Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

Series:Eurona Duology, #1

Publication: March 8th 2016 by HarperTeen

Goodreads Description:
“Aerity…” Her father paused as if the words he was forming pained him. “I must ask you to sacrifice the promise of love for the sake of our kingdom.”

She could only stare back, frozen.

When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona—kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a stranger... until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them... or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand—ridding the kingdom of the beast—but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

Inspired by the Grimm Brothers’ tale “The Singing Bone,” New York Times bestselling author Wendy Higgins delivers a dark fantasy filled with rugged hunters, romantic tension, and a princess willing to risk all to save her kingdom.

My thoughts:
The Great Hunt is just an okay read; it is definitely not as good as Wendy Higgins' other books in my opinion. I might not have liked The Great Hunt as much as I could have because my expectations were too high. I'm a big fan of the Sweet Evil Trilogy so I went in was expecting a fast and fun story and that's not what the Great Hunt is.

Firstly, the main character, Aerity, didn't blow me away again this could be because of my expectations! I thought she'd be all fierce and strong headed and totally against someone winning her hand and that's not what she was. I will say though that I admired how much she was willing to do to save her people (even if she didn't actually do anything herself just agreed to be married off). There was some aspects of her character that was kind of cool though. I liked how she was an acrobat and we got to read about her using silks; that's not something I'd read about before and I love coming across characters with unique hobbies. But if your looking for female empowerment you won't find it here, Aerity is not the kickass smart heroine we have been seeing a lot of in YA over the last few years (there is a groups of women who enter to kill the beast which I got very excited about but sadly they were very underdeveloped and kind of pushed off to the side).

The plot wasn't great to me, but again this was because of my expectations; I thought the focus would be on killing/hunting the beast, (before reading it I thought Aerity would go off and try kill the beast herself) instead the focus was on Aerity and her cousin Wyneth and their affections for the men who were hunting the beast. 
The story is told I'm dual POV so there is a good few scenes about the actual hunting of the beast which I liked a lot more than Aerity's chapters. The story was paced fine; I didn't find it too slow or too fast- I was engaged reading for the most part and it did pick up near the very end and I did start getting more invested in the story.

I was not a fan of the love interest Paxton. He was way to moody for my taste and to be honest he was pretty mean to Aerity. I didn't see what she saw in him. 

I really liked how big a part family was in the story. Aerity's two siblings, Vixie and Donny and her cousins are very prominent in the story. I loved her relationship with her oldest cousin Wyneth. It was nice reading their friendship. Family also plays a role in Paxton's POV. I liked how his relationship with his brother, Tiern, was a big part of his story. 

Overall I feel like The Great Hunt was just meh. The blurb misled me and my expectations lead to not enjoying it as much as I could have. I'd say if you were going to pick up Wendy Higgins books pick up the Sweet Evil trilogy instead.

My rating: 3 stars
Thanks for reading,


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Series: Pushing the Limits, #1

Publication: July 31st 2012 by Harlequin Teen 

Goodreads Description:
"I won't tell anyone, Echo. I promise." Noah tucked a curl behind my ear. It had been so long since someone touched me like he did. Why did it have to be Noah Hutchins? His dark brown eyes shifted to my covered arms. "You didn't do that-did you? It was done to you?" No one ever asked that question. They stared. They whispered. They laughed. But they never asked.

So wrong for each other...and yet so right.

No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal. But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.Yet the crazy attraction between them refuses to go away. And Echo has to ask herself just how far they can push the limits and what she'll risk for the one guy who might teach her how to love again...

My thoughts:
I was so surprised by Pushing the Limits. This book needs a new cover and title because they are awful and do not reflect the content. The cover and title made me expect a heavy New Adult romance novel with good girl and a bad boy but that's not really the story; there was actually a lot of depth to it. Obviously there was angst and drama, but not too much!

