Thursday, 31 October 2019

Review: Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim 

Summary:
Project Runway meets Mulan in this sweeping YA fantasy about a young girl who poses as a boy to compete for the role of imperial tailor and embarks on an impossible journey to sew three magic dresses, from the sun, the moon, and the stars.

Maia Tamarin dreams of becoming the greatest tailor in the land, but as a girl, the best she can hope for is to marry well. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a tailor of renown, to court, Maia poses as a boy and takes his place. She knows her life is forfeit if her secret is discovered, but she'll take that risk to achieve her dream and save her family from ruin. There's just one catch: Maia is one of twelve tailors vying for the job.

Backstabbing and lies run rampant as the tailors compete in challenges to prove their artistry and skill. Maia's task is further complicated when she draws the attention of the court magician, Edan, whose piercing eyes seem to see straight through her disguise.

And nothing could have prepared her for the final challenge: to sew three magic gowns for the emperor's reluctant bride-to-be, from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of stars. With this impossible task before her, she embarks on a journey to the far reaches of the kingdom, seeking the sun, the moon, and the stars, and finding more than she ever could have imagined.


My Review:

"Ask me to spin the finest yarn or threat, and I can do it faster than any man -even with my eyes closed. Yet ask me to tell a lie, and I will stumble and falter to think of one. I have never had a talent for spinning tales."

Pitched as Mulan meets Project Runway, this instantly captured my attention. I read this three months ago (I'm so behind with writing reviews its unbelievable!) I finished this in two days, it would have been faster if I didn't have university work to complete, but it left me thinking about it and yearning to read it -which is always a sign of a great book.

The writing style was lyrical and flowed, the mythology that was included was extremely interesting! The Legend of the God of Thieves was magical. I enjoyed the plot, there were twists that I both expected and didn't expect. I loved the idea of crafting the magical garments, "One woven with the laughter of the sun, another embroidered with the tears of the moon, and lastly, one painted with the blood of the stars." The journey that the characters had to undertake to collect these objects was exciting, interesting and gripping.

Maia and Edan were my favourite characters, I enjoyed the trope of slow-burn fake romance turned into real romance. The romance was believable and swoon-worthy.

This was a book well-deserving of the hype and I'd recommend for lovers of romance, fantasy, mythology and magic. 

5 out of 5 stars.



Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Can't Wait Wednesday #CWW #WOW

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine. If you're continuing with WOW, feel free to link those up as well! Find out more here.

My WOW this week is 'What Monstrous Gods' by Rosamund Hodge. I think this sounds incredible, unfortunately we have to wait two years for it to come out! 


Kristin Rens at Balzer + Bray has acquired a YA fantasy novel by Cruel Beauty author Rosamund Hodge. 

The book, What Monstrous Gods, starts where “Sleeping Beauty” leaves off, as Lia, a girl chosen by the gods of Runakhia, releases the royal family from 500 years of enchanted sleep and kills the heretic sorcerer who trapped them—only to find that the gods are not as benevolent as they appear, and the ghost of the sorcerer she killed may be her only help to protect her life and country. 

Publication is planned for early 2021; Hannah Bowman at Liza Dawson Associates did the deal for world rights.



-How amazing does this sound?! 
Add it to your Goodreads TBR shelf here.







What books are you waiting on? Let me know in the comments :)

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Spoiler-Free Review: Scythe (Arc of a Scythe #1) and Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe #2) by Neal Schusterman

                                    


Scythe and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman


My Spoiler-Free Review:

I was first came across Scythe after reading tons of positive reviews raving about the concept and characters on Goodreads. Initially I was sceptical, the hype was hugeeee and I had tons of other books to read first so it ended up drifting to the sidelines. I then did a Twitter poll on what to read next and Scythe won so I thought I'd give it a whirl and boyyyy... it did not disappoint! This will be a joint review of both books in the series as I practically inhaled both of these straight after the other so my thoughts and feelings are all jumbled together.

Scythe and Thunderhead were incredible! The concept, the characters, the plot twists, the world building. Everything was spot on and I loved this novel. I've previously read Shusterman's Dry and I thought that was pretty great with a tense plot and believable characters but Scythe is truly where his writing shines.

The characters Citra and Rowan were well-crafted, they were never perfect and faultless instead they had their own quirks and bad decisions and this made them more believable. I enjoyed reading from both of their perspectives as this opened up their thoughts and feelings on their situations. In Thunderhead, we are introduced to new perspectives and I thought this was great!

The concept of no death was extremely interesting and I enjoyed how it looked at immortality and life in a completely different way. There were MAJOR plot twists I did not expect, the ending of Thunderhead left me shocked and confused and full of questions. I'm excited to see where this will all go in the next instalment The Toll (#3).

Overall, I would recommend these books to anyone who enjoys adventure, mystery and sci-fi.

5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 20 May 2019

Review: Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1) by Bex Hogan

Goodreads:
Marianne has been training to be the Viper for her entire life - to serve and protect the King and the citizens of The Twelve Isles - but to become the Viper and protect the islands she loves she must find the strength to defeat her father. A new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Sarah J Maas.

