Book Haul| Aug/Sept 2018

There was no book haul in August?

I know, I am just as shocked! I didn't receive any books from publishers, and I only brought one. Instead of writing a post, I thought I would just leave it until the end of September after a load of preorders had come in.

City of Ghosts (City of Ghosts #1)
Victoria Schwab

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UK Publisher: Scholastic Children's Books

UK Release Date: September 6th, 2018

** Bought by Nan as a present **

The Caged Queen (Iskari #2)
Kristen Ciccarelli

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UK Publisher: Gollancz

UK Release Date: September 25th, 2018

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **

Wychwood (Wychwood #1)
George Mann

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UK Publisher: Titan Books

UK Release Date: September 17th, 2017

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **

A Blade so Black
L.L. McKinney

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UK Publisher: Titan Books

UK Release Date: September 25th, 2018

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **

Vengeful (Villains #2)

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UK Publisher: Titan Books
UK Release Date: September 25th, 2018

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **

The Sisters of the Winter Wood
Rena Rossner

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UK Publisher: Orbit Books
UK Release Date: September 27th. 2018

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **

Elana K. Arnold

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UK Publisher: HarperCollins
UK Release Date: November 15th, 2018

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2)
Mackenzie Lee

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UK Publisher: HarperCollins
UK Release Date: November 15th, 2018

** Sent via the publisher for an honest and truthful review. **

Top 5 Wednesday| BOOK PORN!

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that comes together to discuss that week's topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

Okay, this week isn't what you think it is. Rather than the smut, that I'm sure you're thinking about, I'm talking about all the amazing covers that have come out since I last wrote a post like this. 

All this 'don't judge a book by its cover' malarky is a little bit ridiculous. We all know we do it, and so do the art departments in publishing houses - its why there are so many good ones!

1. Vicious/Vengeful (Villans)
V.E. Schwab


Titan Books have stepped up their Schwab cover designs, and the redesign for Vicious is no exception.

2. Under the Pendulum Sun
Jeanette Ng


If this doesn't read like a Gothic Fae story than this cover has lied to me. I love how it feels like it's been mirrored and intwines everything into one image. 

3.  Other Words for Smoke
Sarah Maria Griffin


I'm cheating with this cover slightly (and with the next book on the list), Other Words for Smoke doesn't come out until March 2019, however, I am in love with the cover already and with what I have read in the sampler that was handed out at YALC this year. 

4. Priory of the Orange Tree
Samantha Shannon


Another book that isn't out until early next year, and although I'm not getting an ARC - it already owns my entire being.

5. The Ninth Rain (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy #1)
Jen Williams


I need to talk about this trilogy more, just know its amazing and more people need to pick it up. There's something really modern about these covers, which fits and ties into what Williams does with her world building and blurring of the SFF genre. 

REVIEW| Gilded Cage

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)
Vic James

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UK Publisher: Pan Macmillan
UK Release Date: January 26th, 2017


In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.

Have a quick ten years. . . .


Why are there not enough people picking this book up? 

This book is the reason why I think Dystopian and SFF books are so crucial to freedom of speech and presenting a way to look at the world through a lens. You read the word "magic", I read the word "money". Strip away and replace, "Equals" become the Thatchers and Blairs and "Skilless" become the backbone of Britain. Vic James explores the exploits of the past and present economic structure of Great Britain - and it's terrifying. 

I was intrigued by the dynamic between the three Hadleys and Jardines, and how their lives get webbed together in this politically charged story. I feel like I'm the anomaly in this case, but I really enjoyed the chapters that were in Abi's point-of-view and set in the house. I liked seeing the power dynamic in that household (and Abi and Jenner?!!)

The history that James built was just as fascinating and rich. It felt like a genuine piece of British history woven into the fiber of the pages. 

The pacing overall was gripping.  Vic James is the Queen of the plot twist. She knows how to throw you off a scent and swerve you, heart pumping, fear induced adrenaline into a wall. I feel like I don't know where the Jardine brothers truly stand, and look forward to entering into Tarnished City and working out where loyalties lie, my heart - betrayed - my nails filed from gripping that pillow and I'm loving it.


My Bookish Buzzwords

I remember seeing this a while back in the Booktube community, and thought it was an interesting idea. I always seem to spot little trends of tropes or character archetypes that I will always latch onto, knowing I'm going to have a great time in that world, and I thought that this was a brilliant way to share those with you.

