ARC Review: Everless by Sara Holland

Everless

Title: Everless

Author: Sara Holland

Date: 4th January 2018

Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group

I want to start this review off by saying that I was so happy to find I had been accepted on NetGalley to review Everless by Sara Holland. As soon as I read the synopsis, I knew it was going to be a book that I would enjoy. It has been a while since I read one that captured my attention and managed to keep it, and trust me when I say that Everless easily managed to do that. I was hooked until I had read the last page and some of the twists that this book had were amazing. Sara Holland created such a unique world and I believed all of it.

Set in the land of Sempera, time is the currency and the rich rule over all. The myth of alchemy and sorcery has been around forever, telling of a time when the two bound time to blood and created blood iron coins that time could be bound to. The richer you are, the more time you have and the poor are selling their time to stay alive. Jules and her father are running out of time and can no longer afford to pay their rent and eat. Her father has given everything and she worries that he now longer has the time they need, so she offers to help by going to Everless.

Everless is the stately home that belongs to the Gerlings, a rich family that Jules and her father have history with. Not everything is as it seems though, and as she remembers her past, she is thrown into a world that she doesn’t truly understand. There are consequences to every action and Jules must try to find the truth of why she was told to stay away from Everless and the Gerlings, especially the Queen.

The world that Holland has created had so much mysterious and I was always left wanting more. She writes beautifully and it flowed well, always making me want to read for longer than I should. We are given the history of Sempera and the blood iron early on in the story, and while it is a lot to take in at once it was described perfectly. The legend of the Alchemist and Sorceress was excellent, and it was believable. As I made my way through the book, I found myself becoming more engrossed and I wanted my questions answered. I wanted to find out the truth and when I did, I was shocked. There were twists and turns that I wasn’t expecting and Holland had me gasping out loud in shock.

The characters in the story are wonderful and mysterious. Personally, I loved Jules and how selfless she was to try and save her father. She is just a girl trying to discover herself and learn how to survive in a world that is cruel. I can’t say too much without giving away plot details, and this isn’t the kind of book that should be spoiled for anyone.

I was glad that even though there were a lot of characters, it didn’t feel like there were too many, and Jules’ relationships with them all seemed genuine. Learning about her past with the Gerling brothers was great and being able to see the comparison with the present was interesting. It was great to read a book where a romance wasn’t at the centre of it. I especially loved the mystery that surrounded the Queen and why she was deemed so dangerous, something you will have to find out by reading this incredible book.

Overall, this book was mind blowing. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am to read the second book when it comes out. Holland has created an original and captivating book that I know fans of YA Fantasy will love. It was so easy to give this book 5 stars and it is more than deserving of them!

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Wrapping Up The Week (20th Nov – 26th Nov)

Why do the weekends always go by so quickly? I cannot wait for the Christmas holidays to come around so we can lounge about doing very little and eating as much as we want (food coma anyone?).

Once again I had a very busy week. I heard back from a couple of jobs who offered me the positions, but I am still holding out on one that I’m hoping will contact me within the next few days. Fingers crossed, because that is the job I want (and it pays really well, too, which always helps).

As well as that I have been getting stuck into my writing and I couldn’t be happier. All of a sudden I have these great ideas pouring into my head, I have come up with the ending of my first book (dramatic twist lined up that no one will see coming…check) and I am so excited. Last night I didn’t get to sleep until half 1 because I was typing away and managed to write 3,300 words, way more than the 1,000 I set myself to write each day. My brain is a little tired today so I’m not expecting to write nearly as much as that.

Books I read and reviewed…

If you are looking for a book review…I don’t have any to offer this week and I can only apologise for that. I am still making my way through Glass Sword and for some reason I am struggling. The book isn’t bad by any means, but I’m just not in the right frame of mind to read it at the moment. I might take a pause with it and start something a little lighter.

