Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Taking a Break

Hi guys!
I just wanted to let you know that I am going to be taking a break from blogging for the next few weeks. I am in my final year of college and this semester is going to be super busy for me with placements and final projects! I hope to be back blogging at the end of May/start of June!
Thanks for sticking with me! 

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Series Review: The Conqueror's Saga by Kiersten White

Series: The Conqueror's Saga

Book 1: And I Darken
Book 2: Now I Rise
Book 3: Bright We Burn

Goodreads Description of book 1, And I Darken:
No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point. 

My thoughts:
I am obsessed with this series. It is a new favourite for sure. If you are looking for a series with complex characters, political intrigue, war and a bit of romance this series of for you. This series is a slower read but definitely worth it. I marathoned the three books over 1 week and loved it to pieces. 

One of the big reasons I love this series is because it is full of complex characters.

Lada is so brutal and determined and I loved her. I love how she constantly goes against societal norms and challenges those around her. Her drive to go after what she wants and not letting anything stop her was my favourite part about her. She's also extremely badass and smart! Her character development over the course of the series is perfectly paced too. I love how the author included some more vulnerable moments here and there in Lada's story to make her feel more human.

Radu is the polar opposite of Lada. I loved his kind heartened soul and how he changed over the course of the series and is challenged by others and the situations he is put in. I loved how he was so conflicted on his feeling regarding his sister and her brutal actions and the consequences. He has a lovely character arc. 

I also loved the side character. Some could have been developed a bit more but I'm not comparing because Radu and Lada were so fleshed out. 

I absolutely adored the sibling relationship between Lada and Radu. They had such a complex relationship because of their distinct personalities and the situations they were in.

There is a tiny bit of romance in this series and I loved that it was very side lined because it meant we could spent more time developing the world and characters. 

I'm not a big historical fiction reqder but I loved the historical aspect of this trilogy. I knew nothing about the Ottoman Empire before reading- obviously this is fiction so take it with a grain of salt but it was so interesting to learn about the rise and fall of it from different perspectives.

The plot of the series is a bit slow but it is incredibly captivating because it's so interesting. There is more of a focus on characters than action but there is loads of politics and war and strategising and the likes.

Religion plays a big part in the story which was cool. We actually get to read about practicing muslim characters. I hardly ever come across religious characters in my reading so this was cool to get that representation!

There is also LGBT+ representation in the series which is another plus!

The Conquerors Saga is a phenomenal trilogy that is definitely recommend! It's a new favourite of mine!
Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren

Publications: September 12th 2017 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Description:
Three years ago, Tanner Scott’s family relocated from California to Utah, a move that nudged the bisexual teen temporarily back into the closet. Now, with one semester of high school to go, and no obstacles between him and out-of-state college freedom, Tanner plans to coast through his remaining classes and clear out of Utah.

But when his best friend Autumn dares him to take Provo High’s prestigious Seminar—where honor roll students diligently toil to draft a book in a semester—Tanner can’t resist going against his better judgment and having a go, if only to prove to Autumn how silly the whole thing is. Writing a book in four months sounds simple. Four months is an eternity.

It turns out, Tanner is only partly right: four months is a long time. After all, it takes only one second for him to notice Sebastian Brother, the Mormon prodigy who sold his own Seminar novel the year before and who now mentors the class. And it takes less than a month for Tanner to fall completely in love with him.

My thoughts:
This was my first Christina Lauren book and after finishing I can for sure say I will be picking up more by this pair! Autoboyography was such a fun quick read! I flew through it in 2 sittings for it being about 400 pages long! It had the perfect mix of fun cute fluffy moments with more dramatic ones and I couldn't stop reading.

I loved both of the main characters, Tanner and Sebastian. It was cool that they were both writers

The main character, Tanner is bi and the label is discussed and are misconceptions challenged throughout the story which I appreciated!

Reading Autoboyography was actually educational for me. Going in I knew nothing about Mormons and LDS. I obviously can't speak on the accuracy but the authors note said the two authors did research and from other reviews it sounds like it was accurate. I thought it was so interesting have religion as such a big part of the story. I haven't come across many contemporary books with religious characters.

I loved how Sebastian challenged Tanner's prejudices and sterotypes about Mormons and his family's lifestyle. 

I really liked. The friendship aspects of the story too. The authors explored how it's important to hold on to friends when you go into a relationship which I think os very important.

I will definitely be picking up more of Christina Lauren's books in the future!

