Friday, 29 January 2016

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers Review

Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

“I am beginning to think that love itself is never wrong. It is what love can drive people to do that is the problem.” 

Annith has spent all her life training to be a assassin and serve Death however after sitting back and seeing girls with less trained than her going out on missions, she finally finds out her true fate. The Abbess of the Convent wants her to become a Seeress and stay locked away from the outside world but Annith has spent her entire life waiting and she’s finally decided to break free of her constraints.

I loved the books before this especially Dark Triumph so I was wary to read the book as I didn’t want it to ruin the series for me but thankfully it was so good. The first two books are distinctly different but have a similar plot of the girls being sent on a mission and along the way they find adventure and love however from the previous books I knew that Annith’s book was going to be different.

The book is big it’s around 550 pages and so naturally there’s a lot of different plots. Similar to the previous novels this book is slow paced but the writing style stops it from being boring and the pace and length suit the book. The story to me is split into different parts regarding the setting and current plotline, all of them link together and make Annith’s story. Annith chooses her own journey so all the steps building up lead to her mission which is different to the other books.

As the book progresses we see Annith go onto different things which show her character development especially from what I’ve gathered from the previous books. I really liked her as the main character so much so that she’s probably my favourite now. Her story concludes the trilogy and includes Ismae and Sybella in it to show everybody’s role in the protection of the Breton Court and the duchess, which I think went well with it being the final book.

The romance was shown earlier on and could be considered very fast however I think it was just so sweet and cute. It seemed to follow a similar pattern to the other books however there’s a massive difference which when revealed it’s awkward but then they just seem to suit each other and have this playful thing.

There’s a better insight into the convent  and what happens especially when Annith’s past is brought up which like the other girls she has a horrible childhood. More information on ‘The Nine’ are given – on what each group believes and how they work compared to Annith’s convent. This is interesting to read about as it’s loosely based on real beliefs. There are some obvious clues given to certain twists however some of them are surprising like why Annith wasn’t sent on any missions.

Lastly although it’s the final book I hope there’s a book on the Duchess.


Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish 
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Books I’m Grateful I Read When I Was Younger

These are books that have either been really mind opening, influential, relatable or just so well written and good that they’ve had some sort of impact on me.

Monday, 25 January 2016

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken Review

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

 “But inside or out, I was alone, and I was beginning to wonder if I always had been, if I always would be.” 

Ruby wakes up on her 10th birthday and something has changed within her, something so big that her parents don’t recognise who she is and enough to get her thrown out and into a camp for kids just like her. After living as a Green for 6 years – she’s been saved after being identified as an Orange one of the only kind left. However after finding some of the intentions of those who broke her out – the Children’s League – Ruby decides it’s better to leave and finds herself with a trio of misfit kids trying to find a safe haven.

The first half of the book was the best half - Although it was slow paced it was full of a lot of action and events. The plot was very typical of a dystopian novel with the MC being special and hiding who she is however the other aspects of the book made it worthwhile to read. I loved the plot and how it felt dystopian adventure road trip style book as it showed their journey and built up towards them finding the safe haven. The information surrounding the context and history of the characters were scattered throughout the novel so it wasn’t just an overload of information. The characters were individually really unique and their different personalities when together were good and added to their close bond. The relationships between Ruby and the other characters were all different which was nice so the reader knew more about the minor characters.

I haven’t read a dystopian novel like this in ages as they were all the hype 3 years ago and whilst reading this I wondered why I had stopped and then came the second half and I remembered just why. The book changed settings towards the safe haven and the plot was so stereotypical with her growing close with the main leader and it all ending badly. Ruby losing touch with the other characters and having a fall out with them, dealing with her powers and knowing she’s extra special and betrayal occurring. The entire set up was repetitive of other books and it just didn’t suit the first half. Also the second half was way too fast compared to the other half; the emphasis on the panic button thingy throughout the novel made it so obvious what was going to occur and the world building needed to be built up better as it was confusing sometimes how America had changed outside of what happened to the kids.

I knew that Ruby would do something for Liam but I didn’t expect what she did to him.


