ARC Review & Blog tour: Not Good For Maidens

Title: Not Good For Maidens
Author: Tori Bovalino
Publication date: June 21st 2022
Age-range/genre: Young Adult / Urban Fantasy, Horror
Trigger warnings: gore, body horror, referenced murder.
Rating: 3.7/5 stars
Summary: [from goodreads]

Lou never believed in superstitions or magic–until her teenage aunt Neela is kidnapped to the goblin market.

The market is a place Lou has only read about–twisted streets, offerings of sweet fruits and incredible jewels. Everything–from the food and wares, to the goblins themselves–is a haunting temptation for any human who manages to find their way in.

Determined to save Neela, Lou learns songs and spells and tricks that will help her navigate this dangerous world and slip past a goblin’s defenses–but she only has three days to find Neela before the market disappears and her aunt becomes one of them forever.

If she isn’t careful, the market might just end up claiming her too.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

recommended for: fans of urban fantasies, family drama, and vivid writing.

Tori Bovalino delivers yet another enticing thriller novel, this time focusing on the alluring goblin markets that love to lure in teenagers – their most recent captive being Neela, the teenage aunt and best friend of our protagonist Louise. It’s a lovely story of magic, family, and the tempting and mysterious markets run by goblins.


thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

Something was terribly wrong,
and there was nothing she could do about it.

NOT GOOD FOR MAIDENS [unproofed version]

initial thoughts •

The story primarily focused on Lou and her mission to save Neela, as she is thrown into a world where magic and witches and goblins exist – one that her family have all known about. The story deals with family ties and sisterly bonds, along with family secrets that Louise is only now uncovering.

It was great to see the goblin market and the secrets of witches through the fresh eyes of Lou, as both the reader and Lou are learning about this for the first time. It made the goblins seem even scarier as Lou was incredibly inexperienced and uneducated on how to deal with them – not that that would stop her from getting Neela back. It was an exciting story that really showed how dangerous the goblin markets could be.

The market was death and aching
and wonders beyond what she could image.

NOT GOOD FOR MAIDENS [unproofed version]

• the goblin market •

Majority of the story was told from Lou’s perspective, and her aim to help save Neela. However, we also got some flashback chapters from the perspective of May, Lou’s aunt, 18 years ago when she too was lured in the market. It’s through both perspectives that we see how dangerous the market is.

The Goblin Market is both frightening and enchanting – which is exactly why people are drawn to it. Initially, I had wondered why May, who had grown up hearing about the dangers of the Goblin Market, would dare to give into temptations and visit it. But, when something is so alluring and so forbidden, of course you would be a little curious to see if it is as bad as you’ve been told.

It’s through May, we got to see first hand what made the market so enticing, but also so horrifying. The writing is so vivid in how it describes the Goblin Market, both past and present. The writing intertwines two mysteries in one – finding what happened to Neela and what had happened to May – and made the story even more interesting.

If she could get Neela back,
then she’d take any risk to do it.

NOT GOOD FOR MAIDENS [unproofed version]

• familial relationships •

Sisterhood and family are such important aspects of this novel. Neela is Lou’s aunt by blood – although with only a 2 year age difference – and best friend by choice. They’re incredibly close, privy to each others’ secrets and comfortable enough to come out to each other (and, I have to say, I adored that we got an ace protagonist!). It came as no surprise that Lou would drop everything and want to help in saving Neela.

The feelings of helplessness that Lou have is palpable. She grew up with no knowledge of goblins and magic, so is in way over her head in trying to tackle this problem herself. That doesn’t stop her from trying, especially when the safety of her other family members is threatened.

Similarly, May and her sister Laura are close – with Laura going out of her way to help May when she falls into the trap of the goblin market. It warmed my heart to see a novel focused on these sisterly bonds, and how far people are willing to go to save their family, even at the risk of their own lives.


Through wonderful writing, Bovalino is able to bring to life the goblin market, from how mesmerising it appears to how dark and menacing it truly is. Through Lou, we are able to see the magic and market through fresh eyes, and it was fascinating to read. While I do think most the pacing was quite slow, it gave way to develop both storylines for Lou and May. All in all, it’s a fun and dark novel, and I especially adored the family bonds.


blog tour schedule

Links for Not Good For Maidens:

11 thoughts on “ARC Review & Blog tour: Not Good For Maidens

  1. Ahhh Saima, I LOVED reading your review for this!!! I’ve seen it around everyone and it looks so interesting!! Plus pretty cover hahahh😂
    oooh family drama AND sisterly bonds?? I need this now aahhh!! Can’t wait to read this and adored your review so much!!💖💖🥺

    Liked by 1 person

  2. AHHHHH YOUR REVIEW IS ABSOLUTE PERFECTION, OKAY?!! I LOVE IT SO MUCHHHH AND ALSO THE FORMATTING IS STUNNING EXCUSE ME WHILE I JUST GUSH FOREVER 😭😭❤️I’ve been practically DYING to read this since I first heard about it BUT SADLY HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO GET MY HANDS ON A COPY YET?? 😭😭 so it’s CRUEL of you to get me even more excited for it like that (BUT SHHHH I ALSO SECRETLY LOVE THE FACT THAT YOU ADDED TO THE EXCITEMENT) and I CANT WAIT?? plus sister bonds + family dynamics + magic + GOBLIN MARKETS SOUND SO MUCH LIKE PERFECTION?!! I’m so glad you enjoyed this so much and the quotes you shared are GORGEOUS, AND DID I MENTION I ABSOLUTELY LOVEEE YOUR REVIEW??

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brilliant review! I also got an arc from NetGalley (the cover was too good to miss) and I totally agree, the family aspect and the gory goblin market was so interesting! I loved Neela and Lou’s relationship. Also, I’m really interested why you went for 3.5 stars when it sounds like you really enjoyed it? Everyone’s rating systems are different obviously, and I was just interested why you went for what I would see as a low rating. But I totally agree with everything you said haha. Here’s my review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! I loved reading your review!
      My biggest issue was the pacing, it really dragged on for me that I struggled to get to the halfway mark, which is when it really got interesting for me. Otherwise I would have rounded it up to 4 stars !


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s