Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

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Title: Sea Witch

Author: Sarah Henning

Publisher: Harper Collins UK

Date: 31st July 2018

I would like to start this review off by saying thank you to Harper Collins for giving me a chance to review this book on NetGalley. As soon as I heard about the synopsis for Sea Witch I instantly thought it could be something I would enjoy. I love the Little Mermaid and books that are loosely based on fairy tales are very in at the moment, but this was different. Instead of focusing on Ariel, it would be the character that would become Ursula in the Little Mermaid, but with a twist.

Evie was always the outcast, which was made worse when her best friend Anna died four years ago in a tragic accident. But Evie has a secret and when she meets Annemette, who bears a striking resemblance to her friend that drowned, Evie realises she must keep more secrets from her friend Nik, the prince. Annemette cannot stay on land for long, having cast a spell to change her fin into legs that will last four days, until she can find true love with the prince. Evie will do anything to help her new friend, even if it means harnessing her magic and risking it all.

It took me a little while to read this book and I think it’s because I was going through a reading slump, which might have affected my views on this book. I really liked certain aspects of this book, especially the setting which takes its inspiration from Copenhagen and places like that. There is even a place mentioned in the book that is real, which I thought was really cool. However, this is a very slow book until you get to the last quarter and I think that is why I struggled.

I had a hard time connecting with the characters, especially the main character Evie as it is her point of view we see from. I really wanted to love this book, but it fell a little short for me. With the premise of witches having been hunted in the past and having to hide in secret, I expected more magic and for it to be darker. Unfortunately, not a lot happens in the first two thirds apart from characters having conversations and going to parties.

However, while I had mixed feelings about Evie, I really enjoyed the scenes with Nik in them because he was sweet and charming. Exactly the kind of Prince we need in a story and it was interesting to read his interactions with both Evie and Annemette. You always get the feeling that there is something off with Annemette and as the story unravels we learn more about her, which was quite the shock later on. I love a good plot twist in a story and this had plenty!

I won’t lie, I almost stopped reading this book twice, but as it was an ARC I persevered and was rewarded with the last quarter of the book. I would actually say that the wait is worth it because it was fast paced, intriguing and there was so much going on. I was actually shocked at some of the revelations and I felt that it had the perfect ending with the epilogue.

If you are thinking about picking up Sea Witch, then you need to know that it is quite slow and not a lot of action/magic happens for the majority of the book. If you are okay with that then give this a go because the ending is worth it. I struggled trying to come up with a rating for this but I think a solid 3 stars works well.

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Review: Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

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Title: Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2)

Author: Neal Shusterman

Publisher: Walker Books

Date: 3rd May 2018

I think I found it, my favourite book I have ever read. No, that’s not right. This is my favourite series I’ve ever read. I find it funny how I was wary when I started reading Scythe, mainly because I’m a fantasy girl, but this story has blown me away. Everything about it is incredible! The writing, the characters, the plot twists, and the world building is on another level. I’ve never read another series like this, and I’ve even convinced my dad to give it a try, which is a feat in itself as he doesn’t read many books. Be warned, there will be spoilers for the first book in this review of Thunderhead, but you can check out my review for Scythe here.

Thunderhead picks up a year after the events of Scythe, with Citra becoming known as Scythe Anastasia, gleaning with compassion in an unorthodox way with Scythe Curie as her mentor, while Rowan has gone off the grid, hunting down corrupt scythes under the guise of Scythe Lucifer. The Thunderhead sees all that is happening in and around the Scythedom, some of which he is pleased about and others he is not, yet he is powerless to intervene. But when it becomes clear that Citra and Scythe Curie’s lives are being threatened, the Thunderhead must decide if it should intervene in the only way it can. Greyson Tolliver has grown up under the guidance of the Thunderhead, his parents abandoning him at a young age, and the Thunderhead has plans for the boy that will make him question everything. Unfortunately for the Scythedom, there will be times where the all-powerful Thunderhead finds himself powerless to help the world that is beginning to crumble around them.

I finished Thunderhead a couple of days ago and I am still reeling from having finished it. The ending was incredible, with the last fifty or so pages filled with so many plot twists and revelations. All I could do was stare as I reached the last page and curse the fact that the third book isn’t out yet. How can I wait for so long after a cliffhanger like that? Scythe was such an incredible read and I knew it would be tough to follow it up, but somehow Thunderhead did just that. I felt that the plot was more intriguing for the second book, with so many moving pieces that I had no idea what was going to happen until it was all unfolding before me.

