Blog Tour Review for Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

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 Title: Wicked Saints

Author: Emily A. Duncan

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Release Date: 2nd April 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy

Buy From Macmillan

 

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

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I’d like to say thank you to Wednesday Books for giving me a chance to review Wicked Saints in exchange for an honest review during this blog tour. Over the last few months, I have heard a lot of amazing reviews about Emily’s debut novel, so of course, I was over the moon when I was given an eARC to read. The danger with a lot of hype surrounding a book is that it may not always live up to the expectations, but luckily for me, Wicked Saints did.

Kalyazin and Tranavia have been at war for a century, with the Tranavian heretics slowly growing in power. The gods have always listened to Nadya when she prayed and only she is strong enough to go against the blood magic of her enemies. When her monastery is invaded, she goes on the run to escape the High Prince, Serefin, who is the strongest of his kind. While travelling she meets two refugees and a Tranavian blood mage called Malachiasz who has rebelled against his order, the Vultures. Going against the wishes of the gods, Nadya forges an alliance with them in the hopes of travelling to Tranavia to kill the king and stop the holy war before it destroys them all. However, not everything is as it seems and Nadya begins to question everything she has been told about blood magic and her gods.

“We’re all monsters, Nadya,” Malachiasz said, his voice gaining a few tangled chords of chaos. “Some of us just hide it better than others.”

As an atheist, I normally tend to stay away from books with religious themes but I was intrigued by Wicked Saints, mainly because it was so different from anything I’d read before. The idea of gods choosing clerics who can hear them was interesting, especially because Nadya can hear all of them, the only one of her kind.

We’re thrown right into the action from the very beginning and I flew through the first quarter of the book. It was really enjoyable and I became more invested as I went along. It took me a little while to connect with Nadya as a character, probably because it dived into the action straight away, but I have to say I enjoyed the banter between her and the gods and it had me smiling on more than one occasion. I love the fact that her opinions never stayed the same and she questioned everything. She struggled, she made mistakes, but that is what makes her real. What teenager doesn’t struggle with their identity and beliefs at some point?

The world building was probably my favourite aspect of this story, as it was based on Russia and Poland. I could feel the chill of the mountains thanks to Emily’s descriptions and felt immersed in the story. Wicked Saints doesn’t read like a debut. It’s intriguing and full of atmopshere. Each new chapter opened with snippets about the history of the saints, clerics and gods of Kalyazin, giving insight into just how violent their world is. While the story takes place in Kalyazin and Tranavia, we also meet two characters from the desert lands of Akola, Parijahan and Rashid, who I really enjoyed reading about in this book. Hopefully, the world will expand more in the rest of the trilogy because I really liked what I read.

Blood magic is rife in Wicked Saints and I loved the new take on it. The mages have to cut themselves (TW: self-harm) and then press the pages of their spellbook against the cut to work the magic, which is something I have never read before. This is a dark book with dark themes (TW: torture, abuse, gore and blood), although I think part of me was expecting it to be more brutal and darker. However, Malachiasz is a blood mage who caught my attention instantly because I wasn’t sure what he was going to do. Nothing is as it seems with this book and it was fun watching Nadya try to handle this monster boy who makes her question everything. Malachiasz is a bit of mystery and it was good to see the secrets unravelling in a way I thought they would. There is nothing better when a plot twist happens the way you expect, showing it was well thought out.

As far as romance goes, I kind of wish it hadn’t stayed so close to the trope of enemies-to-lovers as I didn’t feel Nadya really had a reason to hate him and there was a lot of focus on him. I never once felt that it wasn’t Nadya’s story, but I wasn’t as invested in the romance as I thought I would be. However, I did enjoy their characters and can’t wait to see what becomes of them later on. Now, Serefin…he’s my favourite. He is morally grey, loves to drink and is always tired, which makes him the best kind of character in my eyes. Some people say the amount he drinks is unrealistic but they’ve clearly never been to a house party in the UK (I won’t say how much I used to drink). I really loved his character arc in Wicked Saints and I’ve been left with a lot of questions after the ending. There are other side characters who I loved reading about as well and who also offer some LGBTQ rep in the book, as well as disability, so there is something for everyone.