He will make me a killer.
Or he will have me killed.
That is my destiny.


Seventeen-year-old Marianne is fated to one day become the Viper, defender of the Twelve Isles.

But the reigning Viper stands in her way. Corrupt and merciless, he prowls the seas in his warship, killing with impunity, leaving only pain and suffering in his wake.

He's the most dangerous man on the ocean . . . and he is Marianne's father.

She was born to protect the islands. But can she fight for them if it means losing her family, her home, the boy she loves - and perhaps even her life?

A brave heroine. An impossible dilemma. An epic new fantasy trilogy set on the high seas.
 

My Review:

Wow! 

PROS:
--Viper has the perfect ingredients of magic, pirates, assassins, romance and action! It was a wild, thrilling ride that had me on the edge of my seat rooting for Marianne. 
--Lots of tension, drama and suspense!
--The world building was great! I loved the idea of the Isles and the Maiden ship stalking the seas.
--The characters were believable (Crying gifs for all the great characters who died! :( Hogan kills her darlings, don’t get attached to anyone!)
--Grace was a sweetheart, Torin was a brave cutie pie, and Tomas was an angel!
--The romance was a slow-burner and utterly perfect.
--Exciting, fast-paced plot with a great ending. Looking forward to Venom, I enjoyed the snippet at the end. 

CONS:
--The magic system wasn’t explained a lot, but I’m guessing that’s because Marianne didn’t really know much about it. 
--I wanted to know more about the Western Isles and what made them so great. 


Overall, incredible! 5 out of 5 stars!

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Review: Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young

Girls with Sharp Sticks

Goodreads:
The Girls of Innovations Academy are beautiful and well-behaved—it says so on their report cards. Under the watchful gaze of their Guardians, the all-girl boarding school offers an array of studies and activities, from “Growing a Beautiful and Prosperous Garden” to “Art Appreciation” and “Interior Design.” The girls learn to be the best society has to offer. Absent is the difficult math coursework, or the unnecessary sciences or current events. They are obedient young ladies, free from arrogance or defiance. Until Mena starts to realize that their carefully controlled existence may not be quite as it appears.

As Mena and her friends begin to uncover the dark secrets of what’s actually happening there—and who they really are—the girls of Innovations will find out what they are truly capable of. Because some of the prettiest flowers have the sharpest thorns.



My Review:

“‘It’s dangerous to leave girls unprotected,’ a professor told me once. ‘Especially pretty girls like you.” 

This was such an intriguing and creepy read, I requested it on NetGalley because when I read the summary it sounded similar to Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill where there are girls who have been contained and have to remain obedient and ‘perfect’ for males. I’ve never read any of Suzanne Young’s other novels, however I enjoyed the writing style so I will definitely consider picking up some of her other books. 

The pace was great, it kept me on edge and I was reading until the early morning desperate to know what would happen! The plot wasn’t predictable, I didn’t know what the ending would be like –whether happy or sad. 

The main characters were the highlight of this book for me, their friendship was powerful and they truly cared for one another. I enjoyed reading the poem ‘Girls with Sharp Sticks’, this was inventive and rebellious and I could see it sparking a fire about their mistreatment and controlled lives. I wish that we’d seen more of Jackson and his side but that’s just a problem with first person narratives I guess. The villains were pretty straightforward, we found out who they were pretty early on and I was rooting for them to suffer! There was however, a twist that I didn’t see coming that was clever! This is explained more towards the end of the narrative and I enjoyed it a lot! 

I’ve seen there will be a second instalment entitled ‘Girls with Razor Hearts’ which sounds like a pretty cool title and I will definitely be reading this in 2020 when it’s released. 

Overall, this was a great read and kept me hooked! I’d recommend to fans of technology, feminism, friendships, revenge and romance. 

5 out of 5 stars. 

[Thank you to Simon & Schuster UK Children’s for giving me access to a copy on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!]

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Review: King of Fools by Amanda Foody

King of Fools by Amanda Foody (The Shadow Game #2)

Goodreads:
Indulge your vices in the City of Sin, where a sinister street war is brewing and fame is the deadliest killer of them all...

On the quest to find her missing mother, prim and proper Enne Salta became reluctant allies with Levi Glaisyer, the city’s most famous con man. Saving his life in the Shadow Game forced Enne to assume the identity of Seance, a mysterious underworld figure. Now, with the Chancellor of the Republic dead and bounties on both their heads, she and Levi must play a dangerous game of crime and politics…with the very fate of New Reynes at stake.

Thirsting for his freedom and the chance to build an empire, Levi enters an unlikely partnership with Vianca Augustine’s estranged son. Meanwhile, Enne remains trapped by the mafia donna’s binding oath, playing the roles of both darling lady and cunning street lord, unsure which side of herself reflects the truth.

As Enne and Levi walk a path of unimaginable wealth and opportunity, new relationships and deadly secrets could quickly lead them into ruin. And when unforeseen players enter the game, they must each make an impossible choice: To sacrifice everything they’ve earned in order to survive...

Or die as legends.



My Review: 


“The City of Sin would learn that a pistol painted pink was just as lethal.” 

