Tuesday, 27 February 2018

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Short review today! I am super busy in college and don't have much time to write lengthy reviews for the next few weeks! 

*Warning this post contains spoilers for the first two books in the series; The Young Elites and The Rose Society!

Series: The Young Elites, #3

Publication: October 11th 2016 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Description:
There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all she’s gained.

When a new danger appears, Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds, putting not only herself at risk, but every Elite. In order to preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger.

My thoughts:

When I picked up The Midnight Star it had been nearly 2 years since I had read The Rose Society so I was a bit aprehensiive going in becuase I could hardly remember anything but it turned out not to be a problem. A few chapters in and everything came back to me and I was hooked. I had so  much fun reading this conclusion to the trilogy!

I had forgotten how dark Adelina was and when I was reminded I fell in love with her all over again. She's so different from other YA characters. Her growth over the course of the series is amazing and while she takes her cruelty to a new level in this final book I couldn't help but admire her confidence. While I love her wicked side I can't ignore her more vulnerable side that we do get to see in this final book. Adelina's relationship with Magiano really brings out the humanity in her from time to time and I really liked that!

There was a good bit of world building in The Midnight Star that I wasn't expecting since this was the last book in the series but I enjoyed exploring more aspects of the world. We get some answers about the Blood Fever and how it came it be and also get introduced to the idea of Immortals in the world and the mythology behind them which I found interesting.

I absolutely loved the ending. The series wraps up in such a nice way it was great. I particularly loved the last chapter/epilogue because it read like a fairytale/folk tale! The writing was just amazing. I loved how the series went in such a unique direction.

If I could only use one word to describe this series it would be 'different' and that's what makes it so fun to read! I loved how unique The Young Elites is from other YA trilogies out there. From the world to the characters it is just all so fresh and new! I had a lot of fun reading this series and regret not picking up this final book sooner.

Thanks for reading,
A :)

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Colliding Skies by Debbie Zaken

*I received an eARC of Colliding Skies from the publisher, OfTomes Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.*

March 6th 2018 by Oftomes Publishing

Goodreads Description:

Since Skye Reilly can remember, she has been looking up to the stars. With high school graduation upon her, her telescope in one hand and her college acceptance letter in the other, she has life as meticulously mapped out as her star chart. That is, until the Celeians arrive and she meets Ethan, an alluring alien. Ethan collides into her like an asteroid, causing a gravitational shift in Skye’s trajectory and hurling her life into a cataclysmic collision course of interplanetary proportions.

The Celeians promise many things. An end to disease, global warming, and famine. The knowledge to help humankind. Despite the suspicions surrounding the intriguing aliens and rising anti-alien protests, Skye gives Ethan her trust, and eventually her heart. The very heart he could stop with a lethal electrifying touch of his hand.
When the Magistrate, a council of alien leaders, threatens to put an end to their interspecies relationship, following her heart could cost Skye her life and the lives of everyone she loves.
Not even light can escape the pull of a black hole.

My thoughts:

Colliding Skies was a fast read but nothing spectacular. I was disappointed in it because of my expectations.I wanted more sci-fi elements and a big focus on the aliens and what we get is a romance(is it actually romance?more on that later) story with hints of sci-fi here an there that is very surface level.

The plot was a bit all over the place. The opening few chapters were fantastic and I was drawn straight in but then the pacing slowed right down and the story started to get dull and boring (for me anyway). There was a bit of action at the end that engaged me but I think it could have been better placed to keep readers interested.

I liked Skye at times but other times I wanted to shake some sense into her. She made some stupid decisions, which most YA main characters do but she had the chance to fix her mistakes and never did. I did like how she had an interest in space (diverse hobbies!) and how curious and inquisitive she was; she asks Ethan lots of question about his species which made reading interesting at times.

The romance is a huge part of the story and I wasn't a fan which I think is why I didn't enjoy the book. Firstly it is insta love galore; straight off the bat Ethan loves Skye and she loves him. They had like 3 conversations none of which were deep or meaningful or anything and she agrees to be in a relationship with him! Another major thing that turned me off the story was that Ethan seems to be obsessed with Skye. He crosses the line of stalker and it is just creepy. Multiple times he did things that were not healthy in a relationship- Skye even says she feels paranoid and uncomfortable because of his actions; he also hypnotises her even when she tells him not to and alters her mood. The toxic elements of their relationship are never addressed and I wanted Skye get as far away from Ethan as possible.

