Pubblicato in: As Travars-Recensioni

Mayhem by Estelle Laure Blog tour

Welcome to my stop of Mayhem blog tour!

A HUGE thanks to St. Martin’s Press for the chance to be part of this tour and to NetGalley for the free copy in exchange of an honest review.

TW: rape, violence, beating, drugs, physical and psychological abuse, murder, suicide

Mayhem knows there is something off and weird about her and her family, from the constant pull to water, to her mother Roxy’s mysterious physical pain. Mayhem and Roxy live a life made of lies and secrets, fear and hiding, but when her violent stepfather goes too far, they decided to come back to their family home in Santa Maria, California, a coastal beach town from where 13 years ago Roxy ran away.

What happened there 13 years ago? Ready to get some answers about herself, her family and put their painful past behind them, Mayhem finds herself involved with her aunt’s kids, in the search of a kidnapper, and discovering the magic that runs through the female lineage of her family and what that means for her.

Mayhem is a book full of strong female characters. Told by the main character, Mayhem and from diaries entries from her female ancestors that helps her (and the reader) learn things about the water, the magic and their destiny in Santa Maria, it’s a story about family, found and biological, love, vengeance, destiny, fate and justice. Mayhem is a strong character, strong-willed, curious and ready to change her life, when she decides enough is enough.

Running from her abusive stepfather, looking for answers and a new life, Mayhem discovers magical powers and a destiny that connects her to her family, through generations of strong and stubborn women. Helped by the fierce and brilliant aunt Elle, by her adoptive daughter Neve, full of fire and rage, by Jason and Kidd, the other adoptive brother and sister, Mayhem finds friendship, connections, love and justice and the strength to fight back.

I liked reading about Mayhem and her relationship with Neve, Jason and Kidd, finding her place with them in Santa Maria, with her aunt Elle and her mother’s old friends, Marcy and Boner and trying to become more confident and strong.

I liked the romantic part of the book, present but not able to overshadow her journey in finding her own place and power.

All characters have a painful past, from murders, to abuse, to loss, suicide and so on, but they find a way to fight back, above all through the powers granted by the water, discovering themselves not victims anymore.

It’s interesting reading about how Mayhem changes throughout the book, from a scared, but stubborn daughter, to a teenager more confident, rebellious and ready to do what it takes to not be a victim anymore. Her curiosity, her desire of fight back is beautiful and well written, even though I’d love to see more moral quandary about her whole destiny with the water and Santa Maria, the aspect addressed but left to the future and the choices she will made following her heart and not the water.

The vigilante justice, that Neve embraced so fully and with glee, is seen by Jason, Mayhem’s romantic interest, with difficulty and he refuses to accept his role in it, trying to protect his sister Kidd from the whole situation and regretting his deal with the water.

While Elle accepts with fierceness their roles against abusers and murders, the whole moral quandary is addressed by Jason and, even though briefly, by Mayhem, who struggles with her new identity, but she’s ready to become a new person, not more scared and a victim.

The water itself is almost a character, a it with a desire, able to compel them, to “force” them to follow its will and want, hurting those who try to stay away from it. It’s really peculiar and interesting, seeing as a force, a living thing, able to push and pull the characters in the book.

Her mother Roxy is a complex character. Grieving for her only love, lost 13 years ago, forced, convinced, manipulated by the circumstances into a marriage that became a living hell, her relationship with her daughter Mayhem is strong but codependent.

The fact the Mayhem refers to her as “Roxy” and not “Mum” or “Mother” suggests a codependancy, where usually is Mayhem the one who feels responsible and protective of her mother, sleeping and sticking with her and finding her own place, discovering what she wants to do, only in Santa Maria. The change of scenery force the two women to confront with their past and present, to fight back, to escape their painful past and trying to get a new life, away from memories and violence.

Roxy is seen through Mayhem’s eyes, so the reader is able to sense their love, connection, but also Mayhem’s bitterness, regarding her connection with Lyle, the abusive husband and the difficulty of having a mother who, because of the pain, physichological and physical, started to take meds and alcohol to “survive” and cope with the whole situation.

