Tuesday, 26 December 2017

My Favourites Reads of 2017!

I did a lot of rereading these past few weeks but I did read a good few excellent books this year! This is a list of my top 10 books I read in 2017. The list is in no particular order but I kinda is at the same time. My top 3 are my top 3 and then it kinda goes in no order. (Not all of these books were released in 2016)

1.Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review here!

2.Always and Forever Lara Jean by Jenny Han

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review here!

3.Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review here!

4.Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review here!

5.A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review here!

6.The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review here!

7.Eliza and her Monsters  by Francesca Zappia

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review is coming soon!

8.Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review here!

9.Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review here!

10.  Paperweight by Meg Haston

Add it on Goodreads here!
My review is coming soon!

Check out my list of favourites for 2016 here!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Blackheath by Gabriella Lepore

*I received an ecopy of Blackheath from the publisher, OfTomes Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.*

Publication:December 20th 2015 by Oftomes Publishing

Series: The Blackheath Witches, #1

Goodreads Description:
Seventeen-year-old Maggie Ellmes is dogged by a case of chronic bad luck. She figures that’s just her lot in life—that is, until the psychic at Blackheath’s annual carnival reveals that Maggie’s problems are caused by more than just ordinary misfortune; she’s actually been cursed. 

Desperate to shake the hex, Maggie has no choice but to seek out the help of Joel Tomlins, a rebellious classmate who’s descended from Blackheath’s most powerful line of witches. After breaking all of his coven’s conventions to help her, Joel discovers that the curse isn’t as bad as Maggie fears. In fact, it’s much, much worse.

My thoughts:
Blackheath is a very short fun easy read and I think had I had the time I would have finished it in 1 sitting. It took me a few chapters to be really pulled in but once I was I flew through it.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the main character Maggie. I didn't really connect with her; it wasn't that she was flat or annoying, I just wasn't emotionally invested in her. I couldn't have cared less about her to be honest. There was nothing making me root for her.

Joel on the other hand I actually liked. It took me a while but I grew to really like him. He is a YA love interest stereotype in many ways but I found myself not really caring about that. He was dark and mysterious but also very complex emotionally. He was such an interesting character and I found myself flicking ahead looking for his name in the coming pages.

I also like how family was a fairly important theme explored. We really get to see the brother relationship between Joel and Evan. Their relationship is an interesting one due to a power imbalance in terms of their witch magic.

Gabriella Lepore is really good at creating atmosphere- I noticed this is one of her other books I've read, Secrets in Phoenix and her skill is super evident in Blackheath too. I loved the eery atmosphere created surrounding the Tomlins house.

I wanted more information in regards to the witches and covens and magic- this is the first in a series though so this could come later. I just felt like it was very surface level. There's mention of chosen Ones and such but it's never explicitly explained what they are chosen for and how they're chosen. And there is little to no exploration about where their magic comes from and it's very vague how their magic works. I may not have been satisfied with the magic because I've been reading a lot of adult high fantasy recently that goes into a lot more detail than YA.

Onto the plot; while the books is very short I felt like the plot was perfect, everything was paced nicely and I didn't feel like I was missing anything or the story was cut short. It was interesting enough to keep me reading and concise and clear what was going on. 

I do think there was a missed opportunity with maggies friends to develop some strong female friendships but that's a personal preference in my reading and it might not bother other readers that their relationships weren't fleshed out a lot.

I also felt like the story was aimed at the younger end of the YA genre, like 13/14 year olds. It wasn't anything complex or heavy it was a quick, easy and entertaining read and I will probably pick up the next book. 

My rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :)

I want to say a big thank you to OfTomes Publishing for sending me a free ecopy of Blackheath in exchange for an honest review!

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Series: Wayward Children, #1

Publication:April 5th 2016 by Tor.com

Goodread Description:
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
No Solicitations
No Visitors
No Quests

Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else.

But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.

Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.

But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.

No matter the cost

My Thought:
so easy to fall into; whimsy feel to feel

short- that's not the only reason why i flew through this book- i was so intrigued and found the story really addictive . McGuire packed so much into this tiny book.

Firstly the characters are so much fun! All of them have their share of page time but there is a select few who are very developed. I also loved how diverse the characters all are. The main character, Nancy, is asexual. I have never come across an ace protagonist in all my years of reading YA and I am so happy the ace community is finally getting some rep! I can't personally speak for the rep, but I know this book has been highly acclaimed by readers for containing great ace rep. There is even a trans character in Every Heart a Doorway which is another thing I hardly ever come across in my reading. I do wish we got more on some of the characters but I know there is companion books about them so I will be picking them up!

Seanan McGuire has a beautiful writing style.  very lyrical and pretty

the world- we get tiny glimpses into all the different worlds the children in the story have visited- it never felt info dumpy and i was so intrigued by all of them and want to go on adventures and visit them to explore them more.

super quick and quick, fun but also dark I highly recommend it!