I am a big fan of sci-fi and find it so interesting comparing how authors approach the plot of aliens coming to earth; I was a bit underwhelmed with how it was handled- I was expecting so much more about the Celeians and would have liked to see how the government were interacting with them behind closed doors.

Colliding Skies does ends on a cliffhanger but I found myself not that interested in finding out what was going to happen next; I don't think I will pick up the next book in the series.

Overall in was an alright story and as fast read but it wasn't for me.

Thanks for reading,

A :)

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Series: Wintersong #1

Publication:February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books

Goodreads Description:
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

My thoughts:
I was so sure I was going to love Wintersong, the blurb was so intriguing and I had heard some really great reviews of it but I hated it. I feel bad saying it because I hardly ever dislike books but Wintersong is probably my least favourite book I've read of all time. Get ready for a negative review!

My first big problem was that it felt like it took me forever to read Wintersong. I wasn't busy so I expected to get it done in a few days. It took me 4 days which is how long it usually takes me to read a book this size but it felt way longer. I had such a hard time staying focused; I really struggled to get through it. It just didn't capture my attention. The plot just wasn't interesting, I could have cared less about the characters and the romance was awful. I started skimming about half way and I was seriously considering DNFing Wintersong but I didn't because I have never DNFed a book.

I was so confused at the start; I though Wintersong was going to be fantasy but it read like urban fantasy mixed with historical fiction but then they mention places in the real world but  clearly it wasn't set in modern times and there was no mention of dates... Then the world building in the Underground was well I cant really say anything about it because there was none! We are given the tiniest descriptions of the world and just have to roll with it.

Onto the writing, for the most part I was happy with the writing. There was some very pretty passages scattered throughout the book and some hauntingly beautiful pieces about music. The atmosphere the author created comes and goes though. I did have a few tiny issues though- I found it  a bit repetitive. I noticed that the same adjectives were being used again and again to describe people. There was also some weird sentence structure here and there (I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be more formal and reflect the time period but they kept saying "think you...?" ).

One of the big reasons I don't enjoy books is when I don't like the characters and I was not a fan of any in Wintersong. I didn't care about any of them. Liesl had so many problematic qualities I won't even go into all of them here it would be too long. Some things that turned me off her were that Liesl slut shames her sister and the only thing she cared about was getting the Goblin King to like her/find out if he desired her. I hated it. She was completely reliant on his affection because she needed validation that she was "desirable". The Goblin King was kind of interesting because of all the mystery surrounding him and his struggles with his crown and such but not enough that I was itching to find out more about him.

The main reason I hated this book was the romance. I am going to get into my problems with it now for the rest of this post and it may be a bit spoilery but I think it is implied in the blurb that Liesl and The Goblin King have a relationship.

First of all I found the romance so creepy. The Goblin King is immortal and immortality doesn't usually bother me (look at Sarah J Maas' books- I might not like a few of the ships but that has nothing to do with one person being immortal) but in Wintersong it was so weird. The Goblin King used to hang out with Liesl when she was a child. It is mentioned multiple times they were friends but we never saw them interact as friends and Liesl now thinks all theses visits were figments of her imagination. The Goblin King also says, on a few occasions, that he preferred Liesl when she was little. Creepy right?

There was also some pretty anti-feminist messages threaded throughout the book, the big one I hated was the theme of a girl only learns to define her identity and embrace herself is through her relationship with a man. This message is shoved down readers throats in the second half of the book. Liesl literally says "I want you to find me. Every last bit of me" kind of implying that she needs him to find herself.  

I don't usually talk about this stuff on my blog but I have too- sex. Liesl literally says that having sex with and I quote "made her into a woman" and that after "everything was changed now" and she splits her life into "before" and "after". And this is after she spent half the book pressuring him into it because she feels empowered to ignore his 'no'. I was fuming reading this. It is such an unhealthy relationship. I hate how it was portrayed as this defining thing- she was always described at plain and boring before but as special after. I have read a few unhealthy fictional relationships but never this bad. Also there was way too many sex scenes- i can deal with 1 or two but I had to skip over the rest- and the writing was like fanfiction and there was way too many musical metaphors.

I just couldn't get behind their relationship at all- they weren't even friends. There wasn't a single scene in the book where they had fun together. The didn't challenge each other. Their personalities didn't complement each other. It was awful.

I am so sad I disliked Wintersong as much as I did because I really wanted to love it. Wintersong is one of the worst books I've ever read and I will definitely not be picking up anything else by this author.