Friday, 22 January 2016

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Review

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly

“If you’re going to bury the past, bury it deep, girl. Shallow graves always give up the dead.”

After the death of her father Jo finds herself in a different world as she tries to solve the mystery surrounding his death.  The book deals with the treatment of girls in the 1890s both rich and poor, the slave trade and an ongoing murder mystery.

“The moment a girl learned to talk, she was told not to.”

The story follows Jo as she enlists the help of a reporter called Eddie to find information surrounding her father’s death. It does follow some typical conventions of the entire mystery adventure genre with her looking for clues in different seedy places, meeting different good & bad characters and the red herring however what makes the book interesting is as although it focuses on the action there’s this incorporation of the theme with girls and how they’re treated. Every step that Jo makes is so carefully measured out so at the end of the day her reputation will be intact and she’ll get a good decent husband. The pressure that society puts on her hinders what she’s allowed to do to such an extent that it’s not normal for a girl of her class to even be doing anything other than fawning over clothes and marriage proposals.  

Jo is a determined character who fights for what she wants and thinks is morally right and just overall she’s really brave to go forward with her plans even though they’ll hinder her future. She is quite naïve on certain matters but it’s realistic due to her background. I just found her really likable because she just forged on no matter what happened and didn’t do annoying stuff. But I do think there were too many additional characters in the book and it was confusing at the time on who was who.

“They hoped to save her reputation, to protect her; instead they destroyed her”

The book had a cute romance which dealt with the issues with a higher class and lower class relationship, dealt with how people blamed mental illness on anything to get the person locked up, the treatment of orphans, how men treat women of both classes, an awesome female friendship and family.

The only thing I didn’t like was how predictable who the main person behind the crimes was there were so many big hints right near the start.

The ending was perfect as it didn’t wrap up entirely but left hope for something to happen.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep Review

Dark Heart of Magic by Jennifer Estep

“Sometimes, humans were more monstrous than anything else.”

The story picks up a couple of weeks after the events of the first book and focuses on Tournament of Blades – a competition involving every family competing in one and one matches to find a winner. On top of dealing with that Lila has to find out what Victor is up to and find out who’s leaving a trail of slashed monsters and humans in the forest. One thing I really liked that the author does is she leaves clues to what happened in the previous book so if you like I did had difficulty knowing what happened in the previous book it made it way easier to read.

I really liked the main character of Lila – just as a general she wasn’t annoying and she’s just your typical likable underdog but she doesn’t have all these stereotypes attached to her character. One think I didn’t like is the emphasis on food the author does a lot – it clearly indicates that Lila is different to ‘typical girls’ which is annoying because her character doesn’t seem like the one to hate or compare herself to other girls in that way.

“Because there’s nothing more vicious than a girl who’s just had her heart broken.”

To add to that point, at the beginning of the novel I felt as if the female characters aside from Lila weren’t given a good introduction and instead focused on how each girl related to one of the guys – though it’s irritating to learn about females through their relationship with the male though its relevance is given later on at the end of the book. However I think the author could have made the female characters not just focus on their relationships with males and gain a separate character before they have that.

Furthermore it was frustrating that Lila picking up on all the clues she did didn’t guess who the villain was. It was so glaringly obvious there was no surprise attached to it.  I did think that Lila could have guessed it if she looked at the possibility that it wasn’t just a male who could fit the role. Though I wasn’t surprised by the reveal there was a twist near the end relating two characters together which is going to lead onto the plot for the final book. I really liked the twist and felt it was important to relate these certain characters as they both have key roles in their families.

Lastly everything else I liked; the writing style and development of the story were really built up well and the plot and action lead to interesting other plotlines. I cannot wait for the last book in the series. Plus the romance was cute!


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: Bound by Blood and Sand

Waiting on Wednesday

 A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that people are eagerly anticipating.

My choice for Waiting on Wednesday this week is:

Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen

Publication: September 2016 by Delacorte Press, 304 pages

A new YA fantasy series in the vein of Tamora Pierce, exploring class and power. The novel follows a slave girl in a desert world where the magical Well is running dry; when she discovers a source of magic, she may have the power to save the water and her world, but returning the water means saving her slavers.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish 
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten Books I've Recently Added To My TBR 

Monday, 18 January 2016

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston Review

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

“For one thousand nights, I lived a nightmare in the dark, but when the nights numbered a thousand and one, the nightmare was ended.”

