#ARCAUGUST | That’s Not What Happened, These Rebel Waves & City of Ghosts

So #ARCAugust is an annual challenge hosted by Read Sleep Repeat – I’m not necessarily participating in the official challenge, but feel free to go check it out on their blog and see what their plans are.

For me, I just want to read as many unreleased ARCs as I can that have been building up for me, so I’ve come up with my own personal goals for August.

  1. Read at least 6 unreleased ARCs from my TBR.
  2. Review at least half of what I read on my blog.
  3. Mini-review all books on my twitter and insta stories.



Name: That’s Not What Happened
Author: Kody Keplinger
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Publisher: Hodder Children’s
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Team BKMRK @ YALC
Release: 28th August  2018
Rating: ★★★★

I received a proof copy via Lucky Dip at YALC from Team BKMRK in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been on a bit of a contemporary kick this year, I’m not really sure where that’s come from but I’m rolling with it. The premise of this book is that there are six survivors of a high school shooting and, as you can expect, everyone has viewed and reported on the event differently. Three years on, Leanne wants to tell her truth of what happened on that day.

This book is basically one long letter, plus five shorter letters, allowing these survivors to tell the reader what they saw, how they felt, and the aftermath of the shooting in their lives. It depicts the impact of the media, misconception of events and the damage of not knowing the full story.

I’ve also got to give a big shout out to the on-page ace rep. I really love seeing this in books, as it really is so important. Personally, I thought this was done well, but I am not asexual and therefore do not feel like I can definitely say one way of the other.

There is also a strong religious factor to this book. The blurb states that Leanne’s best friend, Sarah, died in the massacre proclaiming her faith but that isn’t what happened. *SPOILER* This book has a lot of quite aggressive Christians being abusive to people. I can see why this may offend some people, but as an atheist, I was very indifferent to this depiction. I actually found it quite interesting to see the lengths to which people will go for their faith. I know that the US takes Christianity far more seriously on a much larger scale than even the most devout in the UK, so I have never really been exposed to this sort of behaviour in the same way.

Representation: LGBTQIA+ (including on-page ace), PoC, Mental Health (esp. anxiety and PTSD).
Trigger Warnings: Trauma, Religious Abuse, Gun Violence. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

TLDR; I found this book very interesting and as the idea of ‘fake news’ becomes more and more relevant, along with the US gun regulations debate, I believe it to be very topical.


Name: These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders #1)
Author: Sara Raasch
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Harper360 YA
Release: 7th August 2018
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

I received a proof copy from Shrina at Harper360 YA in exchange for an honest review.

Okay so before I read this, I flicked through my goodreads and saw two reviewers I really trust 2-starred this. I was surprised, but their views seemed valid and I went in skeptical. I’m not saying they were wrong, the book wasn’t for them, but I found that reading their reviews may have helped me enjoy it more because one of the main things they said was that they thought it was going to be a fun romp with gay pirates. This book is not that, and knowing that going in, meant I enjoyed it more.

Now you know what it’s not, let me tell you what it is. This is political. It tells the story of a revolution on an island, Grace Loyan, run by another country, Argrid. After fighting to separate itself from Argrid, the book shows the issues the Grace Lorayans are having running their own country and the prejudices that exist. So yeah, political. There’s also a prevailing Religion vs. Magic theme – Grace Loray is full of botanical magic which Argrid and its church are trying to eliminate. Then there are the pirates, known as Stream Raiders. There are multiple syndicates originating from different countries who now find their home on Grace Loray and these people are the main targets of the prejudice. Bottom line, this is not all fun and games and adventures.

HOWEVER, there are adventures, and there is laugh out loud moments. The characters are honestly such a highlight for me, I loved them all (except maybe one for like half the book) and I need to tell you all about them.

  • Adeluna, also known as Lu – one of the central perspectives, Lu is a self-proclaimed Grace Lorayan and the daughter of the famous revolutionary Kari the Wave who fought for the rule of Grace Loray. She was a child spy during the war and now helps her parents rule the country with the Grace Lorayan council. When shit goes wrong, this bitch is saving the country and I will follow this girl to the end of the earth because she’s badass as fuck.

