Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Spoiler free series review of Blood for Blood by Catherine Doyle

Series: Blood for Blood

Book 1: Vendetta
Book 2: Inferno
Book 3: Mafioso

Goodreads Description of book 1; Vendetta:
When it comes to revenge, love is a dangerous complication.With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

When five brothers move into the abandoned mansion in her neighbourhood, Sophie Gracewell's life changes forever. Irresistibly drawn to bad boy Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling into a criminal underworld governed by powerful families. As the boys' dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. She must choose between two warring dynasties - the one she was born into, and the one she is falling in love with. When she does, blood will spill and hearts will break.

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 headin(i.e. If you have only read book 1 you can read my review for book 1 and 2 without being spoiled)

Book 1: Vendetta 
I went into Vendetta with low expectations, I wanted to a new adult romance with no plot or anything of substance and that's not what I got! I was so misled by the blurb and cover! Vendetta is actually YA and while it does have a romance it's not the main focus. I can 100% say I was pleasantly surprised with it! It was angsty, addictive and a super quick read. I was reading for what felt like an hour and I was already half way. I was sucked in from the first page and couldn't stop reading.

I was surprised at how quickly I grew to care about the characters. I was scared for them I was happy for them! And even scared of them at times. I liked how the characters actions really made me think- like I was hesitant to like some of them because their actions weren't always what I consider to be morally right.

I liked the main character Sophie but didn't love her. She is smart but does some stupid stuff now and then but she's also snarky which I liked. She comes across as a very real teenage girl which helped me relate to her.

One of the main things I loved in Vendetta was Sophie's relationship with her best friend Millie. It is so fun seeing girls be friends with girls. Millie is everything to Sophie and I loved how it never turned bitchy between the two.

I will say that the storyline got very dark very quickly. It really got dark and gritty which I wasn't expecting. I was actually a bit shocked at times because while it's fiction the Mafia is something that happens in reality. Organised crime circles and whatnot and something I knew nothing about so Vendetta was actually pretty educational to me. I knew the word and that it had negative connotations but never knew what it really meant. It was interesting but also scary learning about the culture. This is the first time I've ever read anything about the Mafia and I was fascinated.

The writing is noting spectacular; it's very simple and easy to read which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I just think it pulled the book down a bit.  

The plot was kind of predictable but I still had a lot of fun reading it! There is definitely twists and turns some readers won't pick up on so they will enjoy it even more, but for me I saw some stuff coming.

My rating for Vendetta: 4 stars

Book 2: Inferno 
I enjoyed Vendetta so I had high expectations going into Inferno and I was no disappointed; I enjoyed Inferno even more than Vendetta. I had just as much, if not more, fun reading book 2 in the trilogy!

Inferno starts with Sophie in a dark place dealing with ptsd due to the events of Vendetta and it goes from there. I loved how her character arc was done in Inferno. She slowly starts to work through what happened to her and start to live again.

There is a big focus on Sophie and Luca's relationship in Inferno which I loved. Their relationship was developed at such a lovely pace. I loved their banter with each other and was excited anytime I saw their names on the page together.

Millie and Sophie's friendship is still goals in this book! We explore their relationship even more than we did in Vendetta and get to see them grow as their relationship is challenged by the events going ok in Sophie's life now that she is tangled up with the Falcones.

The love triangle that was hinted at the end of book 1 does happen in book 2. I was firmly on one side the whole time. It caused a lot of drama which kept me reading. It was very interesting seeing Nic and Luca's brotherly relationship changed because their relationships with Sophie. I've read countless love triangles but never come across one between brothers so it was interesting to read.

My rating for Inferno: 4.5

Book 3: Mafioso 
I loved Inferno but I think I loved Mafioso even more; this might be my favourite book in the series! It had the perfect balance of drama and action with slower more character driven moments and I loved it!

Sophie and Luca's relationship really takes off in this book and they had some really cute moments that had me fangirling.

The plot was predictable like the previous two books but I still really enjoyed myself while reading. I was living for all the drama, I couldn't stop reading!

Mafioso ends the trilogy in a good place with some things left hanging so there is potential for another book but while also wrapping up enough for readers to be satisfied.

My rating for Mafioso: 4.5

Overall I really enjoyed the series. It surprised me and I had so much fun marathoning it! I can't wait to pick up more by Catherine Doyle!

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the for all the books in the Throne of Glass series up to Empire of Storms*

Read my review of Empire of Storms here!

Series: Throne of Glass, # 6

Publication: September 5th 2017 by Bloomsbury 

Goodreads Description:
In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.

Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.

His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica—the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.

But what they discover in Antica will change them both—and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined. 

My thoughts:
While it wasn't my favourite Sarah J Maas book, I did really like Tower of Dawn.

To start off I should address what everyone was worried about when Tower of Dawn was announced- the disability representation. As we know from Queen of Shadows Chaol lost the ability to use his legs due to the events of the end of the book and as a result uses a wheelchair to move around. I was very weary going into Tower of Dawn because I was worried the issue might no be handled in a sensitive authentic manner. So the big question is: do I think Tower of Dawn is ablesit? I don't think so. I do not have a disability so I can't speak on the authenticity of the rep but I think Chaol's physical and emotional journey were both written in a respectful way. If you want to read thoughts from someone who uses a wheelchair I'd recommend this post: http://her bookishthings.com/towerofdawn/ it is also stated in this post that Sarah said she went though sensitivity readers in regards to Chaol a situation which I appreciated as it showed she was really trying. There is also a review on goodreads which addressed the disability rep if you want to check it out, this reader was very happy with the rep- https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/2114999039

Now that the disability rep is out of the way let's talk about Chaol in general in this book. I really liked Chaol in Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight but then I grew to be indifferent about him in the later books. He annoyed me and I couldn't have cared less about his story to be honest so I was really only pick Tower of Dawn up for Nesryn and Yrene; but after reading the book I've actually grown to like him again. Chaol a character development in ToD is set at such a lovely pace o couldn't help but start to like him as I got a deeper understanding of him. In ToD we really explore his thoughts on what he's done in the past and how he feels about how he acted which I really liked.

I picked up this book to get to know Nesryn better; I loved the little glimpse we got of her in QoS and couldn't wait to see more from her character, and sadly I was a bit disappointed. I felt like she was missing the whole first half of Tower of Dawn, she was there but I felt like she wasn't getting equal page time to the other characters until the second half of the book where she really shines.

Our third main character is the healer Yrene. Yrene is the healer from the novellas The Assassin and the Healer which was released a few years ago and is part of The Assassins Blade. I'd recommend reading the novella before Tower f Dawn but it is not necessary, anything revealed about Yrene in the novellas is in ToD too. She's a different type of badass to what we are used to in the Throne of Glass world and I liked that. I liked reading about such a compassionate young woman who is smart and kind and so much more and can still be strong despite the fact that she isn't amazing at fighting physically.

We are introduced to loads more characters and while they were interesting I will say it was hard to keep them all straight in my head; they all have names that are spelt weirdly and impossible to pronounce in true Sarah J Maas fashion. We do get to meet the royal family of the southern continent and while I didn't care about most of them 1 in particular stood out and I really enjoyed his part in the story.

The romance was tame compared to ACOMAF and EoS which I was super grateful for. I will say it's still new adult content but boring as explicit as ACOMAF and EOS.

There is a lot of World building in Tower of Dawn but somehow Sarah J Maas never makes it info dumpy; we learn about the culture and the royals and healers and everything in snippets here and there when relevant. It was very interesting reading about this new place in the ToG world. It's important to note that because we are in a new place Mass used this as an opportunity to make the series more diverse in terms of race; the only white character is Chaol.

I felt like the plot was a bit lacking. There was not as much action as I expect with Sarah J Maas books but I suppose that's because there was a big focus on character journeys (Chaol in particular but also Yrene) and world building.

There is vital information in Tower of Dawn for the next instalment in the series, this was supposed to be a novella so I've heard people say they are going to skip it because it won't effect the final instalment but I am telling you now do not skip this book! There is some very important things revealed towards the end of the novel that will have a big impact on how the finale will play out.

This book should be read after EoS as the events in ToD run parallel to EoS so they are happening at the same time and things that are happening in the northern continent are mentioned in ToD to keep Chaol in the loop and so we know at what point the others are in the story. There is no Aelin, Dorian, Manon, Rowan, Lysandra, Aedion etc in Tower of Dawn so don't go in expecting them!

I enjoyed Tower of Dawn but it's not my favourite Sarah J Maas book; I felt like it was lacking the twisty plot, sass and fun I associate with this series. I can't wait for the finale next year though!

My rating: 4 stars
Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton

*Warning this review contains spoilers for the first book in the series, Rebel of the Sands*

Series: Rebel of the Sands, #2

Publication:March 7th 2017 by Viking

Goodreads Description:
Rebel by chance. Traitor by choice.

