Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Nevernight - Review



Book Review:
Title: Nevernight
Author: Jay Kristoff
Publisher: HarperVoyager
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

“I’m a rumour. A whisper. The thought that wakes the bastards of this world sweating in the nevernight.”


Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.


What a book!
When I first became aware of Nevernight, there were three key words I constantly heard over and over again that stuck with me. Three words that ultimately drew me into this book and made me realise that this is a book I NEED to read. What were those three words you say? Assassins, Revenge & Murder. Otherwise know as my kind of book. Honestly, what more could I even ask for?! (Okay, maybe some more romance because I'm a sucker for a good romance, but it still had basically everything I love)
This book managed to deliver on everything it pitched - there were assassins, there was revenge and there were a lot of murders, some of which are still a bit too raw to talk about *sobs* (Jay Kristoff is ruthless!)

So we have our main protagonist, Mia Covere, who at the tender age of 10 was made to stand and watch as her father was murdered right in front of her eyes. Since that life changing moment, six years ago, she has lived her life with one goal in mind, avenge her father's death. And once Mia sets her mind to something, she ensures that she sticks to it and doesn't let anything or anyone get in her way. And trust me when I say, you would not want to get in her way. She will cut you! It's one of the main things I admired about her; she was a head-strong and all-around intriguing, complex character. I mean, she has the power to control the shadows!! How cool is that?! I loved learning more about her ability throughout this book and seeing how she can command the shadows and bend them to her will. Forget flying, super strength & all those other powers, I want to control the shadows!

Also while we're on the topic of shadows, I just want to quickly share my love for Mister Kindly who is Mia's very own shadow cat and definitely one of my favourite characters of the book!
To be honest, I loved every character in this book. They were all so fascinating and each of them added something special to the story. We had Tric, Ashlinn and Jessamine to name a few.

As a whole, I really enjoyed this book, but there were two things that unfortunately stopped this book from being a 5 star read. (Bear in mind that these are my personal opinions and that they may differ from other people)
  1. It took quite a bit of time to really get used to the writing and be able to fully immerse myself into the story. The ARC I had was 640 pages and I believe it took about 150 pages for it all to really click with me.
  2. The footnotes didn't work for me. They were actually very interesting and funny at times, but every time I read one, especially the longer ones, it ended up distracting me and pulled me out of the story.  
But other than those two points, this was a fantastic read!
On a different note, I've seen a lot of discussion on whether this book should be classed as young-adult or adult. Everyone has their own different view points, which is great, but personally rather than classing this as one or the other all I'm going to say is, that this book is a dark & gritty read. It has graphic violence, sexual scenes and a lot of swearing. If these don't bother you, then I really recommend you pick this book up.
In my opinion, as a young-adult, I actually found it quite refreshing to see a teenage character swearing. So many authors when writing about a teenager tend to refrain from including swear words and dirty deeds, but in some ways, it makes the story unrealistic for me, because who are we kidding, teenagers swear a lot! (Though I do understand and respect that it may make some feel uncomfortable when reading)

Never Flinch. Never Fear. Never Forget.

4 Stars
Goodreads
 

Thursday, 23 June 2016

The Crown's Game - Blog Tour (Review)



Blog Tour & Review:
Title: The Crown's Game
Author: Evelyn Skye
Publisher: HarperCollins

WELCOME to the second day of The Crown's Game blog tour, which just so happens to be on my blog. For my portion, I will be sharing my thoughts and feelings on this magical book.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
"For the winner of the game, there would be unimaginable power. For the defeated, desolate oblivion. The Crown's Game was not one to lose."

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.



I first came across The Crown's Game in early 2016 when reading blog posts about 2016's most anticipated reads. It looked like everyone and their mother was waiting for this book to release, so I looked up the blurb...and instantly became one of those people. I was then lucky enough to receive an early copy of the book from the lovely Alice at HarperCollins. No time was wasted before I picked it up and devoured it within two days, and although it wasn't exactly what I expected, it was quite an enjoyable read.

I want to start off by talking about the magic within this book. As this is a fantasy story and the fact that the whole premise of this book centres around magic, it was highly important that every detail of it was executed well. And it was! Both of Nikolai's and Vika's enchantments were beautifully unique in their own way. The thing I loved most was that both of their magic couldn't have been any more different, which meant that I was always on edge since I could never tell who was in the lead. There was no way to compare who did the better job, they were both individually special.

Another thing I loved about this book was the setting and world-building. The Crown's Game takes place in Imperial Russia, which is always so fascinating to read and learn about. While reading this book it was quite easy to tell that the author had put a lot of effort and research into building this book and setting. The descriptions and imagery were vivid and imaginative, yet they were also realistic. The perfect mix.