  • Devereux Bell, also known as Vex – another central perspective, Vex is the ultimate Stream Raider and the love of my life. He is the only raider not aligned with a syndicate so he works alone and jesus christ I love him okay. He is cocky, brilliant at what he does, will serve you your ass on a plate with a wink and a cheeky smirk. He’s like my ultimate James Potter/Sirius Black combination pirate fantasy.

  • Prince Benot of Argrid, also known as Ben – the final central perspective and the character I disliked the most. Okay, that’s an overstatement because it’s not that I didn’t like him, I just didn’t really care?? His perspectives were the only part of the book not taking place in Grace Loray and I just wanted to get back to Vex and Lu. He did grow on me and as his storyline progressed, it did improve, but his POV is the only reason this wasn’t a 5-star read for me. It also really annoys me that I didn’t enjoy his sections because he is the only character who is explicitly gay, but it’s also a toxic relationship. Ugh.

  • Teo – Lu’s best friend’s six-year-old brother and actual angel. Seriously, every time he was there, I was happy. So happy. Teo is a highlight.

  • Nayeli – member of Vex’s crew, and of Tuncian descent with connections to the Tuncian raider syndicate. Heavily implied that she is gay. Loves blowing things up. I want to be her.

Honestly, I don’t know where this review is going, but I loved the banter between the characters, I love that it was so political and serious. The magic system is incredibly interesting due to it being botanical, and honestly, that cliffhanger is killing me and I needed book two YESTERDAY.

Representation: LGBTQIA+ (notably M/M and F/F secondary characters), Colonisation & oppression of different races.
Trigger Warnings: Mild Violence, Torture, Religious Abuse. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

TLDR; Political fantasy with amazing characters, botanical magic and Devereux Bell aka love of my life. Pls read it.


Name: City of Ghosts (Cassidy Blake #1)
Author: Victoria Schwab
Genres: MG, Paranormal
Publisher: Scholastic
Format: Paperback ARC
Source: Facebook Trade Group
Release: 28th August 2018
Rating: ★★★★

I received a proof copy in exchange for an honest review.

If you know me, you know that Victoria (VE) Schwab is one of my all time favourite authors. This is probably 95% of the reason I picked up this book as I so rarely stray to middle grade, but honestly, it was so worth it.

Cassidy Blake, daughter of paranormal experts, should have died and now she can see ghosts (her best friend is one), ghosts which her parents most definitely can’t see. That’s basically the whole premise and I’m already here for it. In this first installment of the Cassidy Blake series, we see her parents travelling to Edinburgh, Scotland to film the first episode of their brand new TV show about haunted cities.

This book had three key things for me that made me love it:

  • Edinburgh – one of my favourite cities and somewhere I know well, so could mentally follow Cass around on her adventures.

  • Great writing – everything you would expect from a Schwab book, but just suitable for younger readers.  Perfectly paced and plotted, exciting and adventure-filled.

  • Harry Potter references – and lots of them. Not only is Edinburgh a key location for Harry Potter in terms of buildings and people and places who inspired JKR, but Cass is also a massive HP nerd so they just keep cropping up and I was living.

I already have this on pre-order for my 12 year old cousin because everyone needs this lovely adventure in their lives. I need more of Cassidy Blake and I really want to see where this series goes!

Representation: PoC secondary character.
Trigger Warnings: Drowning. Near-death experiences. Please research for more if you think this may be triggering.

TLDR; Lovely adventure filled with ghosts, HP references and Edinburgh.

next week


The following are next up on my #ARCAugust blitz:

  • Killer T by Robert Muchamore (6th September 2018) – The Cherub series was honestly the highlight of my post-HP, pre-YA reading years so I was really excited to hear about this book and so grateful to Tina at Hot Key for sending me a copy!
  • The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke (2nd October 2018) – Classical retellings are my FAVOURITE, I love a fairytale but give me a retelling of classical literature/epic poems and I am so there. This is a female Beowulf retelling and I am SO HERE.
  • Beneath the Citadel by Destiny Soria (9th October 2018) – I managed to win this one at YALC and I’m super excited to dig back into fantasy!


How’s your week been? What have you read? Have you posted any reviews? Let me know in the comments – feel free to leave links!

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2 thoughts on “#ARCAUGUST | That’s Not What Happened, These Rebel Waves & City of Ghosts

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