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QBD Reviews: Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte 

Four Queens. A divided nation. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.

Astrid Scholte's debut novel is an enthralling fast-paced murder mystery where competing agendas collide with deadly consequences. 

Keralie Corrington is a talented pickpocket. She steals for the black market in her quadrant. Her nation is divided into four regions, each strictly separated from the other. Four queens, one from each quadrant, rule as one.

When Keralie steals a particularly valuable item from a messenger, she discovers she's intercepted instructions to murder the queens. Hoping to find the culprit, Keralie teams up with Varin Bollt. But with Keralie and Varin each keeping secrets, everything is at stake. And no one can be trusted in a world full of ruthless thieves, black markets, a golden palace, daring heists, royal intrigue, noble messengers, forbidden love, four queens - each with a secret, and, of course, murder.

Four Dead Queens is released on March 4th 2019. To pre-order Four Dead Queens click here.

 

What an impressive debut! I was lucky enough to receive an advanced reading copy and upon seeing the cover and synopsis was instantly excited; devouring this wondrous story as fast as my eyes could take me. My imagination worked overtime attempting to create accurate images in my mind of the vastly different quadrants, all the while failing to truly grasp how these sectors are so geographically close together yet feel like they are from completely different worlds. I was taken from period costume with corsets and bonnets and a quadrant with no electricity to dermasuits and comm chips and technology so advanced it blew my mind! I was introduced to characters I immediately wanted to know more about and as the story progressed, was constantly surprised to discover new things about them I wouldn't have guessed.

This was a pretty cruise-y novel to begin with, an easy read that wrapped me up in the stunningly creative world Astrid has created until just past half way when the rugs started ripping out from under me with twists I never saw coming- much praise for an author who can still do that so successfully! I truly loved this book, a standing ovation from me as I (not so) patiently wait for Astrid's next masterpiece (please!)

~ Taegen , QBD Loganholme

Reviewsday: Impostors by Scott Westerfeld

Master storyteller Scott Westerfeld returns with a brilliant new series set in the world of his bestselling Uglies series.

The first thing that had me hooked with this novel was how refreshing it was to be back in Tally Youngblood’s universe. I somehow skipped over this little fact – which is handily supplied in the blurb, who knew? - due to my uncontainable excitement over the novel's existence. Diving headfirst back into it all these years later was like coming home.

As I’m sure we all know at this point Westerfeld writes some mind-blowing characters, but Frey has knocked everyone else off their pedestal and claimed her rightful place as my favourite. Despite basically being a walking, talking, ticking time bomb, she’s an insanely complex character with an unexpected vulnerability to her that had me firmly in her corner from the first chapter.

Westerfeld’s world building is superbly on point as always and the changes wrought by Tally’s hand in the Uglies series (which I wholeheartedly recommend reading if you haven’t already!) essentially lay the foundation for the plot of Impostors. I won’t say too much because untangling Westerfeld's intricate web is an experience not to be missed, but there are enough heavy smatterings of action, intrigue and good ole plot twists to keep you engrossed until the last page. With a cliff-hanger ending that is so deviously twisted I barely registered how shocked I was because I was so damn impressed, Impostors is not a novel to be missed.

~ Karen, Tweed Heads QBD

 

About the book: 

Frey was raised to take a bullet.

She's the body double for her twin sister Rafia - the precious heir of the first family of Shreve - and her existence is a closely guarded secret. So while Rafi was schooled in poise and diplomacy, Frey was drilled in weapons and combat. Her purpose: to protect her sister from their tyrannical father's many enemies.

When Frey is sent in Rafi's place as collateral in a precarious business deal, she becomes the perfect impostor - as elegant and charming as her sister. But Col Palafox, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her. As layers of deceit peel away, can Frey become her own person, and risk everything in a rebellion?

Books We Love: Small Spaces by Sarah Epstein

We don't pick and choose what to be afraid of. Our fears pick us.

Everyone knows that Tash Carmody has issues - she's claustrophobic and paranoid and once, she made up a lie to get attention, a lie that had long consequences for young Mallory Fisher.

Everyone in Port Bellamy has grown up now, and Tash is looking forward to going away to university and leaving the past behind her, but Mallory and her older brother Morgan are back in town and Tash feels the past coming back to haunt her.