Something that I loved about this sequel was that we got to delve deeper into the Thunderhead and what it feels about the world and the Scythedom. This was done in the form of journal entries, replacing those in the first book that were from the scythes. We get to see more emotion from the Thunderhead and see that all it wants is the best for humanity, making it a benevolent force in the story, which is refreshing given that most AI is portrayed as being the ‘bad guy’.

Each entry gave little hints as to what was to come in the story and it really helped to expand on this incredible world that Shusterman has created. We got to travel with Citra and Scythe Curie as they were on the run from those wanting to kill them, and visit Texas, where the Thunderhead doesn’t enforce the rules, which was interesting to read about. Not only that, but we are introduced to the Unsavories, people that the Thunderhead has branded as being rebellious and a disruption to society, which has an important role to play within the story. There are also the Tonists, who we were introduced to in Scythe, and are the only religious faction left in the world who are searching for the Great Resonance.

I would say that the only downside to Thunderhead is that I didn’t get to read more about Citra and Rowan, as we had new characters making an appearance, such as Greyson. I was unsure what his role in the story would be, as it progressed quite slowly, but gradually everything began to make sense. I think that is what I love about Shusterman’s writing. He can weave a story so easily, with so much detail, and when everything finally fits together it genuinely shocks you that you didn’t see if before. There are some massive shocks in this book that I can’t talk about, because spoilers, but the stakes are so high in the sequel.

While I didn’t see as much of Citra and Rowan as I wanted to, it was wonderful to see how they had changed since the events of Scythe. Citra has become a strong woman with opinions that challenge those of the other scythes. She doesn’t back down and that is one of the things I love about her. Not only that, but we also see a different side to her relationship with Scythe Curie, one that is caring and sweet. Sacrifices are made in this book, and as heart breaking as they were, it only grew my love for the characters. Scythe Faraday also features in Thunderhead as he embarks on his own quest to discover if there is a way to save the Scythedom from destroying itself due to the corruption of the New Order scythes. While there are questions left unanswered, I am sure that the third book will give them to me.

I could go on and on talking about this book and the series. I can’t remember the last time I fell head over heels like this for a book and it is so refreshing. Arc of a Scythe is definitely a series that I could read again, which will most likely happen before the final book ‘The Toll’ comes out next year. I just don’t know how long the wait will be, considering there isn’t a final date proposed yet. However, I am looking forward to seeing what the cover for The Toll will be as the other two are some of my favourites!

Overall, this book is amazing and a worthy sequel to Scythe. If you haven’t read this series then get out there and buy them, because I can assure you that you won’t regret it! 5 out of 5 stars for me, but if I could give it more I would.

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Wrapping Up The Week (4th June – 10th June)

I feel like I have been having the best weekend ever. While I haven’t done a tonne of reading this week, I did get hit with an amazing story idea that I have thrown myself into since Friday (which I will discuss later on in the blog post). Not only that, but I’ve also taken some time to watch some TV and just relax a little.

Blogging was a little tough to keep up with this week, with Tuesday being a pain thanks to my laptop taking two hours to update leaving me unable to write my Top Ten post, and just being busy in the evenings. I am hoping to get a schedule in place for next week that means I can do some more blogging.

Books I read and reviewed…

empire of storms

This week I finally got around to finishing and reviewing Empire of Storms, which was just amazing. It was incredible to see everything fall into place, knowing that all of this was set into motion in the first book. I was blown away and I hate that I have to wait so long to find out what happens to them all. At least I have Tower of Dawn still left to read and the Assassin’s Blade, too. There were a few places in the book that seemed a little slow and for this reason I ended up giving it 4 stars, which you can read about here.

I am currently reading…

frozen tides

Still making my way through this, mainly because I’ve been so distracted and NOT because it is boring. The exact opposite really, as I am loving the fourth instalment in the series. I would say I am around 65% of the way through and I feel like a few major incidents have happened. This series is definitely more character driven and I kind of like that. Too much action can get a little boring at times. Fingers crossed I can possibly finish this tomorrow night.

Posts from the week…

WWW Wednesday – Shocking Twists

May Book Haul – Some of My Favourites (Plus a Little Chat About My Writing)

A much quieter week, as mentioned before, but I still feel like I have accomplished a lot. I also went to a convention with work on Wednesday which completely tired me out. I’m surprised I even managed to write a blog post on that day. Who knew socialising would be so tiring?