I am currently reading…

Glass Sword

Like I said in the above section, I am still reading this, but I am going to take a break from it. Maybe letting my own writing takeover isn’t the best thing, but you gotta go with the flow sometimes. I’m sure I will get back into it eventually as I do want to finish these books for when the final instalment is released next year.

Posts from the week…

Having A Huge Book Clear Out

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’m Thankful For

What Are You Reading Wednesday And Getting My Writing Mojo Back

First Lines Fridays

Writing And Pinterest: An Epic Love Story

I feel that even though I’ve not read a lot this week, I have still stayed quite productive with my blog. Five blog posts isn’t too bad and I enjoyed writing all of them.

Other Fun Stuff…

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Now that it is less than a week until we can begin to open our advent calendars (mine is a Thornton’s Continental one) and I figured it was time to get my little fibre-optic Christmas tree out. I even bought brand new red and gold baubles, and I still have to head out and buy some tinsel for my bookshelf and mirror. Who else is getting excited? I even changed the background of my laptop to become more festive and I love it!

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I am a self-declared foodie and will try anything as long as it is tasty! Indian is one of my favourite cuisines (nothing beats Italian though) and my boyfriend decided to treat us to my favourite Indian takeaway from MaCh. It is a little out of town, but it is definitely worth the trek! We will often eat at the restaurant itself, but as we were a little tired from our late night we settled for eating in. My favourite dish is Sag Aloo, a mixture of spinach and potatoes which is just divine!

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I hope you enjoyed reading about what I’ve been getting up to and that you are getting into the festive spirit as well!

When Life Gets Stressful And The Writing Halts

 

This is a visual representation of how I am feeling.

You know that feeling when life is so crazy and stressful that you just wish you could sleep and have everything be okay when you wake up? That’s me at the moment.

The last week has been so busy that my brain feels fried. I’m currently looking for a new job which involves attending a lot of job interviews (I had 4 in a week), researching the companies and registering with recruitment agencies (which means filling out lots of paperwork). I feel that all my spare time is being taken up by those activities and I have no energy left for my writing.

Somehow I have managed to keep writing blog posts over the last week (how, I don’t know, but I won’t question it). Unfortunately, my novel has fallen to the wayside because I simply don’t have the energy. My brain doesn’t want to work and it’s frustrating. I have all these ideas that I keep writing down on little notepads and the story is coming together perfectly in my head. Just not on my open Word document. Which is constantly open.

I’m sure a lot of you have felt this way at some point when it comes to your own writing. Last night I managed to write a little, but as I was forcing the words out I felt that they weren’t working for me. So for the next couple of days I’m going to try and rest my brain. I will plonk myself down to watch some Outlander, exercise to get my blood pumping and pray that my motivation returns.

I wish I could say it was just my writing that was suffering, but I haven’t wanted to pick up a book to read either. It could be that I’m just not that into the one I currently have so I may be changing it soon. Either way, it’s not a great situation.

This may have been a little bit ranty (something I wasn’t sure I should post, but maybe you all have some advice for me), however I feel so much better talking about it. It’s amazing how easy it is to fall into a slump, but I am determined to get myself out of it.

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How has your week been going? I would love to know so leave me a little comment down below so we can chat!

Review: A Darker Shade Of Magic

A Darker Shade Of Magic

Title: A Darker Shade Of Magic

Author: V. E. Schwab

Date: February 27th 2015

Publisher: Titan Books

I first heard about this book while watching one of Peruse Projects videos on YouTube where she spoke about her favourite fantasy books. After doing a bit of research and checking out a few reviews (with no spoilers of course) I made a note to buy it and I am so glad I got to read this. A Darker Shade Of Magic is so unique and different, I haven’t read anything quite like it before and the characters are perfect. I can already feel that the rest of the trilogy will be just as good.

Kell is an Antari, one of the last remaining with an ability to travel between multiple worlds; Red London, White London, Grey London, but never Black London. No one has been there for quite some time since it collapsed. Raised in Red London, a world abundant with magic, he travels to all the London’s, acting as an ambassador for the royal family. But he has a dangerous habit of transporting relics from one world to the other, the price of giving information to those who want to know about magic. He thought it was harmless until something falls into his possession that puts him in grave danger. Looking to escape he flees to Grey London, a world without magic. There he meets Lila, a poor and cunning thief, and they set out on a dangerous journey to save their world.

