trials, this added a layer of romance and gothic feel. Louise le Blanc is a young witch, running away from her mother and her coven after years of mistreatment from them. When she is found by the Chasseur, Reid Diggory, she uses her magic to coerce the archbishop to wed the pair and wipe her true identity from knowledge to protect herself from the Chasseur and her mother.

Louise and Reid’s relationship goes from indifference and distrust to love ad romance. Though this was really well written, I don’t tend to enjoy this trope. However, as I said, this relationship development was really well written where it felt organic and not something the author is forcing.

The main plot-point took a good chunk of this book before we get to the climax. But, since this is a series of two books (with a promise of a third) I kind of expected this.

All in all, I did enjoy this. It was a good read but wasn’t something to write home about.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts?


Hardcover

513 pages

Published – 3rd September 2019

Publishing Company – Harper Teen

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Burn Our Bodies Down

Audiobooks, Books, Pink in Ink

Rory Power

Rating: 3 out of 5.

From the author of the New York Times bestseller Wilder Girls comes a new twisty thriller about a girl whose past has always been a mystery—until she decides to return to her mother’s hometown . . . where history has a tendency to repeat itself.          Ever since Margot was born, it’s been just her and her mother. No answers to Margot’s questions about what came before. No history to hold on to. No relative to speak of. Just the two of them, stuck in their run-down apartment, struggling to get along.          But that’s not enough for Margot. She wants family. She wants a past. And she just found the key she needs to get it: A photograph, pointing her to a town called Phalene. Pointing her home. Only, when Margot gets there, it’s not what she bargained for.          Margot’s mother left for a reason. But was it to hide her past? Or was it to protect Margot from what’s still there?          The only thing Margot knows for sure is there’s poison in their family tree, and their roots are dug so deeply into Phalene that now that she’s there, she might never escape.

This is the first YA horror I’ve read. With more experience with horrors from Susan Hill and Laura Purcell, I kept my mind open to any and every possibility this would bring.

I’ve not read Rory Powers other popular title, Wilder Girls but is on that I hope to pick up soon.

A paranormal thriller with elements of crime-mystery, we find ourselves in the small town of Phalene after Margot finds her mother has been keeping secrets; of her extended family, how Margot came to be, her father and her mothers own past.

Margot, a seventeen-year-old desperate for her mum, Jo, to notice her, care for her… love her. And after a particularly difficult argument, she went to a pawn shop to buy Jo a gift in apology. When she finds a small bible with a white cover and beautiful gold page-edges, she peers behind the cover to find it was her mothers, gifted by Margot’s grandmother that she never knew existed. A small inscription and an old picture that confirms that it’s definitely her mothers. She decides she has to run away from home to try and find this long-lost grandmother and unearth the truths of why her mother was hiding her from their past. But all is not as it seems. When she finds where her grandmother, Vera, lives she sees her farm is on fire and a girl is trapped in the path of the blaze. She goes to save her, moving this girl from the fires path and, once they’re safe, she sees that they look exactly the same. Every detail of this mysterious girl is a mirror of her own. But she’s never heard of her before.

The underlying theme seems to be of mistakes, forgiveness and understanding. Does it mean forgiveness when you understand or can you still not forgive.

Powers writing style flows well through the novel really using the written-word to create a lyrical piece. But I found that some of the narration needed more use of punctuation to help convey the inner-turmoil and emotion Margot was feeling.

That said, I was left asking myself what I’d do in the same situations and how I would feel if I found my lineage hiding history from me.

I do think that, for a YA paranormal thriller that it gave enough suspense and shock without overselling the plot.

I had fun reading this. Though it wasn’t great, or a favourite, it is a sold three-star read. I flew through it with ease and am quite excited to pick up Wilder Girls. If you want a soft-horror that will leave you able to sleep at night and look at the cover without recoiling in terror (…*cough* Stew! *cough*) then this might be worth your time to take a look at.


Hardcover

352 pages

Published – 7th July 2020

Publishing Company – Delacorte Press

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The Gravity of Us

Books, Pink in Ink

Rainbow Rowell

Rating: 4 out of 5.

As a successful social media journalist with half a million followers, seventeen-year-old Cal is used to sharing his life online. But when his pilot father is selected for a highly publicized NASA mission to Mars, Cal and his family relocate from Brooklyn to Houston and are thrust into a media circus.          Amidst the chaos, Cal meets sensitive and mysterious Leon, another “Astrokid,” and finds himself falling head over heels—fast. As the frenzy around the mission grows, so does their connection. But when secrets about the program are uncovered, Cal must find a way to reveal the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him.          Expertly capturing the thrill of first love and the self-doubt all teens feel, debut author Phil Stamper is a new talent to watch.

