Book Review: Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe

Pre-Order Bright Ruined Things:
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This was initially my book rec for Cancer signs in the month of October. However, I am not linking that here because the pub date for this book has been pushed to February of 2022.


On an island where the magical family Prosper rules supreme, “mousy” Mae is regarded as an outcast and even a nuisance. Known for her meek and eagerly obliging nature, all Mae has ever truly wanted is to be accepted by the family she depends on and to learn the magical skills for which they’re known the world over. On the eve of the summer solstice, Mae stumbles on something that could very well be her ticket into the world that’s always shut her out. With her days on the island numbered and her options limited, Mae is determined to finally take what she’s always wanted. But this magic comes with a price that Mae isn’t exactly in a position to pay. At least, not without a little help…

“I had finally realized how little I could wring from the Prospers by trying to please them. If I wanted more, I would have to take it.”

– Mae, Bright Ruined Things

๐ŸŽ†๐ŸŽ†๐ŸŽ†๐ŸŽ† Four Stars (as rated in the fireworks at midnight)

Real Talk: Shakespeare’s The Tempest is just not that great of a story. The thing drags, the characters are tiresome and forgettable and I always leave it wondering what the actual point of it was. Understandably, I went into Bright Ruined Things (being a retelling of the former) with very low expectations. Its predecessor just doesn’t have that much for one to work with. So you can imagine my utter delight at what this turned out to be. Cohoe has taken one of Shakespeare’s most lackluster comedies and exponentially improved it by –gasp– turning the thing into a tragedy! What island magic is this!? BRT is the ultimate glow up for what is an otherwise pretty uninteresting story. So here I say, “Samantha Cohoe, if you’re reading this, what are the chances of us being gifted another Shakespeare retelling by you one day? And would you consider doing The Comedy of Errors next?” ๐Ÿ˜†

I would have to stop this one day. It didn’t do me any good to have fallen in love with a ghost.”

– Mae, Bright Ruined Things

I was given a free Advanced Reader Copy ofย Bright Ruined Thingsย by the publisher viaย Netgalleyย in exchange for an honest review.

Pre-Order Down Comes The Night:
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book at a glance

๐Ÿ“˜ Standalone
โœ‚๏ธ Classical Retelling
๐Ÿฆ„ YA Fantasy
๐Ÿ“œ Historical Fiction

โœจ Read this book because: you’re into books set in the 1920’s, flawed characters, and love stories that aren’t at all what they seem – or even what you wanted them to be.

โœจ Content warnings: bullying, neglect, threats of sexual violence, adultery, abuse, imprisonment, kidnapping, trauma, fire, death, enslavement, gaslighting, toxic relationships

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Image Description: Flat lay featuring the e-book version of Bright Ruined Things by Samantha Cohoe as seen on the screen of an Android tablet. There is sparkling green velvet fabric peeking it at the bottom right and burnt, ashy paper on the left side of the frame. A string of glimmering pearls are at the top right and several matches are scattered at the top left.
about the author

Samantha Cohoe

(The following was copied from the Author’s personal website.) Samantha Cohoe was raised in San Luis Obispo, California, where she enjoyed an idyllic childhood of beach trips, omnivorous reading, and writing stories brimming with adverbs. She attended Thomas Aquinas College, a Great Books college in California, and graduated with a BA in liberal arts. After studying Philosophical Theology at Yale Divinity School, she decided academia wasnโ€™t for her, and rediscovered her love of writing stories brimming with adverbs. In 2011, she moved with her family to Denver, where she currently divides her time between teaching Latin, mothering, writing, reading, and deleting adverbs. She writes historically inspired Young Adult Fantasy.

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Thanks so much for reading!


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Published by Sarah

My name is Sarah and I can't imagine my life without books. Actually, I can and it's terrible. I'm also into climbing, video games and bothering the nearest cat.

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