In Santa Maria, though, Roxy decides to change her life, being more present for Mayhem and her family, connecting herself again with her sister and their lineage.

As addressed while talking about the characters, Mayhem is full of strong messages, like finding your own family, found or biological, finding oneself, deciding to fight back, becoming more confident and refusing to stand back.

“It’s good to be an innocent,” Elle says. “Gives you restraint.”

How do I tell her I don’t want to be an innocent anymore? Innocents get hit. I want to hit back.

(quotes from the earc)

In a world where women struggle to be heard, to have justice and be respected, Mayhem is a supernatural feminist novel where women are able to hurt abusers, able to fight back, to protect themselves and their city. Vigilantes, with the ability to see and feel bad people and their action, the Brayburn family is almost a myth in Santa Maria, but cherished and feared at the same time by the inhabitants thanks to their actions and their protection.

Tired of being mistreated, of the inaction of the police, of the fear in the city, the Brayburn women, since discovering the cave and the water, decided to fight back, cleaning the world of bad people.

I loved the role of the women in this book, how strong, stubborn and beautiful they are, ready to protect their family, loved ones and the city, like superheroines, with mystical powers.

I really liked this book about vengeance, growing up, fighting back and a wonderfully and skillfully written feminist coming-of-age novel.

The book is full of complex and well rounded characters, the story is captivating and intriguing and I recommend this book to those who love strong female characters, mysticism, magic realism, a matriarchal destiny and abusers being punished.

Estelle Laure is a Vonnegut worshipper who believes in love and magic and the power of facing hard truths. She has a BA in Theater Arts from New Mexico State University and an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts, and thinks everyone should have to wait tables or work in a kitchen at least once in their lives. She lives in Taos, New Mexico with her children. (From Goodreads)


Dear Reader,

Like Mayhem, I experienced a period of time when my life was extremely unstable. I can still remember what it was like to be shaken so hard I thought my head would come off, to watch the room vibrate, to feel unsafe in my own home, to never know what was coming around the next corner. I wanted to run. I always wanted to run.

I ran to friends, but also movies and books, and although girls were more passively portrayed in movies like TheLost Boysback then, that feeling of teenagers prowling the night, taking out bad people, being unbeatable . . . that got me through it.

I guess that’s what I tried to do here. I wanted girls who feel powerless to be able to imagine themselves invincible. And yes, I used a rape as the seed for that fierce lineage, not without thought. For me, there is nothing worse, and I like to think great power can rise up as a result of a devastating trespass.

Please know I took none of this lightly. Writing this now, my heart is beating hard and my throat is dry. This is the first time I not only really looked at my own past, the pain of loss, the pain of the loss of trust that comes when someone puts hands on you without permission, the pain of people dying, the shock of suicide, and put all of it to paper in a way that made me feel victorious, strong, and warrior-like. It is also terrifying. I know I’m not the only one who had a scary childhood, and

I know I’m not the only one who clings to stories as salve to smooth over burnt skin. I am so sick of girls and women being hurt. This was my way of taking my own vengeance and trying to access forgiveness.

Thank you for reading and for those of you who can relate, I see you and you are not alone.

Estelle Laure

Twitter: @starlaure

Instagram: @estellelaurebooks

Pubblicato in: Most anticipated

My most anticipated books of 2020

2020 is another year full of amazing book releases and I’ve decided to make a list of my MOST anticipated books, so let’s dive in!

Part 1


The god game by Danny Tobey

Published January 7th 2020 by St. Martin’s Press

496 pages

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

I’ve already posted my review on The God game on the pubblication date, but I can’t recommend enough this book! It’s a mix of thriller, mystery and it’s like an episode of Black Mirror, with the augumented reality.

