#BookReview : Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin @PRHGlobal #HappyandYouKnowIt #WomensFiction

Happy & You Know It by Laura Hankin
Publication Date : May 19th 2020
Publisher : Berkley Publishing Group
Genre : Women’s Fiction
Pages : 384

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A dark, witty page-turner set around a group of wealthy mothers and the young musician who takes a job singing to their babies and finds herself pulled into their glamorous lives and dangerous secrets….

After her former band shot to superstardom without her, Claire reluctantly agrees to a gig as a playgroup musician for overprivileged infants on New York’s Park Avenue. Claire is surprised to discover that she is smitten with her new employers, a welcoming clique of wellness addicts with impossibly shiny hair, who whirl from juice cleanse to overpriced miracle vitamins to spin class with limitless energy.

There is perfect hostess Whitney who is on the brink of social-media stardom and just needs to find a way to keep her perfect life from falling apart. Caustically funny, recent stay-at-home mom Amara who is struggling to embrace her new identity. And old money, veteran mom Gwen who never misses an opportunity to dole out parenting advice. But as Claire grows closer to the cool women who pay her bills, she uncovers secrets and betrayals that no amount of activated charcoal can fix.

Filled with humor and shocking twists, Happy and You Know It is a brilliant take on motherhood—exposing it as yet another way for society to pass judgment on women—while also exploring the baffling magnetism of curated social-media lives that are designed to make us feel unworthy. But, ultimately, this dazzling novel celebrates the unlikely bonds that form, and the power that can be unlocked, when a group of very different women is thrown together when each is at her most vulnerable.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Happy & You Know It was dramatic women’s fiction, story of newbie mothers, their playgroup and a playgroup musician who changed everything in their life. It was about motherhood, new moms’ feelings, emotions and mental health, friendship, betrayal, and scam.

Now that I finished this book I really feel great that I wasn’t part of any playgroup or anything that brings loads of competition and make me fret over all milestones. I don’t understand why moms feel they need to push their kids at such young age so that they can do better than other kids or moms! Back to review-

Writing was easy to follow, captivating and emotive. It was multiple third person narrative from Clair, Amara, Whitney and Gwen’s POV. Setting of NYC and houses of rich privileged mothers worked perfectly with the storyline.

It started with epilogue that made me think which mom was running and why and what happened. First few chapters introduced characters and their present life along with the back stories of each characters and how they joined playgroup and met each other. As soon as I started reading book, I knew there was going to be lot of drama. I was curious to find out what will happen in this playgroup and how Clair joining as playgroup musician changed their life and what she did that they might regret hiring her later, and that we don’t know until 60% of the book.

Let’s meet mommies or members of the playgroup- (Amara and Clair were my most favourite characters.)

Amara was not as rich as other mothers, and was struggling with her wailing difficult son, Charlie, who was underweight and was slow to achieve milestones. She felt tired, frustrated, and angry all the time as she was so close to promotion and had to take break from job, because of judging pitiful eyes of other mothers, especially because of Gwen’s endless advices and her perfect daughter. I like her feminist nature, trying to prove the world being black woman in world of men. I felt for her and rooted for her from the beginning. Her worries about not being better mother, missing relaxed and carefree time she had before child, and not having financial independence was realistic.  Her emotional outbreaks and losing control over herself on knowing about the truth was genuine.

Whitney had everything, beautiful baby, handsome husband, money to spend, and was momstgram famous almost like celebrity, but her life was not as perfect as she showed in Instagram. She felt alone and lonely as her husband, Grant, was never there to support, away on business trips more and whenever he was back, they had arguments. He was pompous and arrogant husband who thought he was doing his part, earning money and parenting is Whitney’s job. She had her issues with Grant and I’m not fan of him but that’s no excuse for what she did. I think that was TrueMommy effect but who knows! I might have been okay with it but affair with husband of one of playgroup moms was big No No. I could see how wrong this will go.

Gwen was uptight, rich mom who inherited Brownstone from her parents after they died in accident. Her dad was alcoholic. It had huge impact on her life and biggest reason she chose Christopher as husband as he never drinks. But he had his flaws that Gwen discovered later. She kept showing other mothers how experienced she was and how perfect her daughters are. She was not most likable in group.