Gunslinger Amani al'Hiza fled her dead-end hometown on the back of a mythical horse with the mysterious foreigner Jin, seeking only her own freedom. Now she’s fighting to liberate the entire desert nation of Miraji from a bloodthirsty sultan who slew his own father to capture the throne. 

When Amani finds herself thrust into the epicenter of the regime—the Sultan’s palace—she’s determined to bring the tyrant down. Desperate to uncover the Sultan’s secrets by spying on his court, she tries to forget that Jin disappeared just as she was getting closest to him, and that she’s a prisoner of the enemy. But the longer she remains, the more she questions whether the Sultan is really the villain she’s been told he is, and who’s the real traitor to her sun-bleached, magic-filled homeland.

Forget everything you thought you knew about Miraji, about the rebellion, about Djinn and Jin and the Blue-Eyed Bandit. In Traitor to the Throne, the only certainty is that everything will change. 

My thoughts:
I liked Traitor to the Throne but didn't love the way I did Rebel of the Sands. I think Book 1 was way better. I have a review of it that you can read here!

The plot of Traitor to the Throne felt like something I've read numerous times before so it wasn't exciting like book 1 was. I also felt like the pacing was off. The beginning was great- it was very go go go but then It started to get slow and drag in the middle and I had to push myself to get through it and then it picked up again towards the end. There was a few twists but nothing major I didn't see coming. It lacked all the action I loved from Rebel of the Sands. It was too long, it easily could have been 100 pages shorter.

I also had problems with the characters; I am not emotionally attached to any of them. Amani was so sassy and impulsive in Rebel of the Sands and I love character development but her not being as wild in this book made it kind of boring. I felt like she just fell into this state of being very bland and uninteresting to read about.

Onto Amani and Jin- Jin has hardly any page time in Traitor to the Throne which I was sad about because I loved Amani and Jin's banter. I was a bit disappointed that Traitor to the Throne went down the route where the love interests are angry with each other the whole time in the sequel book.

The world building was good. We get to explore Dijinni magic more and we even get to meet Amani's father which was interesting. I liked how there was little stories sprinkled throughout the story.

I also liked how there was a lot more political stuff going on in this book. We spend a lot of time in the Sultan's palace (too much time maybe) and meet lots of new people. It was interesting how we got an insight into everyone's perspective and how the author created these lovely complex grey characters like the Sultan for instance. We get to know him more and he shares his motives and such which paints him not as a villain but as a man who is doing what's best for his people.

I didn't have any major problems with Traitor to the Throne, I just felt like it was something a younger me would have liked a lot more. Had I read this a few years ago when I was only getting into reading I probably would have loved it. It's a fun light YA fantasy that's nothing too heavy. I'd recommend this series for readers who are looking to get into YA fantasy.

My rating: 3 stars
Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan

*Warning this review may contain spoilers for the first book in the series, The Hidden Oracle*

Series: The Trials of Apollo, #2

Publication: May 2nd 2017 by Disney-Hyperion

Goodreads Description:
Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he's gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . 

My thoughts:
I am so conflicted about The Dark Prophecy, on one hand I really liked the second half and on the other it took me ages to get through the first half. I really struggled at the start; I had to force myself to keep reading and I didn't know if I was getting told for Rick Riordan books or if it was because I read it at the wrong time when I'd just finished one of my all time favourite series (To All the Boys I've Loved Before- a review of Always and Forever Lara Jean should be up before this post!). But I don't think I am growing out of Rick Riordan books because I adore the Magnus Chase series and I did enjoy reading the second half of The Dark Prophecy.

I think Apollo's narration was a factor in my reading experience because at times he can be a bit immature and I found myself rolling my eyes at some of his comments. I thought he was hilarious last year when I read The Hidden Oracle and he did have some great one liners in The Dark Prophecy but it wasn't as funny as RR's other books.

As I said the plot was slow to start and it didn't pick up for me until after half way, after the half way mark though I couldn't stop reading, I was back in the swing of things and was enjoying the story.

We do get a good bit of Leo and Calypso which I liked. I was worried that they were only going to be in the start of the book but they stuck around for the majority of the story. It was nice seeing them trying to work as a couple and dealing with trying to live normal lives. If you are going into The Dark Prophecy expecting it to be all about them it's not, they are definitely side characters.

We are also introduced to some very interesting characters. The Hunter of Artemis play a big role in The Dark Prophecy which I loved because I absolutely adore the Hunters. I find them so much fun to read about! We even meet two ex hunters!

The ending of The Dark Prophecy was great and I have high hopes for the next book, which I am definitely picking up despite my weird reading experience with the start of The Dark Prophecy.

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