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

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Series Review of The Wrath and The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

Series: The Wrath and the Dawn

Book 1: The Wrath and the Dawn
Book 2: The Rose and The Dagger

Goodreads Description of book 1, The Wrath and Dawn:
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

My Thoughts:
The Wrath and the Dawn duology was just okay for me. I wasn't captivated by these books I know are many poeples favourites. I had a good few problems with the books but I also think my expectations affected my reading experience. I had very high expectations because this series gets so much praise. I've divided my thoughts into 2 sections so if you haven't read either book you can read my thoughts under The Wrath and the Dawn but not under The Rose and the Dagger.

The Wrath and The Dawn
I found the plot of The Wrath and The Dawn to be so slow and dull in the beginning. I was struggling until 37% and then it finally started getting interesting and I was intrigued. Then it got super slow again until 75% when it really picked up. I flew through the story from there to the end. It was so interesting and compelling. I was thinking of DNFing but the last 25% saved it for me.

The Wrath and the Dawn is classed as fantasy but the magic and world are so underdeveloped which are the two thing that are key to a fantasy novel. At one point I thought 'oh this is it, this is how we are going to explore the magic and how it works and stuff' but nope, there was nothing. There was a tiny bit of magic introduced and then the characters acted as if it never happened it was a bit unrealistic given the situation in my opinion.

I liked Shazad but didn't love her. She's very hot tempered and got herself into trouble that could have easily been avoided. She was a typical YA protagonist and had nothing that set her apart in m opinion.

I wasn't really a fan of Kahlid either. He's such an interesting character with lots of mystery surrounding him and he does soften up a bit towards the end which is the part where I started to think he was ok. I think the mystery surrounding him made it hard for me as a reader to connect with him; I couldn't relate to him or feel anything for him.

The Wrath and the Dawn was good but nothing special and definitely not what I was expecting.

My Rating: 3.5 stars

The Rose and The Dagger
*there may be spoilers in this section of the post for The Wrath and the Dawn

I had the the same problem with the plot as I did with The Wrath and the Dawn; I found it to be so slow and I really struggled; I was going to DNF it but i kept going because I figured I was past half way in the series and might as well finish it. It did pick up in the last 30%  though and I was glad I stuck it out.

I really liked how we got more of Shazi's sister Irsa. I loved her little storyline that she had in The Rose and the Dagger and it was probably my favourite part of the book.

I didn't care about the characters (apart from Irsa and Rahim) so I really struggled reading. I felt very disconnected from them, I wasn't invested in their story so I wasn't rooting for them.

The ending was alright but I do think some parts were unnecessary and could have been done in a much cleaner way.

My Rating: 3 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue

Series: Guide, #1

Publication: June 27th 2017 by Katherine Tegen Books

Goodreads Description:
Henry “Monty” Montague was born and bred to be a gentleman, but he was never one to be tamed. The finest boarding schools in England and the constant disapproval of his father haven’t been able to curb any of his roguish passions—not for gambling halls, late nights spent with a bottle of spirits, or waking up in the arms of women or men.

But as Monty embarks on his Grand Tour of Europe, his quest for a life filled with pleasure and vice is in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

Still it isn’t in Monty’s nature to give up. Even with his younger sister, Felicity, in tow, he vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt that spans across Europe, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

My Thoughts:

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue is such a lighthearted historical fiction that I think anyone looking for something different but easy and fun to get through will really enjoy.

Monty was such a drama queen and it was annoying in the beginning how self absorbed he was but then it got endearing and hilarious.his narration, while a bit dramatic and takes a bit to get used to, is so much fun and hooked me; he is such a witty character. Loads of character development such a character journey type of story. 

This book is full of diverse represenation; there is a bisexual main character, a character suffering from trauma of child abuse, the issue of racism and even disability rep which I was not expecting. there was so much depth to the story which surprised me.

I loved how Monty's sister was part of the tour; their sibling interaction was one of my favourite parts of the story! There was some lovely heart warming moments between Monty and Felicity and I can't wait for the spin off with her; she was definitely my favourite character in this book so I am beyond excited for a whole book about her!

The romance storyline between Monty and Percy was cute but I wasn't obsessed with them; like they were not OTP material for me. 

The plot was a bit unrealistic in places but if you suspend your disbelief and just go with it it is so much fun. There was so much adventure it was great.

I really liked how the author included information about the historical aspects of the novel in the author notes such as information on the grand tour, race in the 18th century, politics, epilepsy etc. It really showed how much research went into the novel.

The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue was such a fun read. While reading it felt like I was watching a movie is was so quick and easy to get through. It is a little adventure with hints of silliness and heart warming moments and I thoroughly enjoyed it so I will be picking up Mackenzie Lee's other books when I want something light and easy to read.