Schwab is a wonderful writer, creating a world that is so vivid and colourful, I could easily conjure up the images in my mind. Creating the four London’s and making them seem believable isn’t something that everyone can do and I believed every word of it. I wanted it to be real and I wanted to be like Kell, able to travel between them whenever he wants. Fantasy is quickly becoming one of my favourite genres and A Darker Shade Of Magic is my favourite so far. It was dark, magical and fast paced. I was finding myself not wanting to stop reading and having short chapters makes it so easy to read more.

Onto the characters, starting with Kell. How could I not like him? He is complicated, having been raised by people who aren’t his actual parents and having to pretend to be something that he necessarily isn’t. He has so many layers to him, much like his magical coat that seems to always be changing, and I think there is more to explore with him in the next two books. I would even say that he surprised me at some points in the novel, especially when it came to Lila. I think I liked her even a little bit more than Kell, only because she is so badass and witty. A cross-dressing girl who wants to become a pirate and see the world, but she is stuck being a thief, stealing from those who have always had more. She is stubborn and funny, and very cutthroat.

Then there are the supporting characters, all of whom are just as developed as our main two. We have Rhy, the Crown Prince who is a dangerous flirt and full of character. He always had me smiling as I read his encounters with Kell. There was Holland, the only other Antari that Kell knew, and who was the most complicated character of all. You would never know where he stood on certain matters and it often seemed he did things he might not have wanted to. The evil twins who rule over White London, causing mayhem and ruining the lives of those who don’t agree with them were awful. Schwab created characters that I cared about and wanted to root for!

A Darker Shade Of Magic has everything a fantasy lover could want. Interesting and unique characters, incredible story writing that captivates you and multiple worlds you’ll want know more about. For me, personally, this was a five-star read, so that is what I am going to give it. I cannot wait to pick up the next instalment and see what journeys they go on next.

 

Review: Throne of Glass

Throne of Glass

Title: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Date: August 2nd 2012

Publisher: Bloomsbury

After turning the last page of this book I asked myself one question…Why on earth had I not read this book before now? It has been sat on my shelf for years, gathering dust since I bought it in 2013. For some reason I had put off reading it and then I went through a period of not picking up books at all. Finally I noticed it and made myself promise to read it and I am so glad I did. Fantasy is quickly becoming one of my favourite genres and I’m afraid I’m going to have to buy the rest of the series very soon (apologies to my bank account).

Throne of Glass follows Celaena Sardothien, a deadly assassin who has been locked up in Endovier serving a life sentence, until suddenly she is offered a deal by the Captain of the Guard. If she represents the Crown Prince in a competition to become the King’s Champion, she can have her freedom back. But first she has to win the competition and that will not be an easy feat. All in all there are twenty three contestants, all of whom have been offered the same deal and who would kill for the chance to be free again. Celaena is thrust into a world where politics rule and things are not what they always seem. All she knows is that she has to win, no matter what.

After reading so many amazing reviews of this book, I am happy to say that, for me, it lived up to the hype. I didn’t want to stop reading once I had started. There were so many elements that I loved, the first of which is the world that Maas created. Her writing style made me believe that this Erilea could exist and her descriptions of the castle and the landscapes helped me picture it so vividly. This book was so addictive and I can only imagine that the rest of the series will get better with each book. It took me on an adventure that I didn’t want to end.

I can’t even begin to describe how much I love the character of Celaena. She is everything I want in a female protagonist. She is strong, witty, she knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go for it. I saw myself in her at times, making her all the more relatable and more than once I found myself smiling while reading. She may seem hard and cold on the outside, the killer assassin, but she is also kind and charming, more vulnerable than the other characters realise. I was rooting for her the whole way through and I am left wanting to know more.