I’m glad Wicked Saints was a fast-paced book because it meant I was flying through the chapters, but sometimes I felt as if things moved too quick at times. The first 25% and the last 25% were my favourite parts as there was a lot going on, but I wish there had been more than just travelling in between that space. I also wish there had been more to read because of how much I enjoyed it. Saying that, now that the world has been set up, I’m sure there will be more twists and turns in the sequel which I cannot wait for. The ending left me feeling very excited to see what these characters get up to because I have questions. I don’t know what’s going to happen next, but I can’t wait to find out.

Overall, I really enjoyed Wicked Saints and felt it was a great debut for Emily A. Duncan and showcased her style of writing perfectly. It was unique with the world building, it had interesting characters, dark themes and plot twists, which are always my favourite parts of a story. I’m giving Wicked Saints a solid 4 stars!

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Praise For Wicked Saints

“Prepare for a snow frosted, blood drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare. Utterly absorbing.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen  

“Full of blood and monsters and magic—this book destroyed me and I adored it. Emily is a wicked storyteller, she’s not afraid to hurt her characters or her readers. If you’ve ever fallen in love with a villain you will fall hard for this book.” – Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval 

“This is the novel of dark theology and eldritch blood-magic that I’ve been waiting for all my life. It’s got a world at once brutal and beautiful, filled with characters who are wounded, lovable, and ferocious enough to break your heart. A shattering, utterly satisfying read.” – Rosamund Hodge, author of Cruel Beauty and Bright Smoke, Cold Fire

Wicked Saints is a lush, brutal, compelling fantasy that is dark, deep, and bloody—absolutely riveting! With a boy who is both man and monster, mysterious saints with uncertain motives, and a girl filled with holy magic who is just beginning to understand the full reaches of her power, this gothic jewel of a story will sink its visceral iron claws into you, never letting go until you’ve turned the last page. And truthfully, not even then -the explosive ending will haunt you for days! ” – Robin LaFevers, New York Times bestselling author of the His Fair Assassin trilogy

“Dark, bloody, and monstrously romantic. This is the villain love interest that we’ve all been waiting for.” – Margaret Rogerson, New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens

“Seductively dark and enchanting, Wicked Saints is a trance you won’t want to wake from. Duncan has skillfully erected a world like no other, complete with provocative magic, sinister creatures, and a plot that keeps you guessing. This spellbinding YA fantasy will bewitch readers to the very last page.” – Adrienne Young, New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep

About The Author

Emily A. DuncanEMILY A. DUNCAN works as a youth services librarian. She received a Master’s degree in library science from Kent State University, which mostly taught her how to find obscure Slavic folklore texts through interlibrary loan systems. When not reading or writing, she enjoys playing copious amounts of video games and dungeons and dragons. Wicked Saints is her first book. She lives in Ohio.

 

 

Website: https://eaduncan.com/
Twitter: @glitzandshadows
Instagram: @glitzandshadows
Tumblr: http://glitzandshadows.tumblr.com/

Review: Circe by Madeline Miller

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Title: Circe

Author: Madeline Miller

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Date: 10th April 2018

Circe was the first book I’ve read for 2019 and I am so glad it was because this book is incredible. Words cannot even describe how much I enjoyed and loved this book. Greek mythology has always been something close to my heart. I’ve read many books about it, anything from fantasy to historic and it always captures my attention. I even started writing my own Greek mythology inspired story at one point (which I am inspired to go back to now). I’ve read about many of the gods and goddesses, but I had never heard of Circe before now, but she is definitely one of my favourites.

Circe is a nymph and the daughter of Helios, god of the sun and one of the Titans who sided with Zeus in the battle between the Titans and the Olympians. She isn’t as powerful as him, nor is she as alluring and mysterious as her mother. Circe is an outcast among her kind and so she turns to the mortals, feeling more like them than her own family. It is during her time with them that she discovers she isn’t powerless, that she is, in fact, a witch. Using her will, she can turn her rivals into monsters and cause the gods to fear her so much that she is sent to live in isolation on the island of Aeaea. While there, she hones her crafts, tames the wild animals of the island and meets some of the most famous figures in history such as the Minotaur, Medea and even Odysseus. However, she is not safe on her island and goes up against one of the strongest and most brutal of the gods and goddesses. If she wants to protect that which matters most to her, she must use all her strength and decide where she belongs; among the gods or the mortals.

