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ARC book review: Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen

Title: Skin of the Sea

Author: Natasha Bowen

Publisher: Penguin Books

Length: 303 pages

This is the proof copy and the final cover is just as stunning!

Synopsis: This is the story of many things. Of the Mami Wata – Black Mermaids who collect the souls of enslaved people who die at sea and bless their journeys home. Of Simi who wants to save lives not souls. Of a great love – a love that threaten worlds and anger Gods. Of a terrible choice and the lives that hang in the balance. This is a story that will change history. Do you want to hear more?

There is so much to love about Skin of the Sea. It’s a really impressive debut fantasy book that I really can’t find anything wrong with.

Simi, a mermaid who captures the soul of people after they’ve been thrown of the slave ships, is a fantastic character to follow. She has such depth and is really complex. In fact all the characters in this book are brilliant. I have to give a special little shout out to Issa. I’ll never forgive Natasha Bowen for what’s she did!

There’s a romance to the book that definitely isn’t the main subject of this book, but Natasha someone gives it such depth and believability that I was IN.

Skin of the Sea is immersed with African Mythology and History, that for me, takes this book to another level. It gives the book such depth and makes it really powerful. It’s also really heartbreaking. It’s a mermaid who captures the souls of black people who have been thrown off the slave ships and this really heartbreaking. Natasha manages to fit this in amongst all the fantasy and capture the brutality.

The ending. THE ENDING. The story has such a brilliant build up and it doesn’t disappoint. After I read the end, I turned the pages looking for me because I needed it. I can’t believe it was left on that cliffhanger. I need more. I NEED MORE. And it’s going to be such a long wait till book two. But as soon as I can get my hands on it I will.

Skin of the Sea is a book I think everyone should read and be prepared to be swept away. Natasha is a brilliant new talent and I can’t wait for book two.

Thank you to Michelle at Penguin Books for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out now.

Until the next review

Jthbooks

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ARC Book Review: Little Thieves by Margaret Owens

Title: Little Thieves

Author: Margaret Owens

Publisher: Hodderscope

Length: 500 pages

Synopsis: Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love- and she’s on the hook for one hell of a debt. Vanja is the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, and up until a year ago was the dutiful servant of Princess Gisele. That was when Vanja’s otherworldly mothers demanded payment for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her fortune back… by stealing Gisele’s life. Thanks to an enchanted string of pearls, Vanja transformed into her former mistress and took her place, leaving the real Gisele a penniless nobody. Now, Vanja leads a lonely bit lucrative double life as a princess and jewel thief, charming nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Then, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to slowly turn into jewels, stone by stone. Vanja has just two weeks to figure out how to break her curse and maker her getaway. And with a feral half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on Vanja’s tail, she’ll have to pull the biggest grift yet to save her own life.

It always takes me a little while to get into fantasy novels. It takes me while to get to know the magic, the world and it did take me a while but the difference with Little Thieves is that it’s enjoyable learning the all of these things.

There is just so much to love about this book I’m not sure where to start. But I think it’s how much I really enjoyed the characters. Vanja is a fantastic main character to follow. I loved how complex and flawed she was but still likeable. I just loved her growth. I also loved Emeric and Ragne. But I enjoyed them all.

What Margaret does brilliantly in this book is create connection between the characters that is so real and believable. I loved, loved loved the friendship between Vanja and Ragne. It’s definitely one of the highlights of the novel for me. Of course I also loved Vanja and Emeric, but I’m not going to spoil that for you. Towards the ends of the there’s almost a found family trope and it adds a lovely element to the book.

Here’s something I often think goes unappreciated in a novel is how enjoyable it is to read. Even when not much wasn’t happening in the plot, it was great to read about the characters and the world. You could tell the story was building (and Margaret does it so well) to the ending. It’s exciting to see if Vanja will break her curse and stop Adalbrecht. As a reader it just keeps you hooked from beginning to end.

Now let’s talk about that ending shall we? It’s so good! So so good! The last 100 pages are such page turners that I just couldn’t stop reading. The ending was exciting and intense. It even had one of those moments where I was like what did I just read! I loved it. Loved it.

Margaret Owens has written a complex, intricate fantasy novel filled with brilliant characters, wonderful magic and a story that has a lot of heart. I do believe it’s a stand-alone book but damn I want a sequel!

Thanks to Kate and Hodderscope for my copy of this book in return for an honest, unbiased review. It’s out October 5th.

Until the next review

Jthbooks