CW: attempted suicide, violence, self harm, depression, blackmail

We used to be friends by Amy Spalding

384 pages

Published January 7th 2020 by Harry N. Abram

Told in dual timelines—half of the chapters moving forward in time and half moving backward—We Used to Be Friends explores the most traumatic breakup of all: that of childhood besties. At the start of their senior year in high school, James (a girl with a boy’s name) and Kat are inseparable, but by graduation, they’re no longer friends. James prepares to head off to college as she reflects on the dissolution of her friendship with Kat while, in alternating chapters, Kat thinks about being newly in love with her first girlfriend and having a future that feels wide open. Over the course of senior year, Kat wants nothing more than James to continue to be her steady rock, as James worries that everything she believes about love and her future is a lie when her high-school sweetheart parents announce they’re getting a divorce. (goodreads)

I will post a complete review later on this book.

The night country by Melissa Albert

336 pages

Published January 7th 2020 by Flatiron Books

Can you ever truly escape the Hazel Wood?

In the sequel to her New York Times bestselling, literary/commercial breakout, The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert dives back into the menacing, mesmerizing world that captivated readers of the first book. Follow Alice Proserpine and Ellery Finch as they come to learn that The Hazel Wood was just the beginning of worlds beyond, “a place where stories and real life convene, where magic contains truth, and the world as it appears false, and where just about anything can happen, particularly in the pages of a good book” (The New York Times).

Review already posted on this blog.

Keystone by Katie Dehalanty

390 pages

Published January 7th 2020 by Entangled: Teen

When Ella Karman debuts on the Social Stock Exchange, she finds out life as a high-profile “Influencer” isn’t what she expected. Everyone around her is consumed by their rankings, in creating the smoke and mirrors that make them the envy of the world.

But then Ella’s best friend betrays her, her rankings tank, and she loses—everything.

Leaving her old life behind, she joins Keystone, a secret school for thieves, where students are being trained to steal everything analog and original because something—or someone—is changing history to suit their needs.

Partnered with the annoyingly hot—and utterly impossible—Garrett Alexander, who has plenty of his own secrets, Ella is forced to return to the Influencer world, while unraveling a conspiracy that began decades ago.

One wrong move and she could lose everything—again. (goodreads)

Review to be posted.

A throne of swans by Katherine and Elizabeth Corr

352 pages

Published January 9th 2020 by Hot Key Books

In a world were the flightless are rules by the flighted, Aderyn becomes Protector of Atratys, one of the kingdom’s dominion, when her father dies. Unable to transform since the attack that killed her her mother and gravely hurt her, Aderyn found herself at the mercy of her cruel uncle, the king, into a court full of secrets and lies. Determined to find out who killed her mother and protect her dominion, Aderyn struggles with her magic and who to trusts.

Review to be posted later.

The conference of birds by Ransom Riggs

14 January 2020 by Dutton Books for Young Readers

321 pages

An instant bestseller, A Map of Days launched readers into the previously unexplored world of American peculiars, one bursting with new questions, new allies, and new adversaries.

Now, with enemies behind him and the unknown ahead, Jacob Portman’s story continues as he takes a brave leap forward into The Conference of the Birds, the next installment of the beloved, bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. (goodreads)

After the ending of Map of days, The conference of birds was one of the most anticipated release for me, because I couldn’t wait to dive again into Jacob’s world and the peculiardom.

Burn the dark by S.A. Hunt

 384 pages

Published January 14th 2020 by Tor Books (first published July 20th 2015)

Supernatural meets Stranger Things in award-winning author S. A. Hunt’s Burn the Dark, first in the Malus Domestica horror action-adventure series about a punk YouTuber on a mission to bring down witches, one vid at a time.

Robin is a YouTube celebrity gone-viral with her intensely-realistic witch hunter series. But even her millions of followers don’t know the truth: her series isn’t fiction.

Her ultimate goal is to seek revenge against the coven of witches who wronged her mother long ago. Returning home to the rural town of Blackfield, Robin meets friends new and old on her quest for justice. But then, a mysterious threat known as the Red Lord interferes with her plans…

Review already posted on this blog.