My WIP…

If you follow my blog you will know that for the last 7/8 months I have been working on a novel called The Lost Heir. Well…I kind of shoved that to the side to make room for a new work in progress that features dragons, and I’m pretty sure it was inspired by the third How To Train Your Dragon trailer. Not that it features any of their story ideas, but it does feature some kick-ass dragons.

I’ve managed to write nearly 5,000 words so far for the first draft, with the first chapter being completed. I have to say that already I feel like this is the book I should be writing. Everything is so clear in my head. I managed to write 900 words for the character descriptions (just so I don’t change things by accident) and even managed to do a rough outline for the first half of the story in 1,400 words. I don’t want to say too much but it involves a race of humans that can turn into dragons called the Dracari, dragon guardians, hunters, blood mages, and lots of politics. I can’t wait for all the drama to unfold. I’m not sure whether it will be a standalone or a duology, but I will find out soon.

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And that is all folks! I hope that you managed to read some amazing books this week.

Let me know in the comments how your week went.

 

 

Review: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Date: 6th September 2016

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Brace yourselves…this is a long one.

I finished this book a couple of days ago and I still can’t put into words how much this blew me away. It was amazing. Everything fell into place, and I couldn’t believe how it all fit together. We were reminded of events that took place back in the first book and I was just shocked at how Sarah J. Maas had planned it all. This is a series that has had so much thought put into it, and into every character that Aelin has come into contact with from the very beginning. Empire of Storms saw some of my favourites finally meeting, under some pretty tense circumstances mind you. There will probably be some spoilers from the previous books mentioned in this review.

After finally defeating the King of Adarlan and winning the throne for Dorian, Aelin sets out to Terrasen with Rowan, Aedion and Lysandra by her side, ready to face whatever waits for her. With darkness growing in Morath, Aelin knows she must build an army if she ever hopes to defeat Erawan, but the path isn’t easy. With Prince Rowan at her side, she believes she can do anything it takes, sacrifice whatever she has to. Other forces are working against her, pushing in from all sides, and Aelin realises she will have to do the unexpected if she is to keep those she loves alive.

This is a huge book and so much happens that I’m finding it hard to figure out where to start. The world building, as always, is amazing and I loved that we got to see more of Erilea in Empire of Storms. We got to see the infamous Skull’s Bay, where there a pirates and a great battle that was too awesome for words (Lysandra really shines in this part) and we get to visit the eerie Stone Marshes where Aelin’s search for help takes her. I love the descriptions and I can always picture everything perfectly.

I won’t lie though, there were some parts of this book where I was worried. It dragged for a little during the beginning to middle, where not a lot happened. Well, it kicked into an extremely high gear once I passed the halfway point and I didn’t want to put it down. There is so much action and magic being wielded by the characters, and everyone gets their chance to shine. While Aelin is incredibly powerful, and always looking for ways to extend her magic to last longer, it was great to see more of Dorian and how he has been affected by what’s happened. His magic is probably the most interesting to me, and I hope to see more of it in the future.

I love a fantasy book with good romance, and Empire of Storms has just that (with some steamy sex scenes too). I have grown to love Aelin and Rowan together (even though I was firmly team Chaol for the first two/three books) but I felt like it was too much. Rowan was a bit too clingy and always wanting to be around her, which I understand is a Fae male thing, but I didn’t like it that much. I think my favourite would be what happens between Dorian and Manon (who is my favourite character). Ever since she saved Dorian, he has had her on his mind and I loved reading their interactions. They way he calls her Witching, and she calls him Princeling, just makes me very happy. There is a little slow burn romance going on between two characters and another love to hate one, but I don’t want to spoil the fun too much.

Empire of Storms has a huge cast of characters, and if I were to talk about every one then I would be here forever (and I don’t think you’d want to hear me rambling on). Let’s start with who is probably the most important. Aelin was…a struggle for me in this book. I want to like her but she does some stupid things and isn’t a great person at times. I just found myself getting a little bored of her and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I felt the other characters had more to offer. However, the revelation that was about her just blew my mind and I have no idea what is going to happen to her. I could feel how tense I was when reading and when I reached the end…well, I’m just annoyed that I don’t find anything out about what happens in Tower of Dawn because I know it’s just about Chaol.