As you might guess from some of these, I tend to reach for Fantasy over Sci-fi.

1. "Dragons"

Got a book with dragons in it? Hit me up! I'll get emotionally attached, hate myself and cry over the beautiful, intelligent creatures. It's always a fun time.

However, I'm not really into the shape-shifter dragon type that I've seen pop up. I want Daenarys and Drogon; Lawrence and Temeraire; Manon and Abraxos - rider and their dragons.

2. "Assassin"

That tired ass character archetype? That's the one! Bonus points if their anything like Mia Covere from Jay Kristoff's Nevernight.

3. "Morally ambiguous"

I want the grey zone. 50 shades of grey, without the bad representation of BDSM and, let's face it, Christian Grey. I want to route for people that do bad things, that are capable of doing good things and are just people!

4. "Narrated by David Tennant"

I am a trash. Put me in the rubbish bin and set me on fire (but, you know, don't actually do that). I've read most of Cressida Cowell's books, because Tennant narrates the audiobooks. I seem to be constantly relistening to the BBC Audios from his era as the 900-year-old Gallifrayen. I describe his voice as a warm tartan blanket I refuse to let go.

5. "Hate-to-Love"

This is one that really feeds my soul, or at least I think it will when I pick up the book and then realism that it isn't real hate-to-love and just a weak imitation.

If you have any recommendations for these buzz words, let me know!

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated by Ellie over at BookAholicEllie - please, go check out her blog!

The Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
2. Answer the 11 questions sent by that person who nominated you.
3. Nominate 11 new blogs to recieve the award and write 11 new questions.
4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Let's begin:

1. What are your top 3 favourite genres to read?
Genre is a complicated thing. And I don't really have a top 3.
My main go to is SFF... Science Fiction and Fantasy. I've recently learned that UKYA contempories are my thing, not sure why specifically UKYA though.

2. Who is your bf/gf?
Guuuuuuuuuurl. I have to many.
I'll go with an old school favourite: Will Herondale. He'll always have my heart - he's part of the reason and Clockwork Princess, for my academic adventures in North Wales.

3. Why did you start a blog?
This is kind of too complicated to explain, so I'll stick to the simplified answer of: I have always been on Twitter and part of a fandom of a sort. Whether that be Doctor Who, The Hunger Games or The Mortal Instruments; I was also a ferocious reader and would always be looking for new books to read. During my early teens I discovered Booktube and would be enthralled by these books and the people reading them and wanted to share my own reading journey. I have never felt completely comfortable in front of a camera, so I looked for other ways and discovered the wonderful people of blogging community! ACityofBooks is subtle nod to Cassie Clare's City of Bones.

4. What's your favourite book of 2018 so far?
New book: I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman
Reread: Vicious by V.E. Schwab (come on, we all saw that coming.)

5. What's your most anticipated release in the next 12 months?
Damn, how am I meant to narrow that one down?
  • Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
  • Vengeful by V.E. Schwab
  • The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
  • Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
  • The Poison Song by Jen Williams
6. What's your favourite book into film adaptation?

I have a massive soft spot for the Vampire Academy adaptation. And as terrible as it was - the The Mortal Instruments movie. I hate the TV show - bite me!

7. What book events are you going to in 2018/2019, if any?

When this post goes live, I will just have got back from a blogger lunch with Orion/Gollancz. I will also be at YALC for all three days and maybe the event at Forbidden Planet the evening before, on the 27th July. I'm a little fuzzy after that. I tend to only get to go to book events during the summer due to living 6 months of the year in practically in the middle of nowhere-ish. And trying to get to Manchester and Liverpool without a car is difficult because of when events end and getting the train back.

8. Who's your favourite author?
Oh, this question is just cruel!
I'm literally staring at all of you, dead in the eye like you just asked me to murder a cat. (I know I'm one for the dramatics.)
If I had to choose?
Samantha Shannon
Becky Chambers
Laini Taylor
Angela Carter
Jen Williams
Victoria Schwab

9. Do you want a career in working with books? If so, what job role? If not, what do you want to do?
I've always wanted to work with books in some way or another. As a kid I dreamt of being the next Quentin Blake, and wanted to illustrate all the books. Slowly over time, I began to write more and found that I found a real freedom in crafting my own version of realities. My dream job would be a published author.

A close second would to work in publicity for SFF or Children's Fiction.