Now, the magic and world-building were amazing, but one thing that I didn't enjoy as much was the romance/love triangle in this book. Now, personally I'm not the biggest fan of love triangles purely because they can become a tad too angsty for me, but if done well, I am able to endure them. I think the main issue I had with this love-triangle was that is all felt a bit too much like insta-love. From the first moment Nikolai and Pasha met Vika there was this instant attraction and connection which felt rushed. I would have have preferred a much more slow-burn attraction to make it more believable, but that's just my opinion.
However saying that, it did not take much away from the story, since it focuses mainly on the game rather than the romance.

My favourite relationship of the entire book was actually the friendship between Nikolai and Pasha. These two boys come from totally different backgrounds, yet their friendship has managed to stay strong. At times their relationship did become a bit rocky, but ultimately they always had respect and love for each other. And I do admire a good friendship!

One thing I don't admire though is THAT ENDING! Some may say that the author ended this book quite cruelly or  some may say they ended quite cleverly. Cruelly because...well you'll have you read the book to figure that out. And cleverly because it leaves you desperately needing and wanting the second book. How will I cope with having to wait a WHOLE YEAR before I can get my hands on the sequel? HOW?
If you need me, I shall be lying in a pool of my own tears until next year.

But overall, this book is a beautiful and captivating read with it's vivid and imaginative setting and it's utterly unique magic.
If you enjoy Imperial Russia, magic and strong world-building be sure to pick up a copy of The Crown's Game when it comes out (June 30th in the UK)

4 Stars
Goodreads

And that is a wrap on my portion of The Crown's Game Blog Tour! Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour, dates & links below.

Friday, 6 May 2016

A Court of Mist & Fury - Review



Book Review:
Title: A Court of Mist & Fury
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury

“To the people who look at the stars and wish, Rhys."
Rhys clinked his glass against mine. “To the stars who listen— and the dreams that are answered.”

 Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court - but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms - and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future - and the future of a world cleaved in two.

How do I even convert my feeling into words. In my mind, all I can think is 'ASDFGHJKL PERFECTION. ABSOLUTE PERFECTION. RHYSAND. PERFECTION. FEYRE. PERFECTION. FEMINISM. PERFECTION.' and so on..
As you can see, my mind cannot process any coherent sentences regarding ACOMAF, but I'll try my best anyways.

This book was PERFECTION! (Have I said that already?) But honestly, I cannot fault this book at all. It was everything I wanted and more. It was an epic fantasy story. A unforgettable romance novel. But most importantly, it was an inspiring book about self discovery. 

I'll try to keep spoilers to a minimum, but in this novel we see Feyre realising her self worth. Understanding that nobody should settle for less than they deserve. That every female has a right to their own opinions and wants. That if there are people in your life who don't respect you and treat you as an equal, you should remove them from your life, because they will only drag you down. It was both beautiful and inspiring to read. This book touched me very deeply, and I want to give the highest praise to Sarah J. Maas for it. It's not often you see such a strong character growth and arc. 

Speaking of characters, I absolutely adored all of the new additions to the series. We had Cassian, Azriel, Mor, Amren, to name a few. They are all part of the Night Court, which I think is safe to say is my favourite court out of them all. The Night Court is literally what dreams are made of. I could live there forever, especially if I was surrounded by such awesome people. I mean it also helps that Rhysand is the High Lord.
If you haven't figured it out yet, Team Rhysand!
 
I loved seeing much more of Rhys and his life in this book. Seeing Feyre struggle broke me, but so did learning about Rhysand's past. He hasn't had an easy life. When anything seems to go right for him, there's always something new that pushes him back. It's heartbreaking! I need him to get the happy ending that he deserves. He has suffered way too much.
You can see clearly how much he loves and cares for Feyre, yet he doesn't make the same mistakes Tamlin does. He worries about her and wants to protect her, but understands that she is capable and should be able to make her own decisions. He let's her be her own person. And that - as well as his other traits - makes him pretty much near perfection in my eyes. 

Moving on to the plot of the story. In one word; Perfection! (Am I using that word too much?)
In more words; It was non-stop action that kept my heart racing. I was unfortunately spoiled on some minor plot points of ACOMAF before it was released, which I was annoyed about, but it did not take anything away from the story. There were many parts which I knew were coming, yet when they arrived my stomach still dropped and my mind was still blown. Also, THAT ENDING! I (sort of) regret reading ACOMAF within a day, because the wait for the next book is going to be TORTURE! Cauldron save me! Though I have complete faith that the wait will be worth it entirely.

Before I wrap this review up, there's one more topic I want to share my feelings about. And that topic is the sexual content within this book. Now, before reading ACOMAF I knew there were going to be some steamy scenes, but what I read, I did not expect. WOW! I assume that there will be a number of people who will try to make this into a big issue and will argue that it shouldn't be classed as YA, which I understand to some degree. However as a young adult myself (17 years old) I had no problem with those scenes at all and found it quite refreshing to see some sexual relations in a YA novel. It should definitely be embraced more in young-adult fiction.

