The Clockwise Heart by Brian Farrey (review blog tour for Algonquin Young Readers!)

Disclaimer: I received this arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: The Counterclockwise Heart

Author: Brian Farrey

Book Series: Standalone for now

Rating: 5/5

Recommended For…: middle grade, fantasy, German folktale inspired

Publication Date: February 1, 2022

Genre: MG Fantasy

Recommended Age: 10+ (some dark moments, war, slight violence, slight gore)

Explanation of CWs: There are some dark moments in this book and parents might want to read this book ahead of their child to judge if it’s appropriate for them. The book does discuss war and it’s central to the story. There is also some slight violence and gore.

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Pages: 336

Synopsis: Tick . . . tick . . . tick . . .
 
Time is running out in the empire of Rheinvelt.
 
The sudden appearance of a strange and frightening statue foretells darkness. The Hierophants—magic users of the highest order—have fled the land. And the shadowy beasts of the nearby Hinterlands are gathering near the borders, preparing for an attack.
 
Young Prince Alphonsus is sent by his mother, the Empress Sabine, to reassure the people while she works to quell the threat of war. But Alphonsus has other problems on his mind, including a great secret: He has a clock in his chest where his heart should be—and it’s begun to run backwards, counting down to his unknown fate.
 
Searching for answers about the clock, Alphonsus meets Esme, a Hierophant girl who has returned to the empire in search of a sorceress known as the Nachtfrau. When riddles from their shared past threaten the future of the empire, Alphonsus and Esme must learn to trust each other and work together to save it—or see the destruction of everything they both love.

Review: I absolutely loved this book! It was so vivid and detailed, but not overbearing with the details. The book did well to convey the story and had me speeding to the end to find out what would happen. The character development was equally as well done and for a darker middle grade fantasy I think the author did well to keep it age appropriate.

The only issues I had with the book are that the German words used might be a bit harder for the younger readers and I felt like the book was too fast paced for me, but it would be excellent for younger readers.

Verdict: It was excellent! Highly recommend!

Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Book: Castles in their Bones

Author: Laura Sebastian

Book Series: Castles in their Bones Book 1

Rating: 4.5/5

Diversity: Gay side character

Recommended For…: young adult readers, fantasy, court intrigue, political intrigue, villains story

Publication Date: February 1, 2022

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 17+ (alcohol consumption, alcoholism, classism, romance, rioting, war, sexual content, language, sexual harassment, child molestation mentioned, violence, gore, death)

Explanation of CWs: Alcohol consumption (by a teenager and others) and alcoholism are shown in the book. There is classism shown in the book, as well as rioting and mumblings of war. There is some romance shown and some slight sexual content. There is are a couple of curse words in the book. There are scenes of sexual harassment and one mentioned incident of child molestation. There is violence and some very slight gore shown in the book, but lots of death.

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Pages: 528

Synopsis: Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.

Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.

The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.

Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other

Review: For the most part I really liked this book. The book follows three girls who are secret villains, but then there are other villains and it’s all a game of out-villaining the other villains who try to partner with other other villains along the way and it’s so bonkers but it works so well! I absolutely loved the premise of the book and all of the political court intrigue. The book had well done character development and a cliffhanger ending that will leave you wanting for more. I also read this book in less than 2 hours because it was THAT GOOD.

There were some issues with the book that I had unfortunately. In one instance the e-arc I had had a chapter out of order I believe as a letter was mentioned that wasn’t delivered until the next chapter. The book was also confusing in the beginning briefly and it initially reads more adult. The book also has changing POVs which makes it somewhat confusing as well, but it gets much better as you continue through the novel.

Verdict: It’s great! Highly recommend!

Book Info:

Castles in Their Bones (Castles in Their Bones #1) by Laura Sebastian

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Publishing Date: February 1, 2022

Synopsis:

A spellbinding story of three princesses and the destiny they were born for: seduction, conquest, and the crown. Immerse yourself in the first book in a new fantasy trilogy from the author of the New York Times bestselling Ash Princess series.

Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since the day they were born. Princesses Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will be queens. And now, age sixteen, they each must leave their homeland and marry their princes.

Beautiful, smart, and demure, the triplets appear to be the perfect brides—because Margaraux knows there is one common truth: everyone underestimates a girl. Which is a grave mistake. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are no innocents. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a singular goal—to bring down monarchies— and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.

The princesses have spent their lives preparing, and now they are ready, each with her own secret skill, and each with a single wish, pulled from the stars. Only, the stars have their own plans—and their mother hasn’t told them all of hers.

Life abroad is a test. Will their loyalties stay true? Or will they learn that they can’t trust anyone—not even each other?

Book Links:

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/57631700-castles-in-their-bones

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0593118162/ref=x_gr_bb_amazon?ie=UTF8&tag=x_gr_bb_amazon_ca-20&linkCode=as2&camp=15121&creative=330641

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/castles-in-their-bones-laura-sebastian/1139741169?ean=9780593118160

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Castles-Their-Bones-Laura-Sebastian/9780593118160?ref=grid-view&qid=1636467036452&sr=1-1

Indigo: https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/castles-in-their-bones/9780593118160-item.html?ikwid=castles+in+their+bones&ikwsec=Home&ikwidx=0#algoliaQueryId=8ad1db8fb043aa97aa2e4fe02b7f19e0

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780593118160

About the Author:

Laura Sebastian was born and raised in South Florida (the Redlands and Key Largo) and has always loved telling stories–many apologies to her little brother who often got in trouble because of them. She got her BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design before realizing she preferred the other side of storytelling.

When Laura isn’t writing, she’s probably reading, cooking/baking, or buying more clothes than her overstuffed closet can fit. She currently lives in London with her two dogs, Neville and Circe.

Her New York Times Bestselling series, Ash Princess, is out now from Delacorte (Penguin Random House. Keep an eye out for her debut adult fantasy book, Half Sick Of Shadows, out Summer 2021, and the first book in her new YA series, Castles In Their Bones.

Author Links:

Website: https://laurasebastianwrites.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/sebastian_lk

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lauraksebastian/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15945524.Laura_Sebastian

Tour Schedule:

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