Wrapping Up The Week (16th April – 22nd April)

This week is a different kind of weekly wrap up. You may have noticed that I haven’t blogged much this week and trust me, I would have loved to have been able to. Unfortunately, my time was taken up with packing, organising and moving to a new house, which happened on Friday. It has been a hectic weekend, one that I spent unpacking everything as quickly as I could and DIYing furniture. I wanted to make it as homely as possible and I think I have succeeded. Also, we have a balcony, which is the coolest thing ever!

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It’s a strange layout, with the bedroom and bathroom downstairs, and an open plan kitchen and living room upstairs, but I kinda like how unconventional it is.

 

We don’t have the sofa yet, so we are currently sitting on lawn chairs (how luxurious), but I have my bookshelf up and the bedroom sorted so I am happy. Although, we have a while to wait until the broadband gets set up and we have internet again. The first of May seems so far away, but until then I can piggyback off of my mobile data (I have more than enough with 24GB when it renews on the 16th).

It’s strange moving out of my mum’s house. I keep expecting to run into her or to go down and have a little chat with my sister. I am definitely missing Willow, the crazy and demonic staffie, who is a sweetie really. It’ll take a little while to adjust, but I’m looking forward to the independence that is having my own place. Not looking forward to all the bills though.

In terms of reading, I haven’t done a lot. I’ve been way too tired. So tired, in fact, that when I settled down to read yesterday I ended up falling asleep! I have a bit more energy tonight, so I am hoping to maybe finish The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green.

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I am loving it so far and have read just over 60%. The characters are all unique, the dialogue great (and very funny in places) and I love how each chapter is from one of the five (I think) perspectives. Already I am seeing how their stories are weaving together, with characters crossing paths, and I can’t wait to see how the story progresses.

I hope that over the next week I can get back into a routine now that we’ve moved, and I will be back with my regular posts. Also, I hope to finish another two books to hit five books for the month of April. If I can get to six, then I will be even happier!

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I hope you’ve all had an amazing week and read some great books!

Top Ten Tuesday: Books Series I Am Looking Forward to Reading/Finishing

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Top Ten Tuesday was originally hosted over at The Broke and The Bookish and is now over at Jana’s blog, That Artsy Reader Girl.

I love freebie week, so of course I wanted to talk about book series! While I like a good stand alone novel, the series are where it’s at. I love going on an adventure with the characters and exploring new worlds. I just hate when it all has to come to an end. For this list I have chosen books that I have either started reading and still need to finish, or series that I am looking forward to starting.

1. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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I am near enough halfway through this series and I am going to try my best to read the rest before the final book comes out later on this year. I can’t wait to dive back into it and find out what will happen to the characters that I love.

2. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

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I have only read the first book so far, but I have the second one ready and waiting on my book shelf. I will be aiming to read the last two this year as I have heard that they only get better, especially with the last one. I will probably end up reading more of Schwab’s work because she is amazing.

3. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

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After having read the first and the second book in this series, I am just waiting to get paid so I can finally read the last in this trilogy. After the ending in the second one I can’t wait to find out what happens to everyone and what the fate of Ravka will be. Plus, once I do I can then move on to Six of Crows (which I am most excited about).

4. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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As this book is my favourite of 2018 so far, it is only right that I be so excited about reading the rest in the trilogy. This world is so rich and magical, the characters feel so real, and the conflicts are some of the best I’ve read. 2019 seems a while away, but I can’t wait for more of Adeyemi’s writing.

5. Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

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Can the next book just come out already! I am dying to find out what happens to the three queens, especially after what happened in One Dark Throne. I am so invested in this story, I have bought all the novellas just to keep me going until Two Dark Reigns comes out. I just hope it is worth the wait.

6. The Belles by Dhonielle Clayton

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I’m not sure how many books Clayton will end up doing set within this world, but I know for definite that there is another book after The Belles. I can’t wait to see more of this dark, whimsical and fantasical world, as well as the characters who are so conflicted. Fingers crossed it is as good as this was, because I loved it.

7. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

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Already there are ARCs of The Wicked King out in the world and I want one so badly! I am going to be insanely jealous of anyone who gets the chance to read it, whereas I have to wait until next January (curls into a ball and cries). Everyone should read this series, it’s amazing.

8. Scythe by Neal Shusterman

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I have heard so much about this book (as well as the sequel) and I am so tempted to buy it. I watch Peruseproject (aka Regan) and she has read them recently and is getting her boyfriend to read them now as well. I feel like I am missing out so I need to catch up.

9. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

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Again, another series I have heard Regan talk about a lot on her channel and I even have the first book on my shelf. The only thing that has stopped me from reading it is that I know that if I love it, I will want the others. With six in the series (which is now complete, I think) I need to be able to afford them all at once if I love it and want to read them one after the other.

10. Furyborn by Claire Legrand

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A debut novel and the first in a series that I am so excited to read. I pre-ordered this bad boy, which comes out in June, and it still seems so far away, I just need it now. I follow the author on social media and every time I see little bits of information I just get more excited. If you haven’t heard about this book then you need to check it out.

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And that is my complete list. Of course, there are lots of other books I am looking forward to reading but I would be here all day if I were to list them.

What series are you looking forward to reading the most?

Wrapping Up The Week (9th April – 15th April)

How are we already halfway through the month? April is flying by and the countdown to moving house is getting shorter and shorter (5 days!). Unfortunately our internet won’t be sorted out until May 1st, but I am hoping that my data will be enough for me to get a few blog posts up within that time. I want to say I’ve packed up most of my things, but I haven’t. It’s a good thing I still have some time or I might be panicking.

In my last post I mentioned that my laptop had been playing up, freezing and crashing, and coming up with a code that said ‘Critical Process Died’. A bit of investigation on twitter told me that there were loads of people getting the same message which made me think it was a Windows 10 issue. Sure enough, I had another update a couple of days ago and it’s been fine since then. Obviously I was over the moon and managed to pick up with my editing again, something I had been too afraid to do in case my laptop crashed and I lost everything.

Books I read and reviewed…

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This debut novel is set to release in less than two weeks(for the US), so of course I spent a better part of the week flying through Ash Princess. You can find my full review here, but overall, I really enjoyed this book. There are some similarities between another of my favourite series, Throne of Glass, but there was great character development and the story progressed nicely. I will definitely be grabbing the second one when it comes out, hopefully next year.

I am currently reading…

I am still making my way through Nevernight, a book that is heavier and more descriptive so it is taking time to read, but I am also starting The Smoke Thieves. I was given the chance to read this by Penguin Random House on NetGalley and I am so excited to see what it is all about. Fingers crossed I can finish both of these within the week, maybe even before I move house.

Posts from the week…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Liked But Will Never Re-Read

WWW Wednesday – Hitting 250 Followers!

I got a lot of engagement this week thanks to these two blog posts and I always find it great to spark up a conversation with my followers about books.

My WIP…

I am cutting so many words in this second draft, but it is much easier to do so than I thought. I want the beginning to be solid and to do that I have to get rid of the boring stuff. My readers need to be entertained and if they’re bored before the good stuff starts, they won’t give it a chance. In total, I re-wrote 2,000 words yesterday (unable to write before then due to laptop problems) and I’m hoping to get another 1,000 done tonight if I can.

Other Fun Stuff…

The weather has been picking up here in the UK and we managed to get out yesterday for a three mile walk in the nearby nature park which was nice and relaxing. Apart from that I have been getting things in order for moving and finding enough bags and boxes to pack up all my stuff. I hope this is the only time I will be moving this year because it is tiring.

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My week was fairly uneventful but I hope you all had a great one and read some awesome books!

ARC Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

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Title: Ash Princess

Author: Laura Sebastian

Publisher: Delacorte Books (Macmillan Children’s Books in UK)

Date: 24th April 2018 (14th June 2018 for UK)

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

I was lucky enough to have been approved to read an ARC of Ash Princess from Macmillan Children’s Books on NetGalley. While this book doesn’t come out until June, I thought it best to post my review now for those who are in the US and those who can buy the book on Book Depository. I was drawn to this because it sounded like some other YA fantasy books that I loved in the past and I wanted to see if it would live up to them. In the end I found myself really enjoying Ash Princess and while it had a few tropes (love triangle anyone?) I didn’t actually mind them. If anything, I thought it was quite refreshing.