Enter the second strongest female character in the series, Manon Blackbeak. I love her and everything she stands for. Her character arc was incredible in the book and I have loved seeing her grow as a woman throughout the last three books, and how her views on the world are constantly changing. Some shocking events took place that changed her in this book, mainly being renounced as the Blackbeak heir (but I won’t say how), and this is all about her finding out who she is and what she wants. It doesn’t disappoint and I hope to see a lot more of her in Kingdom of Ash.

We also see a lot more of Elide in this book, having escaped the clutches of Morath and journeying to find Celaena Sardothien, with a little help from Lorcan, one of Maeve’s subjects. They were very interesting to read about and I enjoyed learning more about them, especially because they are fairly new characters to the series. Then there was Aedion and Lysandra, two more amazing supporting characters. While Aedion is amazing and cares so much for Aelin, it is Lysandra who will truly do anything for her Queen. She goes through hell and proves just how strong she is, which was inspiring to read.

I don’t want to mention about the evil forces too much, mainly Erawan and Maeve, because I don’t want to spoil what happens, but I will say this…Maeve is the worst and a tyrant. What she does…I can’t even think about it. If you’ve read this book then you’ll know what I’m talking about. The second half of Empire of Storms is the best, and just kicks everything up a notch. We have a few surprise characters that make an appearance, which I wasn’t expecting, and we finally learn why all of it has been happening to the characters.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it really progressed the series. In a book this big, so much happens that it’s hard to talk about it all. I could probably go on for a while, but I can honestly say that I am so excited to read the next two and to find out what will happen. I just want a happy ending for some of the characters, that’s all I ask. I’m going to give Empire of Storms a solid four stars.

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Wrapping Up The Week (28th May – 3rd June)

Even though I was only at work three days this week (thanks to a bank holiday and extra day off) I still felt so drained. I’m pretty sure it’s due to the humid weather we’re having at the moment in the UK and it is making me realise how much I miss Autumn and Winter. I prefer prefer being cosy in a jumper and wrapped in a blanket in the evenings. Still got a while to go until I can do that again.

I would say that this week has been a good one for reading, finishing two books and being over halfway through another one. I doubt I will get as much reading done this week with a full week at work, but I will try my hardest!

Books I read and reviewed…

ace of shades

The first book I finished this week was Ace of Shades, which I was approved to review on NetGalley. This was the first novel I had read from Amanda Foody, even though I have her debut on my shelf, which I am going to get around to soon. I first heard about Ace of Shades from twitter and it really intrigued me. Once I got into the flow of the story I found myself enjoying the world of New Reynes and all the mystery that surrounded the characters. While this isn’t the best book I have ever read, I thought it was a fun and light read, and I am looking forward to the sequel, King of Fools, next year. You can click here to see my review.

ruin and rising

I finally finished off the Grisha trilogy with Ruin and Rising, and I’m honestly sad to have finished with these characters and their story. I thought that the ending was great, with a few twists thrown in for good measure, and it was perfect for me. There was a lot of action in the last 50 pages that kept me wanting to reach the end. I found myself still wanting to know more about the world, so I guess it’s a good thing that I have the Six of Crows series to read and that King of Scars comes out next year. You can check out my full review here.

I am currently reading…

empire of storms

I put Empire of Storms down for a bit to read the two books above, but now I am back to reading the 600 plus page book and I’m enjoying it. There were a few slow bits in places, but it has started to pick back up now. There’s a lot of events and characters to keep track of, but their paths are crossing more now which makes it easier. I still have about 280 pages left to read, so there is a lot that could happen between now and then. I better get reading tonight if I want to finish it in the first half of the week!

Posts from the week…

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Worlds I’d Never Want to Live In

WWW Wednesday – Finishing Off a Trilogy

Wrapping Up May -18 – Hitting New Targets

My TBR For June – An Exciting Month

A busy week for the blog, with four posts going out and that doesn’t include the two reviews either. I am also happy to say that I finally reached 300 followers! I cannot wait until I have 500 because then I can treat you all to a fun giveaway!

My WIP…

Over the bank holiday I didn’t do any editing, mainly because I was focused on reading two books so I reached my goal of 7 for the month. However, I still managed to write another 8,000 words this week, bringing my second draft to a total 41,111 words (very accurate and a great number to end my editing for the day today). I was just editing one of my favourite chapters today where my main character’s life begins to change and it’s gotten me so excited for what comes next.

