Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Goodreads:

The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.

But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

My Review:
[POSSIBLE SPOILERS!]

I remember scrolling through Goodreads one day and seeing the pre-released cover for this book and thinking wow. I loved the way the crown was titled upside down and the darkness of the blood. I was instantly intrigued and after reading the description, I knew I’d have to read it immediately. After finishing my dissertation, I treated myself to this book. Understandably it had gathered a lot of hype and I was wary, sometimes books have a lot of hype and fall short and I was hoping this wouldn’t be that situation.

This is a typical dystopian book that follows the general rules, a group of people are disadvantaged compared to an elite group who rule and there is usually an overthrow of the corrupt society by the poor people. This very much follows that brief, but in a very effective way. The rules in ‘Red Queen’ are that the Elite are born with silver blood and special abilities such as telekinesis, whereas the less fortunate are born with normal red blood and live in the not so nice parts of the country. I thought this was an interesting concept as I hadn’t read anything dystopian about blood differences before, it’s such a subtle but great idea.

I feel like I could definitely empathize with the characters, especially Kilorn and Cal. Unfortunately I wasn’t fond of the love triangle/square, as it’s just so overdone that I didn’t find it realistic. I also didn’t like the insta-hate that she had with Evangeline. This seemed fake as they hadn’t even met or known each other before they instantly dislike each other. 

There are a number of twists and turns this book takes that I completely did not expect. I’m very excited to see where the story could go and I have a few predictions… (If you have some too, then let me know!) The next book will obviously follow the Scarlet Guard a lot more closely which I’m looking forward to, and I don’t think certain characters will die just yet. 

Overall, a very enjoyable read, I’ll definitely buy the next instalment. I hope I’m not the only one who thought this could do really well as a TV series, kind of The Bachelor meets Percy Jackson? Ha. Also, TEAM CAL!

4 out of 5 stars. 

What's Next



What's Next? Hosted by IceyBooks

Hi! I decided to sign up for the What's Next weekly meme as I have mountains of books waiting to be read at some point. This week I have five books to choose from:



Help me decide! I'm leaning more towards Endgame at the moment...




Wishlist Wednesday!

Hey everyone! Just a quick post to get back into the swing of things.

My Wishlist Wednesday this week HAS to be:


'Lady Midnight' by one of my all-time favourite authors, Cassandra Clare! The description is:

'Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.'


How amazing does this sound?! The release date is March 2016, so we have a while to wait yet unfortunately.. What's on your wishlists this week? :)

Review: The Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig

Goodreads:
When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. We were perfect. They would have been disbelieving: nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega.
Nobody.

They were born together and they will die together.
One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.
The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.
The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they're free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.
Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.
The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they're not careful both will die in the struggle for power.


My Review:
Not in a long long time has a book so completely consumed me. Haig has created an absolutely amazing debut and it will capture the hearts of many YA fans. 

Cass is an independent, ambitious, courageous young lady and has many admirable qualities that are important for generations to read bout. She doesn’t allow anybody to talk to or about her like trash and stands up for herself more times than I can count. Kip, where do I start with Kip? I could guess where the storyline was going with him at about page 100… I had this strange little thought that maybe, just maybe… but then again surely not?! Even the secondary characters like Piper and The Confessor I enjoyed immensely; I was thrown into their back stories and ended up caring about them. 

The plot was very juicy. It kept me up at all hours, frantically turning pages, abandoning all of my university work and friends. I was very intrigued all the way throughout the whole book by the world that Haig created, it felt scarily realistic and the morals of the implications involved really shone through. This book is magical, the descriptions and the general narrative are so amazing, and Haig really makes me look at things in a new way. 

Overall, an amazing book, with some very interesting twists and turns. There are a lot of ways in which this story could go and this excites me so much! Please don’t make me wait a year for the next one!

5 out of 5 stars. 

Review: It's Kind of a Funny Story


Goodreads: Ambitious New York City teenager Craig Gilner is determined to succeed at life - which means getting into the right high school to get into the right job. But once Craig aces his way into Manhattan's Executive Pre-Professional High School, the pressure becomes unbearable. He stops eating and sleeping until, one night, he nearly kills himself. Craig's suicidal episode gets him checked into a mental hospital, where his new neighbors include a transsexual sex addict, a girl who has scarred her own face with scissors, and the self-elected President Armelio. There, Craig is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety. Ned Vizzini, who himself spent time in a psychiatric hospital, has created a remarkably moving tale about the sometimes unexpected road to happiness





My Review:

‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’ is a truly wonderful book. I’d been searching for it for a while and suddenly spotted it on a Waterstones buy one get one half price tables. Obviously, this was a sign that I should buy it. It tackles mental illness in such a relatable way that doesn’t feel patronizing or dramatic in any way, instead it feels real and you can feel Craig’s emotions spill through the page. It’s a beautiful book and I would definitely recommend people pick it up!

