Wednesday, October 16

Review: One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)

One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2)
Kendare Blake

Published By: Macmillan Childrens
Publication Date: September, 21, 2017
Date Read: September 15, 2019
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 450
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34567771-one-dark-throne

From Goodreads:
The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, the elemental sister once thought to be the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must confront the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

"Don't be ridiculous, boy. You cannot kill what is already dead."

I read the first book in this series, Three Dark Crowns, back in 2016 and really enjoyed it. There were certain things I wasn't crazy about but I did really enjoy it. I can't really explain why I didn't continue the series when One Dark Throne published in 2017 but I just never ended up picking this one up. Fast forward 3 years and a friend of mine read the first book and then suggested we buddy read One Dark Throne together and I took her up on it. It was a great chance to get back into the series. I am so very glad I did as I really loved this book. In my opinion One Dark Throne is even better than the first book and I am so excited about continuing this series.

One Dark Throne is fast-paced and action-packed. Two things that I love. One of my issues with Three Dark Crowns was that I felt like there were pacing issues. I remember getting a little bored in the middle and I worried that that would happen again with book 2. I needn't have worried. There was no pacing issues in this book whatsoever. I was completely gripped from start to finish and I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.

One Dark Throne was incredible. I forgot my love for the world building in this series. It's just such a dark and intriguing world and I love the history of three queens always being born and fighting to the death for the crown. It's just brilliant and something that I love reading about. I don't know what it says about me that I love reading things where people are fighting to the death but oh well. I really enjoyed reading more about the three sisters and I honestly changed my mind about all of them throughout this book. Once I decided I liked or disliked one of them within minutes there would be something happen that made my doubt myself and change my mind. Even now after finishing the book I can't really decide my thoughts on them.

This book was full of intrigue, violence and of course death. I mean it does have the word 'dark' in the title, what were you expecting? There was so much happening towards the end and so many twists and turns I am left with so many questions and I have already ordered books 3 and 4 so I can finish off the series. This was definitely my favourite book of the series so far and I can't wait to read more. One Dark Throne was a fantastic instalment in this YA Fantasy series and I highly recommend it to any fantasy fans. Roll on book three.

"And because . . . you have always been the most important person to me. Everybody has that, I think. And for me, it will always be you."

 

Wednesday, October 9

Review: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published By: Oneworld Publications
Publication Date: October 22, 2015
Date Read: August 16, 2019
Genre: YA - Sci-fi
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 602
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25877135-illuminae

From Goodreads:
This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

"She is catalyst.
She is chaos.
I can see why he loves her."


I have seen so much about this book over the last few years. Honestly, everywhere I looked online this book was being raved about. However, I was really skeptical about reading it. I'd previously read one of Amie Kaufman's books and not really liked it, so it kind of put me off trying this series. Add to that the fact that this book isn't told in normal narration, it really put me off. Fast forward a couple of years and I read Aurora Rising and it completely and utterly blew me away! It was absolutely stunning so I decided maybe I should give this one a go. Well, it's time for me to go back on everything I said about not liking books wrote in letters/documents etc because I could not put this book down! It was absolutely incredible.

I am already a huge fan of sci-fi books. I absolutely love them and so the storyline was already something that I was intrigued by. Illuminae is without a doubt the biggest surprise of the year for me as I was not expecting to love this one quite as much as I did. I loved every single second of it and I seriously could not read it fast enough. I was absolutely flying through the pages. This book was so damn addictive and really difficult to put down.

Illuminae is honestly one of a kind. The storyline is fantastic and the way it's told it completely addictive. I've read books told in letter format before and while I enjoyed them I just kept thinking how I'd probably have loved it even more had it been told in prose. That is not the case with this book. It is genius and perfect told in this format. I honestly bow down to Amie and Jay for writing this story this way because it is unique and incredible and pretty damn clever for them to have done. I loved every single moment.

Illuminae is one of my favourite reads of the year to date. It was fast-paced, action-packed and it was so very emtoional. I can't believe just how stunning this book is. In both story and aesthetically. I just love everything about this book and cannot wait to read the other books in the series. If you're a fan of YA sci-fi I highly recommend you try Illuminae. You won't regret it. It truly is out of this world!