Well, there are my views. It was so hard to put my feeling into words and not just write 'ASDFGHJKL' repeatedly. 
It's only May, but I can already guarantee that this book will be part of my Top 10 of 2016.

To sum up in 6 words: An epic romantic, feminist fantasy novel

5+ Stars (ALL THE STARS)
Goodreads

Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Raven King - Review




Book Review:
Title: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic

“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn't want it to be over.”

Read my review for the The Raven Boys (1st in series) HERE, my review for The Dream Thieves (2nd in series) HERE and my review for Blue Lily, Lily Blue HERE

This review may have some minor spoilers for the entire series.
 
All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.


I can't believe it's over. It's actually over. No more Blue. No more Gansey. No more Ronan. No more Adam. And no more Noah. What do I do with myself? I've become way too attached to these characters (like I do with every series I read) and I just don't think I'm ready to let go yet. 

However, saying that, this was quite a brilliant finale. It was action-packed from start to finish (some may argue it was too packed) and my heart was racing - and breaking - constantly throughout it. From the very first book, we've both seen and been told of Gansey's fate. Even Maggie herself said that - and I quote - 'That kid is going down.' Furthermore, I think we were told like four times within the first couple of chapters of The Raven King that Gansey was going to die. Knowing something like that really keeps you on edge. I mean, I could have easily read this book in one sitting, but the constant death reminders scared me, so I ended up reading the book over 2 days to prolong the experience and preserves Gansey's life. 

In the previous books there are little hints of romance, but it's not focused purely on that topic. This book however, has so many more 'romantic' moments with pretty much every character. Some people may not enjoy that, but I for one am a sucker for romance so I loved it. The Bluesy scenes and the Pynch scenes we got were everything I wanted and needed. So much swooning! 
The relationships as a whole within the gang, both romantic and platonic, are just inspiring. They always had each others backs. They always saw the best in each other. And they would die for each other. Literally. It's the kind of friendship you strive for in life.

The Raven King is without a doubt my favourite book of the series, but I did have one little issue with it. I wanted more Noah! Noah is my son. My precious Cinnamon Roll. And I felt dissatisfied with how much Noah we got in this book. It felt like he had been pushed to the side as a minor character, and I didn't like that. Some might disagree with me, but that's just my personal view. If we had more Noah, this would definitely be a five star read, but unfortunately due to that issue I can only give it 4.5 stars, which to be honest is still an amazing rating. 

Other than that, I cannot fault this book. Maggie Stiefvater knew exactly what she was doing. I think the direction that this book took was done well and even though it completely shattered my heart, I wouldn't change anything (apart from having more Noah, obviously.)

So, I guess those are my views about this finale. I haven't spoken much about the plot, because I don't think I can say anything without spoiling it, but in short, I loved it!
It's sad to say goodbye to such a fantastic series, yet I'm excited to see what Maggie has in store for us next. And hopefully, she *might* consider writing about the gang again? (One can dream)


4.5 Stars
Goodreads

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Anticipated Reads (April - August)

2016 is shaping up to be a great year due to all of the fantastic books that are releasing. There are so many books that I want to read in 2016, that I am unable to put them under one blog post becuase it would just go on forever. So i've decided to break down my anticipated reads based on the release month.
Here are some of my anticipated reads releasing from April to August 2016:





The Rose & The Dagger - Renee Ahdieh
UK Release date: April 26th










The Raven King - Maggie Stiefvater
UK Release date: April 26th









A Court of Mist and  Fury - Sarah J. Maas
UK Release date: May 3rd









The Unexpected Everything - Morgan Matson
UK Release date: May 5th









The Crown's Game - Evelyn Skye
UK Release date: June 30th








Harry potter & the Cursed Child - J.K.Rowling, Jack Thorne, John Tiffany
UK Release date: July 31st









It Ends With Us - Colleen Hoover
UK Release date: August 2nd









A Torch Against the Night - Sabaa Tahir
UK Release date: August 30th







So, there are my most anticipated reads for the months April to August. I've most likely missed a few, but these were the main ones that stood out to me.
What are some of your anticipated reads?

Thursday, 31 March 2016

When We Collided - Review




Book Review:
Title: When We Collided
Author: Emery Lord
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: 7th April 2016

I received an early copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

"We are seventeen and shattered and still dancing. We have messy, throbbing hearts, and we are stronger than anyone could ever know"


I don't want to say too much about the premise of this book, but I'll give you a little insight on what it's about. When we collided follows two protagonists by the name of Vivi and Jonah. It's safe to say, that these two teenagers are completely different: Vivi craves adventure and living life to the fullest, whereas Jonah is more reserved and uses all of his time to look after his family. Meeting these two characters, you wouldn't associate one with the other, they're polar opposites, but when their lives collide (see what I did there) everything thing seems to lock into place.

