Siege of Shadows by Sarah Raughley

Inside cover blurb:

“There’s nowhere to hide.

Not when you’re an Effigy. No matter where they go, Maia and the other Effigies can’t escape the eyes of the press—especially not after failing to capture Saul, whose power to control the monstrous Phantoms has left the world in a state of panic. It’s been two months since Saul’s disappearance, and there’s still no sign of him, leaving the public to wonder whether the Sect—and the Effigies—are capable of protecting anyone.

When Saul suddenly surfaces in the middle of the Sahara desert, the Sect sends Maia and her friends out after him. But instead of Saul, they discover a dying soldier engineered with Effigy-like abilities. Even worse, there may be more soldiers like him out there, and it looks like the Effigies are their prime targets.

Yet the looming danger of Saul and this mysterious new army doesn’t overshadow Maia’s fear of the Sect, who ordered the death of the previous Fire Effigy, Natalya. With enemies on all sides and the world turning against them, the Effigies have to put their trust in each other—easier said than done when secrets threaten to tear them apart.”

-from publisher


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Not sure if I’ve already compared this series to Suckerpunch, but it’s totally Suckerpunch– a group of powerful girls coming together to save the world and themselves.

There’s very little Saul in this book actually, which I found surprising. The whole plot of the book revolves around the Sect, the organization which controls the Effigies.

The girls, particularly Maia, are in a precarious position. They face attacks from within, certain that there are traitors in the Sect. Then a new threat emerges- soldiers who appear to have Effigy powers.

I wonder if it’s a coincidence that the initials of this title are SOS….

I think I preferred the first book because the plot felt more compelling, but I am enjoying learning more about the origins of both the Phantoms and the Effigies.

A very unexpected cliffhanger ending! I don’t know how we’re coming back from that, but I’ll be here to read all about it!

Plus: The plot thickens! I can’t wait to see what happens next.

Minus: Maia was a little obnoxious at times- should she trust the pretty boy, should she not…it got a little old.

If you like this book, try:

A Shadow Bright and Burning (Kingdom on Fire, #1)

A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess- This main character can also control flames, just like Maia. But unlike Maia, she happens to be the only female sorcerer in Victorian London.

Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson

Inside cover blurb:

“Ellingham Academy is a famous private school in Vermont for the brightest thinkers, inventors, and artists. It was founded by Albert Ellingham, an early twentieth century tycoon, who wanted to make a wonderful place full of riddles, twisting pathways, and gardens. “A place” he said, “where learning is a game.”

Shortly after the school opened, his wife and daughter were kidnapped. The only real clue was a mocking riddle listing methods of murder, signed with the frightening pseudonym, Truly Devious. It became one of the great unsolved crimes of American history.

True-crime aficionado Stevie Bell is set to begin her first year at Ellingham Academy, and she has an ambitious plan: She will solve this cold case. That is, she will solve the case when she gets a grip on her demanding new school life and her housemates: the inventor, the novelist, the actor, the artist, and the jokester. But something strange is happening. Truly Devious makes a surprise return, and death revisits Ellingham Academy. The past has crawled out of its grave. Someone has gotten away with murder.”

-from publisher


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You know that feeling, when you start a book and automatically know you’re going to love it? I got that with Truly Devious.

A private school for the gifted, a murder mystery from the 30s, secret passageways, secrets galore! Yup, this one had my name written all over it.

I would pack my bags and go to Ellingham Academy right this very moment if I could. There’s an amazing library, tunnels, lots of nooks and crannies to explore. If I can’t go to Hogwarts, I’d settle for Ellingham.

Stevie is fabulous, in fact, all of the characters are distinct and just the right amount of quirky. And if the Ellingham case isn’t enough, we also get a new mystery! I have my theories about both, but I’m definitely still guessing.

My only  problem with it- we still don’t know what happened! Because…wait for it…it’s going to be a TRILOGY.

I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first, but now I’m just thanking my lucky stars that I get to read more of this story. Something big is happening here and I can’t wait to find out what!

Plus: Love stories, secret histories, spooky mysteries. This book has them all!

Minus: That I won’t get to know the whole story for two more books! But still, I’m looking forward to them.