Infinity Son by Adam Silvera

368 pages

Published January 14th 2020 by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Balancing epic and intensely personal stakes, bestselling author Adam Silvera’s Infinity Son is a gritty, fast-paced adventure about two brothers caught up in a magical war generations in the making.

Growing up in New York, brothers Emil and Brighton always idolized the Spell Walkers–a vigilante group sworn to rid the world of specters. While the Spell Walkers and other celestials are born with powers, specters take them, violently stealing the essence of endangered magical creatures.

Brighton wishes he had a power so he could join the fray. Emil just wants the fighting to stop. The cycle of violence has taken a toll, making it harder for anyone with a power to live peacefully and openly. In this climate of fear, a gang of specters has been growing bolder by the day. Then, in a brawl after a protest, Emil manifests a power of his own–one that puts him right at the heart of the conflict and sets him up to be the heroic Spell Walker Brighton always wanted to be. (bookdepository)

Inifnity Son is the first book of the Inifnity Circle trilogy, the first fantasy book for Adam Sivera

Spellhacker by M.K. England

Expected publication 20 January 2020 by HarperTeen

416 pages

In Kyrkarta, magic-known as maz-was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled-and, of course, outrageously expensive. Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever. But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague-and possibly save the world. No pressure. (bookdepository)

I’m really curious about this book, since it should be science- fantasy, ya and lgbt and I’m a sucker for fantasy lgbt ya books.

Highfire by Eoin Colfer

Hardcover, 384 pages

Expected publication: January 28th 2020 by Jo Fletcher Books

Highfire was one of the best book I’ve ever read in a long time and I would never thank enough Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity of reading the earc.

It’s the first adult fantasy novel from the author of Artemis Fowl and Highfire is peculiar, weird and very funny. From the New York Times bestselling author of the Artemis Fowl series comes a hilarious and high-octane adult novel about a vodka-drinking, Flashdance-loving dragon who lives an isolated life in the bayous of Louisiana–and the raucous adventures that ensue when he crosses paths with a fifteen-year-old troublemaker on the run from a crooked sheriff.In the days of yore, he flew the skies and scorched angry mobs–now he hides from swamp tour boats and rises only with the greatest reluctance from his Laz-Z-Boy recliner. Laying low in the bayou, this once-magnificent fire breather has been reduced to lighting Marlboros with nose sparks, swilling Absolut in a Flashdance T-shirt, and binging Netflix in a fishing shack. For centuries, he struck fear in hearts far and wide as Wyvern, Lord Highfire of the Highfire Eyrie–now he goes by Vern. However…he has survived, unlike the rest. He is the last of his kind, the last dragon. Still, no amount of vodka can drown the loneliness in his molten core. Vern’s glory days are long gone. Or are they? (bookdepository)

The review will be posted closer to the publication date.

Btw, I’m trying to put my most anticipated release in order, but surely I will forgot some book along the way, since there are TOO many. These are my January most anticipated reads! Now I’m ready for Febraury!

From We heart it

The queen’s assassin by Melissa De La Cruz

384 pages

Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Caledon Holt is the Kingdom of Renovia’s deadliest weapon. No one alive can best him in brawn or brains, which is why he’s the Guild’s most dangerous member and the Queen’s one and only assassin. He’s also bound to the Queen by an impossible vow–to find the missing Deian Scrolls, the fount of all magical history and knowledge, stolen years ago by a nefarious sect called the Aphrasians.

Shadow has been training all her life to follow in the footsteps of her mother and aunts–to become skilled enough to join the ranks of the Guild. Though magic has been forbidden since the Aphrasian uprising, Shadow has been learning to control her powers in secret, hoping that one day she’ll become an assassin as feared and revered as Caledon Holt. When a surprise attack brings Shadow and Cal together, they’re forced to team up as assassin and apprentice to hunt down a new sinister threat to Renovia. But as Cal and Shadow grow closer, they’ll uncover a shocking web of lies and secrets that may destroy everything they hold dear. With war on the horizon and true love at risk, they’ll stop at nothing to protect each other and their kingdom in this stunning first novel in the Queen’s Secret series. (goodreads)

I’ve only read The isle of the lost by this author and I really can’t wait to read this book, since they say it’s perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas.

