About the Book
When everything you love is in danger, how long can you keep running to survive?
Life can be brutal
Winter in Idaho. The sky is dark. It is cold enough to crack bones.
Jack knew it
Jack Dahl has nothing left. Except his younger brother, Matty, who he’d die for. Their mother is gone, and their funds are quickly dwindling, Jack needs to make a choice: lose his brother to foster care, or find the drug money that sent his father to prison.
So did I
Ava lives in isolation, a life of silence. For seventeen years her father, a merciless man, has controlled her fate. He has taught her to love no one.
Did I feel the flutter of wings when Jack and I met? Did I sense the coming tornado?
But now Ava wants to break the rules – to let Jack in and open her heart. Then she discovers that Jack and her father are stalking the same money, and suddenly Ava is faced with a terrible choice: remain silent or speak out and help the brothers survive.
Looking back, I think I did . . .
Perfect for fans of Patrick Ness, Meg Rosoff and Daniel Woodrell, What Beauty There Is an unforgettable debut novel that is as compulsive as it is beautiful, and unflinchingly explores the power of determination, survival and love.
‘Beautifully written and superbly constructed, Anderson pulls you onto a chilling footpath of love and loss and keeps you there until you’ve read every last word’ Ruta Sepetys, bestselling author of Between Shades of Grey
About the Author
Cory Anderson is a winner of the League of Utah Writers Young Adult Novel Award and Grand Prize in the Storymakers Conference First Chapter Contest. She lives in Utah with her family. What Beauty There Is is her debut novel.
What I Thought
First up this book could do with one heck of a trigger warning. There wasn’t one in the ARC so I don’t know if there is one in the finished copy.
TW for suicide, addiction, violence, murder.
This book gets straight into the dark stuff and it keeps on piling although there are periods of quiet respite. It is a gritty depiction of the uglier sides of life and it feels authentic in its rawness. I can see this one winning prizes!
Each chapter starts off with Ava’s voice, speaking from the end of the story, adding weight to our foreboding, as an example the end of her part in chapter two says ‘We knew each other nine days.’
The rest of the chapters are close third person, mainly from Jack’s POV but also from the antagonist and a cop.
The three children, teenagers Jack and Ava, and Jack’s younger brother Matty are definitely victims of their circumstances – all born into families that mean they do not have a head start at life. Two quotes that struck me were:
“He lay in the dark and the blue, and he wished for a more beautiful world than there was.”
“You can’t just tell people they’re the master of their fate and let them believe it. They’ll think they’ve done something wrong their entire life.”
Those reflect how much this book makes your heart bleed for these characters. But they do find beauty in each other and it’s their relationships – the tender love between the brothers, the youngest looking to the eldest for protection; and the blossoming feelings between Ava and Jack. There is a hint of instant attraction between them but it is the kindness they show each other that has you rooting for this pair of starcrossed lovers. There are definite echoes of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in their tale, which swaps Verona for Idaho.
The wintery snowy landscape adds to the atmosphere of the story – with the constrast between its barrenness and beauty reflecting the characters’ experiences.
Anderson’s prose is beautiful. This book has a very lyrical feel which plays against the brutality in the story.
This book will shatter you. According to goodreads a book two is planned and some healing is definitely needed. I’m certainly not ready to let these characters go.
Thanks you to @TheWriteReads and the publisher for the gifted ARC for the purposes of an honest review. I have to admit preferring the cover of the ARC as I think it better reflects the story inside. Below are the UK and US finished covers.
About the Book
Blindsided by an attack that destroys her home and blamed for murder, Karolina Dalca, a half-vampire, escapes, only to plunge into the magical societies from which she was sheltered.
Betrayed by those around her, she abandons her dreams of becoming an investigator and flees, trusting only herself. Her police internship would never prove more useful. Hoofing it through the wilderness, she makes it to her university dorm, disheveled but delightfully deflowered.
Enter a full vampire: one wielding dark magic and a ride out of Canada. A fugitive from the law, Karo complies with his demands to escape, unsure whether his requests are bewitched. She vows to clear her name and avenge her mother’s death, but Karo’s family secrets aren’t so easily left behind.
About the Author
M. R. Noble has played a tug of war between science and art her whole life, but the rope broke when she wrote the first line of The Dark Eyes Series. Immersed up to her keyboard in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, she enjoys blending the real with the surreal. The only drawback is she misplaces her mug while dreaming up her next scene, and soon finds herself six cups overpoured.
Keeping to her Lake Simcoe roots, she is a member of the Writers Community of York Region (WCYR), where her muse is made not found . . . over a hefty cup of coffee.