10. Where do you spend most of the time reading?
This depends. Whilst at University, that would be in bed wrapped in a quilt and propped up by pillows and the sound of cats grooming themselves (I find it a really comforting noise).

When I'm back in London, I will spend most of my reading time on public transport, because usually I'm busy visiting family and friends whilst I'm back.

11. What are your pet peeves when it comes to books/reading?
Telling someone that they can't read a book. Sure if it has explicit sex scenes and the child is literally a child, than you can say that it isn't suitable. But, I had a rant on my blog about this, when I spotted a parent claiming that her young boy was too young to read a book in the next age bracket. I might edit and repost it.

Who am I tagging?

No one.

I'm breaking the rules. For the reason that I was tagged again, and will be tagging 11 people in that post instead. Look out for the next month.

REVIEW| Doctor Who Tales: The Tenth Doctor [Part One]

We all know I'm Doctor Who trash, right? Like this isn't new information, or anything. If this is, then I'm really not running this blog right. 

I really love using my library and audible account to access Doctor Who and Torchwood BBC audios from 2006-2010 whilst I fall asleep in bed. And thought I would review them and share my thoughts.

Pest Control
Written by Peter Anghelides
Read by David Tennant


The TARDIS is lost in battle on a distant planet. When the Doctor sets off in pursuit, Donna is left behind, and finds herself accepting a commission in the Pioneer Corps. Something is transforming soldiers into monstrous beetles, and she could be the next victim. Meanwhile, the Doctor steals a motorbike and stages a jailbreak. Well, how hard can it be to find the TARDIS, rescue Donna, and negotiate a peace? But that’s before the arrival of a brutal and remorseless mechanical exterminator, bent on wiping out the insects. It may be that nothing can stop it, because this robot’s solution for the infestation is very simple: kill everything. 


The plot for this one was rather generic and didn't push the restrictions that get put onto a 45-minute television show. It relied on the "companion gets seperated from the Doctor" trope that happens a lot, and for that I didn't get all Doctor and Donna interaction I enjoy and it felt like it got a little lost in the middle. 

I will say that the dialogue was tight and presented the characters as we know them individually.

David Tennant as a narrator is like a warm tartan blanket that I haven't taken off since I was seven. I find a great comfort in his skills as a storyteller. His accents varying from his Scottish brogue to Irish to Australian to the Doctor's Estuary English to Donna's attitude - he read smoothly and without hesitation. 

The Forever Trap
Written by Dan Abnett
Read by Catherine Tate


When the TARDIS is invaded by a holographic marketing scam, the Doctor and Donna find themselves trapped on the Edifice, a purpose-built complex of luxury apartments in space. Their new environs leave much to be desired: millions of beings from across the Universe have been gathered to live side by side in similar apartments. Instead of creating neighbourly affection, it’s led to terrible battles being waged in the corridors and on the stairwells. The Doctor and Donna must cross the paths of deadly alien mobs as they search for the Edifice’s ultimate authority. Who - or what - lies at the heart of the incredible complex? What destructive scourge is eating away at the Edifice itself? And are the Doctor and Donna trapped forever in this living hell?


This is my favourite out of the three, so far. 

I loved the take on marketing scams, and the notion that even in Time and Space - you are not safe. I found myself deeply engrossed as the Doctor and Donna explored the Edifice, so did we, finding familiar and not so familiar aliens, and the way this brought an added conflict with the main mystery puzzle.

Abnett's description of the Edifice and how it worked in its infinite capacity was vivid. For some scenes I would have loved to have seen in a visual medium, and believe would have made for great television.

Catherine Tate did a fantastic job at crafting a variant of voices for the various alien creatures that the Doctor and Donna encounter, as well as her great interpretation of The Doctor. 

The Nemonite Invasion
Written by David Roden
Read by Catherine Tate

When the sky rips open somewhere over Dover, two objects hurtle out of the Vortex and crash-land in the sea. One is the TARDIS, out of control and freefalling; but the other, a mysterious crystalline sphere, is far more sinister... The Doctor and Donna are rescued and taken to a secret command centre in the Dover cliffs. It’s May 1940, and Vice-Admiral Ramsey is about to finalise one of the most daring plans of the Second World War: Operation Dynamo. But something else has got inside the War Tunnels, a parasitic Nemonite from the crashed sphere. Its aim is to possess all humans and spawn millions of young. The Doctor and Donna must fight for their lives in order to save both Operation Dynamo and the world at large... 