I don’t even know where to begin with describing how much I loved reading Circe. I guess the best place is to start with the character herself. It isn’t often where I feel strongly for a certain character, but I did with Circe. She was an outcast and I could relate to that so much. When I was younger I felt like I was on the outside at times and it was awful reading how the other gods and goddesses, her own siblings, treated her. I wanted her to be happy, and when she thought she had her chance, it was taken away from her. Before reading this, I did a little research to find out who Circe was and found out that she was mentioned in The Odyssey, where she turns men into pigs. We find out later on in this story why she does this.

After discovering her powers by turning her rival into a monstrous sea monster, Circe is sent by Zeus to live on an island by herself, where she starts to discover who she truly is. While there, she learns more about her craft and how she takes control of her life. She isn’t perfect by any means, she has flaws like all of us, but that only made her more likeable. I also enjoyed reading about her interactions with her siblings, mainly her sister Pasiphaë, who is famous for giving birth to the Minotaur, which is as disturbing as you think it is. That led to her meeting Daedalus and eventually learning about his son, Icarus, and we all know what happened to him. She is told about the outside world by Hermes, who often visits her, and we realise how lonely it must be for her, but she doesn’t let that loneliness cripple her.

It wasn’t always easy and when men started arriving at her shores, looking for help, I had an inkling that something bad would happen (trigger warning: rape). However, she doesn’t allow what happened to her to define her and bring her down. Instead, she becomes strong and whenever she is threatened, she turns the men into pigs, until she meets Odysseus. Their story was one of my favourite parts of this book. If you want to know what their relationship is like, then this quote sums it up quite well.

“Odysseus, son of Laertes, the great traveller, prince of wiles and tricks and a thousand ways. He showed me his scars, and in return he let me pretend that I had none.”

I enjoyed reading about their time together and how it shaped Circe, eventually gifting her with a child who she would protect at all costs against Athena. This part of this story was also one of my favourites because it showed the lengths a mother would go to protect her son. While I could mention what happened, I don’t want to because I want you all to read this book and see the incredible story-telling that is written in Circe. Circe embraces who she is and will not let anyone tear her down, which is why I love her character so much. This is a story about her life, the pain she went through, the love she felt, all the heartache and desire that clouded her emotions and it is a story about motherhood.

When it comes to world-building, I think that Madeline Miller is one of the best. I could picture everything, from the Oceanus, where she grew up, to her adventures out in the world and on her little island. I could smell the salt of the sea and feel her emotions as if they were my own, it was honestly magical. Circe is a book I know I will read again in the future as there is so much detail that I want to read more of, to find out more that I may have missed. I didn’t want to put this book down at all and when that happens, I just know it is a story that will forever stay with me.

I could go on and on about the masterpiece that is Circe and how much I loved every second of reading, but I think the best way for you to understand how good it is, is to read it yourself. The easiest 5 stars I have ever given and probably in my top 5 favourite books of all time. It is seriously that amazing!

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Review: Mirage by Somaiya Daud

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Title: Mirage

Author: Somaiya Daud

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Date: 28th August 2018

I was given a chance to review this book on NetGalley, but the first time I tried reading it I was in a reading slump. However, I knew I wanted to read this book as the premise sounded interesting and I left it to a later date. Overall, I enjoyed reading Mirage, but it wasn’t my favourite book and I think that is because I had been reading so many amazing 5-star reads, it was hard to keep up with them. I love that this is inspired by Middle-Eastern culture, which definitely came across in the writing and I love the sci-fi edge that this book had.

Amani’s home is ruled by the Vathek, a brutal empire who invaded the star system and sent her family into poverty. She dreams of being able to escape her life and go on an adventure, but one day she is kidnapped by the Vathek and brought to the home of the half-Vathek Princess Maram. It is there that she discovers the two of them look identical and how they plan to use Amani as a body double in dangerous situations. Amani has to become the princess if she wants to keep her family safe, which means she is thrust into a world full of politics and beautiful palaces, with Maram’s fiance, Idris, by her side.

I will start off by saying that I found the worldbuilding to be quite interesting at times, such as how it is set on a completely different planet, but it was also a little confusing. There was quite a bit of info-dumping at the beginning, which I don’t mind too much but it slowed the book down a lot. Some things were mentioned and never really explained properly, so I just had to have a guess at what they were. I think it was too much at times and it didn’t need to be as the idea itself is interesting enough to capture my attention, as well as the characters.