"I should have told you I loved you every day. I should have given you the stars."

Wednesday, October 2

Wrap Up: September 2019


Hey Guys,
Can you believe it's October already? I can't believe how fast this year is going. It'll be Christmas before you know it. Well, here's my month in books.

Book Haul:

Hardcopies:


Bought:

Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) by Kendare Blake
Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4) by Kendare Blake
Postscript (PS, I Love You #2) by Cecelia Ahern

Illumicrate:

Kingdom of Souls (Kingdom of Souls #1) by Rena Barron

E-Books:

Bought:


 The Oracle Queen (Three Dark Crowns #0.1) by Kendare Blake
The Young Queens (Three Dark Crowns #0.2) by Kendare Blake

Subscription Boxes:

Illumicrate:


 Books Read in September 2019:


The Burning Shadow (Origin #1) by Jennifer L Armentrout - 5 Stars
One Dark Throne (Three Dark Crowns #2) by Kendare Blake - 4 Stars
The Oracle Queen (Three Dark Crowns #0.1) by Kendare Blake - 4 Stars
The Young Queens (Three Dark Crowns #0.2) by Kendare Blake - 3 Stars
Postscript (PS, I Love You #2) by Cecelia Ahern - 4 Stars

Reviews Posted in September 2019:


Top 3 Books of September 2019:


How were your September reads?


Saturday, September 28

Early Review: The Burning Shadow (Origin #2)

The Burning Shadow (Origin #2)
Jennifer L Armentrout

Published By: Tor Teen
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Date Read: September 8, 2019
Genre: YA - Sci-fi
Source: eARC from Jennifer L Armentrout
Format: E-Book


From Goodreads:
#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the world of the Lux with The Burning Shadow, the steamy, shocking second installment of the Origin series that will leave readers reeling.

When Evelyn Dasher crossed paths with Luc, she was thrown headfirst into the world of the Lux―only to discover that she was already far more involved in their world than she ever suspected.

Because the Luxen aren’t the only ones with a hidden past. There’s a gap in Evie’s memory, lost months of her life and a lingering sense that something happened, something she can’t remember and nobody is willing to tell her. She needs to find out the truth about who she is―and who she was. But every answer she finds only brings up more questions.

Her search for the truth brings her ever closer to Luc, the Origin at the center of it all. He’s powerful, arrogant, inhumanly beautiful, extremely dangerous…and possibly in love with her. But even as Evie falls for him, she can’t help but wonder if his attraction is to her, or to the memory of a girl who no longer exists.

And all the while, a new threat looms: reports of a flu-like, fatal virus that the government insists is being spread by Luxen. A horrifying illness that changes whoever it touches, spreading panic across a country already at its breaking point.

 

The Burning Shadow was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it, so you can imagine my utter excitement when I got an ARC. My love for this world has been building and getting stronger for years. From the moment I read Obsidian back in 2011, I was in love with this sci-fi world and it's characters and today it's stronger than ever. The Burning Shadow was everything that I could have wanted and more. I loved every single second of this book.

The Burning Shadow picks up where The Darkest Star left off, with Evie and Luc still trying to recover her memories from 'before'. Just when they thought they had uncovered the extent of Evie's moms secrets, they are struck by more revelations... each one more surprising and dangerous as the last. There is a virus happening and the Luxen are caught in the middle of it. Can Evie and Luc figure out what is going on before there are more fatalities?

I loved this book so much and Jennifer L Armentrout just cemented herself as my favourite author ever. I have read every single book Jen has wrote and just when I think that she can't surprise me any more, she writes this beast of a book. And I mean that... it is a beast... it's over 700 pages!! I think this may well be her longest book and I loved every single word of it. Right from the start I was completely in love with the world and characters all over again and once I hit the half way mark I couldn't put it down.

The Burning Shadow was in my opinion... perfection! It was filled with all my favourite Lux characters and the new ones I fell in love with back in The Darkest Star. It was filled with swoon-worthy romance, jaw-dropping surprises and heart-pounding action. I loved every single moment of it and I cannot wait to get my hands on book 3. If you haven't started this series before, I highly recommend it. Even if sci-fi isn't your thing... I promise this will be. Absolutely stunning!