Vicki was quiet and dreamy one, lost in her own cocoon with her child who didn’t stay much or involved in conversation. I could relate to her, happy in her own world, not giving f***, just nodding yes or no without arguments and not showing any doubts.

Ellie and Meredith were fun to read. Their inside jokes was funny and I liked their companionship, they fought but also made up. Between two, I like Meredith more than Ellie.

Clair was musician. The band she sang in, Vagabond, kicked her out. We don’t know the reason initially so I was curious to find out what happened. She was wallowing in hurt and humiliation but then her cousin found her job as playgroup musician. Not much but the other option was move back to her parents’ basement in religious town that judged her for supporting her cousin and criticized her cousin for being lesbian. As she started working with glamorous moms, she enjoyed singing for their babies, basked in their praises and also started to know them more. I liked her, she had her flaws, she longed to live better, rich and famous life and she envied mothers for their privileged lives but she was nice.  I didn’t like what she did at Amara’s house but what she discovered was shocking.

I loved the way author explored mom culture and captured emotions of each characters. These moms were constantly trying to be better mother and felt pity for the ones who couldn’t handle their kids, and worst bitched those mothers with others. What I didn’t expect when I started reading the book was so many layers along with the main theme– mental health, rich mothers’ life and their show offs, betrayal, affair, social media influence and its impact in life, race, and wellness program and scam.

“We are all so obsessed with protecting out child, aren’t we?” “That’s how we got into this mess in the first place. We want to paint a lovely picture that we hang over their window to block out how the world really works, to give them these lives. And to do that, we think we need to keep ourselves perfect too. But no mother in the history of the world has been able to protect her child forever. the world barges in through the front door eventually.”

Mystery was intriguing. I couldn’t guess who was behind the scam and how moms would find out about the real culprit. I enjoyed the drama at climax when moms found out Whitney’s affair and betrayal. I still couldn’t figure out why Amara was so mad at Clair who only meant well for them and felt for Clair in getting tangled in their mess. When I read about culprit’s motive for scam, I was shocked. How could a woman can do that! All events from climax to end, mothers’ development and epiphany was best part the book. End was just perfect.

Overall,

Happy & You Know It was entertaining, dramatic, a little dark and deep, and lovable women’s fiction. I highly recommend this to fan of this genre, drama, and to new mommies.

Book Links : Goodreads | Amazon.com | Amazon.in

Affiliate link : Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this post. Let me know in comments what do you think about my review, if you have read this book already and what were thoughts. Have you read any book representing new mom’s feelings and emotions?

Happy Reading!

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#BooReview : What You Wish For by Katherine Center #WhatYouWishFor #WomensFiction #StMartinsPress

What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Publication Date : July 14th 2020
Publisher : St. Martin’s Press
Genre : Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance
Pages : 320

Rating: 5 out of 5.

From Katherine Center, the New York Times bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel full of heart and hope.

Samantha Casey loves everything about her job as an elementary school librarian on the sunny, historic island of Galveston, Texas—the goofy kids, the stately Victorian building, the butterfly garden. But when the school suddenly loses its beloved principal, it turns out his replacement will be none other than Duncan Carpenter—a former, unrequited crush of Sam’s from many years before.

When Duncan shows up as her new boss, though, he’s nothing like the sweet teacher she once swooned over. He’s become stiff, and humorless, and obsessed with school safety. Now, with Duncan determined to destroy everything Sam loves about her school in the name of security—and turn it into nothing short of a prison—Sam has to stand up for everyone she cares about before the school that’s become her home is gone for good.

Other Books I Read by The Same Author:

How To Walk Away

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to publisher and NetGalley. ***

What You Wish For was amazing cotemporary romance that revolved around Sam and her efforts to save her beautiful school. It was about fight the darkness and find joy in life, getting over fear, PTSD, death, friendship, companionship, belongingness, and love.

Writing was lovely, flawless, and descriptive, it hooked me to story from the beginning. Setting of Kempner elementary school on historic island of Galveston, Texas was amazing. Told in first person narrative from Sam’s POV made the book charming and refreshing.