This is definitely a character-driven book, which is something I enjoyed as I loved reading about Amani. I felt her pain as she was taken away from her family and thrust into this unknown world. The first meeting between Amani and Maram doesn’t go well, as can be expected with a cruel princess who doesn’t care about anyone but herself, but along the way we see something growing between the two. We begin to realise why Maram acts the way she does and I might even say that it made her likeable towards the end of the book.

Something else that I enjoyed was the romance. It isn’t epic like some of the other books I have read, but it was pleasant enough and has made me excited to read more about the characters. While Idris might be engaged to Maram, you can see that he really cares about Amani and they both share their own stories of how the Vathek had ruined their lives.

While there are sci-fi elements in this book, it reads like a fantasy book, which is one of the reasons why I liked it. If you’re looking for an action-packed book, this isn’t the one for you. It is a lot slower, focusing on the history of the world and the relationships between the characters instead. I really enjoyed the unique setting and would be interested in reading the sequel to see what happens. Overall, I’m going to give Mirage a solid 3 stars.

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End of Year Book Haul!

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It is officially the last day of December and the end of 2019, so it’s time for me to share the books I bought/received in the last 31 days!

It’s hard to believe that another year has come to an end, but I have some incredible books that I can’t wait to get to in 2019. Next year is going to be an amazing one for reading, I just know it because there are so many debuts that I am looking forward to and series that I want to complete (as well as books that have been sitting patiently on my shelves).

To kick off the end of the year and month, these are the books I received as Christmas gifts.

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Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa

The Dark Vault by V. E. Schwab

I can’t tell you how excited I am to read every single one of these books and the covers all look so amazing! I’ve heard some great things about all of these, especially Girls of Paper and Fire, which I will definitely be reading in January at some point.

I wasn’t planning on buying any books myself this month (apart from a preorder I had on my Kindle) but then I saw there was a Kindle sale and I just couldn’t help myself. All of the books you see below apart from the pre-order cost me just over £5 altogether, which is amazing! The book I pre-ordered was Evermore, which is the sequel to Everless that I read last year.

Circe by Madeline Miller (currently reading)

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Evermore by Sara Holland

The first four books are all ones that I have been dying to read but just never got the chance to. There was also the fact that some of them were quite expensive, so I’m glad that the sale happened and I can now see what all the hype is about.

Finally, these are the books that I requested on NetGalley!

Enchantee by Gita Trelease

Romanov by Nadine Brandes

Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

I didn’t actually request Wicked Saints, I was asked if I wanted to participate in the blog tour that will be happening and I obviously said yes! I follow Emily on Twitter and have seen so much about this book that I cannot wait to dive into it at the beginning of the year.

All in all, this was a great month for book buying and receiving, which should keep me going well into the first few months of the year. One of my 2019 goals is to spend less time on social media and more time reading. I keep imaging how many pages or chapters I could read in the 20 or 30 minutes I spend on Twitter.

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Let me know what books you bought for the month of December and which ones you are looking forward to the most in 2019!

The Best Books I Read in 2018

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How are there only 2 full days left of the year? It always blows my mind when we reach the end of another year and I think about how quickly the days are passing now that I’m getting older.

At the beginning of the year, I set myself a goal to read 50 books, but unfortunately, I have only read 43 (although I hope to make it 44 by the time Monday comes to an end). I hate that I went through a reading slump for three months because if I hadn’t, I would have been able to smash that goal. However, the 43 (44) books I have read this year were mostly amazing and it was so hard to choose my top 10.

Originally I had wanted to put them in order, but it was too difficult. I put my top 5 in the right spots, and the remaining 5 have no order to them because I couldn’t decide. So, here are my favourite reads for 2018!

1. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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If there is one book that I have talked about the most on my blog and my Twitter page, it is Scythe. I cannot even begin to describe my love for this book and the world that Shusterman created. From the very beginning, I was sucked in and I had to keep knowing more. The concept of there being no disease or wars and that people can only die if gleaned by a scythe was so interesting to me and made me wonder if the world would really be a better place.

There are quite a few plot twists that I didn’t expect and when I reached the end, I knew I had to buy the sequel. This was the easiest 5 stars I have ever given a book and it is one that I will surely read again in the future. You can check out my full review here.

2. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

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I thought it couldn’t get much better than Scythe and I was wrong. Thunderhead took the story to new levels that I didn’t think was even possible. I was on the edge of my seat wanting to turn the pages to find out what would happen. The plot twists were amazing and the character development was incredible.

What I loved the most was finding out more about the Thunderhead and the introduction of new characters who slowly became more important throughout. Even now, thinking about that ending gives me so many mixed emotions; shock, anger, sadness, but most of all excitement. I cannot wait to see how Shusterman will finish off the trilogy. You can check out my review here and if you haven’t read this series, what are you waiting for?

3. The Grisha Verse Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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I was trying to figure out which of these books I enjoyed the most to add to this list and I thought, why not just add all of them? I feel like I was very late to read these books but I am so glad that I did because they are amazing. The world building is some of the best I have ever read. Everything was crystal clear in my mind, with a Russian influence that is clear but not overbearing and the characters were all so interesting.

Alina is one of my favourite main characters and her growth throughout the trilogy was amazing to watch with her growing into her powers. There’s a debate on whether people prefer the Darkling or Mal, but I love them both for different reasons and the ending of this series is one of my favourites! You can see the reviews for Shadow and Bone, Siege and Storm, and Ruin and Rising by clicking on the links. This is definitely a series I will read again in the future.

4. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

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I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this to read and I can’t tell you how much I love this debut novel. I have never read a book so quickly. Once I started, I was hooked with the story of family, loyalty and love. It is about overcoming prejudice and the character development was written beautifully. There is so much emotion in this book and I felt everything that the characters went through, which was a lot.

Some of my favourite parts were the action scenes and that is because they were written so well that I forgot about everything else around me. Sky in the Deep is one of those books you could read multiple times and never get bored, so if you have yet to pick it up, head to your nearest bookstore and give it a read. If you need a little more convincing, you can read my full review here.

5. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

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Unfortunately, I don’t have a review written for this book as it is when I didn’t have a lot of time to blog, but this book was amazing. I had been hearing so many great things about this series, so when the Kindle version went on sale, I had to have it and I devoured it. What I loved was how seamless the dual perspectives were. With some books, it can be jarring to keep switching between voices, but this was written so well. Elias and Laia have such distinct voices and I loved the paths that they took in this first book in the series.

I’ve always been a sucker for books inspired by the Romans, so I knew I was going to like this before I started it. Given that a lot of fantasies are written in the third person, it was really refreshing to read a story told in the first person. I just finished the second book, A Torch Against the Night, which I loved just as much. I advise you to give this series a go if you love action-packed scenes, romance and danger.

6. Vicious by V. E. Schwab

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Vicious is the second book I have read by V. E. Schwab and I am so glad that I bought it because it quickly became one of my favourites. Once again, I was in a reading slump and was struggling to find something to capture my attention until this book came along. It only took me a few days to read and I think that is because the pacing of the book is so quick, especially with the timeline jumping, which is something I wasn’t sure of in the beginning but quickly loved.

There is a sense of urgency when you read it and you just want to get to the end to find out what will happen to Victor and Eli. Their rivalry is one of my favourites, where I could see both sides and why they felt the way they did. They are dark, funny and totally badass, which is one of the reasons why I love this book so much. I already have the sequel, Vengeful, on my shelves to read in 2019. I don’t read many adult books, but this has definitely gotten me into the genre, which is more Sci-Fi than Fantasy in my opinion.

7. Circe by Madeline Miller

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It may seem a little odd to put a book on this list that I haven’t finished yet, but I’m going to do it because I already love it so much. I absolutely adore Greek mythology and devoured so many YA and Adult books based on it when I was younger. It had been years since I came across one until I saw that Circe was on offer for an incredible £0.99 and I remembered how many people had been praising it on Twitter.

Well, I’m already a third of the way through and I only started it yesterday. I am hooked. Everything about this story is so captivating, but the voice is what’s drawn me in. The story-telling is amazing and the story of Circe is so heart-breaking that I feel everything with her. As someone who has at one time or another been an outsider, I can relate to her so much. Circe is actually a goddess that I haven’t heard much about before, which I think is one of the reasons I love it so much. Of course, we see the other famous Gods and Goddesses, but I love learning about the ones I didn’t know of before. I can’t wait to read this book and finish her story.