Each chapter that I edit reminds me that changing details about the story isn’t as scary as I thought it would be, or as daunting. I know that I will probably have to do another draft after this before it’s ready to head out for querying, but I’m excited.

On another note, I have had some great ideas for the sequel that I have written down in my notes. I just wish I could crack on with writing it, but I have to wait until the first is complete. A lot of things could change between now and then.

Other Fun Stuff…

I haven’t really done too much this week, apart from reading and writing that is. I did order my tickets for a book event to meet Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Bone, when she goes on tour in the UK. I will be heading to the event in Nottingham and I am so excited! A re-read will probably be in order before then, just so it’s all fresh in my mind. My ticket includes a special edition of the book, along with a signed map, but I’ll probably ask her to sign the book as well.

On Tuesday my boyfriend and I went to see Deadpool 2 in the cinema, and honestly I think I enjoyed it even more than the first one. I don’t know how they managed it, but the sequel was just as good and so funny. Ryan Reynolds plays the character perfectly and I couldn’t imagine anyone else doing it.

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I’m looking forward to next week as I have some great books lined up to read this month. I hope you all had a great week as well!

Let me know in the comments what the best part of your week was.

Wrapping Up May -18 – Hitting New Targets

I think I blinked and May just disappeared in an instant. How did it go by so quickly? Probably because the month was jam packed with fun activities, movie trips, lots of editing for my novel, and a tonne of amazing books!

At the beginning of the month I set myself a target of reading 7 books (a lot more than I’m used to) and I am happy to say that I reached it. I only deviated from my TBR once because I was approved for a book on NetGalley, but apart from that I read everything I wanted to.

Books I Read…

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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I started off the month by finishing Falling Kingdoms and I was swept away by this incredible story. I was completely hooked by the characters and the world that Rhodes created. A lot of people have talked about this series, mainly good things, and I am so glad that I gave it a chance because it is one of my favourites! As soon as I finished it I went onto buy the next two in the series. I ended up giving this 5 stars, and you can read my review here.

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

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These books are getting so big! I finally went back to reading this series in the month of May and I really enjoyed this instalment. So many amazing things happened and there were some reveals that left me in shock, especially towards the end. Aelin is a complete badass, as always, and I can confirm that my love for Rowan has grown considerably in this book (I knew it would happen eventually). It left me excited to read Empire of Storms, which I am currently reading, and it was so easy to give it 5 stars. You can check out my full review here.

Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

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By the time I had finished reading Queen of Shadows, the next two in the Falling Kingdoms series had arrived, so I was pretty certain with what I would be reading next. Once again I was drawn into the story and enjoyed everything that happened. The story definitely starts to develop more in this one and there wasn’t as much action unfortunately. However, we got to learn more about the characters and what means the most to them. You can read my 4 star review here.

Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes

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Well, this series just got kicked up a notch and it was torture not being able to carry on with the series (I hadn’t ordered the next ones at this point). I love how unpredictable the books are and I never really know what is going to happen. There was a lot of character development in Gathering Darkness, with some events happening that changed the lives of a few. We get to see a different side to Magnus and we realise how dangerous Lucia can be. As well as this, there was the introduction of some new characters that are probably going to feature a lot in Frozen Tides. In the end I gave this a solid 5 stars and you can find my review here.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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May was the month that I finally found a sci-fi book that I fell in love with! Something I have mentioned before is that I don’t tend to read books from this genre, but I took a chance with Scythe and I am so glad that I did. This book is incredible and so unique! I love the ideas behind the world and how everything functions, with the Thunderhead governing the world and the Scythedom deciding how to whittle the population down through gleaning. There are so many twists within the story and unexpected events. I was blown away! One of the easiest 5 star ratings I have ever give, and you can read my thoughts here.

Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

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A last minute approval from NetGalley saw this book make its way into my reading list and I felt very lucky to have been given the chance to read it. Ace of Shades was such an enjoyable read, with great characters and a unique world that is mimicked off of Las Vegas. There are high stakes, a tonne of mystery and plenty of banter between the characters. I was pleasantly surprised by this novel and cannot wait until King of Fools comes out next year. I ended up giving this a solid 4 stars and if you want to know my full thoughts, click here.

