Cover Image: Midnight Strikes

Midnight Strikes

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Member Reviews

Groundhog Day type plots can be hit or miss for me, but fortunately Midnight Strikes was a hit! The premise for this one was so intriguing, and I loved all the shifty characters and the ball setting. Also, the romantic subplot was especially enjoyable! I will definitely be picking up whatever this author writes next.

Thank you to the publisher and to Netgalley for granting me an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I absolutely loved Midnight Strikes! I was scanning through my Netgalley queue one day, looking for my next read, and when I saw the cover for Midnight Strikes, I was immediately intrigued. I didn't even remember requesting it, but there it was!

Imagine my heartbreak when I realized it was too old for me to download and read. So, I did something I rarely do with Netgalley books. I went to Amazon and bought it. I'm such a sucker for a pretty cover, and Midnight Strikes has one of the prettiest ones I've seen in a while. I knew nothing about the story, other than it seemed to be a time loop of some kind. All I wanted was to own that pretty cover.

Then, I read the story. Y'all, I devoured Midnight Strikes in about a day and a half. I couldn't put it down! I loved the main character, the interesting romance situation, and the fantasy aspects and magic was fascinating! If you haven't read Midnight Strikes, you are seriously missing out! Read immediately!

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Life happens so this review comes delayed and rather short. I genuinely found this to be an interesting concept and overall read for a fairy-tale retelling. I honestly dislike time loops but there was something thrilling about this book that just had me caught up in it. I have such a soft spot in my heart for retellings so I was eager to jump into something that felt fresh on my TBR pile and see if I could get past my dislike for time loops. I enjoyed the main character and thought she seemed very fleshed out, her determination despite the circumstances really had me rooting for her success. I had a difficult time reading with the more modern dialogue and cursing, but that's purely personal preference. It feels jarring to me and it's been done in other books and I'm not a fan. I was a little disappointed in the end - I felt like the romance had so much potential and I was left hoping for an alternate ending. Overall a solid 3 stars for me, I would likely read this again.

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The worse kind of groundhogs day. Anaïs just wants this night to stop! She is destined for a ball where she will do her best to impress the most eligible bachelors in the kingdom. She is dreading this night, but when midnight strikes, an explosion rips through the castle and nearly everyone dies- including her. That is, until the next morning when she awakens again in her bed ready to start preparations for the ball. Over and over she must endure this day until she can figure out how to stop the loop and save the kingdom.

This was an audio book for me and I enjoyed it. That narrator did a nice job telling the story. There were a lot of twists and turns and even I started to wonder if Anaïs day would ever actually end. It certainly kept my attention and I overall enjoyed it.

Thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

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The enemies to lovers trope in this one was perfect. I didn’t know what to expect going into this one, but I was so surprised. I can’t wait for this to be continued.

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I think this book was okay, I did enjoyed the story but although that the time loop was done in a good way I find myself getting bored with the situation. I enjoyed the politics and the author's writing style and honestly the very last two chapters were really well done.

I think that if you enjoy court intrigue and politics and time travel you will enjoy this story.

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Seventeen-year-old Anaïs is not looking forward to tonight’s ball celebrating the kingdom’s anniversary; she knows she will be expected to mingle with the kingdom’s most eligible bachelors and try to secure a beneficial marriage arrangement for her family. When the clock strikes midnight at the ball, an explosion rips through the palace, killing everyone, including Anaïs. However, she wakes up back in her bed the afternoon of the ball. Anaïs is stuck in a time-loop, reliving the ball and explosion over and over, while no one else remembers it having happened before. She knows it is up to her to figure out how to stop the attack before it starts to save everyone at the ball.

I love time loop stories, and this one did not disappoint! The story had fantastic world-building and characters who were well fleshed out and complex. I liked the romance and the fact that the romance didn’t overpower the other parts of the story. I was shocked to learn that this was Shahnaz’s debut novel; I can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future! Don’t miss <i>Midnight Strikes</i>.

Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this book.