What did she see that day at the carnival and why does no one believe her about her mysterious and mean imaginary friend? Why is Aunty Ally so desperate to get her to come back to the house that made her afraid? And who will believe her this time when she doesn't even believe herself?

A brilliant crime debut that teens and adults alike will love, Small Spaces will leave you unsettled within the first few pages, and make you claustrophobic way past the ending. It touches on contemporary Australian issues and the hardship of being a teen with mental health issues in a way that is both brutally honest and compassionate. Well worth a read!

~Shannon, QBD Mandurah

Interested? Get your copy in store or online here. 

Reviewsday: Whisper by Lynette Noni

One Word Can Change Your World...

Lynette Noni shines with the first book in a new Young Adult series that I just couldn't put down. I needed to read the whole thing, needed to finish it as quickly as possible. This was also the first book of hers that I have read and I loved it.

Jane has been in Lengard for two and a half years now. A secret government facility that have been testing on her-- the only problem is she won't speak a single word. They don't know her name and call her only Jane Doe and treated as just another inmate. But things aren't always as they seem.

With just one word-- the first she has spoken in almost three years-- Jane learns about just what she is and what she can do. They tell her that she is special and that they can help her to control her powers, but can these people really be trusted?

This book had me on the edge of my seat as I read through it, I needed to know and every twist and turn just kept me even more engaged. This book felt like a few smaller stories weaved into one and done well, so if you're like me and you enjoy a book that doesn't feel like it drags... this is the book for you.

Fall in love with the strong female characters in this book, from Camelot "Cami" Ward-- a girl who has been through so much and still maintains her heart of gold, to Keeda-- the tough girl who you can't help but smile at. To Jane herself as she learns that it's not the past that defines us, and powers aren't what make us strong-- but how we use them.

All in all if you're looking for a new series that will keep you engaged and leave you will all kinds of emotions at the end, Whisper is for you. The only issue... that book number two isn't out yet.

5 stars!

~ Jordanna, QBD Chadstone

The Children of Blood and Bone sequel has been announced!

We're so excited the Afrofuturist fantasy about Zélie, Amari, and Inan we've all read and adored, Children of Blood and Bone, will have a sequel AND the title, release date, and official synopsis have been set free! The sequel is titled Children of Virtue and Vengeance, hitting shelves in March 2019.

Yes, we know, we're waiting like:

via GIPHY

In the meantime, join us in reading (and re-reading, analysing and hypothesising about) the synopsis!

After battling the impossible, Zélie and Amari have finally succeeded in bringing magic back to the land of Orïsha. But the ritual was more powerful than they could’ve imagined, reigniting the powers of not only the maji, but of nobles with magic ancestry, too.

Now, Zélie struggles to unite the maji in an Orïsha where the enemy is just as powerful as they are. But when the monarchy and military unite to keep control of Orïsha, Zélie must fight to secure Amari's right to the throne and protect the new maji from the monarchy's wrath.

With civil war looming on the horizon, Zélie finds herself at a breaking point: she must discover a way to bring the kingdom together or watch as Orïsha tears itself apart.

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What some of our readers have been saying about Children of Blood And Bone: 

Children of Blood and Bone encapsulates everything that I love about YA fantasy. The world is amazing, the characters are so real feeling, the writing is perfect, the action is abundant, the romances are beautiful, the topics are important. This was such a fantastic read, I have no doubts that Children of Blood and Bone will make my best of 2018 list. 5 stars. - Melanie, QBD Doncaster

Blessed are the Brave. Set in the beautiful world of Orisha, you follow the story of handful of teenagers trying to write the wrongs of the past.Years after magic was taken from the diviners and all maji murdered Zelie grows up in the harsh lifestyle of being a diviner without Magic.
With the help of Amari and Tzain now is time to fight back, now is the time to rise and take back what was theirs. 3.5 stars.- David, QBD Mandurah

This book is amazing. With brilliantly fleshed out characters and excellent workd building Children of Blodd and Bone is a must read for fans of fantasy. It follows the story of Zelie as her world is burnt to ashes and she has to flea everything she has ever known to embark on a journey to save her people.
This book contains tragic backstories, intricately crafted magical lore, first love, betrayal, adventure, heart break, sword fights, magical duels, naval battles, mercenaries and it's all wrapped up in a captivating tale with more twists and heart-stirring moments than you would expect in a YA novel. Cannot wait for the next book in the series! 5 stars. - Rina, QBD Belconnen