Celaena wasn’t the only character that I loved. The Captain of the Guard, Chaol, grew to also be one of my favourites, even though he can be a tough nut to crack, you can see that he is caring to the people around him, especially his friend, the Crown Prince, Dorian. I can’t figure out who I prefer, Chaol or Dorian. The latter is definitely not what I expected and isn’t a shallow Prince by any means. He is complicated, not nearly as complicated as Celaena though, and I couldn’t help but love their encounters. All the friendships and relationships in the book seemed genuine and realistic, there was nothing forced about it.

I could go on and on about this book! I have a feeling that more of the world Maas has created will be explored and I am looking forward to seeing where Celaena’s story takes us. An incredible novel that I only wish I had read sooner. It gripped me from the beginning and was simply magical. And with no glaring faults, I think that this is going to be my first 5 star review on this blog!

The Genres I Tend To Stay Away From

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I would love to say that I’m open-minded when it comes to the books I choose to read, but the reality is that I tend to stick with the same genres. Recently I’ve been trying to rectify that by trying out genres I haven’t gone for, such as Thrillers and Fantasy, and not just sticking to Young Adult. YA is a genre that I have been loving since I was 13 years old, for many reasons. Some being that there is a lot of variety with sub-genres, an array of ages that the characters can be (so I’m not just stuck reading about 15/16 year old teenagers, making me feel older by the year).

But, looking at the genres that I love, got me thinking about the genres that I tend to stay away from. I’m sure we all have one that we dislike. Maybe a book in particular made you want to stay away from the genre or you think it would be too boring. So I thought I would talk about the ones that, personally, I will probably never read (or at least anytime soon).

I’m going to start with one that I think a lot of people might agree with. The first genre is Non-fiction. I can count on one of my hands the books I have read that are non-fiction and they were mostly for my English Literature and Language lessons during A Level. My reasons are quite simple. I don’t get as much joy from reading about real people and real places, as I do from the make believe. I read to escape, to become another person in another time, in a world that is unfamiliar to me. Non-fiction doesn’t allow me to use my imagination, to create what I think the author is trying to tell. Maybe my views will change as I get older, but for the time being I will be sticking to Fiction.

Another genre I don’t read that often is Contemporary. I don’t know what it is about these books, but they never seem to grab my attention. Maybe I am yet to read a great Contemporary novel that could change my mind. I love to have a magical or fantastical element to the stories that I read because it doesn’t happen everyday. There aren’t vampires, werewolves, witches, faeries or dragons running around us. I guess the normal and mundane stories just seem boring to me and their plots aren’t as intricate.

I feel that the last genre I want to mention briefly is Sci-fi. While I love Sci-fi movies and TV shows I have never once read a novel from this genre and if I’m honest, I’m not sure why. You would think that I would enjoy them, being that often Sci-fi and Fantasy are closely linked. They often include the same elements, great world-building and interesting characters. My reason for not reading them could be the fact that I’ve never come across any that seem like my cup of tea or the synopsis just didn’t capture my attention.

There may be a part 2 of this blog post in the future, as there are a couple more genres that I know I stay well away from, but I didn’t want to ramble on for too long.

If any of you have suggestions of books that are Non-Fiction, Contemporary or Sci-Fi, and you think are out-of-this-world incredible, leave a comment below! It would be interesting to check them out.

Wrapping Up October

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It’s so hard to believe that October has been and almost gone. Where did the time go? This month just flew by and I have officially been running my blog for a month. I have been enjoying connecting with other bloggers, writing down my thoughts about the books I’ve read and sharing my life with you all.

Not only that, but I also feel that it is helping me with my own writing and the books I have read have definitely influenced the book I am writing in terms of the POV. Originally I had been writing my novel in first person, but something didn’t feel right to me. I liked where my story was going and had it all laid out. That was when I had the idea to rewrite my first chapter in third person, just to see if it sounded better. And it did. So I am currently in the process of rewriting the 15,000 words I’ve written so far (but I’m easily adding at least another 750 to each chapter I rewrite).