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✰ ᴛʜᴏᴜɢʜᴛs ✰
- ayooo as someone who is always scared to read YA (not normally my fav books) and dubious over YA romance: this book?? Makes me wanna try out other YA fantasy romance 😍 it was so good!!
- if you like Cinderella but wanted a darker twist of her *dying* at midnight, try this one!
- L e o !!!!!! My man had me swoooooning omggg. The way he cares for Anaïs each time 🥹🥹 I can’t- i love him too girl.
- The twists in this book were surprising too. I predicted the main one (very proud of myself 😤) but there’s still a lot I didn’t see coming. It made the book fast paced and i was greedy for more. I read the majority of this book in one sitting 😂
- I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a time loop type book, so the concept was executed really well!! It seems hard to write in a way where i’m not bored of Anaïs being stuck in the same setting over and over again, but Shahnaz does it spectacularly~
- However because of the premise, it made it hard for the romance aspect to be as solid since only one person is stuck. Very one sided, but they had such good moments throughout the book
- I just wish there was more to the ending 😖 i wanted to see more of the characters after everything occurred

As a debut, I am thrilled to read more from this author!!

ʕ •ᴥ•ʔ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

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This book took me forever to read, I was just so bored with it. It drags on longer than it should. Honestly, I do love all the background that you learn, but I think it would have all been better if the main character wasn't alone. I also did not understand when the main character fell in love, nothing had really built to that. Maybe if Leo had also had his memories on each restart and they truly did it all together- sure. The ending felt underwhelming and I am just glad it's over. The idea was cool, the execution just missed its mark.

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Please give me all your time-loop fantasies. Seriously, I can't wait for book 2. There will be a book 2- right?

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I was very intrigued when the arc had been approved. Upon reading it. It’s just not my cup of tea. Kinda out there and not that great.

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Thank you to Net Galley and the publishers for an ARC copy of this novel. I give this honest review voluntarily.

First off I want to praise the cover art. The cover is gorgeous and is what drew me to read the description of the book which lead me to reading it. I would really like to be able to say I loved this novel. I had really high hopes for it. The “ground hog day” trope is a favorite of mine. The writing is well done and the story is a good one. Without question the most interesting scenes take place between our main characters Anais and Leo. I was rooting for Anais throughout the entire book. The biggest problem I have with the story is that it takes too long to get to the “meat” of the novel. I actually prefer longer novels but this one seems to drag in the beginning too much. Take away 100 pages of unessential details and it would be a far better book. I still liked the book but the beginning reminded me of a Victorian court where the people gossip and pretend to like each other but talk badly about that person behind their backs. I think I would still say give the book a read if you have the time. Once I hit about 60% in it became more interesting and the pacing and action gained momentum. I give it three stars.

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"Midnight Strikes" by Zeba Shahnaz is a captivating and imaginative fantasy novel that takes readers on an exhilarating journey through a world of magic and mystery. Shahnaz's storytelling prowess shines as she crafts a tale of adventure, intrigue, and the power of destiny. The book's richly woven plot and well-developed characters create an immersive reading experience that keeps young adult readers engaged. Shahnaz skillfully builds a fantastical world filled with enchantment and unexpected twists. "Midnight Strikes" is an enthralling read that offers a thrilling escape into a realm where magic and secrets collide, leaving readers eagerly anticipating each new twist and turn. As midnight approaches, the story unfolds, leaving readers with a sense of wonder and anticipation for the magical encounters that lie ahead.

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Princess Anais has no desire to go to the big anniversayr ball  where she's encouraged to talk to the bachelors. But, the night ends in a way she didn't expect. An explosion rips through the palace and kills everyone there, including her. But, when she wakes up it's like it never happened. Expect, it happens again and again. To get out of it, she's going to have to figure out how to stop it.

Time loops are something I always enjoy. There is just so many options for how they play out and I'm eager to see how people will change things. This was no different here. Anais has such a strong determination to save the day and stop the loop. She really uses what she learns and is able to quickly spin that in her next loop to learn something else.

Now, each time she only had a few hours to gather information and try to make a difference, so she went through the loop a lot. This caused it to get reptitive after a bit and had me struggling to get through it some. This def could have benefitted from a few less time loops.