Wednesday, September 25

Review: Deadly Cool (Deadly Cool #1)

Deadly Cool (Deadly Cool #1)
Gemma Halliday

Published By: Harper Teen
Publication Date: October 11, 2011
Date Read: August 11, 2019
Genre: YA - Thriller / Mystery
Source: Bought
Format: E-Book
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10429033-deadly-cool

From Goodreads:
Hartley Grace Featherstone is having a very bad day. First she finds out that her boyfriend is cheating on her with the president of the Herbert Hoover High School Chastity Club. Then he’s pegged as the #1 suspect in a murder. And if that weren’t enough, now he’s depending on Hartley to clear his name.

But as much as Hartley wouldn’t mind seeing him squirm, she knows he’s innocent, and she’s the only one who can help him. Along with her best friend, Sam, and the school’s resident Bad Boy, Chase, Hartley starts investigating on her own. But as the dead bodies begin to pile up, the mystery deepens, the suspects multiply, and Hartley begins to fear that she may be the killer’s next victim.

Deadly Cool has been on my kindle sat unread for years. It's one of those books that you hear about, instantly buy and then newer, shinier books steal your attention. I'm glad I finally picked up Deadly Cool as I did find it quite enjoyable. To be honest it wasn't the best book I've read but it certainly wasn't the worst.

Deadly Cool is a cute YA mystery/thriller story. I have only recently started getting into mystery/thriller books and honestly I don't why it took me so long to give this genre a go as I'm finding that I love them. Deadly Cool is enjoyable and easy to read. It's the sort of book you can pick up after a long day and just got lost in. I found the writing style lovely. It was easy to follow and I really enjoyed her characterisation. The characters were great and likeable.

My main issue with this book is that I found it incredibly predictable and I'd already figured out 'who done it' within a few chapters. This makes me a little sad because I was so looking forward to changing my opinion over who I thought the culprit was and I just... didn't. And then for it to turn out to be correct it was a little disappointing for me. I love books that keep me guessing and throw some major twists and turns in there and on that front this one fell a little flat for me.

If you're a fan of YA thriller/mysteries then I recommend you give this one a go. It's cute and I did enjoy reading it. Will I continue with the series? Probably not. If I'm to pick up another book in this genre I'd probably go for a different one that might keep me guessing a little bit more.



Saturday, September 21

Early Review: The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1)
Renee Ahdieh

Published By: Hoddel and Stroughton
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Date Read: August 26, 2019
Genre: YA - Paranormal Romance
Source: ARC from Hodder
Format: Paperback
Pages: 432
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46657768-the-beautiful

From Goodreads:
New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with a sumptuous, sultry and romantic new series set in 19th century New Orleans where vampires hide in plain sight.

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as Le Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sèbastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of Le Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sèbastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

At once a sultry romance and a thrilling murder mystery, master storyteller Renée Ahdieh embarks on her most potent fantasy series yet: The Beautiful.

"When life becomes difficult, the only source of strength we have is love. Love of others, love of self, love of life in its entirety."

There are no words to explain just how excited I am to have already read The Beautiful. I am a huge fan of Renee Ahdieh and have read all of her books to date and loved them all. I was so excited to see her go into a new genre and I have to say I loved every single second of this book.

The Beautiful is very different from Renee's previous books and honestly, I think this may be my favourite of hers to date. It's dark, romantic and unputdownable. The Beautiful is set in 1800s New Orleans, a city ran by vampires. Celine has just arrived in New Orleans and finds that there seems to be a string of murders. Never one to back away from danger she is determined to find the culprit before someone else is killed... but has she just put herself in the killers sights?

One thing I adored about this book is that it is not your typical YA vampire book. I was so excited to see a new vampire book but at the same time a little bit worried, as I feel like vampire romance books were so overdone back a few years ago after the rise of Twilight. I needn't have worried at all! This is not your typical vampire romance. It is so, so much more and it was beautiful and perfect. I am a sucker for anything serial killer-eske so to find that at the forefront of this story was perfect for me. I was so engrossed in this story and trying to figure out who the killer was. I loved that it was essentially a murder mystery but with vampires and magical creatures. I loved every single second of it.