The main character was smart in the sense she used her strengths to her advantages – her past experiences had prepared her for her new life more than she expected and she adapted this to level the field against Lo-Melkhiin. She was also a brave character who stood up for the King’s people and her family against the King and tried her best to help people. All of the other characters were really enjoyable to read about especially as we find out how they help give the main character a skill or something like that, to survive against the King. The family relationships and relationships between helpers in the king’s palace with the main character were also insightful and nice.

“A knowing mind is a closed one”

I enjoyed the flashbacks which were entwined in the story and linked to the present actions or her thoughts this gave an insight into her characteristics and how the future is going to be impacted. The flashbacks were normally told after she told her stories to show the truth from the fiction events compared to what actually happened. I liked the chapters with the monster telling what he had done or what he will do it was fascinating to read in the mind of the main villain.

The setting is very well developed with the different settings and surroundings described/built well like the King’s palace, the caravans in the desert and the creatures from the desert. This was good as it help fit the retelling and the atmosphere of the book.   

“We did not take men because they longed to serve us. We took them because they followed us into the fire for something they thought we offered them.”

The plot is interesting because although it seems as if so much is happening most of the book is made up of different stories which are woven into the present, her thoughts and feelings and flashbacks. The interlinking themes and plots created a great overall effect and I liked how the focus of the book wasn’t on the action but on the main character. Too add to that the novel was well written and had a nice style to it. The element of mystery was added when we gain little information from what is happening in the desert whilst the main character is away however I think it would have been better if it was harder for the main character to guess what happened to Lo-Melkhiin.


Friday, 15 January 2016

My Secret to Tell by Natalie Richards Review

My Secret to Tell by Natalie Richards

“But we’re all capable of bad things if we’re hurting enough.”

The story starts off when Emmie discovers that Chelsea’s (her best friend) dad has been hurt and is in hospital only then to find Chelsea’s brother Deacon covered in blood in her bedroom. Having fled the crime scene, Deacon is the main suspect but Emmie’s crush for him and her belief that he didn’t do it sets her on a journey to clear his name.

First I’m going to start off by saying that the title of the book is irrelevant – there is no big secret to reveal.

The plot is interesting because a lot of non cliché things happen in it.  Everybody but Emmie believes that Deacon is innocent so throughout the story she has to dodge basically everybody as she tries to find the real criminal. The good thing with that is that it dealt with different characters and different issues. Deacon is supposed to be in hiding however the majority the book is spent with Emmie which isn’t helping his case but it’s different as Emmie isn’t the only one discovering stuff to help the case.

What I didn’t like about the book is how focused on Deacon Emmie is – its way beyond him being a lifelong friend and crush. All the evidence points at Deacon and she just continues to trust him which is really annoying and stupid. Also the author did this really annoying thing to emphasise Emmie’s ‘devotion’ to Deacon. She made all the minor characters sort of villain-ised in the sense all their action seemed to make it seem as if Emmie was the only hope to find the truth. Honestly it was cringe worthy because it made Emmie seem so good and everybody was unlikable. Also the way that ex convicts are portrayed is really harmful in terms of representation.

Emmie if you take away her feeling for Deacon is a decent main character – she’s struggling with family issues and the element of realism is added.

The romance is surprisingly okay for me because although I don’t like how much she’s focused on him the romance is sweet and a part of me just couldn’t help but like them together.

Finally there’s a major twist in the book however once I found out what the actual criminal was doing it wasn’t hard to guess who it was. There’s a big hint near the start of the novel and so when it was revealed I wasn’t surprised at all which was a shame.


Thursday, 14 January 2016

Monster by C.J. Skuse Review

Monster by C.J. Skuse

“What a monster I had inside me. And I never even knew it.”

Monster follows the story of a group of girls stuck over the Christmas Holidays at their boarding school. Nash is worried about her brother’s disappearance and on top of that she’s pretty sure she’s spotted the Beast of Bathory. Things take a turn for the worse after certain disappearances and news of a prison escapee running wild somewhere near the school.