King of Fools was captivating, thrilling, devastating and tense! It was a real whirlwind of emotions in the last third of the book and I couldn’t sleep without finishing and knowing what happened. King of Fools was even better than Ace of Shades in my opinion! The second half of the book was my favourite part, but the ending killed me!!! Why would you do that Amanda!? I need the third book now pls.

To be honest as it was a year ago since I’d read AoS, I’d forgotten a lot of what happened so had to refresh my memory before starting KoF and I would recommend that you recap too as you’re thrown into the City of Sin very quickly. The drama, suspense and stakes are piled SO high in KoF and I was worried for the characters the whole time, it was exhausting! 

The plot was honestly amazing; I don’t know how Amanda managed to keep all those multiple ties and sub-plots in check but it was superb! I thought it could have gone about ten different ways and there could have been various endings but the ending that we did get was gut-wrenching! There are definitely some major shockers in store for readers. There were some really funny moments of sass in this book which made me laugh out loud. I can’t wait to follow this journey and see where this will all go in book 3 and I’m so excited!!!

It was great meeting new characters such as Sophia, Harrison, Grace and more! I loved how they all added their personalities into the mix and felt very believable. I loved reading about Enne’s girl gang, they were fierce, confident and not afraid to be both girly and vicious! Their friendships were important to them, they looked out for one another and they each added something new to the story. I enjoyed the split narrative with Jac, Enne and Levi providing their own perspectives on the events. It was great to explore a new side of these characters and I love them even more. 

5 out of 5 stars.

[Thank you to HQ for providing me with a Netgalley copy in exchange for an honest review!]


Friday, 12 April 2019

Review: The Near Witch by V.E.Schwab



Goodreads: The Near Witch

The Near Witch is only an old story told to frighten children. 


If the wind calls at night, you must not listen. The wind is lonely, and always looking for company. 

There are no strangers in the town of Near. 

These are the truths that Lexi has heard all her life. 

But when an actual stranger, a boy who seems to fade like smoke, appears outside her home on the moor at night, she knows that at least one of these sayings is no longer true. 

The next night, the children of Near start disappearing from their beds, and the mysterious boy falls under suspicion. 

As the hunt for the children intensifies, so does Lexi’s need to know about the witch that just might be more than a bedtime story, about the wind that seems to speak through the walls at night, and about the history of this nameless boy.



My Review:

The Near Witch is enchanting, magical and wonderfully eerie! That cover too! *heart eyes*

Descriptions of the Moor and the village were so lush and vivid, they felt realistic and believable. The plot was good, the pacing was just right and the main character Lexi was my favourite! There was a sense of the unknown throughout The Near Witch that is unsettling (in the best way) and you can never fully relax with the next disappearance right around the corner.

I particularly enjoyed the witches Magda and Dreska, I want a full background history novel of them please! Cole was interesting and I couldn't decide whether to trust him at first, the other villagers were believable and I could imagine the small village where they live.

The Near Witch was a fairy-tale read featuring a sense of unease, eerie events, mysterious strangers and a few morals thrown in for good measure. It was a great novel and I'm so glad that I had the chance to read it! I would recommend to fans of fairy-tales, magic, ghosts and romance.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

[Thank you to Titan Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!]

Friday, 22 March 2019

Review: Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Enchantée by Gita Trelease

Goodreads:


Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians...

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she's playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…




My Review:

"Gamblers and cheaters, drunks and magicians. Champagne or opium, girls or boys, cards or dice, dream or nightmares: at the Palais Royal, you picked your own delight - or poison." 

[4 stars]

Enchantée was a delight to read. Initially I was intrigued by the concept - magic, France, the 18th century, romance and balls. What more could you want? 

Camille and her sister Sophie were both likeable and believable. I was rooting for them and hoping that everything would work out positively! I truly felt like I was on the journey with them in France. 
Lazare was an angel, he was caring, funny, romantic and ambitious. I loved him! It was also great to see diversity in his representation! Even the secondary characters were entertaining, in particular I enjoyed Chandon and Rosier. 
The villains in this novel are painted out fairly obviously towards the beginning which was a shame as I would have liked to see some unexpected twists. There are a lot of characters that Camille meets, so keeping track of everyone was a bit difficult at first but I soon got the hang of it. 

The plot was good, it was interesting and kept me engaged whilst reading it. I did have a break in the middle as I had reading assignments for uni, but it was relatively easy to jump back into this world. I really enjoyed the little French vocab moments, this made it seem more realistic in the setting and I liked learning new phrases! The descriptions of the setting were wonderful and helped immerse me within the story. I enjoyed learning about the different kinds of magic, especially the dress that seems alive! This was wonderfully creepy. 

The ending felt very much like a fairy tale ending where everything is wrapped up nicely. I'm guessing this is a standalone novel and that was refreshing in the sense where there was no cliffhangers or wondering in which direction the story would go next. 

Overall, Enchantée was as the title suggests enchanting and the descriptions are lush and vivid. I would recommend this novel to anyone interested in France, especially the French Revolution, magic, romance and adventure. 

[Thank you to Macmillan for providing me with a free copy on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review]
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