My rating: 4.5 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Spoiler Free Review of Alienated Trilogy by Melissa Landers

Series: Alienated

Book 1: Alienated
Book 2: Invaded
Book 3:United

Goodreads Description:
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them. 

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara's classmates get swept up by anti-L'eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn't safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara's locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class. 

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she's fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

My thoughts:
I have divided my thoughts into three parts for the books. There are no spoilers for the book I am writing about under each heading(i.e. If you have only read book 1 you can read my review for book 1 and 2 without being spoiled)

Book 1: Alienated
I had fun reading Alienated but had a few problems with it.

I wasn't a big fan of the writing; it came across very babyish at times. I rolled my eyes reading so much times it was a bit ridiculous. There were some lines that felt like the author was trying too hard to sound like a teenager, for example 'full on banana sandwich' , like really? I felf like it was a very unrealistic way for teenagers to be talking.

A minor thing that annoyed me was the main characters name Cara, it's a lovely name but there it was pronounced wrong. They say it's the Irish word for friend which it is (I am irish and have studies the language my whole life) and Aelyx pronounces it 'cah-ra' which is right but there's a scene where they make fun of him and say it's pronounced 'Care-a' which is wrong.

I really liked Aelyx and he was definitely one of the reasons that I kept reading but Cara was so annoying and stupid and smart for a supposedly smart girl it annoyed me.

Alientated was a fun read but nothing ground breaking; I was expecting it to be like Jennifer L Armentrout's Lux series and be obsessed with it and find it so addictive but I didn't.

My rating: 3.5 stars

Book 2: Invaded
In my opinion Invaded was not as much fun as Alienated. Aelyx and Cara separated so their is hardly any interactions between the two which is what made book 1 so enjoyable.

The writing is still annoying in Invaded but not as much as it was in Alienated. There isn't as much dialogue that had me rolling my eyes and as much unrealistic stuff.

The plot was so predictable in this one, I predicted how it would end so early on that it made the 'twists'/'reveals' very underwhelming.
I really liked on aspect of this book in particular though; there was a big focus on Cara and her big brothers relationship which I loved reading about. I felt like they were written as a very realistic sibling relationship.

My rating: 3 stars

Book 3: United
I found United to be a lot better than Invaded. I was a bit hesitant to pick up this final book because I wasn't the biggest fan of the second book but United was actually quite good. I had fun reading it but I'm not sure if I liked it as much as Alienated.

While I had fun reading it I do think everything wrapped up super quickly and conveniently and it was all very predictable but I didn't mind it too much because it was fun having Aleyx and Cara together.

I had fun with the series but not as much as I'd hoped. I was expecting to be obsessed with it like JLAs Lux series but wasn't. 

My rating: 3.5 stars

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab

*warning this review contains spoilers for the first book in the Monsters of Verity duology, This Savage Song*

Read my review of This Savage Song here!

Series: Monsters of Verity, #2

Publication: June 13th 2017 by Greenwillow Books

Goodreads Description:

KATE HARKER isn't afraid of monsters. She hunts them. And she's good at it.

AUGUST FLYNN once yearned to be human. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.



Kate will have to return to Verity. August will have to let her back in. And a new monster is waiting—one that feeds on chaos and brings out its victims' inner demons.

Which will be harder to conquer: the monsters they face, or the monsters within?

My thoughts:
I really liked This Savage Song last year when I read it and I am a huge fan of Schwab's books so I had high expectations going into Our Dark Duet and unfortunately I was a bit disappointed. For me This Savage Song is the stronger book in the Monsters of Verity series, that's not to say Our Dark Duet was bad, it just wasn't as good as I was expecting it to be.

There was a handful of new characters introduced in the beginning but they just disappeared when Kate left and got no page time so they were very underdeveloped and I would have liked to see much more of them. Another new character that gets brought into the story is a 
new sunai called Soro. Soro is gender neutral which is something I've never come across in YA so they were cool to read about even if they didn't get as much page time as I would have liked.

We also get a new POV in Our Dark Duet- Sloan. I was meh about all his chapters, I only cared about Kate and August. His POV wasn't really that necessary and it didn't add much to the plot at all in my opinion.

I loved how Kate doesn't take anyone's shit and how strong  and capable August has become. Their character arcs in this book are a lot different than book 1.

I found the plot to be very slow until half way when the characters started interacting with each other. And I was struggling a bit which is a first for me with VE Schwab. It was okay though because halfway through it picked up and the last quarter was amazing. There was so much action and stuff going on; it got fast paced and compelling and I couldn't stop reading.

Our Dark Duet ended in an unexpected way but I can't imagine any other way it could have ended. Schwab did something I think a lot of authors wouldn't risk and it was perfect.

While ODD wasn't as good as TSS I still liked it and am a bit sad we won't get another book with these characters.