8. A Court of Thorns and Roses Series by Sarah J. Maas

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2018 was the year I finally read A Court of Thorns and Roses, A Court of Mist and Fury, and A Court of Wings and Ruin, so it only makes sense that I add them all on here because I loved them. I read all three in the months that I took a hiatus from blogging while I dealt with being made redundant at my job. I absolutely flew through the first book and loved the parallels between Beauty and the Beast. Like most people probably did, I fell in love with Tamlin and swooned at how he cared for Feyre, so you can imagine my surprise at the events that took place in the two sequels. My emotions were all over the place with this series and I enjoyed every minute of it.

The characters were so intriguing and the growth that most of them went through hooked me, especially Feyre. From the beginning to the events of the third book, I watched her grow into this amazing woman who could do anything. I also realised why people like Rhys as a character, although I still held onto the Tamlin from the first book. I won’t lie, it took me a while to get through the second and third book as I was in the middle of a slump, but I enjoyed them. I definitely feel like this is a series I will have to re-read in the future to get all the details.

9. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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If you want to know how much I loved this book, I read it all within a day. I sat down in the morning and I didn’t move anywhere until the late afternoon when I finally shut the book. This collection of stories and fairy tales from the Grisha Verse was the first thing I read from Leigh Bardguo before diving in the Grisha Trilogy that I mentioned above. The writing in it was the most beautiful I had ever read. Everything about it took my breath away and it was one of those books where I held it to my chest when I finished, feeling so grateful I got to read those words.

It’s hard to choose a favourite story when there are six to choose from, each one dark and twisted, but filled with emotion. One of my favourite parts of this book was the illustrations. At the beginning of each story they would start in the corner and as the pages were turned they would keep growing until you reached the full-page image at the end. As an artist, I could appreciate the detail and beauty of each one and how they brought the story to life. If you haven’t read this book yet, you need to, because it is amazing. You can see my full review here.

10. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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There was a lot of hype surrounding this debut novel, which always makes me nervous because sometimes it doesn’t live up to it. However, I didn’t have that problem with Children of Blood and Bone because it was an incredible story and debut novel. I had never read a story based on West African mythology before and I was hooked from the beginning. There is so much detail and action on the pages that I wanted to soak in, but the information never felt like it was overwhelming me, which can sometimes happen with books.

One of the parts I loved the most was the magic system and how intricate it was, as well as being so unique. The adventure that Zelie and the other characters go on is so thrilling, showing how they are growing along the way and discovering new things about themselves. I love this story so much that when a chance came up to meet Tomi Adeyemi, I took it and it was amazing to hear how she came up with the story, as well as her process for writing it. The talk inspired me so much to keep going with my own writing and I will always be thankful for that. If you’d like to see my full review, you can read it here.

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There were so many books that I enjoyed in 2018 that I wish could have been on the list, but I didn’t want it to go on forever. Did you manage to read any of these this year?

Let me know your all-time favourite book for 2018 in the comments below!

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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WWW Wednesday – In Love With This Series!

I am currently writing this blog post while the World Cup is on in the background (which I am being forced to watch, but it’s fine). I also have a book next to me ready for half time because I gotta take any chance to read at the moment.

I’m so glad it’s halfway through the week already because it’s one step closer to the weekend and I can spend it reading, writing and drawing. And hopefully finish reading the book I am currently making my way through, which happens to be a very long one.

What Are You Currently Reading?

a court of mist and fury

This book is incredible. I’m already obsessed with this series, the characters and the story. I haven’t read a book like this about the Fae ever before and I am captivated by the magic of this world. I didn’t think Maas’ writing could get any better than the Throne of Glass series, but I was wrong. As the story progresses I am finding my thoughts and feelings on certain characters are changing drastically (hint: it’s Rhys). I am nearly 40% of the way through and it’s taking me much longer to read this story than others. However, I think it’s because there is so much detail in the writing and I just want to savour it. I’ll let you know my thoughts on this series soon.

What Did You Recently Finish Reading?

ACOTAR

I know, I know, I haven’t written the review for this yet. I am so behind because life has been all over the place lately, but I am going to try and catch up soon. This book completely blew me away, which you can probably tell as I jumped into the second one straight away. I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so much while reading a book, but at the same time be so tense (especially with that ending). This may be another series that will go down as being one of my favourites ever, so long as the books continue this way.

