Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My Favourite Reads of 2016

So 2016 is coming to its end so I decided it was time for another favourites post! Here's a list of the top 10 books I read in 2016. (Not all the books were released in 2016! And the books are in no particular order because I couldn't decide which I liked best!)

1.Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

2.Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

3.A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas

4.The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

5.The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

6.The Book Thief

7.A Book of Spirits and Thieves (and book 2-The Darkest Magic) by Morgan Rhodes

8.Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

9.Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

10. The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan

If you want to read my thoughts on the above books I have reviews on my blog for the majority of them and reviews of the others are coming soon!

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Melody's Key by Dallas Coryell

*I was sent an ecopy of Melody's Key by the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Publication:June 24th 2016

Goodreads Description:
“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.” 

Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

My thoughts:
Melody's Key is a fun, enjoyable, quick read. It is cliche (a lot of the time) but I didn't mind because that was just what I wanted at the time when I was reading. 

The main character Tegan is well developed over the course of the story and she is incredibly likebale from the fist page. I felt myself relating to her in multiple ways. She is very into music and art, and while I don't have a musical bone in my body, I really understood her thought process around creating music and art as I really like drawing. I think people who aren't into music or art can relate to her as well. I felt myself relating to her emotions and how she felt about certain things.

Family plays a big role in Melody's Key which I appreciated. Family is something I find is hardly present in the books I usually read. I really liked reading about Tegan's relationship with her younger sister, Ryleigh. As someone who has two sisters it was great to see a realistic sister relationship in the book.

The romance is the main focus in the story and I knew as soon as they met that Tegan and Mason's relationship was going to be full of cliches; and I was right there was cliches left right and centre! They were cute though and their interactions were funny. Both characters are very witty so it was fun reading any scenes they had together when the banter started to get going.

Other than the cliches everywhere the writing was really good. There are some long winded descriptions but they aren't so long that they take the reader out of the story.

The story is written in Tegan's point of view but there is also letters from the past that are scattered throughout the novel. I really enjoyed reading both I just wish there had been more about the letters.

There was some really good topics hit on in Melody's Key such as LGBT elements but I think the author missed an opportunity to explore them more. I felt like there was so much potential there but it was lost because Tegan and Mason's romance took over the story.

My only complaint is the ending; everything wraps up a little too conveniently (and unrealistic to be honest) for my taste. Some readers won't mind this but it was a bit too much for me.

Overall, I really enjoyed Melody's Key and would recommend it if your looking for something quick and fun to read.

My rating: 4 stars out of 5
Thanks for reading
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Also big thank you to the author, Dallas Coryell, who sent me an ecopy of the book!

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Publication:September 27th 2011 by Walker Books

Goodreads Description:
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming…

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

My thoughts:
Having read some of Patrick Ness's other books I can say that A Monster Calls is his best work. The story is such a beautiful and tragic one that although is only 200 pages long it leaves a big emotional impact.

I really liked Conor. He was difficult for me to connect with in the beginning because he was a very frustrating character but given the difficult situation he is in I could understand why he was acting the way he did. I really grew to like him and his interactions with the other characters. The other characters were not as fleshed out as I wanted them to be but I don't think that took away from the main storyline and given the lenght of the book it is understandable why the side character's backtories aren't explored.

A Monster Calls is classified as a Middle Grade novel but I 100% think that all ages should give it a read it. At times it felt more mature and I think Young Adult/ Adult readers should give it a go.

I loved how Patrick Ness dealt with the important topics that are at the heart of this story- grief, death and illness. He explored these themes in a realistic manner and never romantized them.

The illustrations are to die for. I think that they really add to the atmosphere f the story and would highly recommed you read the edition with the illustrations included as I think it makes the reading experience a bit different from conventional novels.

My only problem with A Monster Calls was that I wanted more at the end. The story ends in a way that leaves some things unresolved.

My rating: 5 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)

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Tuesday, 6 December 2016

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

*Warning this blog post contains spoilers for the first book in the series, An Ember In The Ashes*

Series:An Ember In The Ashes, #2

Publication: August 30th 2016 by Razorbill

Goodreads Description:
Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.

My thoughts:
I have to say I was a bit disappointed with A Torch Against The Night. Maybe the hype got to me and my expectations were too high but I just didn't enjoy it like I wanted to.

The plot was all over the place. At times it was fast and at others it was painfully slow. I found myself getting bored while reading the slower parts and really had to push myself to keep reading.  Edited weird~ end was very quick. 

There is a lot of steroetypical YA tropes in A Torch Against The Night. It made me cringe because I loved Ember so much because it was so unique. But there were so many tropes going on in book 2 it annoyed me.

Ember had two narrators but Helene was added into the mix in A Torch Against The Night and that is what really kept me reading. Firstly can I say, the POVs are not easily distinguished, none of the narrattors have distinct voices and I kept getting muddled while reading. That being said Helene was my favourite, her internal conflict and decisions she has to make make her narration the most engaging. Laia and Elias on the other hand bored me to be honest.

The world building is a lot better in A Torch Against The Night than in book 1. This one has a bigger fantasy element. The mythology that was brushed over in Ember is explore a lot more.

Overall, I think Ember is definitely the stronger book in the series so far. I haven't decided if I will continue with the series yet.

My rating: 3 stars
Thanks for reading,
A :)
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