Unfortunately, spending all this time on my own book has meant that I haven’t dedicated as much time to reading the books on my shelf. I managed to read a total of 4 this month and you can see them all below.

Into The Water by Paula Hawkins

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It isn’t often that I read a thriller, but this one blew me away just as much as her first book. It was tense, fast paced and full of twists that I didn’t see coming. 4 out of 5 stars.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen

This was a partial re-read, as I had already read two thirds of it before, but I enjoyed it even more the second time. Red Queen is a great read, with betrayal, love and action. 4 out of 5 stars.

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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I can’t even begin to describe how excited I was to read this book and I was not let down after hearing so many great things. It was a perfect start for the series and hooked me with the dark and dangerous tale. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

One Dark Throne

I am so lucky that I already had the sequel to Three Dark Crowns sitting on my shelf. The sequel was a step up from the first book, with a much darker story line, a ton of action and drama between the three sisters. I cannot wait for the next instalment to come out! 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Fingers crossed I will be able to read a lot more books than this next month and with the temperature rapidly dropping (it was 4 degrees this morning!) I will have more chances to stay in and read.

I hope you all have a lovely Halloween and I would love to know how you got on this month!

Review: One Dark Throne

One Dark Throne

Title: One Dark Throne

Author: Kendare Blake

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Year: 2017

Wow. I think starting this review with that one word is a great start because this book was incredible. As soon as I finished Three Dark Crowns I dived straight into the sequel and I loved it so much more than the first (if that was even possible). The UK cover is, once again, better than the US and beautiful, with the sisters abilities wrapping around the sword.

The second instalment picks up where the first left off and Kendare Blake doesn’t keep us waiting. The action begins practically straight away. Compared to the first book, the pace is a lot quicker and not once did I feel like I was plodding through the chapters. The plot was so much darker than the first too, something that I was hoping for more of in the sequel. I got just what I wanted, with the sisters plotting each others’ demise and evil schemes falling into place. Katharine definitely shone in that department (but we always knew she was harsher than the other two from the first book alone).

In terms of character development, it was greatly improved with this book and I felt a connection with some that I didn’t care for in the first book. My favourite sister from the first book, Arisnoe, is still the one I relate to and love the most, and she definitely got her chance to shine. Mirabella grew on me, slightly redeeming herself for some of her actions in the first book, and I couldn’t help but root for her too. I even felt sorry for Katharine (which isn’t easy when she’s one of the most evil in the book). And in a story where two out of the three sisters has to die? It makes it very complicated when I care about two of them. I still couldn’t make my mind up about who I wanted to be Queen. In a perfect world none of them would die and they could live happily ever after with the people they love. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem that happy endings exist in Fennbirn.

The relationships between character were put to test throughout the book and the romantic ones in particular felt much more genuine this time round. My personal favourite has to be Arisnoe and Billy who had such a sweet friendship that was natural and made me smile when reading. I can’t not mention Jules, the kind of friend to Arisnoe that I would love to have for myself. She is strong, protective and her story definitely took a few turns along the way.

Having gotten used to the POV that Blake uses in the first book, I found it a lot easier to keep track of all the characters and the events taking place. It flowed so perfectly and there was no stopping with this book. The tension kept building, the story growing more complicated. There is violence, blood shed and so much emotion. Especially towards the end of the book. You can’t predict where this story will go and there were twists that I didn’t expect at all. I am beyond excited for the third one. I just hate that I have to wait until next year.

It is so hard to review this book without giving too much away and spoiling it, but it is definitely one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I am going to give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

The Book That Made Me A Reader

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Growing up, my mum always pushed me and my sister towards reading to cure our boredom (and to challenge me to write my own stories, too). As a pre-teen I grew up with the Rainbow Magic book series, My Secret Unicorn stories and the incredible Roald Dahl. I was a fantasy girl, through and through; nothing excited me more than a magical story full of wonder and adventure. But that was when I was very young.