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

*Warning: this post contains spoilers for the first book in the series, Nevernight by Jay Kristoff*

Series: The Nevernight Chronicle, #2

Publication: September 5th 2017 by St. Martin's Press

Goodreads Description:
A ruthless young assassin continues her journey for revenge in this new epic fantasy from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.

Set in the world of Nevernight, which Publishers Weekly called “absorbing in its complexity and bold in its bloodiness,” Godsgrave will continue to thrill and satisfy fantasy fans everywhere.

My thoughts:
Godsgrave is even more spectacular than Nevernight which I didn't think was possible. Jay Kristoff wrote a phenomenal sequel, no second book slump in this series for sure! I finished Godsgrave even more obsessed with this series and eagerly anticipating the third book! 

I love Mia. She has quickly become one of my all time favourite characters. She's just as ruthless and brutal as she was in Nevernight but she starting to question herself and others motives in Godsgrave. She has some beautiful character development that I loved reading. 

There is lots of new characters introduced in Godsgrave, some I really liked and some I didn't. The one character other than Mia who I am no obsessed with is Ash. Ash is an absolute queen and I would die for her along with Mia. The tension between the two was off the charts and I was here for it! I finished the book obsessed with the two of them!

Mr kindly and eclipse hang out a good deal in this book after Mia takes on Eclipse at the end of Nevernight and can I just say they are hilarious together. Anytime they were together I was laughing out loud.

The plot of Godsgrave is even more bloody and intense than Nevernight. Jay Kristoff packed in so many twists and turns and I loved every second of it!  All the action had me flicking the pages nonstop I was so stressed out reading. I loved the whole plot of Mia going to the gladiatorial collegium and the games/trials she had to take part in. 

There a lots more world building to add to what we learned in Nevernight. The world building is done through more footnotes- I skipped a lot of them because they were in the middle of action scenes and I couldn't stop reading but there was some really interesting stuff about the world and the politics and religion. 

The ending had me shook. I was absolutely gobsmacked reading the last chunk. Jay Kristoff is fantastic at reveals and endings! 

Godsgrave blew me away. I loved reading about Mia and Ash and all the bloody and intense action going down and I am eagerly anticipating the third book! 

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Series: The Nevernight Chronicles, #1

Publication:August 9th 2016 by St. Martin's Press

Goodreads Description:
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge? 

My thoughts:
Nevernight is an incredible read and a new all time favourite for me. I had the best time reading this fantasy book and could not recommend it enough! I couldn't put it down it was so good. 

One of the biggest reasons why I loved this book was the main character, Mia. I loved how morally grey she was, she is an assassin in training and she does do some things and make some decisions that aren't what I'd consider right but I loved her for it. She's was also super badass with her her 'magic'- she has the ability to control shadows and it is so cool! I don't think I've ever read a character like that before and it was fascinating seeing how she used her ability to her advantage. She also has a shadowcat who follows her around and they have the best banter which is also a big reason I loved her; animal companions are my favourite thing! I was rooting for her from the moment I met her, I wanted her to become an assassin and kill the men who executed her family. She was such a fun character to read about!

The plot of Nevernight is one full of action and Chase scenes and suspense and mystery and I loved it! It does take a few chapters before the all gets rolling but I promise if you push through it's worth it! The beginning is a bit slow because the writing is a bit heavy on the world building.

The main setting of Nevernight is the school in which Mia is being trained to be an assassin. The school is very reminiscent of Hogwarts (of Hogwarts was a more dangerous and had ruthless teachers who didn't care about killing the pupils and more) which I loved! The school was so mysterious and had some really cool rooms and stuff.

Jay Kristoff managed to develop some lovely relationships between the characters which I loved. There was some amazing friendships built between Mia and her shadow cat and the other students at the school. There was so much banter and witty dialogue I was here for it!

I've never read a book solely by Jay Kristoff so going in I wasn't if the writing was for me but I loved it. He uses lots of flashbacks, but places them in such a way that they don't drag on and pull the reader out of the present day plot. I particularly loved the first chapter and how he used flashbacks and present day back to back. Along with these flashbacks there is footnotes. I loved the footnotes and thought they were a very clever way to build the world and the narrator was very snarky in them. In the beginning I thought reading them would take me out of the story but it didn't- if I was really into what was happening I'd just keep reading and then at the end of the chapter go back and read the footnotes. I found it's not always necessary to read them to understand what was going on which means you could probably skip them altogether. They were a very clever way to world build though.