When she was six years old, Theodosia saw her mother brutally murdered when her kingdom was invaded by a tyrant known as the Kaiser. Since then he has kept her captive and either slaughtered or enslaved her people. Whenever they tried to start rebellions he took it out on her, whipping and beating her to send a message to her people. To them she is just the Ash Princess, a mockery, but she can only keep up the pretence for so long. When her last hope dies, she seeks out revenge and with the help of her people she concocts a plan to murder the Prinz. But as she grows close to him she realises that her feelings may not be as fake as she wants them to be. In the end, only she can decide what she will do to save her people.

There are a few traits of this story that relate to another famous series, but it was also unique in its own way. It starts off a little slow, as most fantasies do, but the world is slowly built up and we gain an understanding of what happened to Theo’s home, Astrea. Sebastian creates a brutal world where there is no hope until one girl decides to fight back. Throughout the book we find out more about the world, but one aspect I enjoyed was the magic and how it came about. Some Astreans have magical powers gifted from their Gods and they are enhanced with gems that come from the mines, which of course the Kaiser would harvest for himself, even though they cannot wield the magic in the same way.

I will warn you that there are some tough topics in this book, which include abuse, slavery and hints of rape. There were scenes that were tense and horrible to read, especially towards the end of the book, but they led to Theo’s penultimate decisions. Race plays a part as well, as the Kaiser and his people are fair haired with pale skin and the Astreans have olive skin with dark hair, something that is pointed out a few times within the book.

Unable to keep the name Theodosia, she became known as Thora, as the Kaiser wouldn’t allow her to use her royal name, and instantly we know that her life is one that has been spent walking on eggshells, cowering from the Kaiser and his men, and one that was torturous. But as the story goes on we see her finding the willpower to fight back and to be stronger than she has been. There was definitely some great character development and I enjoyed seeing her embrace her heritage.

The other characters in this story were likeable, especially Cress, the daughter of the man who killed Theo’s mother, but who treated her like a sister. Their friendship was sweet in places, especially in the beginning. However, as Theo became closer to the Prinz, you could see cracks start to form. Soren, the Prinz was a complicated character. I wanted to like him, but at the same time I was always waiting for him to become his father. The love triangle enters the story with Blaise, an Astrean who lived at the palace when Theo was young. As far as love triangles go, this one wasn’t hard to stomach and I’m looking forward to the second book where I’m sure it will feature more.

Overall, I found myself flying through Ash Princess and when I was past 75% I didn’t want to stop reading! The ending was great and sets up the second book up perfectly. It will be intriguing to see what happens to all the characters and how their stories will weave in to each other. Ash Princess was a great debut and manages to reach four stars in my opinion.

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Review: The Oracle Queen by Kendare Blake

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Title: The Oracle Queen

Author: Kendare Blake

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Date: 3rd April 2018

I am one of many people that have fallen in love with this series. It isn’t often that I will go out and buy all the novellas that are associated with a book, but when it comes to Three Dark Crowns I can never get enough. Once an email came through from Amazon asking me if I wanted to pre-order, I was as quick as lightning to buy it and then proceeded to read it in a whole day.

Throughout the series we have heard mentions of The Oracle Queen, a Queen that was driven mad by her visions and had to be locked away to keep herself from destroying Fennbirn and its people. Since then all queens with the gift of the sight have been drowned. But is the tale really what it seems? Was she as crazy as everyone made her out to be? Or was there something larger, more sinister at work?

The Oracle Queen tells the story of Elsabet and her fall from grace due to her maddening visions. However, that wasn’t the case and the truth was something I hadn’t expected. She herself was often insecure and treated poorly, especially from those she loved, and it was sad to see. I wanted to root for her, to know that everything would work out, but we all know that it doesn’t.