What Do You Think You’ll Read Next?

a court of wings and ruin

Is there any other book I could read? I have a feeling July will be the month that I finish a full series (if it’s a trilogy, I’m not sure), with the exception of the novella that I haven’t purchased yet. Of course, I have no idea how the second book will end, but I have a feeling it’ll be a cliff hanger for sure!

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What book are you currently reading this week?

My Top 5 Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Can you believe we’re already halfway through the year? Where have the last six months gone?!

I’ve seen a couple of people talk about the books they’ve read so far in the year and which ones they have loved the most. Currently, I have read 33 books, which is 66% of the way through my Goodreads challenge and I am over the moon. There have been some incredible books published in the first half of the year, and I also managed to pick up a couple series that I hadn’t gotten around to.

It was way harder to narrow the 33 down to 5 because I have actually given away so many five stars reviews because the books are that good. They aren’t going to be in an order, as that would make it even harder, but my top 5 so far are…

1. Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman

thunderhead

I was originally going to put Scythe on this list, but the second one blew me away even more than the first. I can’t stop thinking or talking about this book and I totally get why everyone loves it. The world building is fascinating and the characters are so interesting.

You never really know what is going to happen and the last 50 pages of Thunderhead were shocking, but in a good way. It means I have absolutely no idea what will happen in the third book, The Toll, and I’m even more excited for its publication date. You can check out my review for Scythe here and Thunderhead over here.

2. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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I’ll tell you how much I loved this debut novel, enough that I am going to meet the author herself in less than a months time! Everything about this book was incredible. The magic system, the stakes, the plots, the characters…Everything!

There was so much hype surrounding this book, which always makes me worried, but I had no reason to be. I cannot fault Children of Blood and Bone because it was amazing. A re-read will definitely be in order before Children of Virtue and Vengeance comes out next year. Check out my 5 star review here.

3. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

ACOTAR

I only finished this book two days ago and it is already in my top 5 for the year. Why didn’t I read it before now, you ask? I keep asking myself that because it was freakin’ amazing! I think I might even love it more than the Throne of Glass series, which is saying a lot because I adore those books. I’ll be writing up my review for this book within the next few days, but I can’t get over it.

There is something so appealing about the Fae and these characters really made me feel for them. I was literally smiling as I read their interactions and I can honestly say I’ve fallen for Tamlin (although everyone says I shouldn’t and it makes me nervous). I’m over 100 pages in to A Court of Mist and Fury and I can feel my thoughts changing on certain characters when I didn’t want them to (mainly Tamlin and Rhys), but I just know this series is going to be one of my favourites.

4. Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young

sky in the deep

The only downside to this book is that it is a standalone. Sky in the Deep knocked my socks off with the world building and how divided it is, the prejudice that surrounds the characters, and not to mention the fact that it has a viking influence. I grew to care so much about these characters and what they were going through as I was reading.

There are some incredible action scenes that were fast paced and kept me on the edge of my seat, as well as a sweet romance that blossomed. This book has everything and it was thoroughly deserving of five stars. It is one of those that I could read again and again and never get bored. See more of my thoughts in my review here.

5. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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Can I put the Grisha trilogy in here as well? I would say all of her books deserve to be here, but I have yet to read Six of Crows,. However, I chose The Language of Thorns to be in this list as it was the first book I read by her. Honestly, it was magical, as well as being dark and deadly at the same time. I read it in one sitting, that’s how much I loved it. I just couldn’t get enough!

Each of the six stories that are included are beautifully told, and featured the most gorgeous illustrations. Bargudo is an incredible writer who made the words jump off the page and come to life for me. Will I pick it up again one day? Hell yeah! This is the kind of book I will forever keep and one day pass on to my kids if I have any. It was a no brainer to give this 5 stars, and you can check out my review here.

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I could have added so many more books, but then we would be here all night! I know that the rest of 2018 is going to be filled with some amazing reads as well, so I am dreading my end of the year top ten list!

What is the best book that you have read so far this year?