When I reached Secondary School I stopped reading for a little while until I saw a film that made me fall head over heels with the supernatural world (the only time I have seen the film before I read the book). I’m talking about the series that made all teenage girls fall in love with the sparkling vampire…Twilight.

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I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this series at the time. I feel that this book series is often the one that made people turn into avid readers. While I haven’t read the series in a very long time (and it’s probably best that I don’t), I can admit that it was the one that made me fall in love with reading. From that book I found so many amazing authors and their incredible stories, such as The Mortal Instruments, The House of Night series, The Vampire Diaries, The Hunger Games and many more.

Twilight made me join Goodreads, where I connected with like-minded people who enjoyed doing the same thing as me. I discovered stories that I otherwise wouldn’t have seen and, thanks to the Book Depository, I could order books that had only been released in the US. Stephanie Meyer helped to introduce me to the world of Young Adult books that I am still loving to this day.

This book in particular opened up a whole new world for me. It allowed me to explore different worlds, meet incredible characters and the books that I went on to read have influenced the way I write my own novels. I have taken the good aspects from them all and I let them mould me into the writer I am today. So when I get my first novel published I will be sure to thank them all for opening my eyes to magic that is reading.

What book made you become hooked on reading?

Review: Three Dark Crowns

Title: Three Dark Crowns

Author: Kendare Blake

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Year: 2016

I’m going to start this review off by pointing out just how amazing and beautiful the UK covers are. Part of me really wants to collect all three, but when I had a choice I went with the Naturalist cover (which worked out quite well because I think she is my favourite of the sisters).

Before I bought Three Dark Crowns I had heard so many great things about this book, it seemed that everyone was talking about it. I have to admit that the synopsis grabbed my attention and it seemed like my cup of tea. Of course, this set my expectations very high and we all know that can be a dangerous thing sometimes. I had absolutely no reason to worry because I loved this book! I can’t remember the last time I read a book in less than 5 days (life can get very busy at times).

Personally I love reading books that tell the story from multiple points of view and for this story it definitely worked (how else could we find out about all three sisters). As seen on the blurb, we all know that the sisters have different abilities. One a Naturalist (Arisnoe), able to bloom flowers and control animals, one an Elemental (Mirabella), with the ability to control fire and create storms, and the last sister a Poisoner (Katharine), being able to ingest the strongest of poisons and live. But, out of the three sisters only one can become Queen and the others will die.

Each sister is so different from the other and I definitely disliked some more than the others (Katharine, I’m looking at you). We get to find out about how they were brought up by the people around them, having been separated at the age of 6, and it was interesting to see how that had moulded them. I have to admit; this book gave me a bit of a complex. I wanted to feel sorry for certain characters, but then they would give me a reason to dislike them and at times I wasn’t sure which sister I really wanted to become Queen. I felt sorry for the way some of the sisters were treated and the struggles that they had to go through. Especially 2 in particular.

Of course, with the different points of view taking us through the story, we encounter a lot of characters (maybe too many if I’m being honest as some didn’t feel necessary). The way Blake built the world that the sisters lived in was beautiful and deadly, and so well written that I could vividly picture it all. I was completely immersed in their world and I couldn’t get enough.

But, no book can be perfect and something that slightly annoyed me were the romantic relationships. If you read this book you will realise the one that really irked me (I’m still reeling) because I am a little fed up of love triangles now and I wanted one of the characters to get her happy ending. And it seemed a little unrealistic in places, but overall, I wasn’t reading the book for the romantic aspects, I was reading it for the sisters and how they would overcome the fact that they have to kill each other to become the most powerful.

I have to say that the ending was a surprise and made me pick up the second instalment, One Dark Throne, straight away (so expect a review on that very soon). Overall, this book captured my attention and didn’t let me go. While it started off a little slow, it was definitely worth sticking out a few dull chapters to reach the ending. I cannot wait to find out what will become of the sisters now and who will come out on top.

I’m going to give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.