As the romance started to develop, I definitely struggled with it. Considering the time loop, it didn't seem to be believable and gave it an insta-love feel that I didn't personally vibe with. I think this story could have been just as good without the romance or it would have been better if her romantic interest was stuck in the timeloop with her or at least eventually retained memories.

The ending did get a little wild, which I expected, but I didn't expect it to get that wild. Not entirely sure that I enjoyed how wild I got, but honestly loved the spirit and it was a nice way to change things up after they were starting to feel repetitive.

Overall, I had a fun time with this. It was exciting and Anais was such a strong character. I really look forward to what else this author will come out with.

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Despite hailing from an outlying province, Anaïs entered her debut season with hope of finding love and the type of fortuitous match that will please her parents; after enduring endless balls where she’s demeaned for her home and heritage, she’s just ready to be done. All she has to do is survive one last ball- but when the night ends with explosions and blood, that simple task becomes impossible.

But then Anaïs wakes up. It’s the afternoon before her last ball of the season. Only she has the knowledge and ability to stop the violence, but each time she fails, she wakes up again the afternoon of the ball. With the help of a childhood friend and a roguish prince, will Anaïs be able to save the kingdom? Or is she doomed to repeat her own end forever?

This was pitched as Cinderella meets Happy Death Day and I should know better than to listen to those quick little concept summaries! Anaïs is no Cinderella and the story lacks the dark humor of Happy Death Day. That’s not a fault necessarily, but it did mean I was let down. I don’t want to judge this story based on what it’s not; unfortunately I was also let down but what it is.

This book makes the criminal mistake of underutilizing its time loop! Part of the fun of a time loop story is seeing sign post moments that remain the same but change in significance as the character learns more. Think Tree’s roommate giving her cake or Phil’s encounter with Ned. There’s nothing like that here. The loops feel haphazard; Anaïs doesn’t ever create a clever plan that surprised me as a reader- she brute forces her way through. Given that every loop must end in her (often painful) death, there wasn’t any attempt to use each chance to the fullest. It was just frustrating.

The magic system was also poorly expressed. The blood/earth connection didn’t fully make sense to me with how the earth magic users were able to amplify their power. The twist regarding Anaïs’s ancestors was kind of fun, as were her family’s magic knives, but- again- under utilized.

The politics of this book were also… strange. Usually I don’t care about these things in a fantasy book- most of them have royalty and while in real life I think most people are anti-monarchical rule, it’s fantasy, it’s fun, that’s not the point. However, by introducing an anti-royalist protest movement, Shahnaz makes that more of the point and how she portrayed this movement versus the royal family was…strange. It was very “not allll royalty is bad” and the portrayal of the prince versus the leader of the insurgents was, again, strange. A bit ick. Again- usually I this doesn’t cross my mind with fantasy unless it’s the point of the story. But Shahnaz made it a part of the plot- which could be great- but it’s handled clumsily.

On the whole- a huge letdown. The basic plot idea and the premise were under utilized. Anaïs was too smooth a protagonist (self-less, talented, caring, magical) and the romance felt extremely rushed. I feel like this book may have been rushed to completion because the idea is so good? That’s just speculation, based on the strength of the concept versus the messiness of the plot. I think there’s a good story in here, it’s just not there yet.

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In what can only be described as Before I Fall with a dash of Death Day meets Marie Antoinette (in my mind at least) we find a story filled with magic, political intrigue, rime loops, romance, and more than one complicated family situation that sets up a world I would love to have been a part of.

I can't even imagine it, well I can (thanks to the unwavering talent of Zeba Shahnaz and her brilliant storytelling) but I think about being in that ballroom that first night, realizing the "next" morning what it could mean and the countless revelations that kept me glued to the pages, holding my breath some moments and crying the next.

In the beginning, I didn't know if Anais would be able to do it, but in the end, I don't know how I ever doubted her, you see this story is a beautiful example of what people are capable of when they have the right people around them at the right time.

To say I loved this book would be an understatement, after I finished it I just sat and thought about it, I can't help but wonder what happens next.