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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And last, but not least, I finished off the Grisha trilogy with Ruin and Rising, which I just finished my review of today. I always hate finishing a series off, but I guess the good thing is that I have two spin-off series to look forward to in the future. Ruin and Rising offered, what I thought, was the perfect ending for the characters and so much happened. There were a couple plot twists that I wasn’t expecting and a lot of heartache for the characters. While this series isn’t the best (I much preferred Bardugo’s writing in The Language of Thorns) it still captured my heart and for that reason I gave this 5 stars, which you can read about here.

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There we have it! Turns out every book I read this month was 4 stars and above, which is pretty good going I think. I loved all these books for different reasons and they have made me even more excited for the books I am reading in June.

What was your favourite book that you read in May?

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: Ruin and Rising (Grishaverse #3)

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date: 17th June 2014

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I had been waiting to finish this trilogy off since I read Siege and storm a little while ago and it was great to finally do so. Ruin and Rising was everything I wanted it to be, and the ending was perfect for me. It’s always bittersweet to say goodbye to characters, but at least I can carry on reading about the world in Six of Crows and find out more about Nikolai when King of Scars comes out next year (which I am super excited for).  As this is the third in the series there will be spoilers, as I reference events that happened previously.

After the attack in Siege and Storm, Alina and her followers have been pushed underground while the Darkling rules over Ravka. Hiding within a network of tunnels, the Sun Summoner is under the protection of the Apparat and those who worship her, but they do not know that she is broken. Unable to conjure the light, she must wait until her plan to escape takes place. She has to find the firebird, the third and final amplifier, so that she can rise against the Darkling and save Ravka. There is also the matter of finding the outlaw prince, who is said to be causing havoc above ground. A desperate race begins as they all put old rivalries aside to find the one thing that can save them all, but it will come at a cost.

After the second book, which was a little slow in places, I felt that Ruin and Rising set a great pace from the beginning, building with each chapter as we anticipate the final battle between Alina and the Darkling. You could feel the desperation of Alina and her friends, as well as the torment that they endure at the hands of the Darkling. So many lives have been lost throughout the series, and we can see how broken the world is. I’ve always loved the way Bardugo makes the world so vivid, and I think that she is a great writer. Not the best where this series is concerned (I read her collection of tales first) but I have really enjoyed the trilogy, and how each book focuses on finding one of the amplifiers.

There were definitely some unexpected events, mainly to do with Nikolai and the search for the firebird. I love that I never really knew what was going to happen and during the last 50 or so pages, when the battle was taking place, I found myself reading even quicker to find out what would happen. It didn’t disappoint in the slightest and the characters got the ending that they deserved. I also liked the way the Darkling was portrayed in this final instalment and the way we got to see another side of him (but I won’t spoil that for you).

Alina has had quite a bit of development from when we first met her in Shadow and Bone, where she was a lot weaker and didn’t always speak her mind. Now she can’t seem to stop, and while she was harsh in places it was interesting to see how she handled the power that she had. With the fate of Ravka resting on her shoulders, she became obsessed with finding the third amplifier, as anyone would in her position. She has lost a lot during the course of the series and the third book isn’t any different, with a final sacrifice that I wasn’t expecting.

Then we have Mal, a character I grew to dislike very much in the second book, but seemed to do a massive turn around in this book. While he used to be selfish and a bit of an ass, it was great to see him become more caring. It was also interesting to see Mal and Alina trying to mend their strained and slightly broken relationship. Of course, I absolutely love Nikolai, although I didn’t love some of the things that happened to him. The fact that he is getting his own series is the best news ever because I need more of his sass and charm.

The dialogue between the characters is amazing and I feel that is where Bardugo really shines. I always find myself smiling and laughing at the banter between the characters, and Zoya really surprised me as I found myself beginning to like her. And of course, we have Baghra making her appearance with her snarky comments which never fail to make me chuckle. I wished I could’ve gotten to know the other characters more throughout the series, and seen more of their interactions.

Overall, I felt that Ruin and Rising was a great way to end the trilogy, and it has made me so excited to move onto Six of Crows next. I can’t get enough of this world that Leigh Bardugo has created! This is a five star read for me!

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Review: Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody

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Title: Ace of Shades (The Shadow Game #1)

Author: Amanda Foody

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Date: 10th April 2018

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I am so grateful that I got the chance to read Ace of Shades, and a big thank you to HQ Young Adult for approving me on NetGalley. I was sent the UK edition to review (this cover is the US one) and although I missed reading it before the release date (17th May) it didn’t stop me from really enjoying this book. I flew through this in less than 48 hours, that’s how great this story is.