I’m not going to repeat the plot or how it started, synopsis told it perfectly. I loved plot, characters, and everything in this book. It was a bit predictable but I enjoyed every moment in this book. Close-knit community of school- staff, students, people of island and Max’s family they looked after each other, loved school and cared for it.

Max was there in whole book even though he died in first chapter. His character, nature and lessons he taught lived within all characters except Kent Buckley. He was such opportunist douchebag son-in-law. I was surprised he was appointed chairman after Max’s death and learning what he planned for school. I couldn’t figure out why Max’s daughter, Tina, would marry this guy stay with him and tolerate him but couldn’t stand Sam’s presence even though she was always nice to her.

I loved this conversation between Max and Sam-

“Joy is Important.”
Was it? “I don’t know. Not having car accident is important. Joy is pretty expandable.”
But Max just smiled. “It’s one of the secrets to life that no one ever tells you. Joy cures everything.”
I flared my nostril. “Everything?” I challenged pointing at the bandage over my stitches.”
“Everything emotional” Max clarified.
“I don’t think you can cure emotions.” I said.
But Max just nodded. “Joy is antidote to fear. To anger. To boredom. To sorrow.”

Babette was awesome. This old lady was my favorite. Alice was so Mathy (is that a word?). Herlove for math, math jokes, and seeing everything in life with math was infectious. And Clay is my most favorite little guy. He was Tina’s son, only 3rd grader but knew a lot of things about marine. He was total brainy and even read Steinbeck! I loved him for taking name calling as compliment. He was wisest character after Max and Babette.

Sam was lovely librarian, full of life. She loved Kempner school, her job and kids at school. On outside who didn’t know her would say she never felt sadness or faced darkness in life, but she too was fighting sadness and loneliness every day. She had epilepsy and faced bad things because of it in childhood that implanted seed of fear and loneliness deep within her soul. She was still struggling with unpredictable seizures, but I loved how Max, Babette, and Alice helped her. She tried to live fullest, grabbed joy whenever and wherever she could but when Duncan came back in her life, life and her feelings became complicated. She showed Duncan what it’s like to have fun and happiness and live above the fear but at the same time she wasn’t really ready let go her fears- fear of rejection, fear of change in person’s view after witnessing her epilepsy and fear of holding them back. Her development was great. Her feelings about epilepsy, for school, Max-Babette, and Duncan touched my heart.

Duncan was interesting. His description through Sam’s eyes, his quirkiness and events he created in previous school they worked together created fun image and when he joined Kemper’s as principle, his180 degree character change was shocking. He didn’t gave best impression with that stage speech and changes he started making in school with all those school securities and safety memos popped my eyes out of socket. I could see why Sam was so concerned it made me equally curious to know his story which was predictable, but when I heard it, it was heart wrenching. He was amazing person, he had best interest at heart but he was weighed down by trauma, fear and obsession of making school safe that he couldn’t see what he was doing to school and staff. It surprised me to see elementary school turning into grey, joyless and confined prison. But when Sam made team with Babette and Alice on Duncan project to change his mind, make him see good in world, beauty of school, joy and happiness above his fear and specially what he was before tragedy, I could see him change gradually. I loved how wall around himself started to crumble brick by brick and relationship between him and Sam blossoming along with it.

Romance was cute, it was well balanced with theme and plot of the book. There were sad moments that made my heart heavy more than once but there were so many joyful and beautiful moments that proved no matter what happens in life it’s worth to find joy, fight darkness and live fullest.

I enjoyed reading school’s history, each classes in school and its decorations, specially library, Galveston Sea wall, amusement park built on pier, The Great Galveston storm and museum for it. It was really interesting and I loved googling these places.

Importance of school security and school shooting was handled delicately. We see how difficult it is for those who survived, importance of therapy for PTSD, love from people and helping survivors to move on. It also made me think what Duncan was doing was not wrong but also made me agree with Sam that overdoing it doesn’t make it kids friendly environment of school, there need to be balance in it, and nobody can protect anybody all the time.

