Friday, 29 July 2016

The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

Series: The Star-Touched Queen, #1

Publication: April 26th 2016 by St. Martin's Griffin

Goodreads description:
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.

My thoughts:
Unfortunately I didn't love The Star-Touched Queen like I had hoped. I think my expectations were too high due to all the hype surrounding this book when I picked it up.

The writing is gorgeous. It has this poetic and whimsical style and it was beautiful. Even though I loved the writing I found myself getting lost in the descriptions and ending up confused about what was happening. This happened to me a number of times and it took away from the plot because I had to keep stopping and rereading sections to understand what was happening.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the main character Maya. She constantly made stupid decisions and was extremely impulsive which annoyed me. She meets Amar and decides right then and there to marry him after knowing him for literally 10 seconds. She easily could have went with him without marrying him.

I didn't like Amar either. He was way too mysterious for my liking. He doesn't let Maya know everything that is going on. I found him to be a but hypocritical- he said they would be equals but to be honest he wasn't treating her like one. He keeps a lot of secrets. I feel like I still don't know him even after spending the majority of the book with him.

The romance was just okay.Personally, I didn't feel any chemistry between Maya and Amar. I think I didn't like it because in the beginning it comes across as Amar being in love with Maya even though they only met. So it was a bit instalovey.

I liked some of the side characters but I wish they were developed more- particularly Maya's sister Gauri and a character/ creature we are introduced to towards the end of the story.

I think the magic was not explained that well. There was no structure to it; there were no rules or limits explained for using magic. I was so confused about what they could/ couldn't do and how and why.

The world building was a bit messy. There was a lot of info dumping. I have a lot of questions that were never answered and because The Star-Touched Queen is a standalone I won't get answers.

Overall, The Star-Touched Queen was an okay read but I won't be picking it up again, I was confused most of the time while reading.

My rating: 2.5 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)

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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the first book in the series, A Darker Shade of Magic*

Series: Shades of Magic, #2

Publication: February 23rd 2016 by Tor Books

Goodreads description:
It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift – back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

My thoughts:
I really liked A Gathering of Shadows but I think A Darker Shade of Magic was better.

I think I didn't like this one as much because I found it hard to get into. I felt like not a lot of action was happening in the first half of the book. There is alternating POVs like the first book but I found myself preferring Lila's perspective more so I just wanted to read about her and when we were with Kell I just kept wondering when were we going to get back to Lila. Luckily in the second half of the book the pace really picks up and there is lots of action.

We are introduced to some new characters in A Gathering of Shadows and I really liked getting to know them; especially Alucard Emery, a pirate captain. He has lots of layers to him and it was fun trying to figure him out.

We got a lot of world building in A Darker Shade of Magic and in A Gathering of Shadows we get even more. The world is expanded excellently, we get to learn about some countries/kingdoms that are in the same world as Red London. I found it really interesting seeing how the other countries view magic compared to Red London.

The ending is not a satisfying one. There is a big cliffhanger and it is driving me crazy waiting for the last book in the trilogy which is expected to be published in 2017! I'll definitely be picking it up!

My rating: 4 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)

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Friday, 22 July 2016

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Series: Shades of Magic,#1

Publication:February 24th 2015 by Tor Books

Goodreads description:
Kell is one of the last Antari, a rare magician who can travel between parallel worlds: hopping from Grey London — dirty, boring, lacking magic, and ruled by mad King George — to Red London — where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire — to White London — ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back — and back, but never Black London, because traveling to Black London is forbidden and no one speaks of it now.

Officially, Kell is the personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see, and it is this dangerous hobby that sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to take her with him for her proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save both his London and the others, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — a feat trickier than they hoped.

My thoughts:
I loved A Darker Shade of Magic. It's a fantastic start to what I can tell is going to be an epic fantasy trilogy!

I loved both of the main characters Lila and Kell. I think Lila is my favourite though. She's so smart and snarky. She's definitely a force to be reckoned with. She was so much fun to read about.  I really liked Kelly too though. He's just as smart and he's also very caring (I loved getting to see his relationship with his brother).
Lila and Kell's relationship is so much fun to read they have this awesome balance of bickering and bantering. I loved it!

I would like to applaud V.E. Schwab for the amazing job she did with the world building. We are given enough information to have a good understanding of the world but it was done in such a subtle way- no info dumping here!! I thought I'd be confused with all the Londons but I wasn't, Schwab did an excellent job making each one distinct and easy to tell apart for each other.