Enne Salta is poised and proper, having been brought up the right way by her mother to become a lady. The last place she would ever be seen is New Reynes, the City of Sin, but that’s exactly where she needs to go. When she realises that her mother has gone missing, Enne travels to the last place that she visited, unsure of what she will find. There she asks for help from Levi Glaisyer, street lord to one of the three gangs of New Reynes, the Irons. Levi has his own motivations for wanting to help, mainly taking compensation from Enne to dig himself out of some trouble with the mafia. Mysteries begin to unravel as they visit the casinos, cabarets and alleys searching for clues, until they are led to the clutches of the mafia donna. It’s a race against time for both of them and they’ll both need to play their cards right if they’re to get out alive.

When it comes to the writing, I thought it was very well written with a great pace that kept me hooked. I loved the mystery that surrounded the characters, especially Enne, and how we were drip fed bits of information here and there, which kept me hooked and invested in the story. I am a big fan of multiple POVs in books and I really enjoyed how the perspectives switched between Enne and Levi so we got to see more aspects of the world that we wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

The world of New Reynes felt so real thanks to the descriptive writing and I definitely got Las Vegas vibes from it. The casinos and cabarets were described perfectly and I felt as though I was there with the characters, thanks to the colour and imagery. There’s a bit of info-dump in the beginning, but eventually I managed to wrap my head around the way the world works. There are three gangs that rule the streets, the Doves, the Irons and the Scarhands, and then we have the two major crime families; the Augustines and the Torrens. Each gang specialises in something unique that makes them all as deadly as each other.

The fantasy aspect of this book was so interesting. Everybody has an ability of some kind. Some only have one, but most of two with one being secondary to the other. Your surname predicts what your ability is, such as Salta, which means that you have a dancing ability. This features quite a bit in the story and makes up some of the mystery that surrounds the characters as not all is as it seems. There are also talents that are more magical, such as having an affinity for fire or being able to read minds, etc. It’s a very intriguing system that may seem complicated at first, but I can’t wait to see how it develops in the second book.

At first I wasn’t sure about Enne, but when the story got going I found myself being able to connect more with her. She definitely had great character development, especially towards the end, and it was interesting to see how she reacted to everything that was going on around her. Then we have Levi, the gang leader who isn’t anything like I thought he would be, and that’s a good thing! He was incredibly protective of those he cared about and only wanted the best for them, even if he couldn’t give it to them. In the story Levi has gotten himself into some trouble with the Torrens that he is desperate to get out of and we see that desperation grow throughout the story, bringing him down. Another fact about Levi is that he is also bisexual, which is great to see that representation in novels for people like him, and I feel it made him more interesting as a character.

I loved all the mystery that surrounded Enne’s mother, Lourdes, and the way her story unfolded. Even though she wasn’t present in the story, I still had a great idea of who and what she was through the eyes of the other characters. As with every good fantasy story, we have some great villains who are devious and wicked. The head of the Augustine family was particularly nasty with a spiteful nature that rang true. I can’t wait to find out more about these characters, especially a certain one that was introduced right at the very end.

No book is ever perfect and Ace of Shades doesn’t pretend to be. There are some things I would have liked to know more about, but I am hoping they can crop up during the sequel. Overall, I thought that this book was a fun and interesting read, with characters that intrigued me enough that I want to know more. I am going to give this a solid four stars.

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Review: Scythe by Neal Shusterman

scythe

Title: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1)

Author: Neal Shusterman

Publisher: Walker Books

Date: 1st February 2018

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I finally did it. I finally found a sci-fi book that I fell head over heels for. I had heard of so many people loving this book, and while I was hesitant at first I decided to give it a try. I don’t read a lot of sci-fi, mainly because I can’t get into it, but from the get go I was hooked by Scythe. It is such a unique book, with an incredible world that feels so similar, yet foreign to us as a reader. There were little references to things we have into our world now, and Shusterman has created characters that I rooted for and that I cared about.

All of the world’s problems have been solved. There is no more hunger and poverty, no war and disease, no more pain and death. The Thunderhead has created a perfect world that is safe for everyone in it. To curb over-population the Scythedom was created, granting Scythes the power to ‘glean’ people. Due to strange circumstances, both Citra and Rowan have been chosen to become scythe apprentices under Honorable Scythe Faraday. Neither wanted this, but now they must master the art of being a Scythe in order to save their lives. For it has been decided that only one can become a fully-fledged Scythe and must glean the other.