Life doesn’t give you what you want just the way you want it. Life doesn’t ever make things easy. How dare you demand that happiness should be yours without any sacrifice- without any courage? What an incredible spoiled idea- that anything should come easy? Love makes you better because it’s hard. Taking risks makes you better because it’s terrifying. That’s how it works. You will never get anything that matters without earning it. And even what you get, you won’t get to keep. Joy is fleeting. Nothing lasts. That’s exactly what courage is. Knowing all that going in- and going in anyway.


Climax was surprising. I was expecting something will happen all along, I knew Kent Buckley would do something but when and how was surprising. I loved the way Sam and Duncan cleared differences, admitted their feelings but what happened afterwards was not at all predictable. I loved the end and how things turned out for all characters.

Overall,

What You Wish For was meaningful, inspiring, feel good and entertaining emotional roller coaster with beautiful setting and amazing characters. If you still haven’t read any Katherine Center’s book, just get this one and start reading.

Book Links : Goodreads | Amazon

Affiliate Link : Book Depository


I hope you enjoyed this review. Let me know what do you think about the book, if you have read this already or any book by the same author. What are your thoughts on school safety, Like Duncan would you like to have bulletproof dome around school with no natural lights and locked gate or like Sam you would prefer child friendly environment or balance of both?

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : Any Day With You by Mae Respicio #MiddleGrade #AnyDayWithYou @PRHGlobal

Any Day With You by Mae Respicio
Publication Date : May 5th 2020
Publisher : Random House/Lamb
Genre : Middle Grade / Asian Literature
Pages : 242
Stars : ★★★★★

A story about a creative girl who hopes that by winning a filmmaking contest, she’ll convince her great-grandfather not to move back home to the Philippines.

Kaia and her family live near the beach in California, where the fun of moviemaking is all around them. Kaia loves playing with makeup and creating special effects, turning her friends into merfolk and other magical creatures.

This summer, Kaia and her friends are part of a creative arts camp, where they’re working on a short movie to enter in a contest. The movie is inspired by the Filipino folktales that her beloved Tatang, her great-grandfather, tells. Tatang lives with her family and is like the sparkle of her special-effects makeup. When Tatang decides that it is time to return to his homeland in the Philippines, Kaia will do anything to convince him not to go.

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

Any Day With You was great middle grade book aimed for middle grade readers that revolved around Kaia and her relation with her great-grandpa and her family. It was about figuring out who you are and insecurities middle child feel with elder sibling who is perfect and liked by everyone, unexpected change that come in life and how to deal with it, anxiety of living with that change, respecting wish of your loved ones and understanding what their wish means to them.

Any Day With You was first person narrative in lovely voice of Kaia that filled my heart with warmth. It was written with easy, simple short sentences, vivid details, and elucidation of Filipino word, culture and mythical creatures.

Any Day With You started with family introduction, Kaia’s big sister going to Philippines to study for summer and then to premed college in New York, her great-grandpa/Tatang (Celestino) returning from his trip to Hawaii and Kaia excited to spend her summer with Tatang, just two of them, before he went on trip again to Philippines and meet Lainey there until their return. But Tatang had his own plans. He didn’t want to return from his trip to Philippines, he wanted to spend rest of his life there. When he broke this news, Kaia couldn’t accept it. She wanted to change his mind by doing something special, giving him reason to stay, to show him she needs him and that opportunity came when Film Festival contest was announced at Camp Art Attack – summer program she attended with her best friends. I was curious to know what film they were going to shoot and if she can convince her Tatang to stay or if she will be able to understand and support his decision.

“But you know it doesn’t matter how we spend our time together. I love any day with you.”

This book had interesting and beautiful characters. Family dynamic was great and I just adored Kaia’s friends. All characters’ introduction, their characteristics, their relation with each other and support they showed to Kaia was lovely to read. It was amazing to read three generation living in one home with so much love.

“We carry a place with us ~ I think that means your roots stay planted somewhere deep inside you no matter where you live.”

Tatang was 90 years old, Filipino -American WWII veteran and was living in Los Angeles for many years. I liked this energetic man, filled with wisdom, kindness and patience. He handled Kaia’s outburst and anger nicely and went on their summer adventure and taught Kaia to always do right things. All his stories were fascinating. His guest lecture at university was most moving that changed Kaia’s perspective and was turning point in her development.

“Why were you so nice to that guy when he wasn’t?”
“My dear Kaia, I always go for the more challenging choice.”