I absolutely loved learning about all the magic in this world. it was so interesting. So the magic-it's alive, almost like another character in the story. And there's  blood magic- which is so interesting- elemental magic as well as Kell's Antari powers. It was just so cool. And everything was clearly thought out there's no loopholes or anything that I could think of. It all made sense!

I found the first 70 pages or so to be a but slow but I think the slow pace is good because it gives the reader a chance to learn a lot about the world and magic system before diving into the real action. Personally I didn't mind it because I found it all so fascinating.

After the slower start the plot really pick up and the story is jam packed with chase scenes and fights and travelling between parallel worlds and dark magic and its just a good time. There was so much going on I couldn't put the book down! As soon as I finished it I picked up the next book.

 I'm so excited to continue on with the Shades of Magic series; I've heard the second book is even better than the first and if that's true it's going to be amazing!!

My rating: 4.5 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :)

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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Second Chance Summer by Morgan Matson

Goodreads description:
From the Flying Start author of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, a powerful novel about hope in the face of heartbreak.

Taylor Edwards’ family might not be the closest-knit—everyone is a little too busy and overscheduled—but for the most part, they get along just fine. Then Taylor’s dad gets devastating news, and her parents decide that the family will spend one last summer all together at their old lake house in the Pocono Mountains.

Crammed into a place much smaller and more rustic than they are used to, they begin to get to know each other again. And Taylor discovers that the people she thought she had left behind haven’t actually gone anywhere. Her former best friend is still around, as is her first boyfriend…and he’s much cuter at seventeen than he was at twelve.

As the summer progresses and the Edwards become more of a family, they’re more aware than ever that they’re battling a ticking clock. Sometimes, though, there is just enough time to get a second chance—with family, with friends, and with love.

My thoughts:
Second Chance Summer is one of the saddest books I've ever read. It is an absolutely heartbreaking story about love and loss and I think it's one everyone should give a go.

It's not a summery feel good romance like Morgan Matson's other books but that doesn't mean it doesn't have all the charm her other stories have. Like all her books there is a big focus on family and friends.

I loved getting to see the family dealing with the situation and how each member of the family reacted differently. I liked how we slowly get to know them as they start getting to know each other. There's a big focus on parental love as well as love between sibling. I liked reading about how they learn means to be there for each other in times of need.

My favourite relationship that is explore in Second Chance Summer has to be Taylor's relationship with her father. It's incredibly heartwarming while also being incredibly heartbreaking. I think it's definitely the relationship that was developed the most.

Friendship is another big aspect of the story particularly how childhood friends are sometimes the ones that mean the most. Taylor gets a second chance at trying to fix a friendship that fell apart years ago. She's learns how to go about this and how to rebuild the relationship after the falling out.

I really liked Taylor, I found her to be super relatable. Her character development is amazing. She's a very different person by the end of the book. She grows and changes so much over the course of this one summer. The changes in her are so subtle you don't even realise how much ha changed until you think back to how she acted at the start of the book.

Henry, the love interest, was linkable. Usually I love Morgan Matson's male characters but I didn't love Henry. Personally I would have liken more from him.He didn't stand out to me as a character I'll remember. He felt a bit 2 D to me.

Overall I would highly recommend Second Chance Summer to everyone but be warned have tissues at the ready because you'll need them!!

My rating: 4.5 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)

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Friday, 15 July 2016

The Crown by Kiera Cass

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the previous books in the series: The Selection, The Elite, The One and The Heir*

Series: The Selection, #5

Publication:May 3rd 2016 by HarperTeen

Goodreads description:
When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

My thought:
The Crown wasn't terrible but it wasn't the happy cute read I expect from The Selection series. The writing, world building, plot etc are not great, everyone seems to know this so I only read these books because they're just so addictive but to be honest The Crown was missing that addictive quality. I still flew through it in a few hours but I didn't enjoy it like the other books.

Eadlyn's character development is probably the one of the best parts of this series (The Heir and The Crown). She's let go of her egotistical self centred side and has transformed into much nicer young woman and above all a leader. I really liked how when she stepped into the role of regent she didn't let anyone tell her what to do or walk all over her,she stood her ground and did what she wanted.