I really enjoyed this book. I had to remind myself that it wasn’t a TV show or a movie but a book! My imagination just soared with this author with its characters. I may be quite bias as a fellow nerd in science, physics, theoretical physics and basically everything NASA does so it didn’t take me long to be invested in the story, given we may be raising the Mars generations right now!

We follow our main character, Cal; a young teen who loves New York, journalism and old cassette tapes. But our antagonist, Leon, is the polar opposite: quiet, reserved, sporty and his family look perfect on TV.

As the book progresses, we see that appearances aren’t all they seem to be, and sparks begin to fly between Cal and Leon. I wasn’t completely invested in the romance, but it made every character more human and tangible.

The plot of this was interesting. I could see how the events that unfolded could actually happen. It left me a little shocked!

If you love science and space exploration with a focus on the astrokids (love that name) and the families, you’ll love this.


Hardcover

314 pages

Published – 4th February 2020

Publishing Company – Bloomsbury YA

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The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

V E Schwab

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A Life No One Will Remember. A Story You Will Never Forget.          France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.          Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.          But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

From the best-selling author, V. E. (Victoria) Schwab, comes a lyrical tale that has been anticipated by fans all over the world.

I only discovered Schwab this last year and she has rapidly become a favourite author that will send me swooning after every page. Known for her many series of fantastical fiction including A Darker Shade of Magic which won the hearts and souls of so many.

Combining fantasy, mythical, contemporary and historical fiction, I was surprised at how smooth and easy to follow this was.

We follow Adeline LaRue, or Addie, who, desperate to change her fate and explore the world, makes a deal with the darkness. But, after begging for freedom, she made a terrible error by not choosing her words wisely and everyone she ever meets will never remember her. Until she meets Henry, a lost employee of a quaint bookstore in New York who is the first and only (other than the dark) to remember her and give her the power to say her name.

Written so we follow Addie and Henry, we also follow their past, making it a captivating read. During the time-jumps to centuries past, it paints our history in a more realistic, less romanticised fashion giving it that little more believability.

This is a much slower and (for Schwab and her previous works,) a subtle plot leaving all the extra room for the emotional suspense this book provides of love, loss, grief, identity, loyalty, depression, suicidal thoughts and the trickery of war. Schwab has been very open that this single novel has been ten years in the making. As I was reading I couldn’t help but see the real-life turbulence of the mind reflect in the characters situations. I can see that this tale and Addie will resonate with so many and is a tale that will stay with me for another 300 years.


Hardcover

560 pages

Published – 6th October 2020

Publishing Company – Tor Books / Titan Books

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Every Heart a Doorway

Books, Favourites, Pink in Ink

Seanan McGuire

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations.    No Visitors.   No Quests.            Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.          But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.          Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.          But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.          No matter the cost

Though it was a short tale, it left me wanting more.

The main plot to this story was one reminiscent of Agatha Christie and Arthur Conan Doyle. A very well done ‘who-done-it’ with fantastical elements. It did leave you wondering who committed these acts right up to the reveal. However this didn’t feel like the main cause for this book.

Each character felt individual and, though it was a novella, I could really picture each character. It focused more on Nancy, our main character, what fantastical land she travelled to and why she came back. We also get to know a handful of other characters, Kade, Sumi, Jack, Jill and Christopher. Though they didn’t get as much focus, I still learnt enough about them to feel like I connected with them.

There was representation of asexuality, gender identity and gender fluidity, but it doesn’t just talk about gender identity, however. I felt that this spoke of a far more important topic that often gets forgotten until our later years: individuality, identity and self-acceptance. It really felt like an important read for teens to help understand their turbulent emotions

The brief times that parents are mentioned in this novella, they are unaccepting of change and just want their little baby back, which, as we can all agree, is a very true fact of life. It shows the split between teens and their parents, one wanting to start spreading their wings and learn who they are. And the other just wants to keep them just as they were. But by doing so, causes more damage to their relationships.

I also felt that it had a little nod to mental illness. That the doorways to these worlds is a symbolism for how many feel about a mental illness. Once you’ve gone through the door to the darker side of the mind, you can never forget it.

This story spoke to me in a way that made me feel like I wasn’t alone. It made me feel like individuality and difference was more common-place than society would care to mention and that there is always at least one person who has been through a similar door to a similar world. I can’t find any faults. It is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of this year. It is one, that I think, should be read by any new teen or anyone who is struggling to find themselves.

“… the only one who gets to tell you how your story ends is you.”


Hardcover

173 pages

Published – 5th April 2016

Publishing Company – Tor Books

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