Kaia was relatable, realistic, lovable 12 year old middle grade student. Her artistic personality shone through the pages. I loved her passion and determination. I could understand her feelings. It was natural and normal to feel insecure as middle child when all relatives boasted about her sister- Lainey’s achievements and expected her to do something as big as her. I loved the way she talked it out to her parents and Tatang. Even after her insecurities, she never disliked Lainey, in fact loved her, shared her feeling and took advice from her. I was happy when she understood her uniqueness and felt she could use her talent in doing something big and special for Tatang. Film making turned out life changing experience for her and she learned many things during her summer time with Tatang. Her development by the end of the book was great.

Best thing in the book was Kaia and Tatang’s connection and love for each other and for family. Book was filled with Filipino culture, myths, superstitions, and Asian-Amercian history. I didn’t know Filipinos were first Asian group to immigrate in America and their life after immigration. Mythical story of Bakunawa was my favorite one. There were many good messages and learning points in the story.

Sometimes life shifts, and even though we don’t have an explanation for why, we have to go with the flow and find ways to accept it.

Climax was interesting with bad news that shattered Kaia’s hope and saddened her spirit but I loved the way she came to terms with it. The see off gift she thought for Tatang was exceptional. I loved how it made my heart swell when she gave it to Tatang. There was another surprise at the end and what a beautiful surprise it was!

Overall,

Any Day With You was heartwarming, charming, lovely, and a perfect middle grade story with multigenerational Filipino family and culture.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon.(IN) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Book Depository


What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book by the same author? Which is your favorite book on Asian culture and myths?

Happy Reading!

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No Signal (iMe, #2) by Jem Tugwell @JemTugwell @SerpentineBooks

Hello Readers! Today I delighted to share my review of No Signal by Jem Tugwell for blog tour. Many thanks to Raquel Elias at Serpentine Books for tour invite and review copy.

No Signal (iMe, #2) by Jem Tugwell
Publications Date :  June 4th 2020 
Publisher : Serpentine Books
Genre : Science-Fictions / Thriller / Dystopia
Pages : 384
Stars : ★★★★★

In a breathtaking follow-up novel to ‘Proximity’, Serge says it’s the ultimate Augmented Reality game. He’s chosen his Ten carefully – the reckless, driven and strong. He tests them. Ten become Four.


DI Clive Lussac wants to fight the system that controls everything, but he’s ill and losing the people closest to him. In the middle of eco-
protests, he’s lost four tourists.


As Clive’s world unravels, he and his partners DC Ava Miller and DS Zoe Jordan race to find the tourists and the true reason behind the game. It may already be too late.

A CONTROLLED POPULATION
The UK has embedded technology – iMe.
It knows where you are… all the time. It controls what you eat.
It has eradicated crime and made everyone healthy.

A DEVASTATED WORLD
The world is on the brink.
The Government talks but doesn’t act.
It thinks it’s safe.

TIME FOR CHANGE
Who will ignite it?
Who has the determination to see it through?
What will be sacrificed for the cause?

*** Note : Many thanks to publisher for providing e-copy of this book as a part of blog tour, in exchange for an honest review. ***

No Signal was another mind blowing book in iMe series. It was about advances and drawbacks of technologies, government control and its impact on common people, political games, eco-socialism, terrorism, greed, fame, and power.

Writing was engaging, easy to follow and captivating. The world, like previous book, was impressive. In this book more pros and cons of iMe were explored which was broadened by inclusion of environmental conditions, terrorism, politics, gaming, and power. No Signal was multiple third person perspective, set in UK.

It started a year after the end of Proximity with villain dropping parcels in UK and selecting final participants for Forbidden Island, an AR game, but the real motive was sinister. That instantly made me curious to know what was in the parcel and why participants were sent to play in UK. At the same time things were same even worst with Clive. He was back to working at PCU, Zoe joined cybercrime department, health was spiraling down because of excess indulgence of chocolates, and his relationship with Sophia was on verge of breaking. Life was pretty dull and depressive with no real work until four tourist lost their signal. Now these four tourist were final four participant of the game. And so began the chase. I was curious to know how Clive and Ava will capture them, what their purpose was, and if the participant will reach their end destination and what will happen after that.