My favourite part of The Crown has to be Maxon. I loved getting to see him fretting over America and being all concerned for her health and just generally being the Maxon I grew to love in the original trilogy. He still funny and just down right endearing. The only thing that I had a problem with was a decision he makes in The Crown. It was totally out of character and I felt like it was just thrown in there for the benefit of making the story mildly interesting.

The romance in The Crown is so predictable - it was so obvious (to me anyway)who Eadlyn would end up with but nevertheless I still had hopes for my ship and in the end it didn't sail so I'm pretty annoyed at that. I don't think Eadlyn made the best decision. I didn't feel any spark between Eadlyn and the boy she ended up choosing in the end. Their relationship felt seriously underdeveloped.  I felt like her chemistry with one of the other boys was much more evident and he should have been the one she chose.

When I heard that there was going to be two books added onto the original trilogy I was so exited because it meant Cass would have the opportunity to focus on the world building she neglected in the first three books. So I went into these books hoping Kiera Cass would  finally expand on this world and I'm always disappointed. Relations between continents and countries are briefly touched on in The Crown as Eadlyn becomes regent for a while but Cass didn't take advantage of what I think this was an excellent opportunity to explore the world in which these books have been set, to go deeper into the politics and stuff.

The ending was super rushed and everything was resolved so easily and quickly it was almost laughable.

Overall I think this series should have ended with The One. I had an okay time reading The Crown and there was definitely parts that I really liked but ultimately I think this series should have finished after The One.

My rating: 3.5 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)
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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

The Last Star by Rick Yancey

*Warning- This post contains spoilers for the first two books in the trilogy, The 5th Wave and The Infinite Sea*

Series: The 5th Wave trilogy, #3

Publication: May 24th 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Description:
The enemy is Other. The enemy is us.

They’re down here, they’re up there, they’re nowhere. They want the Earth, they want us to have it. They came to wipe us out, they came to save us.

But beneath these riddles lies one truth: Cassie has been betrayed. So has Ringer. Zombie. Nugget. And all 7.5 billion people who used to live on our planet. Betrayed first by the Others, and now by ourselves.

In these last days, Earth’s remaining survivors will need to decide what’s more important: saving themselves…or saving what makes us human.

My thoughts:
If your hesitant to pick up The Last Star because you didn't like The Infinite Sea a much as The 5th Wave I'm here to tell you pick up The Last Star it's way better than book 2!

Rick Yancey's writing just gets better and better with each book! There was a good bit of cursing which I'm not a fan of but other than that his style is truly unique. Some of the passages in this book are so poetic and other times he just tells it like it is. I really like his style.

I find that a lot of authors can't write different point of view to sound different but Rick Yancey can. I never got confused as to who was narrating. Each character has their own distinct voice which made it easy to follow who was narrating.

The plot of The Last Star is so fast paced. There is so much going on in this book. It is action packed from start to finish and I couldn't put the book down, especially because of the short chapters and cliff hangers at the end of each POV.

My only problem with the fast pace was I would have liked if the plot was slowed down a little so we could have a few more character driven moments rather than plot drive ones. I understand that the characters don't really have time to be sitting around chatting but it would have been nice.

Looking back at where some of the characters were in The 5th Wave and where they are at the end of Th Last Star you can really see how the characters have grown and changed.

I still love Cassie. Her narration was probably my favourite just because she's so snarky. She's does make some rash decisions in The Last Star and I didn't really agree with her all the time but I couldn't help but admire her courage.

Ringer definitely has a lot going on in The Last Star. In The Infinite Sea she gets the 12th System downloaded into her body so she has enhanced abilities and she really explores them in The Last Star which I really liked reading. It was interesting swing her relationship with Zombie/Ben after the events in The Infinite Sea, we do get to see them interact a good bit in The Last Star but I wanted a bit more.

Zombie/Ben is my favourite character in this series. His sarcastic remarks in The Last Star were the best. I really liked seeing him step into a father figure role in The Last Star not only for Nugget but for Megan too.

I really liked how Cassie and Evan's romance was pushed aside in The Last Star. Personally I was more interested in the other stiff going on so i was happy about this.

The ending was satisfying enough as well as bittersweet. It was definitely predictable but I didn't mind.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)

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Friday, 8 July 2016

Rebel of The Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Series: Rebel of the Sands, #1

Publication: March 8th 2016 by Viking Books for Young Readers

Goodreads description:
She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there's nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can't wait to escape from.