The gravity of us by Phil Stamper

320 pages

Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by Bloomsbury YA

In this smart, heart-warming YA debut perfect for fans of Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, two teens find love when their lives are uprooted for their parents’ involvement in a NASA mission to Mars.

Cal wants to be a journalist, and he’s already well underway with almost half a million followers on his FlashFame app and an upcoming internship at Buzzfeed. But his plans are derailed when his pilot father is selected for a highly-publicized NASA mission to Mars. Within days, Cal and his parents leave Brooklyn for hot and humid Houston.

With the entire nation desperate for any new information about the astronauts, Cal finds himself thrust in the middle of a media circus. Suddenly his life is more like a reality TV show, with his constantly bickering parents struggling with their roles as the “perfect American family. And then Cal meets Leon, whose mother is another astronaut on the mission, and he finds himself falling head over heels–and fast. They become an oasis for each other amid the craziness of this whole experience. As their relationship grows, so does the frenzy surrounding the Mars mission, and when secrets are revealed about ulterior motives of the program, Cal must find a way to get to the truth without hurting the people who have become most important to him. (bookdepository)

Yes no Maybe so by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed

368 pages

Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Jamie Goldberg is cool with volunteering for his local state candidate – as long as he’s behind the scenes. There’s no way he’d ever knock on doors to ask people for their votes…until he meets Maya.

Maya Rehman’s having the worst Ramadan ever. Her best friend is too busy to hang out, her summer trip is cancelled, her parents are separating and now her mother thinks the solution to her problems is political canvassing – with some awkward guy she hardly knows …

Going door to door isn’t exactly glamorous, but maybe it’s not the worst thing in the world. After all, the polls are getting closer – and so are Maya and Jamie. Mastering local activism is one thing. Navigating the cross-cultural crush of the century is another thing entirely. (goodreads)

I’ve never read anything by Aisha Saeed, yet, but I loved Simon vs the Homo Sapiens agenda by Albertalli and this book seems really amazing.

Belle Révolte by Linsey Miller

384 pages

Expected publication: February 1st 2020 by Sourcebooks Fire

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome wor.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies. (goodreads)

All the stars and teeth by Adalyn Grace

384 pages

Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by Imprint

As princess of the island kingdom Visidia, Amora Montara has spent her entire life training to be High Animancer—the master of souls. The rest of the realm can choose their magic, but for Amora, it’s never been a choice. To secure her place as heir to the throne, she must prove her mastery of the monarchy’s dangerous soul magic.

When her demonstration goes awry, Amora is forced to flee. She strikes a deal with Bastian, a mysterious pirate: he’ll help her prove she’s fit to rule, if she’ll help him reclaim his stolen magic.

But sailing the kingdom holds more wonder—and more peril—than Amora anticipated. A destructive new magic is on the rise, and if Amora is to conquer it, she’ll need to face legendary monsters, cross paths with vengeful mermaids, and deal with a stow-away she never expected… or risk the fate of Visidia and lose the crown forever. (goodreads)

Break in case of emergency by Brian Francis

368 pages

Expected publication: February 4th 2020 by Inkyard Press (first published September 17th 2019)

TW: suicide, attempted suicide, depression, homophobia, mental illness

Life has been a struggle for Toby Goodman. Her mother died by suicide five years ago, and her father left before Toby was born. Now a teenager living on her grandparents’ dairy farm, Toby has trouble letting people in. Convinced that she is destined to follow her mother’s path, she creates a plan to escape her pain.
But with the news that her father is coming home and finally wants to meet her, Toby learns the truth of her parents’ story. Her father is gay and a world-famous female impersonator–in a time when these facts are a source of small-town whispers and secrets, and not something anyone had dared talk with her about before.
As her careful plans go awry, Toby must rebuild her life from the ground up. While she might not follow an expected path, with the support of a quirky but lovable circle of friends and family, Toby will finally put together the many different pieces that make up her past, her present and her future. (goodreads)

Review already posted on this blog.