While we know that the politics and groups in Fennbirn are corrupt, namely the Arrons who are as awful as the recent generation, and it seems that things weren’t so different all those centuries ago. While some aspects of this were a little predictable, I really enjoyed watching the relationships between the characters play out. There is still hostility between those of differing abilities, but there were also friendships between some, especially Elsabet with her War-gifted friend.

While this wasn’t my favourite novella (I much preferred The Young Queens, which you can read about here) I did enjoy reading it. I must have if I flew through it in one sitting. If you love this series as much as I do then make sure you check it out. Overall, I am going to give The Oracle Queen 3.5 stars.

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See where it all began with Three Dark Crowns:

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March Book Haul – Books Make Great Gifts

For February I was on a book buying ban, and while I was technically finished with it, I still only bought three books myself (mainly because I knew I would be getting some for my birthday). One was a pre-order that I had been waiting a very long time for, and the other two were so I could kick-start a series I had been wanting to read for a while now.

I wish I could have bought more but as I am moving house in less than two weeks all my money had to go to that (still fun though).

My Haul…

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The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

So far, I have read two of these and I am currently reading Nevernight (which I am loving btw).

Kindle Books…

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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

I have been slowly making my way through the books I have on my Kindle, so I haven’t been buying many of them lately. I tend to buy physical copies when they have beautiful covers (I know, I shouldn’t, but I can’t turn down a gorgeous hardcover).

Books From NetGalley…

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Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

I was lucky enough to be approved for this debut and I am so excited to read it once I finish my current read.

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A relatively small haul, but still one that is full of books that have had amazing reviews. I’m trying to catch up with all the books that I already own and while it may take me a while to get through them all, I know I will one day.

How many books did you buy in March?

Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

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Title: Children of Blood and Bone

Author: Tomi Adeyemi

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books

Date: 8th March 2018

Buy This Book from Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide

It isn’t often that I buy into the hype of new books. It can be dangerous because sometimes they can let you down and not be as good as you would have hoped. That wasn’t the case for Children of Blood and Bone. This debut fantasy novel was everything I hoped it would be and more. Words can’t even describe how much I adored this book. I soaked in every detail, every page that was full of action and I have to say that it is probably the best book I have read so far this year. It isn’t often that a book goes straight into the number one spot on the NYT bestseller list.

There was once a time when magic flowed freely through the Maji in Orisha, when the ten clans wielded their powers and thrived. Then one day, the magic disappeared altogether. They were left defenceless and slaughtered by the King, wiping out all traces of their heritage. Zelie was left alone with her father and brother when their mother was killed for them to see. All hope was lost as the people kept to themselves, especially the Maji with their white hair. By chance, Zelie comes across a rogue princess who just might hold the key to bringing magic back to Orisha, and so they embark on a dangerous quest to restore it. They must outrun the prince who is hot on their trail and hell bent on following the King’s orders, before time runs out.

The world that Adeyemi has created is one of a kind, inspired by West African mythology, and the history is explained in so much detail that I felt as if I was there with the characters. The information was weaved into the story effortlessly and I never felt that I was in overload. When it comes to writing a story that is intriguing, captivating and fast paced, Tomi Adeyemi has it down to a tee. I don’t think I’ve ever flown through a book of this size so quickly (it isn’t a small book by any means with over 500 pages). And I can’t forget to mention how incredible the magic system was, and unique as well. I loved how there were different types of magic that people could specialise in as well.

Some of the history in the book is heartbreaking, especially when it comes to the slaughtering of the Maji and it has echoes of what happened in real life to African people, as well as the oppression that is still happening in the world. We are made to feel every emotion in this book and I was kept on the edge of my seat, waiting to find out if our characters were successful in their bid to restore magic.