I struggled to get into this one. I've never really been one for the stories set during World Wars or set on military bases, so perhaps that falls onto me. But I just wasn't feeling this one.

All throughout there's this really annoying habit by the writer to use every mannerism ever used to characterize Tennant's Doctor. Like, every single one. I ended up feeling like it was tedious and a little ridiculous? The only thing that made these tolerable was Catherine Tate's execution of the Doctor. 

What I did really like was Roden somehow managed to make me care more about the human's - who they were and their backstories - rather than the alien invasion. It gave it a new set of pace that I really found fresh. 

Top 5 Wednesday| Dear Lauren

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that comes together to discuss that week's topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

This week topic is for all those books that we have and read now, and wish we had to teach us a little lesson when we were younger. I thought to spin it a little bit and instead of just presenting five books and writing what I learned, but go on to write a little letter to the past self I wish I had them for. 

All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully.
Carrie Hope Fletcher


Dear 11-year-old Lauren,

A little piece of sunshine actually exists. Her name is Carrie Hope Fletcher and she'll one day teach you to be positive. Carrie won't start making videos yet for a little while, but she's out there. 
And when she appears, she'll give you a little pocket of the internet for a safe haven and make you fall in love with musicals that you will eventually get to see. 
16-year-old Lauren
I Was Born for This
Alice Oseman


Dear 14-year-old Lauren

Things are getting weird, aren't they? Mum keeps disappearing and Dad is getting more and more reliant on... things. You're getting confused and stressed and don't know who to turn to, but Fandoms will have your back. 
What Angel feels? And Jimmy? That anxiety? It'll be okay.  It'll always be there, but so will the people you meet through that TV show you've loved since you were six. Ignore the arseholes who say it's for kids or for nerds and geeks. You are those things. Ruddy own it.

20-year-old Lauren
City of Ghost (City of Ghost #2)
Victoria Schwab


Dear 8-year-old Lauren,

Victoria won't have even publisher her first novel yet. You won't know who she is until you're fourteen, and you ask a bookstore to order in a book all the way from the States. 
Already you are looking for books that a little bit dark and that little bit strange.  And I'm afraid A Series of Unfortunate Events is about as much of that as you're gonna get, at least, until you're a little bit older and the librarian lets you start taking books out that you really should be reading.

20-year-old Lauren
Nevernight (Nevernight Chronicles #1)
Jay Kristoff


Dear 15-year-old Lauren,

This book will change things for you. It'll give you confidence, it won't eradicate that specific set of anxiety you get when you ask for something. 

This story will speak to your sarcasm-loving-black-heart, just don't be too disappointed that you're not a bad-ass assassin seeking revenge. That doesn't happen in reality, you just have to leave that one to ol' Karma. She'll work her magic.

17-year-old Lauren
Neil Gaiman


Dear 13-year-old Lauren,

You just checked this one out of the library.
I'm sorry to say that you may as well as just hand it straight back because really its just going to be sat next to your pillow for the next two weeks, untouched.
Little do you know, this isn't the end though. You'll read this on audiobook. You'll fall in love with Neil Gaiman's ability to tell strange, odd stories. And you'll wish you could write things like that and you will! Although at this point, you've only written a few dozen short stories and 12k of a novel, but we'll get there.

19-year-old Lauren

COVER REVEAL| The Teeth in the Mist

Have you seen it yet? No? Yes? Either way, here it is:

Originally shared on The NOVL - you can check out their post, here.

The Teeth in the Mist
Dawn Kurtigach

UK Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
UK Release Date: Coming June 2019


Seventeen-year-old Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember—so she and her best friend Poulton decide to explore the ruins. But are they really alone in the house?
In 1851, sixteen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward—one of three, all with their own secrets. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.
This haunting horror and captivating mystery redefines the horror and fantasy space.

Want to keep up to date? ADD TO GOODREADS! 

This cover is stunning, and my favourite of Dawn's yet! And my guess was right-ish?! 
Unfortunately, pre-order links are not up and running yet. But I will be sure to share that information when the time comes. 
Her books, The Dead House and The Creeper Man, are perfect for October and Halloween inspired reads. 

