Saturday, June 16

Review: Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)

Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1)
Vic James

Published By: Macmillan
Publication Date: January 26, 2017
Date Read: May 13, 2018
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 405
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26168646-gilded-cage 

From Goodreads:
In modern-day Britain, magic users control everything: wealth, politics, power—and you. If you’re not one of the ultimate one-percenters—the magical elite—you owe them ten years of service. Do those years when you’re old, and you’ll never get through them. Do them young, and you’ll never get over them.

This is the darkly decadent world of Gilded Cage. In its glittering milieu move the all-powerful Jardines and the everyday Hadleys. The families have only one thing in common: Each has three children. But their destinies entwine when one family enters the service of the other. They will all discover whether any magic is more powerful than the human spirit.

Have a quick ten years. . .

"She didn't do people, dammit. She did books. A world of difference."

Gilded Cage was a book that was recommended to me while I was at YALC 2017, so as Vic James is going to YALC this year I thought it was about time I gave it a shot. Honestly, before going into this book I didn't really know anything about it other than it was a YA Fantasy and as it's my favourite genre that's all I needed. Gilded Cage was nothing like what I was expecting... in the best way possible. I absolutely loved every single second of this book. It is the most unique and intriguing fantasy I've ever read - and I have read a lot.

Gilded Cage is a YA Fantasy that's light on the fantasy elements (although they are still definitely there and an integral part of the story), and focuses more on the inequality between people and the horror of this fantastical world. Gilded Cage is much much darker than I expected and right from the get go I was completely captured by the story and the characters and I couldn't put it down.

Gilded Cage follows one main family as they go into servitude for the powerful elite. I really enjoyed every character and I loved seeing it from their different points of view. It really gave so much more of an insight into the world having it from different characters. I especially loved that there was some chapters told from the perspective from the 'villain' Jardines. I actually loved those chapters the best.

Gilded Cage is a very slow burning book and the story and relationships between the characters develops very slowly. Usually in books like this if they're too slow I end up giving up. However, there was just something about the story, world and characters in this book that truly captured my attention and kept me reading. Gilded Cage was fantastic. It's intriguing, mysterious and full of secrets and lies. I cannot wait to read the second book in this series. I just know it's going to be fantastic! I highly recommend if you haven't read Gilded Cage yet to give it a go. You won't be disappointed.

"Millmoor changes people, Luke Hadley. But what most folk never realize is that you get to choose how."


Wednesday, June 13

Review: I Was Here

I Was Here
Gayle Forman

Published By: Simon and Schuster UK
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
Date Read: May 10, 2018
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288


From Goodreads:
Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

"It’s an act of bravery to feel your feelings."

I Was Here has been sat on my bookshelf for so, so long as have Gayle Forman's other books. I am so ashamed to say that I Was Here was the first Gayle Forman book that I have read. I don't really know why I waited so long as I really enjoyed this book. What an incredibly beautiful, uplifting and emotional novel.

I Was Here follows the story of Cody. Cody's best friend Meg, the one with the perfect life who is outgoing and popular, kills herself and suddenly Cody is thrown into this new world of Meg's life and she is stuck with the guilt of not having seen the problems her best friend is going through. Cody finds herself with new friends and finding out about a life that she never knew Meg had. What could have driven her to suicide?

I have read a few books regarding the incredible sensitive issue of suicide before and honestly hated them. For me, they need to be realistic and handled in a sensitive manner and others I have read just haven't managed to do that. Due to this I was quite nervous coming into this book, but I needn't have worried. Gayle Forman handles the incredible sensitive issue of suicide wonderfully. It was such a real depiction of depression and suicide and I loved that instead of it focussing on a depressed character wanting to commit suicide it took place after the suicide and focused more on the effects that it has on the people left behind. I Was Here is definitely a story full of grief, the guilt the people left behind has and ultimately them healing.

I Was Here is wrote beutifully. It is such an emotive story and I really enjoyed every moment of it. I am so glad I finally picked this book up as it's such a beautiful, moving tale. I will definitely be looking out for Gayle's other books and picking them up. If you haven't read this book and tend to enjoy stories that are real, raw and emotional then this is the book for you. I highly recommend this incredible novel.

"Forgivenesss: It's a miracle drug. It's God's miracle drug."


Saturday, June 9

Review: The Belles (The Belles #1)

The Belles (The Belles #1)
Dhonielle Clayton

Published By: Gollancz
Publication Date: February 8, 2018
Date Read: April 6, 2018
Genre: YA -Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 434
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37759491-the-belles

From Goodreads:
I am a Belle. I control Beauty.

In the opulent world of Orléans, the people are born grey and damned, and only a Belle's powers can make them beautiful.

Camellia Beauregard wants to be the favourite Belle - the one chosen by the queen to tend to the royal family.

But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favourite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that her powers may be far greater - and far darker - than she ever imagined.

When the queen asks Camellia to break the rules she lives by to save the ailing princess, she faces an impossible decision: protect herself and the way of the Belles, or risk her own life, and change the world forever.

"Don’t be fools. You can’t have both. Who wants love when one can be powerful?"