I really liked Echo straight off the bat. She was so interesting to read about; going in I didn't realise the story was about a girl dealing with trauma and repressed memory. Her determination to find out what happened was admirable and it kept me reading; I really wanted to find out myself. She's sarcastic and feisty and doesn't take anyone's crap and I loved it.

I was not the biggest fan of Noah in the beginning. It was interesting reading about foster kid which is not something I've come across a lot in YA but there was a good few stereotypes and cliches attached to his character. It also irritated me how his narration was full of his thought about Echos body. He never said any of it aloud but it was there and it made me so mad; it did tone down a lot later though and I did eventually warm up to him. I think it was the storyline of how much he loved his brothers and wanted to do whatever it took to get them back was what made me like him. He really is a kind guy, it just took a while for me to like him.

I loved the side characters! Beth and Isaiah, Noah's friends, were my favourite thing ever. They stole the show anytime they were in a scene! I am definitely picking up the companion novels because I hear they are about them! I loved Echo and Noah's therapist,ms Collins, too! She was such a light hearted character and brought so much humour to the story!

There was obviously a romance but I loved how Noah and Echo each had separate storylines and were dealing with their own struggles individually while supporting the other person with theirs.

I can definitely see potential in Katie McGarry's writing to improve and some cliches to be scrapped so I will be reading more of her books in the future, I had fun!

My rating: 4 stars

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson

Series: The Remnant Chronicles

Book 1: The Kiss of Deception 
Book 2: The Heart of Betrayal
Book 3: The Beauty of Darkness

Goodreads Description of book 1, The Kiss of Betrayal:
A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love.

My thoughts:
(I have divided my thoughts under the three titles so no need to worry about being spoiled for later books in the series! I tried to keep them as spoiler free as possible anyway!)

1.The Kiss of Deception:
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed The Kiss of Deception. It was good; like really good. I wasn't expecting to be so into it as much as I was. I had so much fun reading about Lia, the prince and the assassin.

I loved the mystery of trying to figure out who was the assassin and who was the prince. I was constantly theorising who was who and analysing they Boys every action to figure it out! I kept swapping back and forth, it was so mind boggling but so much fun. 

Our main character, princess Lia is a daydreamer, she is constant thinking about love and the life she wants to have. She is a bit naive which was a bit annoying but she is also strong willed and witty which made her fun to read about. 

I really liked Pauline, Lias maidservant who accompanies her on her escape. Pauline is super devoted to looking after the princess. She is a kind caring spirit I really liked reading about. I loved her friendship with Lia.

I loved how neither main female characters were physically badass, it was refreshing to read about in a genre that is filled with warrior type female characters such as Celaena Sardothian and Isabelle Lightwood.

My only problem was that the world and magic was very undeveloped. The Kiss of Deception is pitched as fantasy and to be honest it did not feel like a fantasy novel at all. There was very vague mentions of magic and that was it, I was disappointed about this element as I love a bit of magic. There was also little to no world building; we stay in the same place for the majority of the time. I was disappointed at how underdeveloped it was.

I think The Kiss of Deception is a great book for those who are only starting to get into YA fantasy as there is very little fantastical elements and it is a super fast engaging read. The book is almost 500 pages long but seems a lot shorter when reading it!

2.The Heart of Betrayal:
Just as good as book one!

Lia spends the majority of this book in Venda. There is a bit more world building in this one compared to book 1; we get lots of descriptions of the city but not much about what's going on in other parts of the kingdom. I do think that Venda was developed perfectly though, I just wished we got more about the rest of the kingdom. Being in Venda with the Komizar resulted in readers getting a good bit of political backstory for the city and it's people.

The Heart of Betrayal had a few new points of view. Personally I loved Pauline's narration. 

The plot was similar to the previous book- kinda slow but still engaging. There was not a lot happening action wise and I think this is definitely a book that is about building up the tension for the finale. It focused more on politics and mind games but that being said I was always engaged reading even though there wasn't any crazy action sequences I usually love.

There was a bit of magic, Lia's gift is mentioned a little bit more but not really explained. I would still say this isn't really a fantasy series.