Renee Ahdieh is one of my all time favourite authors and this book shows why. She's strayed away from her typical genre of epic high fantasy, and honestly she does paranormal/mystery even better. I don't think there is anything this woman can write that I won't fall in love with. The world was incredible. Her world building of 1800s New Orleans was fantastic and I truly felt like I was in that time period while I was reading it. The glitz, the glamour and the danger was all entwined in this fantastic tale. The characters were just incredible. I loved Celine and how she is warring with a darkness within herself and how she is drawn to the magical Court of the Lions. And don't even get me started on Sebastian. He is just the most incredible character and I am well and truly in love!

The Beautiful was everything I could have wanted and more. It was stunning and beautiful and there are no words to truly describe my utter love and obsession with this book. It is one of my favourite reads of the year so far. I already just want to go back and read it again and cherish every word. I am so excited for the second book already. If there is one book you're going to read this Autumn/Fall then make sure it is this one. You will not be disappointed. Come to the dark side and get caught up in the gorgeous and dangerous Court of the Lions.

"Love of any kind is a weapon to be used against you, when weilded by the right hand."


 

Wednesday, September 18

Review: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Published By: Rock the Boat
Publication Date: May 7, 2019
Date Read: August 8, 2019
Genre: YA - Sci-fi
Source: Illumicrate
Format: Hardback
Pages: 470
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30075662-aurora-rising

From Goodreads:
From the internationally bestselling authors of THE ILLUMINAE FILES comes an epic new science fiction adventure.

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.

"A lot of those stars actually died millions of years ago. It’s just they’re so far away, the light they created before they died hadn’t finished reaching us yet. You’re looking at a sky full of ghosts."

Aurora Rising is a book that I had seen lots about online before it's publication and I know a lot of people were super excited for this one. It wasn't until I got this in my Illumicrate box that I genuinely considered reading it. Don't get me wrong, this book sounded like the sort of thing I would love. I love sci-fi books and this just sounded amazing. My reservations came from the fact that I had read one of Amie Kaufman's previous sci-fi books and ended up not finishing it as I didn't like it. This kind of put my off reading any of her other books. However, I am so very glad that I gave Aurora Rising a go because I would have missed out on one hell of an amazing book!

Aurora Rising follows the story of Tyler, a team leader with a streak of heroism. When he saves Aurora he ends up with a team of misfits for his squad... pretty much everyone nobody else wanted! But things are much bigger than Tyler and his squad ever realised and if they want to save Aurora and find out the truth of what happened to her... things are going to get messy and dangerous. Will the boy who never breaks the rules go against everything he has been taught for the greater good? And will everyone survive it?

Aurora Rising has to be one of the biggest surprises for me this year. I don't know what it was about it but I just didn't expect to love it quite as much as I did. The first few chapters were a little slow paced for me but I persevered. I'm so glad that I did because once this story got into full swing, I could not put it down. I was racing through these pages as fast as I possibly could and I couldn't get enough of this world and it's characters.

I was skeptical about how I would find the narration and the writing style. Like I said, I'd read one of Amie's other books and hadn't liked it but I've come to realise that it wasn't her writing style as much as it was the nature of that book. I'm a very plot-driven reader and the book I didn't like was very character-driven and therefore I found it slow and boring. I'm not sure whether it's due to Amie pairing up with Jay Kristoff in this, but honestly this is a writing partnership made in heaven! They are so incredible writing together. The plot was fast-paced but it still had this incredible character development that made me love each and every character.

There are no words to explain my utter love for this book. It was incredible and I am actually super sad that I got through it so fast, because I now have to wait what will feel like forever for the next book. If you're on the fence about giving Aurora Rising a read then I highly recommend that you just give it a chance. This was the biggest surprise for me this year and I loved it so much. I can't wait to read more from Jay and Amie. Aurora Rising was incredible and 'out of this world'. Amazing!

"Who am I to deny gravity, Aurora? When you shine brighter than any constellation in the sky?"