WOW! There are seriously no words right now that could explain my complete and utter love for this book. The Belles was definitely not what I was expecting whatsoever and I have never been so happy be that in my life. The Belles was so much better than I ever could have imagined. I loved every single second of it.

The Belles follows the story of Camille, one of the Belles, the esteemed girls sent to bring beauty back to the world. Camille is living in a world where everyone is born with gray skin and hair like straw. All but the Belles. The Belles job is to use their power to do as they are told and perform beauty treatments on the people. But Camille doesn't always follow the rules. For aren't rules there to be broken? But as Camille does her duty as the 'favourite' Belle, she discovers things that make her question everything she has ever known.

The Belles is such a stunning, beautiful and thought-provoking novel. One that really questions just what beauty is, what it means to be truly beautiful, and how far people will go to be the most beautiful. The Belles was nothing like I was expecting. When you look at that gorgeous cover you expect this to be a beautiful, happy novel but what I found is The Belles is a deceptively dark tale wrapped up in a beautiful exterior.

This is the first book I've read by Dhonielle Clayton and I am completly blown away by it. From the gorgeous writing style, characterisation and world building to this dark yet intriguing tale of beauty I loved it all. The Belles really surprised me. The twists and turns really threw me and as I got towards the end of the novel I was actually gasping aloud because I couldn't believe what had just happened. As someone who has read hundreds upon hundreds of books, that hardly ever happens anymore. I thought I was done being surprised and compeltely amazed by YA novels but Dhonielle did it with this beautifully unique novel.

The Belles is without a doubt one of the best novels I have read so far this year. I loved every moment of it and I couldn't put it down. I pity whatever book I pick up next because it is going to be impossible to beat what I have just read. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in what I know is going to be a heart-stoppingly amazing trilogy. I really cannot reccommend this book enough. Even if you think this isn't the sort of book you'll like I urge you to give it a go. I promise you, I was in the same position when I started it but I was completely blown away. You will not be disappointed. The Belles is just phenomenal.

"You have to decide for yourself. It is you who must live with the outcome."


Wednesday, June 6

Review: A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.5)

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3.5)
Sarah J Maas

Published By: Bloomsbury Publishing
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
Date Read: April 28, 2018
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 229
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36156268-a-court-of-frost-and-starlight

From Goodreads:
Months after the explosive events in A Court of Wings and Ruin, Feyre, Rhys, and their companions are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can't keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated--scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

Please Note: There may be spoilers from the previous books in the series.


"I love you. More than life, more than my territory, more than my crown." 

A Court of Frost and Starlight was a book that I have been dying to get my hands on and when it got delivered to my house early by a few days (EEP), I couldn't help but dive right in. I loved A Court of Frost and Starlight so much. It was, in my opinion, totally perfect. A Court of Frost and Starlight was a lot shorter than the previous books, with it being a novella, and honestly there is less action in this than the previous novels in this series. Some will probably complain about this and say that it was a let down but I went into this book completely expecting there to be less action.

A Court of Frost and Starlight is definitely a bridging novella, as I was expecting it to be. It gives us a little taste of what Rhysand and Feyre are up to after the end of A Court of Wings and Ruin. I loved seeing what happened to them and how they were dealing with the after effects of ACOWAR as I felt like ACOWAR could have gone on for longer and explored the after effects of the war a little bit more. I also loved how this was an introduction to the new novels with new narrators. I loved catching up with all the characters that I came to love and I loved seeing the dynamics between Cassian and Nesta. This was definitely a book that was more about the relationships between the characters and setting the scene for the next book.

A Court of Frost and Starlight was a lovely novella to bridge the gap between the old trilogy and the new one. I am super excited to see this series continue with other characters being the narrators. It was way shorter than I would have liked. Even with it just being more about the relationships between the characters rather than the world and the action I would have been totally fine with that and experiencing more along with these characters that I love. I cannot wait for the next book in this series. It cannot get here fast enough.

"What you two have, Rhys... it's the legends, the lies, they spin us when we're children. About the glory and wonder of the mating bond. I thought it was all bullshit. Then you two came along."


Friday, June 1

Wrap Up: May 2018





Hey Guys,
Can you believe it is June already? I mean seriously where is the year going? It's disappearing so damn fast. Well, I had a pretty awesome month. It was my birthday in May so I got many books as gifts. I also went to see one of my favourite musicals of all time in Manchester. Anyone who knows me knows that besides of books Musical Theatre is my favourite thing. I just adore them. So here I am going to see the incredible Miss Saigon. It was just so stunning and I cried my eyes out... naturally.

Next month, I'm going to see two, yes TWO musicals. I'm so excited. I'll be enjoying Matilda the Musical and Thoroughly Modern Millie in the coming weeks. WOOP!


Okay now on to my month in books. I had a pretty great book month too. I got tonnes of fantastic books as I started buying my YALC books, and I have read quite a lot too. From now for the next two months my goal is to just work on my YALC books so I've made a brand new TBR Jar with my YALC titles in.