All of the characters that feature in this book were fully fleshed out, as though they could step out of the pages and into real life. I laughed with them during the dialogue, I rolled my eyes at some of their actions and I was cheering them on. Zelie was a wonderfully strong protagonist, a fierce warrior guided by her emotions and someone I was rooting for. You could really see her growing throughout the book, learning about magic, and it was great to read about her relationships. Amari, our rogue princess, was just as great and quite a surprise later on. She really grew into herself and showed that we all have courage within us. While Amari and Zelie’s relationship was a little rocky to begin with, it was great to see the friendship blossom.

I can’t forget about the villain of the story, the King who was cruel, vindictive and awful to the people of Orisha. His son, Inan, was a tough one for me. You want to hate him, but at the same time you can’t seem to. Something I loved was the way the perspectives of the story switched between Zelie, Amari and Inan. It provided me with so much more information than I would have had if there was just one main character.

I still can’t get over this book and it’s been nearly a week since I finished reading it. I need more of this incredible world and the amazing cast of characters, especially after that ending. I have a feeling there is so much more to explore and more adventures to be had. If you are looking for a YA Fantasy story that is full of action and magic, then this is the story for you. The easiest five stars I have ever given out.

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Wrapping Up The Week (26th March – 1st April)

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you’ve all been stuffing your face with chocolate eggs.

Well, that’s the first quarter of the year over with and it has been a hectic one to say the least. March as a whole was a pretty decent month. My boyfriend and I found a place to live, I finished writing my book (woo!), I also read some amazing books, and work has been getting better ever since I started doing more client work. I am looking forward to all the April will bring, even if it is going to be a very stressful month with the move and making sure everything is sorted. Who knew adulting could be so hard?

The last week has been spent making a list of everything we need to buy and slowly but surely I have been making my way through it all. We have officially finished buying things for the kitchen, I have a sofa in mind to order and the bedroom furniture is on its way. To keep myself calm I have been reading a couple of amazing books that I can’t wait to talk about.

Books I read and reviewed…

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I finally got a review up for Siege and Storm after finishing it last week, which you can read here. I really enjoyed the second instalment of this series, seeing the characters develop and the story progress nicely. After the ending I can’t wait to dive into the final book and find out what will happen to Alina and those she cares about.

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While I haven’t uploaded a review just yet (I’m planning on doing that tomorrow) I finished Children of Blood and Bone, and oh my god, it was the best book I have read so far this year. Everything about this debut was amazing, from the world building to the dialogue, to the fully fleshed out characters. It was action packed from the very beginning and it had me hooked. I wish I had the second book in my hands, especially after reading the ending! Keep your eyes peeled for a review where I get very excited.

I am currently reading…

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I am about halfway through Norse Mythology and I have been really enjoying it. When I was younger I used to love reading about Greek mythology, whether it was in YA or text books, and I figured it would be a good idea to find out more about the Norse Gods (considering I only have a bit of knowledge thanks to Marvel). I can’t wait to read the rest of these stories and learn more about our favourites, Thor and Loki.

Posts from the week…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Incredible Fantasy Worlds

WWW Wednesday – West-African Inspired Fantasy

As I’ve been getting ready and planning for moving house it’s been a bit of a quieter week on all fronts. I still have Monday and Tuesday off from work so hopefully I can plan ahead and get a bit more done.

My WIP…

Even though I haven’t dived straight into the first revision yet, I did manage to do a bit of editing and finally got the first two chapters done, which is a start. There are so many changes I know I need to make and it is quite daunting to me. I don’t know where to start, but I can’t go wrong with taking it page by page. The beginning needs a lot of work (I’m the type that doesn’t really know where my plot is going until the middle) but I can’t wait to start it properly.

Other Fun Stuff…

Can we count buying house stuff as being fun? I mean, I have enjoyed picking out what colours my pillows should be and what size sofa we should get, but it’s been stressful and a lot more work that I would have thought (and money too!).

I did, however, get around to watching…

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The Greatest Showman, which was as amazing as I thought it would be. The music was incredible, and the story was so heart warming, with a great message behind it and it was a pleasure to watch! Also, who doesn’t love Hugh Jackman?

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And that was my week! A little bit all over the place, but sometimes they are the best. What books did you manage to read this week?