I really enjoyed learning about how the Thunderhead came about. It was once the ‘cloud’, which I’m assuming is a reference to software we have now, and it grew to become this all-seeing thing. It has taken control from the governments who are no more, and it protects its citizens, although people are still scared of it. However, the Thunderhead has no control over the Scythedom, which is a really interesting concept given what happens in this novel.

The idea that there is no death is so strange. Of course, accidents do happen but there are revival centres that can bring you back to life. And if you reach the age of 80 and dislike the way you look, you can take a ‘turn’ and go back to being young again. Essentially you could live forever, and it made me wonder what it would be like to live in this world. Honestly, I’m not quite sure I would like it.

Scythe Faraday was a really interesting character, especially with his approach to gleaning. Each scythe has a different technique that they use to glean, and his involves a lot of data and using lots of different weapons. It’s actually quite fascinating how he chooses the people to glean by seeing the statistics of certain deaths in our day and age, then choosing someone who fits into them. He was a really unexpected character that I wish to see more of.

Something that I thought was a great addition to the story was the diary excerpts from infamous Scythes that were before each new chapter. The content in them was often reflected in the story and the people who wrote them eventually feature in the story prominently. I won’t give too much away, but those characters were so intriguing, and I hope I can find out more about them in the sequel.

Then we have Citra and Rowan. The book is mainly in their perspectives, and shows how they handle the circumstances they have been thrust into. Something happens that causes them to drift and from that point on the story is tense because we have no idea what is going to happen. Even towards the end there are plot twists that I didn’t see coming and I loved every one! I think Citra was my favourite, mainly because she was fierce and didn’t take any crap, although I felt sorry for Rowan at some points in the story.

This book is so addictive and I couldn’t get enough of the world. The ending hooked me and I couldn’t order Thunderhead quick enough! On the front cover of my edition, Maggie Stiefvater said that it was a ‘true successor to The Hunger Games’ and I agree with her. I definitely got that kind of vibe so if you enjoyed that series and love dystopian sci-fi worlds, I would recommend reading Scythe. It was so easy to give this book a solid five stars.

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WWW Wednesday – Finally Reading Sci-Fi

WWW Wednesday was originally hosted by A Daily Rhythm, and was taken over by Taking on a World of Words.

No, you didn’t mis-read the title of this blog. I, the lover of Fantasy, finally found a sci-fi book that I absolutely love. I never thought it would happen because up until now the sci-fi books I’ve read haven’t captured my attention. Turns out I was just waiting for the right one.

This week has been flying by and it’s probably to do with the fact that we have a long weekend coming up in the UK thanks to a bank holiday next Monday. I also have next Tuesday off from work, so I plan on getting a lot of reading done. Can I finish two books in one long weekend? We shall see.

What Are You Currently Reading?

scythe

This book is amazing! I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started it. I had heard some great things about it, but it has completely blown me away. Scythe is such a unique story and the world is so similar, and still so different. It is set in the future when all the world’s problems have been solved. There is no more death, hunger, poverty. Humans have achieved immortality, and the only way for their life to end is for it to be gleaned by a Scythe. The characters are all individual and we get to see what the Scythes are like and how, underneath it all, there is corruption growing. I’m over 80% of the way through this and I am hoping I can finish it tonight.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

gathering darkness

I can’t tell you how sad I was that I didn’t have the fourth book when I finished Gathering Darkness. I’m obsessed with this series, the world and its characters (most of them). Things are starting to come together and plots are unfolding. There is so much treachery and I am here for it. I cannot wait to get my hands on the rest of the series, which I will probably binge read in the near future. You can check out my review here.

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

empire of storms

So far this month I have been really good and stuck to the TBR that I set for myself at the beginning of the month. Following on from Scythe I am probably going to be reading the fifth instalment of the Throne of Glass series, Empire of Storms. I have some catching up to do before the final book in the series comes out later on this year. After the events of the last book, I am excited to see what will come next for our characters. Once again, it is a humongous book and I think it’s going to take me a while to read. Wish me luck!

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I am looking forward to the rest of the month and hope that I can squeeze in another two books.

What are you currently reading?