Book Haul

Hardcopies:


Eve of Man (Eve of Man #1) by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher
Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber
This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Five Years From Now by Paige Toon
Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James
Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard
King's Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard
Alice (Chronicles of Alice #1) by Christina Henry
Red Queen (Chronicles of Alice #2) by Christina Henry
Lost Boy by Christina Henry
I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

E-Books:

Bought:


Yumi (Flame in the Mist #1.75) by Renee Ahdieh

For Review:


Giant Days by Non Pratt
Moonlight Seducation (de Vincent #2) by Jennifer L Armentrout
The Beasts Heart by Leife Shallcross

Books Read in May 2018:
  

The Belles (The Belles #1) by Dhionelle Clayton - 5 Stars
I Was Here by Gayle Forman - 4 Stars
Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James - 4 Stars
Moonlight Seduction (de Vincent #2) by Jennifer L Armentrout - 4 Stars
Tarnished City (Dark Gifts #2) by Vic James - 5 Stars
Clean by Juno Dawson - 4 Stars

Reviews Posted in May 2018:


Top 3 Books of May 2018


What books did you get/read in May?

Wednesday, May 30

Review: Beautiful Broken Things

Beautiful Broken Things
Sara Barnard

Published By: Macmillan Children's Books
Publication Date: February 25, 2016
Date Read: April 27, 2018
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 328
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25437747-beautiful-broken-things

From Goodreads:
I was brave
She was reckless
We were trouble


Best friends Caddy and Rosie are inseparable. Their differences have brought them closer, but as she turns sixteen Caddy begins to wish she could be a bit more like Rosie – confident, funny and interesting. Then Suzanne comes into their lives: beautiful, damaged, exciting and mysterious, and things get a whole lot more complicated. As Suzanne’s past is revealed and her present begins to unravel, Caddy begins to see how much fun a little trouble can be. But the course of both friendship and recovery is rougher than either girl realises, and Caddy is about to learn that downward spirals have a momentum of their own.

"I was sixteen, and I honestly believed I was due a love story."

Beautiful Broken Things has been sat on my shelf for so long. I remember buying it when it first came out after hearing amazing things about it, I even got it signed by Sara at YALC a few years ago, but for some reason I just never picked it up. I thought it was about time that I picked it up and gave it a go... I am so glad I did. I enjoyed this book so much. Beautiful Broken Things completely surpassed all expectations I had of this book.

Caddy is the 'safe' one. She is the one of her friends who doesn't go out and likes to stay home reading and studying while they go out partying. But then she meets Suzanne. The wild child with a troubled past who brings Caddy out of her shell more than anyone else ever could. Soon Caddy's life seems to be spiralling out of control and she doesn't know how to make it stop... or if she even wants to.

I really loved the characters in this book. Sara Barnard certainly knows how to spin a fantastic tale. Right from the start her writing style completely captured my attention and I couldn't put this book down. It was a beautiful story with a hint of tackling some really important issues. Sara tackles some mental health issues in this book and she does it beautifully. Having just before picking this up read a book with characters with depression and absolutely hated the depiction of them, Beautiful Broken Things portrayed anxiety, depression and suicide in such a realistic and raw yet sensitive way. This book is in no way dark, as you would expect a book with a character suffering from depression to be.  So many books that try to tackle issues like this end up being about depression, rather than about the people, but not this one. It was more focused on the character's life and she just so happened to have depression and I loved that about it.

I loved how refreshing this book was. YA Contemporary is such a majorly popular genre and I have read so many of them. You always know there is going to be a romance in it and that is just not the case. Don't get me wrong, I love a good romance in YA books but it was so refreshing to find a YA book that IS centred around love... just not romantic love. It portays the love between friends and I absolutely adored that.

Beautiful Broken Things really took me by surprise. I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would. I was taken away on this rollercoaster story and I really couldn't put it down. I was so impressed with this debut novel I will definitely be reading more from Sara in the future. If you haven't read this before I highly recommend that you do.

"But people we love come and go, Caddy. That doesn’t mean we loved them any less at the time."


Friday, May 25

Non-Review: All the Bright Places

All The Bright Places
Jennifer Niven

Published By: Penguin
Publication Date: January 8, 2015
Date Read: April 18, 2018
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 378
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/30626177-all-the-bright-places

From Goodreads:
The Fault in Our Stars meets Eleanor and Park in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.
 
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

All the Bright Places is a book I have had on my TBR for what feels like forever. I have heard such amazing things about this book and I was super excited to finally read it. Honestly... I didn't really like it that much. It is in no way a bad book. I liked the characters and the writing style, it just didn't have the 'must-read' quality that I'm looking for in books.

This is the second book about suicide that I've tried to read and didn't enjoy. It's already a really horrible subject matter to read about and honestly this made me feel a little bit uncomfortable. I didn't find the story very realistic if I'm honest and although the writing style and characterisation was good, it really affected my ability to enjoy this book. I got to about 52% and then I just had no motivation or want to continue the book.

I will definitely pick up one of Jennifer's other books because her writing style was fantastic. Unfortunately this one just wasn't for me.