Dawn Kurtagich is a writer of creepy, spooky and psychologically sinister YA fiction, where girls may descend into madness, boys may see monsters in men, and grown-ups may have something to hide. Her debut YA novel, THE DEAD HOUSE, was called "an evil and original story" by bestselling author R.L Stine and ""...a haunting new thriller..." by Entertainment Weekly. Her second novel, AND THE TREES CREPT IN (US) / THE CREEPER MAN (UK) received two starred reviews and was called "A must-read for horror fans everywhere!” by bestselling author, Susan Dennard, while Kirkus called it "frightening and compelling".

By the time she was eighteen, Dawn had been to fifteen schools across two continents. The daughter of a British globe-trotter and single mother, she grew up all over the place, but her formative years were spent in Africa—on a mission, in the bush, in the city and in the desert.

She has been lucky enough to see an elephant stampede at close range, a giraffe tongue at very close range, and she once witnessed the stealing of her (and her friends’) underwear by very large, angry baboons. (This will most definitely end up in a book . . . ) While she has quite a few tales to tell about the jumping African baboon spider, she tends to save these for Halloween!

Her life reads like a YA novel.


You can also visit: for further information and FAQs.

REVIEW| City of Ghosts

City of Ghosts (City of Ghosts #1)
Victoria Schwab

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UK Publisher: Scholastic Children's Books
UK Release Date: September 6th, 2018


They're here.
They're watching.

Cass can pull back the Veil that separates the living from the dead.

When Cass's parents start presenting 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.


Before I go any further, I just want to clarify: this book is told through a child's perspective, this book was written with the intention of child readers and I will be reviewing this book with that in mind. Even if this book was put out on the Young Adult tables at my local Waterstones. 

I really loved the perspective of Cass; she spoke to the reader and explained the abnormal aspects of her life in a way that was eye to eye with the reader. As a child, the one thing that I got frustrated with more than anything was feeling like I was being talked down to. There was this wonderful element brought to the page where Cass and Jacob (her ghostly BFF) felt like they could be your friends.

I've heard Victoria mention City of Ghosts hundreds of times, answering questions, why she wrote it and what this book means for her. But, there becomes a point where those things can inform your reading experience before you begin to make your own connection between the author and characters, and between yourself and the story. For every sentences, I could feel Victoria's wanderlust and admiration for the city of Edinburgh. A deep passion that encompassed the setting and drew me completely in - it was wonderful!

Furthermore, this book is still rich with Victoria's prose. It's pared-back, and the plotline simplified, but that doesn't do any injustice to Schwab's inexplicable craft. 

This book has been pitched as "Stranger Things" plus Ghost Hunters and, and while I agree, I would also go for: Coraline meets The Woman in Black. 

I am dying to get my brother and sister to read this - granted, I may have to buy another copy - but this was such a brilliant, haunting story. 


Top 5 Wednesday| Friends? Friends.

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly blog group that comes together to discuss that week's topic. The idea was first curated by the wonderful Lainey at GingerReadLainey and is now run by Samantha over on ThoughtsonTomes. 

If you wish to participate, either on your Blog or Booktube channel then, please, join the group on Goodreads for all the relevant topics.

I don't have many friends, well I do but not very many close friends. They're rather scattered too... or online. 

1. The Raven Boys

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
Maggie Stiefvater


2. Dumbledore's Army

Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix (Harry Potter #5)
J.K. Rowling


3. The Shades of Magic Crew

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shade of Magic #1)
V.E. Schwab


4. The Rampion Crew

Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4)
Marissa Meyer


5. The Wayfarer Crew

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet
Becky Chambers


TBR| September 2018

September is going to be a stressful one. I'll spend half the month in London, getting ready to leave before heading back to University. Once I'm at Uni, I'll have a week to settle in and then it's back to talking about dissertations, literature and theory of craft.

Books I need to finish:

Ravencry (Raven's Mark #2)
Ed McDonald

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Pages left: 219 pages

Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell
Susanna Clarke

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Pages left: 385 pages

Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2)
Brandon Sanderson

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Pages left: 88%

Assassin's Quest (Farseer Trilogy #3)
Robin Hobb

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Pages left: 398 pages

Those four books will probably take up the 2 weeks I have of September before moving back to Wales. I'd like to try and get to these, but all my modules require me to read 6 novels each so who knows what I'll get read.

Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2)
Vic James

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Spinning Silver
Naomi Novik

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Vengeful (Villains #2)
Vic James

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UK Publisher: Titan Books
UK Release Date: September 25th, 2018
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