Review: Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: Siege and Storm

Author: Leigh Bardugo

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Date: 4th June 2013

I started Siege and Storm as soon as I finished Shadow and Bone, because how could I not? I wanted to find out what would happen to the characters and I have to say that the second book didn’t disappoint at all. It was full of action from the get go and I felt this book was a great follow up. I cannot wait to see how it will all pan out for the characters that I have grown to love (some of them at least).

Running from the Darkling, Alina and Mal sail across the seas to make a new life for themselves, but it isn’t easy. While they had hoped the Darkling died on the Fold, they soon realise he is closing in on them and his plans have only grown more dangerous. To beat him she has to return to Ravka, with the help of a mysterious privateer who isn’t what he seems, and search for the power that can stop the Darkling once and for all…but at what cost?

As with the first, I loved the writing style that was fast paced and full of great descriptions that helped me to vividly picture the world around the characters. The story itself has been progressing nicely and the character development is there for a couple (not all) of the characters. Bardugo knows how to make you feel emotion, whether it is good or bad, and that is always a great thing. Sometimes you need to dislike characters, to roll your eyes at what they say and be annoyed by their actions (which I was when it concerns a certain love interest).

It was great to see Alina taking charge of the situation more in the second book, whereas in the first she was a little weak and moaned a lot. While there were some things I didn’t agree with, it was clear to see that she has had a lot of character growth and has become more sure of herself in her role as the Sun Summoner. The way she interacts with the other characters and Grisha was very interesting, especially the latter. She went from being the girl no one wanted to be around, to the one that would lead them.

From the end of the first book the relationship between Alina and Mal grew, but their ‘honeymoon period’ was bound to end soon. This is my least favourite romance I have read and it has to do with Mal. He wasn’t very likeable and honestly, he annoyed the hell out of me with some of the things he did that ended up hurting Alina. It will be intriguing to see what happens to them during the final book.

However, there was the introduction of a new character that I ended up really liking, and that is Nikolai. He is hilarious, a little arrogant (you find out why), but he does have good intentions. I loved the banter between him and Alina, which left me smiling and feeling warm inside. I hope we get to see a lot more of him in the final book. I can’t forget about the Darkling and his evil ways. It’s funny how I was beginning to like him in the first one and then everything just went south. I want him to be redeemable but I just don’t think it will happen. Saying that, I can’t wait to see what will happen to him, especially after that ending!

Overall, I really enjoyed Siege and Storm, and I am so excited to read Ruin and Rising, where I hope we can have a great ending to the story. I am going to give this four stars, just like the first one.

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Review: The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: The Language of Thorns

Author: Leigh Bardguo

Date: 26th September 2017

Publisher: Orion Children’s Books

I had never read a book by Leigh Bardugo before, but I have heard everyone raving about both the trilogy and her duology and I knew I had to play catch up. I figured the best place to start would be her collection of fairy tales set within the Grishaverse. It was the best decision I have ever made. I read this book in less than 24 hours. The Language of Thorns was incredible and took my breath away. I don’t think I have ever loved a book like this before and when I finished I held it to my chest and just said ‘wow’.

The illustrations throughout this book were beautiful and I loved that they were all in different shades of red and blue. It was very clever how they would start in the corner and grow as you turned the pages until they reached around the border. And the full page spreads…They were amazing and so detailed, capturing the essence of the story in one image. Out of all 6 I think my favourite has to be the first, Ayama and the Thorn Wood, but also The Too-Clever Fox was. But then again, the last one was perfect too.

Six wasn’t enough. I need more of these dark and twisted tales set in this world. I adored how they were all different takes on fairy tales I grew up on. Beauty and the Beast, Hansel and Gretel, The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid. I just couldn’t get enough of them all.

When it comes to writing, Leigh Bardugo is one of the best that I have seen. Everything flowed and kept to a great tempo, begging me to turn the pages until I reached the end. It was the one thing that spurred me on to wanting to read all of the books she has written, and that is exactly what I am going to do.

How can I give this book anything other than five stars? It is definitely worthy of them and I know for a fact that I will read this again in the future.

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