The plot is slightly different to what is typical of a boarding school mystery thriller. Firstly the main red herring isn’t what I expected it to be, which was good because the beast as the main killer wasn’t what I wanted. Who the killer is, is hinted at really early on which was disappointing because when it was revealed it wasn’t surprising. In addition the big reveal was also disappointing because of the reasoning behind it was rushed into, although the person was hinted at, the reason why they did it wasn’t so it felt out of place.

I really liked the characters in the book. They were all so different and each of them had their own part in the story based on either their past or present actions. Most of them did not get along which was really enjoyable to read and funny. Nash takes on the leadership role and she makes pretty smart decisions, what I also liked about her is that she’s practical.

The romance was bad. It’s not a love triangle but both guys liked her – surprise surprise! And by connecting her to the two male characters it made the story really cringe worthy also how she acted around the second guy was a complete personality change.

Nash has this thing when she loses control her mind blocks out the bad things she does which I think would have been an interesting subplot which the author could have delved into but sadly that didn’t happen.

I liked the writing style of the novel I think the author developed the mystery aspects really well but best of all I loved how creepy the atmosphere was sometimes.

The ending was pretty abrupt and it didn’t feel the story had finished.  


Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Loose Ends List & The Leaving

Waiting on Wednesday

 A weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that people are eagerly anticipating.

My choice for Waiting on Wednesday this week is:

The Loose Ends List by Carrie Firestone  
Publication: June 7th 2016 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 352 pages

A refreshing, funny, and moving debut novel about first loves, last wishes, and letting go.

Seventeen-year-old Maddie O'Neill Levine lives a charmed life, and is primed to spend the perfect pre-college summer with her best friends and young-at-heart socialite grandmother (also Maddie's closest confidante), tying up high school loose ends. Maddie's plans change the instant Gram announces that she is terminally ill and has booked the family on a secret "death with dignity" cruise ship so that she can leave the world in her own unconventional way - and give the O'Neill clan an unforgettable summer of dreams-come-true in the process.
Soon, Maddie is on the trip of a lifetime with her over-the-top family. As they travel the globe, Maddie bonds with other passengers and falls for Enzo, who is processing his own grief. But despite the laughter, headiness of first love, and excitement of glamorous destinations, Maddie knows she is on the brink of losing Gram. She struggles to find the strength to say good-bye in a whirlwind summer shaped by love, loss, and the power of forgiveness. 

The Leaving by Tara Altebrando 

Publication: June 7th 2016 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens, 432 pages

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been. A riveting mystery for fans of We Were Liars.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.

This unforgettable novel brims with rich characters, tense storytelling, and high stakes.

Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish 
This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is Top Ten 2015 Releases I Meant To Get To But Didn't

Monday, 11 January 2016

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow Review

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

DNF at 69%

“You cannot control a man if you take everything from him. You must leave him something to lose.”

The novel has an interesting plotline and concept however I didn’t like the writing style so I felt like the book fell flat.

If you want blood, then I want it all over your hands.”

The characters seemed likable at first but I couldn’t connect with them and then they added what I assume will be a love triangle which was really awkward and confusing.

“How useless are guns against those who are fearless. How foolish, to set force against innocence. Their own strength made them small.”

The action scenes are really weirdly written/presented and it’s difficult to follow and be interested in the story.


Absense from Blogging

As you guys may or may not have noticed i haven’t been blogging since September. I just sort of disappeared and i haven’t explained why. This previous year has been so hectic in terms of school as i was finishing of year 11 and doing my exams and then there was the summer when i went back to blogging. Now I’ve started Sixth Form and it’s such a big change to what I’m used to I’ve really struggled to find time to read, let alone blog.

With the work load and the reading i have to do for lessons it’s sort of put me off reading for pleasure as they say which is sad as with the lack of reading I’ve distanced myself from the blogging and the reading community.

I actually made this post in October but I just got so used to not blogging and reading much that I got used to it and ignored it. Now I feel kind of bad for putting it aside for too long and am finally putting some effort into it.

So here’s to the New Year and commitment to blogging!