Destined to wind up "wed or dead," Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she'd gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan's army, with a fugitive who's wanted for treason. And she'd never have predicted she'd fall in love with him... or that he'd help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is.

My thoughts:
Rebel of the Sands is a fast paced fun adventure!I found it really easy to get into. It's was captivating from the first page to the last. I really enjoyed reading it and definitely recommend it for those looking for a fun easy read!

The plot of Rebel of the Sands is super engaging and fast paced. There is lots of action and adventure. I couldn't stop reading. I flew through it in 2 sittings in under 24 hours!

Amani is probably my favourite character. She is just so cool; she's a sharpshooter, something I never really come across in my reading! I really liked her. She take risks but she's also smart and has a goo was on her shoulders. She can be a bit naive but I guess that's because she hasn't really seen the world as she's been stuck in Duskwalk her whole life.

I did like Jin (the foreigner mentioned in the blurb) but I wasn't overly impressed with him. I am glad that the author decided to go in the direction she did with him as I know a lot of readers will/have been surprised about a reveal about who he is. He's definitely a mysterious character and I do want to learn more about him.

We meet a lot of new characters towards the end of the book. I felt like we were only introduced to them though and I really liked a lot of them so I'm excited to learn more about the  in the next book!

I got a sense of Insta love at the start of the novel and was thinking "oh no, I'm not going to like this" but then the romance really took a back seat and became a kind of subplot, which I really liked. There was hardly any focus on the romance for the majority of the book!

The setting was really cool- I've never read a desert setting before!
I think the author really captured the hardships and the heat of the desert well.

The world building was okay. We learn a lot about the fantasy side of things by listening to characters tell stories so I found it a bit info dumpy which I'm not a fan of.

Overall I really enjoyed Rebel of the Sand it was a quick fun read and I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series!

My rating: 4stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)

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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

* Warning this post contains spoilers for the first two books in the series, The Winner's Curse and The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski*

Series:The Winner's Trilogy, #3

Publication:March 29th 2016 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Goodreads description:
Some kisses come at a price.

War has begun. Arin is in the thick of it with untrustworthy new allies and the empire as his enemy. Though he has convinced himself that he no longer loves Kestrel, Arin hasn’t forgotten her, or how she became exactly the kind of person he has always despised. She cared more for the empire than she did for the lives of innocent people—and certainly more than she did for him.

At least, that’s what he thinks.

In the frozen north, Kestrel is a prisoner in a brutal work camp. As she searches desperately for a way to escape, she wishes Arin could know what she sacrificed for him. She wishes she could make the empire pay for what they’ve done to her.

But no one gets what they want just by wishing.

As the war intensifies, both Kestrel and Arin discover that the world is changing. The East is pitted against the West, and they are caught in between. With so much to lose, can anybody really win?

My thoughts:
If you've read the second book and aren't sure- in telling you now pick up The Winner's Kiss- finish the trilogy. Marie Rutkoski did an excellent job with the concluding novel. The Winner's Kiss is definitely a satisfying ending to the trilogy.

The plot was engaging but I felt like there were points when things got slow for a few chapters and then they would pick up again. I will say there was a lot if action in the second half of the book because it was do war heavy and I really liked that because it made me want to never out down the book.

Like with the pervious two books there is a good amount of political intrigue going on which I liked as its bit something we see a lot of in YA.

Kestrel has always been a favourite character of mine and in this book particularly she comes across as a very admirable character. She is bit different in The Winner's Kiss compared to the previous books (won't say why- cause spoilers) but her growth in this book alone is absolutely amazing. I felt like we really get to see her vulnerable side in this one as well as her strong side.

Arin- while he can be very violent and an excellent solider i really liked getting to see him hesitating and his mercy. The death god

The romance definitely has a few ups an downs but I wasn't as frustrated as I was with Arin and Kestrel in book 2.

Roshar makes and appearance. I liked getting to see his friendship with Arin grow.

The series ended in a nice place but I would have liked a little bit more. Everything is wrapped up nicely but I would have liked a bow to complete it!

My rating: 4.5 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :)

P.S I'll be posting 2 post a week for the month of July as I'm on my summer holidays so I have lots of time to read! I'll be posting on Tuesdays like I normally do, but I will post something on Fridays too!
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