What I Thought
This is a book that very much puts you straight into the action and it did take some unpicking to understand the rules of the supernatural world we are suddenly immersed in.
To my mind the ‘delightful deflowering’ came out of nowhere and I’d have liked a little more character development before it happened, it’s also barely ‘on page’ and occurs just after the death of her mother so I’m not sure it had the right impact on the reader.
I did enjoy the story much more when the character Andre was introduced and the dynamic between him and Karolina was engaging. Also the mafia style supernatural underworld was intriguing and the fight scenes dramatic.
Karo does, in general, make some quite questionable decisions and I’d have liked to have seen a little more psychological development to her character – she seems quite reactive at times.
Auntie Miruna was an awesome character who really came alive on the page and I’d have loved more time with her.
The mix of vampires and magic was unique and I loved the visual imagery of lightning magic. The writing could have been tighter to manage this really interesting premise.
Thank you to The Write Reads and the author for providing an e copy of the book for the purposes of this honest review. Do check out the other stops on the tour.
So pleased to be one of the bloggers kicking off the blog tour for – the next big MG series – which releases on 21.1.2021.
About the Book
“Sharp, funny and brightly imaginative – a big adventure filled with magic and heart”
Jessica Townsend, New York Times bestselling author of the Nevermoor series
An epic middle grade supernatural adventure series, soon to be a major movie starring Marsai Martin. Perfect for readers aged 8+ and fans of Percy Jackson, Nevermoor and Men in Black!
Amari Peters knows three things.
Her big brother Quinton has gone missing.
No one will talk about it.
His mysterious job holds the secret . . .
So when Amari gets an invitation to the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs, she’s certain this is her chance to find Quinton. But first she has to get her head around the new world of the Bureau, where mermaids, aliens and magicians are real, and her roommate is a weredragon.
Amari must compete against kids who’ve known about the supernatural world their whole lives, and when each trainee is awarded a special supernatural talent, Amari is given an illegal talent – one that the Bureau views as dangerous.
With an evil magician threatening the whole supernatural world, and her own classmates thinking she is the enemy, Amari has never felt more alone. But if she doesn’t pass the three tryouts, she may never find out what happened to Quinton . . .
About the Author
B. B. Alston lives in Lexington, SC. Amari and the Night Brothers is his debut middle grade novel. When not writing, he can be found eating too many sweets and exploring country roads to see where they lead.
Cover artwork/illustrations from rising star artist Brittany Jackson
What I Thought
When a book is blurbed by a favourite author you go in with high expectations and I was not disappointed.
The Men in Black vibes are strong with this one but with the added familial drama the stakes are personally high and that makes for a gripping read.
For me this was like reading a total mash up of Skulduggery Pleasant, Nevermoor, Artemis Fowl, Harry Potter with a dash of lots of other things. It is at once familiar and original.
In this hidden world, magic and technology collide. For everyone who was confused about why the wizarding world didn’t embrace muggle technology this one is for you, and I have a feeling we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to both of these elements.
The cast of characters is strong, although you are never quite sure who to trust. The Night brothers of the title are not the only challenge our heroine has to face.
New roommate and best friend Elsie is the trainee Q to Amari’s trainee Bond. And there are plenty of punerific names for the side characters. Love a good pun so found myself highly amused on a number of occasions.
Amari Peters herself is one determined girl and her pre supernatural world experience sets her up well for what she faces at the Bureau. There were more than a few moments where she describes her experience, without naming it as such, as akin to facing racism and I felt my throat hitch. And how she chooses to prove everyone wrong about her is just Amari-Amazing. I really enjoyed Marsai Martin’s performance in Little and I think she’ll make an awesome Amari and depicting this moment needs that quiet surety she has. This has the potential to be a huge movie franchise with big budget special effects, a thrilling plot and moments of tenderness.
The ending opens up a greater crossover between her two worlds and I can’t wait for book two. In the meantime I’m trying to find a signed mega fancy first edition because this is one I’ll be re-reading and adding to my list of MG (and all time) favourites. It’s also got me itching to get back to editing my first NaNoWriMo novel – though I’ve promised some friends I’ll finish a more recent one first. It’s got to be a good book when it has me itching to pick up my writing pen again.
Thank you to Dave at TheWriteReads and the publishers for the gifted copy for the purposes of an honest review. I loved the shiny ARC and there was no way I was sending it back unread. Great marketing btw! Do check out the rest of the stops for features and other reviews. The blog tour runs from today until 3rd Jan with multiple stops a day.