I loved the narration style. The story is told in third person. We don't know who the narrator is (though I have theories) but they have such a strong voice and personality it makes the story so much fun to read. They are so snarky and even address the reader which is cool.

The world building is very cleverly done through footnotes. Through them we get information on religion, places, politicians, magic and more. It is a bit dense in the beginning but it drops off as the story gets going. 

*it is important to note that this is not a YA book like Jay Kristoffs other books like the Illuminae Files- Nevernight contains mature content so please be aware of that before going in. There is graphic violence and sex scenes as well as a lot of swear words*

I had a blast reading Nevernight and am dying to pick up Godsgrave after that ending the had me on the edge of my seat and left me with a million questions!

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 15 January 2019

Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Series: Empirium, #1

Publication: May 22nd 2018 by Sourcebooks Fire

Goodreads Description:
Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world...or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed...unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable--until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world--and of each other. 

My thoughts: 
Furyborn was very hard for me to get through. I really had to push myself to finish it and considered DNFing it multiple times. I ended up skimming a lot of the second half of the book I was so uninterested. The premise of two young women separated by a 1000 years who are connect sounded so good and it had so much potential but it ended up falling very flat.

The story is told in dual POV with a thousand year time difference. I found myself preferring Rielle's chapters much more over Eliana's. I hadn't a clue what was happening a lot of the time in Eliana's story and really struggled through her chapters. Rielle's was much more interesting as the author really explored the world and magic system in her parts of the book. 

The plot was so boring to me. It wasn't even that nothing was happening, there was a good bit of action, but I just wasn't emotionally connected to the characters enough to care what happened them. There were no stakes, I knew so and so would do the right thing and that so and so would win. The lack of tension made it lack any excitement I usually get when reading.

The romance was also very dull. The two main male characters could not have been underdeveloped more. They were so flat and had zero personality.

There was also a lot of tropes which turned me off; such as the useless sibling, the chosen one, trials/tests and more.

The world was very confusing. There's elemental magic and angels and kingdoms at war and I was so confused. I felt like when anything was explained it was brushed over or the author went off on a tangent and I got lost. This left me with very little knowledge about how the magic and society worked in the world.

I also want to let reads know that while this book was being hyped for the past few months a number of authors promoting the book said it has bi rep and I am here to say it doesn't really. The only 'rep' in this book is Rielle implying in one sentence that she flirted with a friend of hers who was a girl and Eliana mentioning she had sex with a woman. There was no evidence in the book that either main character was attracted to both men and women, it was all about the boys for them. I felt like these two passing comments where just thrown in to make the book appeal to those looking for a more diverse read.

Furyborn was not the book for me, I did not enjoy my time read it and I definitely won't be continuing on with this series.

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 8 January 2019

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

Publication: June 5th 2018 by Berkley (first published May 30th 2018

Goodreads Description:
A heartwarming and refreshing debut novel that proves one thing: there's not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick.

Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic... 

My thoughts:
I was pleasantly surprised by The Kiss Quotient but it also was not what I was expecting. It was my own fault, the only thing I knew about The Kiss Quotient before going into it was that if you liked The Hating Game you'd like it. So I want in expecting it to be similar enough but it wasn't. 

Stella was such a fun main character. I loved reading about! Her personality really comes off the page and she was so well developed she was a joy to read! I really liked her. Stella also has  autism which is a big part of her character, I can't speak on the rep but she's an ownvoices character as the author also has autism. I found it very interesting learning about how Stella deals with her autism as I've studied it in college briefly and have always been interested in learning more. Of course Stella is fictional and only one persons experience it was nice learning more about autism.

While I really liked Stella I wasn't a huge fan of Michael. One aspect of his character was cool but I can't say what because of spoilers but mostly he just felt very one dimensional. I didn't feel for him at all.

The romance was alright but I wasn't super invested in it or rooting for them. I felt like there was hardly any time spent getting to know each other. A bit of an insta-love situation. It's steamy but not romantic.

The thing I didn't like was kind of my own fault. I really should have read the description first because this is not my kind of book based on the description. It was a lot steamier than I expected which threw me off. I wish they'd toned it down a bit, as it got a bit repetitive and I wasn't a fan of how much smut there was, I ended up skimming a lot of it. I know now after reading the description that I should have expected that but I was silly and went in blind.

The Kiss Quotient wasn't what I expected but had fun reading for the most part. 

Thanks for reading,

A :)