My rating: 1.5 stars

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

Series Review of Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Series: Burn for Burn
Book 1: Burn for Burn
Book 2: Fire with Fire
Book 3: Ashes to Ashes

Goodreads Description of book 1, Burn for Burn:
Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

With an alliance in place, there will be no more “I wish I’d said…” or “If I could go back and do things differently...” These girls will show Jar Island that revenge is a dish best enjoyed together.

My Thoughts:
Burn for burn trilogy is an addictive dramatic contemporary young adult trilogy which I highly recommend for those looking for something fun and quick to marathon. I had a lot of fun reading the series over the course of a few days and think it is best read that way. I have split this review into 3 sections, one for each book and have marked where there are spoilers!

Burn for Burn
Oh my god is this book dramatic. Burn for Burn is one of those books that you have to be in the mood for.  If I had read this at another time I know I wouldn't have been able to stand amount of drama and I would have thought it was ridiculous. But because I read it when I did I was so into it.

The writing is so simple and easy to follow that I flew through the book. The pacing and all the dramatic stuff going on had me completely enthralled that I couldn't stop reading. I ended up read in Burn for Burn in  just a few hours I was so addicted to it!

There are three main characters all of which are narrators. I liked how almost every chapter swaps POV because I wasn't a fan of one of the characters, Mary. I found her so boring in this book compared to the other girls but it was fine because I knew I would be swapping back to Kat and Lillia very soon.

I wasn't  a fan of Mary but I really liked Lillia and Kat. Kat was my favourite. I liked her straight of the bat. I loved how tough and bitchy she was. I liked Lillia too but for different reasons. She is just a generally good person. She tries to be a good student, a good sister etc. She really grew on me as the story went on.

I was surprised at the amount of substance this first book had, I was expecting a fun revenge story but the authors touched on some very important/heavy topics like drugs and bullying which I wasn't expecting. I will say though I was a bit disappointed when they had the opportunity to address consent and rape and didn't. There is a scene in the book I would have liked addressed, it was just brushed under the rug and not brought up which disappointed me.

The ending of Burn for Burn is absolutely crazy so I would recommend having the next book in the series, Fire with Fire, ready to go because you will want to continue with the series immediately!

Fire with Fire (vague spoilers for Burn for Burn)
Fire with Fire is just as good as Burn for Burn. It is a revenge story like book 1. This one is a bit darker than Burn for Burn. I had just as much fun with this one. I was addicted form page one, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough. I was pulled in and the story was all I could think about.

We get a good bit of character development for Alex which I loved. Alex is my favourite character after Kat so I loved how we got to know him better in this book; he's just such a nice guy.

I didn't care about Mary much like with book 1. There is some interesting things going on with Mary in this book which makes her a lot more interesting than she was in Bur for Burn. I think it's funny I didn't grow to like her/become interested in her story line considering what is going on with her. 

In Burn for Burn I felt like Lillia and Kat had equal page time but in Fire with Fire I feel like Lillia is the main character with Kat as the side kick. I love them both but I wanted more Kat.

I am so glad to say that the characters did address what happened with the guy and Lillia in book 1 at that party. I was glad it was addressed because it was one of the only critiques I had for book 1.

Just like Burn for Burn the ending of Fire with Fire is crazy. It left me with a lot of questions and I had to pick up the next book as soon as I finished it.

Ashes to Ashes (vague spoilers for Burn for Burn and Ashes to Ashes)
Ashes to Ashes is my least favourite book in the Burn for Burn series but that is not to say it still wasn't as much fun and addictive as the two previous books.

I think I wasn't as big a fan of this book because I was confused about Reeve. I had so many complex feeling about him- I wasn't sure if I should I like him or not because of his previous actions and I wasn't really behind his and Lillia's relationship which was a big part of the book.

I was also confused about some of the paranormal elements in this book. In Fire with Fire it is hinted at that there is some paranormal stuff going on with Mary and that is a big part of the story line in Ashes to Ashes. The paranormal aspects were very vague and explained very poorly. I wanted more explanations and a lot of my questions weren't answered. I will say that the paranormal stuff added a creepy atmosphere to the story though. This book felt  a lot darker than the previous two and there were definitely creepy scenes here and there.

In the first two books I didn't even notice the books were co-written; Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian did a good job blending their styles but in Ashes for Ashes I knew when I was reading something Jenny Han wrote. I would just read a line and know it was her because I am a huge fan of her books I know her style and it was really evident in a few scenes.

The ending was great; everything is wrapped up nicely but I wish the epilogue was fleshed out more. We are just told what happens everyone and I would have liked a scene or something instead to actually see how they were getting o.

Overall, I really enjoyed this series and had a lot of fun reading it.

My rating: 4 star series