This was a bit different from first book. In Proximity culprit was unknown and tension was there from beginning till end, we know all moves of culprit and waiting to see when and how Clive and his department will capture the culprit. Here we know the organizer but not the mastermind of the game and we don’t know what they have planned until main twist at 60% of the book. Until then we are introduced to all participants and organizer, selection process, how participants reached UK, got rid of their iTourist band, and how they were doing in their game, Clive and his new partner Ava trying to figure out how to find them and capture them, and get at the bottom of this game.

Clive was amazing throughout the book. I felt for this man. It was really hard survive as anti-iMe in the iMe lover system and his addiction and craving for chocolates and alcohol didn’t help him much. Now his diabetes was back to stop all the cheat food he was having and sent Winter from health and well-being department back to breathing on his neck. I liked the way he tried to change to keep his relationship. I could see why he couldn’t keep trying. Problems at work, views of politicians, and then depression after climax pushed him beyond limits but still I didn’t approve what he did at the end.

Ava was lovely and brilliant. She was just 23, a small package full of strength, energy, and determination. She made Clive proud, solved half the case even before Clive could think. I loved this girl and along with Clive, I started to care for her.

Zoe took back seat in this book, popping here and there when required until that big twist. When the case went to her department she and Clive formed team once again. I loved seeing her back in action.

I loved scenes describing the arguments and views on government control with iMe, New Modelist church and its vision of peace and contentment, eco-socialism and its followers, control rebellions, pros and cons of diversity, cyber threats and terrorism in world. More importantly I liked the way drawbacks of technology and its impact was represented. This world solved most of the problem but couldn’t keep the earth safe, couldn’t treat patients with genetic defect, couldn’t see the impact on mental health and understand emotional conflicts and now all those protests and political game was leading humanity back to where it all started, going back in time of primitives. It was ironical.

Climax was sad and heartbreaking, tense and infuriating. I hated all politicians for using what happened to their advantage, was shocked at hearing their thoughts about change, angry at Clive’s boss, Lance, for messing things, not believing Clive, and then taking all credits. I liked Bhatt in first book but I didn’t in this because she didn’t support Clive enough. No wonder Clive’s depression went beyond his control. End was shocking with what Clive did but also made me smile and say ‘about time’. I want next book in this series. I hope author is not thinking to end it here.

Overall, No signal was brilliant, thought provoking, and impressive sci-fi thriller with realistic characters and intimidating world. For fans of dystopia and sci-fi, just grab this book. But read this in order.

Jem Tugwell Author Profile:

Jem Tugwell is a crime fiction author with a Crime Writing MA from City University. NO SIGNAL is the second book in the iMe series and follows his thrilling debut novel PROXIMITY. 

Jem is inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. In a past life, Jem had a successful career in technology and investment management, and he lives in Surrey with his wife and dog. He has two great children. Outside of his family and writing, Jem’s loves are snowboarding, old cars and bikes.

Please visit Jem’s website (www.jemtugwell.com) to read more.Follow Jem on:Twitter @JemTugwellFacebook & Instagram JemTugwellAuthor

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Amazon CA | Amazon Australia | Kobo | Google | B&N | Apple | Goodreads link 

Giveaway:

As part of the blog tour, Serpentine Books is running a Copter competition to give a way 2 signed copies of Proximity (it is open to UK addresses only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


What do you think about the book? Have you read this already or any book by the same author? Would you like it if technology can control what you should or shouldn’t eat?

Happy Reading!

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#BookReview : Shadowed By Despair (Laith #3) by Candace Robinson #ShadowedByDespair #Fantasy #releaseday @literarydust

Shadowed By Despair (Laith #3) by Candace Robinson
Publication Date : May 19th 2020
Publisher : The Parliament House 
Genre : Dark Fantasy
Pages : 240
Stars : ★★★★★

Perin expected eternal darkness after his death, yet the land of Laith has other plans for him. Snapped awake with a desperate hunger for flesh, he fights the urge to feed, knowing that once he gives in to temptation, there is no turning back.