My rating: 4 stars

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

The Witches of the Glass Castle by Gabriella Lepore

*I was sent an ecopy of this book from the publisher, OfTomes Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

Series:The Witches of the Glass Castle, #1

Goodreads Description:
Mia’s life is thrown through a loop when she discovers her family secret — that she and her brother Dino are witches. After they are sent away to study their craft, they begin down a path that will change their lives forever.

Suddenly thrust into a world where handsome warriors command the power of nature and people’s thoughts and actions can be manipulated at will, Mia and Dino struggle to navigate their own allegiances and do what they know to be right when everything around them seems beyond their control. 

My thoughts:
The Witches of the Glass Castle is a fun quick easy read that is perfect to read at Halloween/autumn.

I liked the main character but they weren't anything special. They are both supposed to be main characters but to me it felt like it was all about Mia. I thought Dino was the more interesting of the two as I felt like he was a lot more complex and had a lot more going on and wished he had more page time as I think I'd have liked the book much more. Mia is a bit naive and she is like tones of other female YA protagonist out there, making stupid decision left right and centre and falling for a boy she just met.

Colt, the love interest, who is a hunter was a fun character. I like him even though he's such a YA cliche with his cocky confident attitude but I hadn't read a YA book in a while so I thought he was fun. I liked Mia and Colts relationship but didn't ship it a huge amount. Their interactions were always fun to read but nothing to obsess over. Their banter was good an I love how Colt called Mia out on her stupidity.

The plot was slow in the beginning but after a few chapters it picked up and I got into it and couldn't stop reading. Toward the end it got very predictable but I didn't mind. There was also a few tropes scattered throughout the story but I had came to terms that this wasn't going to be a hidden gem in YA lit so it didn't bother me. 

I felt like the world was very underdeveloped. These teens go to the Glass Castle to learn how to use their powers so I was expecting a school setting; well I was disappointed, there was no classes or teachers and the only adult there Wendolyn didn't play much of a role, she just let the kids live in her house, I expecting more or a mentor figure. Because of this 'school' setting is expected to learn a lot about the magic and history of the world but nope that didn't happened. There was no rules and no explanations as to why/how their powers work. There is no rhyme or reasons to their powers; there is a mix of elemental control and mind reading and conjuring things from nothing and raising the dead.

The side characters were also very underdeveloped which was sad, I really liked Mia and Dino's friends Kizzy and Blue and wish they could have had more page time.

The story is told from lots of POVs, too many I think. It wasn't really necessary to be swapping as much as it did especially with the book being so short.

Overall I enjoyed my time reading and would recommend it for this time of year, Hallowe'en and autumn if your looking for a quick light fun paranormal read.

My rating: 4 stars 

I just want to say a big thank you to OfTomes Publishing for sending me an ecopy of The Witches of the Glass Castle for free in exchange for this review!

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab

Short review today guys! I'm on placement and am super busy!

*warning this review contains spoilers for the first two books in the Shades of Magic series, A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows.

Series: Shades of Magic, #3
Publication: February 21st 2017 by Tor Books
Goodreads Description:
Witness the fate of beloved heroes - and enemies.

The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

Kell - once assumed to be the last surviving Antari - begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

Lila Bard, once a commonplace - but never common - thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay. 

My thoughts:
A Conjuring of Light is the brilliant conclusion to a fanatic trilogy I was hoping for! This series has made it onto my favourite series shelf and will stay there for a long time! I had so much fun with this series especially this final book!

My favourite character is of course Lila but I love Alucard too but also Kell and Rhy. So basically everyone. Lila is her usual bad ass self; so witty and hilarious; I love her and Kell's relationship but really liked her and Alucard's friendship in this one! I loved how sassy Rhy was and how he had such a nice arc in this final book, he really steps up and becomes as selfless as his brother. 

There was lots of Holland in A Conjuring of Light and he even had a POV where we are given lots of his backstory which I wasn't a fan of. I just didn't care about him to be honest. He had a nice arc but I dreaded his chapters. I found them so boring; they were important to understanding him and his character growth but I just wanted to stay with Lila and the others. I found Holland's chapters to be so slow and they definitely affected my reading experience.

The plot was up and down and all over the place and I loved it! There was super intense crazy parts and then slower calmer more character driven parts and I loved it. A jean really got the balance just right. 

The writing was of course as elegant and beautiful as it always is with VE Schawb! It's so simple but so not at the same time. She's one of my favourite authors for sure.

A conjuring of Light was a lovely end to the trilogy, everything wrapped up nicely but there were a few tiny loose threads but it didn't bother me as it was nothing major. I really wish we could spend more time with these characters and see what adventures they go on next.
ACoL might be my favourite in the series, i haven't decided yet though because I loved book 1 so much! 

My rating: 4.5 stars
Thanks for reading,

A :)