Wrapping Up The Week (2nd July – 8th July)

I have decided that I am over summer and this heatwave that we are having in the UK. It is way too hot to do anything! Not only that, but the last week has been a nightmare. Monday and Tuesday were spent curled up in bed with a fever, I went into work Wednesday, and worked from home Thursday and Friday because I couldn’t stop coughing. Having a chest infection isn’t fun.

However, over the weekend I have done nothing but rest, write, read, and do some drawing, and I am feeling so much better for it. I managed to finish my first book of the month (which took me a while to read as I was ill) but it was such a great book! I’m so far behind on writing reviews it’s unreal and now that I am starting to feel better I will be making a start on those this week. Good thing the books I’ve read recently have been so amazing and I can remember so much of them.

Books I read and reviewed…

ACOTAR

No reviews written, but I finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, and omg, I’m in love with this book. It was incredible! The amount of times I found myself just smiling as I read the words was unreal, mainly because of Tamlin. He is perfect and honestly, I probably would’ve done the exact same as Feyre to have him. I do know that a lot of people love Rhys (although he was a bit of a douche in this book) so I’m assuming he does something to redeem himself, because I am all for Tamlin at the moment. And Lucien, because he’s so snarky. Expect a long review on this book very soon!

I am currently reading…

a court of mist and fury

How could I not pick up the next book in the series after loving the first so much? I’m only 40 pages in, but already I know I’m going to enjoy it. Things don’t look so great for Feyre and I swear, if she breaks Tamlin’s heart I will not be happy. I can’t wait to delve into this world even more and discover more about the characters.

Posts from the week…

Wrapping Up June ’18 – A Very Hectic Month

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Red, White and Blue Covers

June Book Haul and Being Ill

My TBR For July – Starting New Series!

It’s a good thing I scheduled in a couple of these posts, because I would not have been able to write that much otherwise! I always find the first week of the month to be a busy one with all the wrap up posts, but I do have a couple special posts coming up very soon.

My WIP…

This week has not been a good one for my writing. Being ill throws everything off balance and I was just too sick to even concentrate on anything, what with the pounding headache and all. However, I still managed to write a bit and have reached just over 36,000 words on my novel.

It is finally starting to take shape and I am moving into act 2, which is where all the drama is going to unfold. Next up is a scene that I know will be challenging because there is a lot of action, death, and scary stuff. Kind of dreading it, but if it’s not perfect I won’t worry too much. That is what revisions are for!

Other Fun Stuff…

Over the last week I have been getting back into my art and I am almost finished with one piece! Unfortunately, I can’t show it on here because it is for my mum and I know she reads my blog posts sometimes. You’ll just have to wait and see until next week when it is completed!

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And that was my not so fun, but also kind of good week. A lot went on and I’m just glad that it is over with (especially the being ill part, although I still have a croaky voice).

I hope you all had a great week as well and if you read any amazing books, let me know in the comments!

My TBR For July – Starting New Series!

Honestly, I’m not sure why I bother giving myself a TBR anymore because my mood changes and I decide to pick up random books throughout the month. Or I get accepted for NetGalley books and have to slide those ones in (which could be the case this month).

For the month of July I want to start two new series, one of which I already started as I just finished A Court of Thorns and Roses last night (and it was incredible!). The books I am choosing for the rest of the month are all quite large books between 500-700 pages long, so I’m not even sure if I’ll finish them all. Either way, I’m going to try my hardest to read the four books on this list.

And they are:

Considering how much I loved ACOTAR, of course the next two in the series are going to be on my TBR. I am so excited to see where this story goes and what happens to the characters. So, far I am loving Tamlin (although I hear everyone loves Rhys) and as the books are MUCH bigger, I’m assuming a lot of great things happen. If I’m honest, I think I’m enjoying this series more than Throne of Glass, and I read five of those books!

Next I will be carrying on with the Shades of Magic series by reading A Gathering of Shadows. It has been a good five or six months since I read A Darker Shade of Magic, so I can’t wait to dive back into this magical world and see what happens.

And finally, I will be starting the book that everyone seems to love, Six of Crows. I think seeing all the fan art on Twitter has made me even more excited to start this series, considering how much I loved the Grishaverse Trilogy.

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If I manage to finish all of these books, I will be more than happy because that is a lot of pages altogether! Plus, I’m also preoccupied with my own writing, and finally getting back into my art and drawing.

What book are you looking forward to reading the most this month?