Tavarra’s deepest desire was always to be human. When she received her one true wish, the journey had already claimed those she cared about. Alone, she fights through each day, forgetting how to truly live.

To strip away his new curse, Perin needs to retrieve an enchanted liquid and bring it back to the Stone of Desire. Despite his unpredictability, and him being the monster this time, Tavarra chooses to help. Tied by fate and loneliness, they must cross the sea into a deadly part of Laith and find the solution before Perin’s hunger overtakes him.

*** Note : I received e-ARC of this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to author. ***

Previous books I read in this series-

Shadowed By Despair was amazing dark fantasy, final book in Laith trilogy. It revolved around adventurous journey of Perin and Tavarra to break curse but this time not Tavarra’s but Perin’s curse. It was about not judging whole species based on bad experience, two sides of the world that has both evil and good in it, love, new friendship, and for a change let others help and care for you.

Writing was great- like previous books of this series- addictive, compelling, and vivid. Setting of Laith was fantastic. This time more of the land was explored and new creatures, dangers and stories were told. It was written in third person narrative from Tavarra and Perin’s POV, alternatively.

Shadowed by Despair started weeks after the second book ended and Perin coming back to life in grave. His love for his sister and Tavarra gave him strength to dig out of grave and started looking for them and first place he looked was at stone of desire. He suspected something was wrong with him but when stone answered him his suspicion was confirmed, he was cursed to crave for blood and meat not just any but human’ or humanlike creatures. To break the curse he needed to travel to the land from where nobody returned to tell the tale. On his way to this adventure he met Tavarra.

Tavarra was curse-free but what she did as a beast wasn’t forgotten and lead to new kind of danger. Luckily she formed unlikely friendship with Jovkin and together they went to the sea where they met Perin. When she discovered what happened to him she joined him on his adventure like he helped her in previous book.

I was curious to find out what they will discover on this new land, what danger lurks there, how they will find what stone has asked or if they will return before it’s too late.

This was amazing book part romance and full of dangerous adventure. I loved how author converted zombie concept into this twisted tale. World was best part of the book. I enjoyed seeing new side of Laith that was filled with Mer people, ugly goblins, weird trees and birds, cobwebbed forest and mud creatures. They all made me crinkle my nose in disgust and pop out my eyes more than once. What I loved most was goddess Zada’s story, mystery of Kova Island, and Vaden’s story and his secret.

My most favorite character was, of course, Tavarra. She was as strong as she was as beast but little less. Her stubbornness, fierceness, and intimidating look didn’t go away with her curse. I loved her for understanding supporting Perin’s situation and helping him to bear it, convincing him to let her care for him, sticking with him till the end.

Now there was competition for my second favorite character because both Vaden and Perin were amazing. While Perin kept things serious and gloomy, Vaden made me smile and melt my heart.

Perin was still haunted by his father’s cruelty. Even if he died he couldn’t shake off his poisonous memories and words. I was still annoyed at him for keeping all this secret from Rhona in second book but when I dived into his memories, I could see why he feared his father and couldn’t say anything to Rhona. His love for Rhona was amazing. I could see why it was hard for him to let other choose and take care of him, not making decisions for them. When Tavarra met him again slowly it changed. She helped him develop come out of his misery and nightmare.

I loved Perin and Tavrra’s relationship. They were perfect for each other. They understood each other’s feelings best and knew what they needed to do to help and grow throughout the book.

When author emailed me with the book I was praying to “Authors’ God” (if they exist!) to send my message to author, let nobody die in this book please. If you see track record somebody died in all previous book. I wouldn’t say if my prayer was answered or not but author sure kept me on the edge, biting my nails, repeating mantra of my prayer throughout the book.

Climax was filled with anxious feeling. When I thought phew no more danger now, out of nowhere came new kind of danger. I was holding my breath when end was near and there came another shock. I admit I couldn’t have guessed it. End was wonderful and I loved that last chapter.

Overall, Shadowed by Despair was gripping, adventurous, page-turner, and twisted fantasy with amazing world and characters. I recommend it to all dark fantasy lovers, but note it should be read it order.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links : Amazon (India) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK)

What do you think about the book? Have you read it already or any book by the same author? Which is your favorite Zombie story or movie?

Happy Reading!

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