What kind of girl by Alyssa Sheinmel

272 pages

Expected publication: February 6th 2020 by Atom 

The girls at North Bay Academy are taking sides. It all started when Mike Parker’s girlfriend showed up with a bruise on her face. Or, more specifically, when she walked into the principal’s office and said Mike hit her. But the students have questions: Why did she go to the principal and not the police? Why did she stay so long if he was hurting her? Obviously, if it’s true, Mike should be expelled. But is it true? Some girls want to rally for his expulsion – and some want to rally around Mike. The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out. (goodreads).

The review will be posted closer to the publication date.

Of curses and kisses by Sandhya Menon

384 pages

Expected publication: February 18th 2020 by Simon Pulse

For Princess Jaya Rao, nothing is more important than family. When the loathsome Emerson clan steps up their centuries-old feud to target Jaya’s little sister, nothing will keep Jaya from exacting her revenge. Then Jaya finds out she’ll be attending the same elite boarding school as Grey Emerson, and it feels like the opportunity of a lifetime. She knows what she must do: Make Grey fall in love with her and break his heart. But much to Jaya’s annoyance, Grey’s brooding demeanor and lupine blue eyes have drawn her in. There’s simply no way she and her sworn enemy could find their fairy-tale ending…right? His Lordship Grey Emerson is a misanthrope. Thanks to an ancient curse by a Rao matriarch, Grey knows he’s doomed once he turns eighteen. Sequestered away in the mountains at St. Rosetta’s International Academy, he’s lived an isolated existence—until Jaya Rao bursts into his life, but he can’t shake the feeling that she’s hiding something. Something that might just have to do with the rose-shaped ruby pendant around her neck…As the stars conspire to keep them apart, Jaya and Grey grapple with questions of love, loyalty, and whether it’s possible to write your own happy ending. (goodreads)

Of curses and Kisses is yet another retelling of The beauty and the beast, set into a boarding school. I’m curious about this one, since the setting is very peculiar.

Foul is fair by Hannah Capin

336 pages

Expected publication: February 18th 2020 by Wednesday Books

Elle and her friends Mads, Jenny, and Summer rule their glittering LA circle. Untouchable, they have the kind of power other girls only dream of. Every party is theirs and the world is at their feet. Until the night of Elle’s sweet sixteen, when they crash a St. Andrew’s Prep party. The night the golden boys choose Elle as their next target. They picked the wrong girl. Sworn to vengeance, Elle transfers to St. Andrew’s. She plots to destroy each boy, one by one. She’ll take their power, their lives, and their control of the prep school’s hierarchy. And she and her coven have the perfect way in: a boy named Mack, whose ambition could turn deadly.

Foul is Fair is a bloody, thrilling revenge fantasy for the girls who have had enough. Golden boys beware: something wicked this way comes. (goodreads)

Foul is fair sounds absolutely brilliant, bloody and full of revenge! Sign me in!

Asperfell by Jamie Thomas

430 pages

Expected publication: February 18th 2020 by Uproar Books, LLC

Only the darkest and most dangerous of Mages are sentenced to pass through the gate to Asperfell. Not one has ever returned. Never did Briony dream she might set foot in the otherworldly prison of Asperfell. She was, after all, neither Mage nor criminal. She was simply her father’s little whirlwind—fingers smudged with ink, dresses caked with mud—forever lost in a book or the spirit-haunted woods surrounding her family’s country estate. But Briony always had a knack for showing up where she was least expected. Only by braving the gate of Asperfell could Briony hope to find the true heir to the throne of Tiralaen and save her kingdom from civil war. And so, she plunges into a world of caged madmen and demented spirits, of dark magic and cryptic whispers… and of a bleak and broken prince with no interest in being rescued. (goodreads)

The review will be posted closer to the publication date.