There's so much magic and wonder contained within these pages I just can't say enough good things about it, and if you're reading this you should read this book, it's breathtaking.

Thank you to Random House Children's and NetGalley for providing a copy of this E-Book, I have voluntarily read and reviewed it and all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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We've all probably asked ourselves what we would've done differently, given the chance. But how would you react if you were given that second chance? That's what our lovely protagonist of Midnight Strikes has to figure out. At first, I was unsure about how I would feel, The book doesn't immediately pull me in with the first few pages, and even after chapter one I asked myself if I would be able to continue. Do not let this dissuade you from the book however! There is suspense, beautiful adaptations of cultures, and a plot twist that you don't see coming! The idea of repeating the same day for most of the book was a little daunting, and I found myself not always reading the first half of the day until the "new" action started. If you were a fan of "Together we Burn," Midnight Strikes may be another book that entices you. I might've started out not sure if I wanted to continue, but I am grateful I did. Midnight Strikes will read as a YA novel (I understand this can be a turn-off for some, even though it is the intended audience), but if you are looking for a suspenseful fantasy that has a romantic subplot set in an Iberian peninsula-inspired world, look no further.

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this story fell flat for me, but i was able to finish it

Thanks to the publisher and netgalley for the review copy.

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*NOTE: Before I get into my review, please note that I’m unsure on how to do the accents for some of the names in the book (I’m typing on a tablet) so I’ve ultimately omitted them from the review.

Charles Perrault’s Cinderella (or ‘Histoires ou contes du tempes passe’) is one of the most heavily retold and reimagined fairy tales of all time. As such, it takes a very unique spin on the tale to distinguish one version from all the others. Zeba Shahnaz’ young adult fantasy debut, Midnight Strikes, offers an incredibly unique take on the much beloved fairytale - instead of a countdown to happily ever after when the clock strikes midnight, Anais keeps dying at the ball over and over again. When the day continually resets, she’s the only one who remembers the previous night and she must quickly figure out what’s going on to prevent it from continuing and save the kingdom.

The plot was a struggle for me. I really liked the time loop idea, but the story got repetitive very quickly. It takes multiple loops before Anais is able to get any real traction in solving the mystery of what’s been happening. I didn’t get invested in the story until the last ten chapters or so - it was entertaining but not particularly memorable. The romance was also weird - Anais and Leo’s relationship didn’t really make sense to me, given that he’s been forgetting her over and over and over again. Granted, it didn’t really make sense to Anais either, given that she made a point of not progressing their relationship past certain points when she knew Leo wouldn’t remember but it was still off putting.

While the plot and romance was not memorable, I did enjoy the worldbuilding. The magic system was excellent. The systems employed by each cultural group (the upper class with their ‘nicer’ magic vs the blood magic used by the lower class) made for some juicy political intrigue. I was not expecting some of the reveals at the end of the book that went into more detail about the origins of the different magic, and that was super exciting. The culture seems to be inspired by places like Spain, with the king being referred to as “Rey” and other Spanish honorifics being used for the nobles at the ball. Those little hints really helped me imagine the setting the author described, and I would love to visit the places from the book (when they're not being blown up over and over again, of course).

Overall, Midnight Strikes was an entertaining read with some minor issues. Narrator Nikki Massoud delivered a solid performance in the audiobook version of the tale. If you’re a fan of fairytale retellings intertwined with mystery and political intrigue, I think this book would be worth giving a chance.

Thank you to the author, the publisher Delacorte Press, the team at TBR and Beyond Tours, and NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary review copy of the book as part of my participation in the blog tour. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review Midnight Strikes immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way.

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Midnight Strikes is a groundhogs day fantasy. Anais is a country girl in the capital to find a husband to save her family from ruin. The biggest night of the year sets Anais is a time loop where the palace is bombed, she dies, but wakes up the afternoon before the ball, over and over, and over again. I lost track of how many times this girl dies in this story and has been sent back. The mystery is trying to find out how to save everyone, who's behind the bombing, and how to get out of the time loop. The story is interesting and you find out pieces of the mystery each time she tries a new way of living. I did want more out of the ending though and that is my personal opinion.

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