If you like this book, try:


Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller- An oldie, but a goodie about snooping and sleuthing through the New York Underground. Reading Truly Devious reminded me of this childhood favorite.

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Inside cover blurb:

Secret Identities. Extraordinary Powers. She wants vengeance. He wants justice.

The Renegades are a syndicate of prodigies—humans with extraordinary abilities—who emerged from the ruins of a crumbled society and established peace and order where chaos reigned. As champions of justice, they remain a symbol of hope and courage to everyone…except the villains they once overthrew.

Nova has a reason to hate the Renegades, and she is on a mission for vengeance. As she gets closer to her target, she meets Adrian, a Renegade boy who believes in justice—and in Nova. But Nova’s allegiance is to a villain who has the power to end them both.”

-from publisher


Boy, oh boy…552 pages? Really unnecessary if you ask me.

This book is long and you can feel it. Things are overly drawn out throughout the entire book. I discussed this issue with my coworker and one scene in particular really stood out. I went back to count the pages- the scene is 90 pages.


The plot is mildly entertaining- I like the concept of superheroes vs. super villains, but the super villains were definitely more intriguing and they take a back seat due to the nature of the plot. I feel like I would rather read a history of the Age of Anarchy (the period before superheroes took control).

And I am entirely uninterested in the love story. There was just nothing there that made me really invest in them.

Overall, I’d say this book is basically a really drawn out Romeo/Juliet retelling where everyone has super powers.

Plus: Cool concept, fairly good world building overall.

Minus: Needs editing! No single scene should be 90 pages!

If you like this book, try:


Dreadnought by April Daniels- Now this is how I prefer my superheroes- revolutionary! When is the last time you read a book about a trans superhero??

Everless by Sara Holland

Inside cover blurb:

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself. ”

-from publisher


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The gif say it all, really.

I thought this book would be an underwhelming story wrapped in a pretty cover. And I was happy to be wrong! Except about the cover, it’s a gorgeous cover.

I found Everless to be surprisingly original. Not in its love stories or character relationships, although there were a few twists which surprised me. For me, the real draw was the concept of paying with time from your own blood… it’s such a dark and creepy world which I loved!

Jules was not a very compelling heroine, I must say. At the climax of the book, she seems to just fall apart, which was rather disappointing. I think my favorite character was Liam Gerling, the lord famous for cruel punishments. Who doesn’t love a good antihero?

The whole Sorceress/Alchemist origin story of their society was not super appealing to me. Unfortunately, it seems like that will figure heavily into the sequel, so I’m not sure how I’ll like the rest of the series.

But it’s a great first installment! Definitely recommend.

Plus: Literal blood money. Cool manipulations of time. Just really rich world building here, which I always appreciate.

Minus: Kind of lame heroine. A good amount of predictability in the plot…but I think there’s enough twist to it to keep it interesting.

If you like this book, try:


The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig- These books don’t really have much to do with one another, other than the fact that they both involve time. But it’s about maps and time traveling on a ship, so it sounds like a fun to me.

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty

Inside cover blurb:

“Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass?a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.”

-from publisher


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This book has it all: magic, djinn, badass female main character, Middle Eastern culture, incredible world building…

But I was pretty lost for the majority of the book. There is just a lot to keep track of here because, not only is it set in a mythical world, it’s also a political intrigue story. So think Game of Thrones, but with a Middle Eastern flair.

I will say it is rather ingenious because you’re discovering the history of this world right alongside Nahri, who grew up in the human world and has no clue what she’s gotten herself into either.

But with so much ground to cover, The City of Brass clocks in at over 500 pages. So it’s a bit of a commitment, but ultimately, I was glad to have read it.

Definitely a slow burn (that’s funny because they are djinn).

Interested to see how this series continues!

Plus: Magic, intrigue, the Middle East. This book was basically pulled straight from my brain.

Minus: You might need some plot and character charts to help you out.

If you like this book, try:


The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury- It may be pretty cheesy of me to recommend an Aladdin retelling right now, but this one has some pretty great reviews on Goodreads. Brb adding it to my shelf.