The ending is insane and I'd definitely recommend getting the third book so you can marathon them back to back!

3.The Beauty of Darkness
Definitely my favourite book in the trilogy.

Character development in The Remnant Chronicles is subtle but it is there and Lia's development really shines through in The Beauty of Darkness. She is such a different person compared to where we started in books 1. She's such a strong, independent, well-spoken, young woman compared to the naive little princess she was in The Kiss of Deception. I loved her in this final book. She did frustrate me at time with some of her decisions in this final book but overall I really came to respect her.

The plot of this one was much more fast paced that the pervious two. There was a lot more about war and battles and such which I loved.

World building was a lot stronger in this one compared to previous books. I felt like having me so many characters from different places I really started to get a bigger picture on the kingdoms.

It was a nice conclusion; some things wrapped up but a good bit was left unresolved. Personally I would have liked a bit more at the end.

Overall/ series wasn't that big on the fantasy elements I was expecting but was a really enjoyable and fast read.

My ratings 
The Kiss of Deception: 4 stars
The Heart of Betrayal: 4 stars
The Beauty of Darkness: 4.5 stars

Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon vs the Homo sapiens aganda

Publication: April 7th 2015 by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads Description:
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

My thoughts:
Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda is a wonderful, heart-warming story about friendship and family with an adorable romance thrown in and a mystery that will keep you so engaged you can't stop reading! I read Simon in one sitting and as soon as I was finished I wanted to start again immediately I loved it that much!
It was so cute I had the biggest smile on my face while reading.

Simon is such a normal character. I loved how he sounds and thinks like a teenager. He's so normal but also weird at the same time and I loved it! His narration was just so honest! He has such a loveable personality it's impossible not to like him. I loved how he loves Harry Potter and references it all the time and how funny he is. I found myself relating to him a lot. This is definitely Simon's coming of age and self discovery story.

There is a whole slew of friendships and I think they were a fantastic portrayal of what teenage friendships are like. I liked how there was conflicts and everyone didn't get along all of the time but in the end they always forgave each other because they were friends. Simon and Leah, and Nick's relationship was super realistic. But my favourite was Simon and Abby- I loved Abby, she's such bubbly and supportive character and her interactions with Simon were some of my favourite scenes.

I loved how big a part family had in Simon's story. We get to see him interacting with his sisters a lot which I loved. The sibling interaction spot on between the three. I loved how supportive they were of each other and just how good their relationship was. Simon's parents are also very present in the book which I appropriated since they are usually absent from YA books. 

Blue and Simons relationship was the most adorable thing I have ever read. I absolutely loved reading their emails back and forth. They were so cute to read! And the mystery of not know who Blue was was driving me crazy while reading. I had so much fun trying to figure out who he was, I kept changing my prediction every few pages but about half way through I decided on someone and stuck with them and I was right!

Note on the diversity: of course the LGBT element is at the forefront of the story but there is some representation of race and interracial relationships too!

Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a fun lighthearted read I'd highly recommend if your looking for something cute, fast and entertaining!

My rating: 4.5 stars

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Monday, 5 June 2017

Cover reveal for Ultimate Sacrifice by S.E. Green

I've read and reviewed a number of books published by OfTomes Publishing here on my blog and they were nice enough to let me help out with the cover reveal of their upcoming novel Ulimate Sacrifice by S.E. Green!

Goodreads Description: 
Vickie has always lived a quiet, ordinary life in an equally quiet and ordinary small town. Yet one fateful night a child turns up dead in the woods behind her house in a ritualistic slaughter. Vickie and her family are suddenly thrown into a national spotlight. But as the investigation unfolds, she begins to realize her family isn’t so ordinary after all. Evil is inching closer to those she holds dear and Vickie isn't sure who she can ultimately trust.

And here's the cover!!! 

I'm so excited to pick Ultimate Scrifice up on October 10th when it's released! I don't read many mystery books but this one has caught my eye and I can't wait to read it!