You can tell straight off the bat that there will be a downward spiral as Vizzini creates multiple problems for Craig that would pressure any teenager. His friends all had their faults and Craig is not in a good place when the book starts. This book made me laugh and cry, Vizzini captured the true feelings of a teenage boy struggling with depression and this made me care for Craig so much. There’s only one negative that I would say brought the book down, is that I don’t think there needed to be a love story involved. I would have been quite happy if it was just a journey of discovery and self-love. 
Overall, I do love this book. It kept me hooked and I felt like I understood Craig. I recently found out that there was a movie adaptation of it too, but I’m not sure if it’ll be worth watching as the book was so good. If any of you have seen it and would recommend it then let me know! 

4 out of 5 stars.

Just a short post about my lack of reviewing

I thought it would be best to fill you all in on my lack of reviewing and posting.. so here goes.

During my second year of university I was struggling quite a lot, countless things were happening and I didn’t know how to handle them. I’d also moved miles away from home so felt very isolated. What I was experiencing, I was soon to find was depression. I’d suffered with anxiety in the past and a bit of depression before but it was never like this. Plus, there’s the whole expectation that university is supposed to be the best time of your life and you’re supposed to love it and everything will be amazing.

One of the saddest things that happened was that I lost my love of reading. I wouldn’t have the motivation to read (I KNOW) and I felt like it was a chore. I didn’t know who I was anymore and I felt as if I was screaming underneath but too numb to really feel anything. I would stay in bed for hours upon hours without really doing anything. I felt like reviewing became something forced and I hated how it felt like that. I decided I needed to take a break from reading and reviewing and focus on getting better.

I went to the doctor, which is one of the hardest things in the world to do when you’re suffering with depression and he put me on beta-blockers and anti-depressants. For a while, they worked and everything was good. But then my body sort of became used to them and I started reversing and wheeling out of control again, I would cry for hours for no apparent reason. So back I went to the doctors and they started to talk about changing my medication and researching therapy groups. I was dubious as I’d had therapy in the past and it didn’t work for me at all. However, little by little, I’m starting to feel like myself again. I’m beginning to get excited over new books all the time again, I’m reading every day and to me this feels like a huge achievement.  I hope to come back into the reviewing world soon, and I hope you can all understand why I needed to take a little break. 

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Goodreads: "Errand requiring immediate attention. Come. The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things. When Brimstone called, she always came." In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole. Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.


My Review:

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is one of those books that make me question why I didn’t pick it up aggggggggggges ago. Taylor’s descriptions of exotic destinations including Prague and Marrakesh really transport you into Karou’s world. I really enjoyed this book, it was a fresh take on the angels theme that has obviously been explored a lot in YA. I liked how they were contrasted with the chimera as I thought that was a new twist and was interesting to think about half human, half animal creatures battling angels.

Karou was an enjoyable character, she made me laugh, she made me feel sad and I truly experience everything that she did. I liked how she was a strong character, especially against Kaz –her ex-boyfriend. I enjoyed the scenes with him a lot! Karou is just like every other seventeen year old in my opinion, she seeks revenge on her enemies (the eyebrows was funny) and tries to make sense of herself. Zuzana was also one of my favourite characters, I enjoyed the e-mails are the end of the book. Akiva, what to say about Akiva… He’s a good character, plagued with guilt and torment. I just felt like he was a bit too perfect, ya know? Ok, nobody hate me please! But I found all the history behind the angels a bit tiresome in the middle and felt my attention in the book lag massively, to the point where I was skipping pages. However, I did enjoy him more towards the end when everything is revealed, but not enough to make me love him, sorry Akiva! Thiago is definitely a creepy baddie in this! I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of him, he is such a brute! I hope we find out more about him in the other books.

All in all, I would recommend ‘Daughter of Smoke and Bone’, if like me, you’ve been putting it off because it doesn’t really seem like ‘your thing’, push it away and dive right into this! You will be spending your days roaming Prague streets and exploring Marrakesh with some truly interesting characters.

4 out of 5 stars.

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