I was quite sceptical going into this book after hearing that it deals with a mental illness. I normally find that when reading a book that deals with mental health, the topic is glossed over and kept quite tame. It's never realistic enough. This book however, could possibly be one of the best portrayals of a mental illness that I have ever read. It dealt with the topic very maturely and realistically.

Every character is going through their own personal struggles and fighting their own demons, but they fight through it with the help of their loved ones. And I admire that immensely.

My favourite character and the one I admired the most was Jonah. From the start, we can see that Jonah is living a hard life. He's only seventeen, yet he carries the burden of looking after and providing for his siblings. He has essentially put his own life on hold, so that his brothers and sisters can have have everything they want and need in life. When Vivi bounces into his life, she encourages him to break out of his shell and start living for himself like a normal teenager and although we did see him embrace his life much more, he still continued to put his family and even Vivi's joy before his own. There's this one quote that comes from Vivi which I think describes Jonah perfectly,
"All this pain in his life, all this care he doles out to everyone else. And yet he still cracks his broken heart open even wider - wide enough to fit me too."
He's such a sweetheart.

Now moving onto Vivi. I found her chapters quite difficult to read at times. Not because I didn't enjoy them, but because they were very intense. Through Jonah's pov we see Vivi acting carefree and just embracing life and seeing the good in everything, but in Vivi's pov we see the truth. She tries her hardest to not let her disorder consume her after feeling flat and unaware for so long, yet these little snippets come out of when her actions catch up to her and we can see that she's struggling. As Jonah's life was improving, Vivi's was slowly crumbling around her. It broke my heart.

Both Jonah and Vivi are complex well-developed characters and their relationship was no different. The journey that they went through together was both beautiful and bittersweet. Both of their lives were shattering around them, but with the help of each other, they managed to build each other up again. The book didn't end exactly how I wanted it to, but it really did not bother me all that much, because when you really think about it, it works. It's realistic.
This book will stay with me for quite a long time, it would be quite difficult to forget such a powerful book. I laughed. I cried. I fell in love.

The YA genre needs more books like When We Collided. They are incredibly brilliant for teaching people about mental health if they do not know much about it themselves.
So, if you haven't ordered this book yet, do yourself a favour and go buy it.

This was my first book by Emery Lord, but it certainly won't be my last.

4 Stars
Goodreads

Friday, 25 March 2016

ILLUMINAE - Review




Book Review:
Title: ILLUMINAE
Author: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Rock the boat (Oneworld publishing)

“The universe owes you nothing, Kady. It has already given you everything, after all. It was here long before you, and it will go on long after you. The only way it will remember you is to do something worth remembrance.”
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review

The year is 2575 and two mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice covered speck. With enemy fire raining down on them Ezra and Kady have to make their escape on the evacuating fleet. But their troubles are just beginning. A deadly plague has broken out on one of the space ships and it is mutating with terrifying results. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth its clear only one person can help her. Ezra. And the only problem with that is they split up before all this trouble started and she isn’t supposed to be talking to him.

I want to first off praise this book and the authors for creating what is probably the most uniquely written book I have EVER read. Many would say that reading a book is an experience and I agree. However, this book encompasses the true meaning of an experience. It was visually pleasing, the story was awesome and the formatting was original. Instant messaging. Surveillance cameras. Interviews. Documents. These are some of the ways in which we are told the story, and let me tell you, it was brilliant.

Although, since it is such a uniquely written book I must admit it did take some time to really get into the story and adjust to the layout. But that was inevitable. You can't jump into a book so differently written and become immersed straightaway, it takes time to wrap your head around it all. Or maybe that's just me.

I think it was about a third of the way through where I found myself completely hooked. I grew to love all the characters, especially their interactions with one another. They were witty and relatable to any teenager (the characters, not the situation.) Even in the most tense of times I found myself laughing out loud (mostly because of Ezra. I loved Ezra!) But then at the same time, there were many parts where my emotions were at a high and I felt my heart breaking. And those twists placed throughout the story? Did not see them coming at all! Let's just say that my emotions were messed with once or twice (more like a dozen times.)

I'm actually finding it quite difficult to put into words how cool this book truly was. All I can really say is, if you haven't read this book yet, I highly suggest you do. There's a reason why this book is so hyped. I'm not the biggest fan of sci-fi books, but this book is an exception. So whether you are a sci-fi fan or not, this book will capture you in some way or another. The second book in the series Gemina is set to release in October of 2016, which I am now highly anticipating, and is going to follow some of the old characters as well as some new ones.

Overall, a truly all encompassing unique experience.

4 Stars
Goodreads