Saturday, June 22

Early Review: Call It What You Want

Call It What You Want
Brigid Kemmerer

Published By: Bloomsbury YA
Publication Date: June 27, 2019
Date Read: June 15, 2019
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Source: ARC from Bloomsbury Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 384
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44320201-call-it-what-you-want

From Goodreads:
When his dad is caught embezzling funds from half the town, Rob goes from popular lacrosse player to social pariah. Even worse, his father’s failed suicide attempt leaves Rob and his mother responsible for his care.

Everyone thinks of Maegan as a typical overachiever, but she has a secret of her own after the pressure got to her last year. And when her sister comes home from college pregnant, keeping it from her parents might be more than she can handle.

When Rob and Maegan are paired together for a calculus project, they’re both reluctant to let anyone through the walls they’ve built. But when Maegan learns of Rob’s plan to fix the damage caused by his father, it could ruin more than their fragile new friendship...

This captivating, heartfelt novel asks the question: Is it okay to do something wrong for the right reasons?

Call It What You Want has been on my TBR since I first heard about it last year. Brigid Kemmerer is one of my all time favourite authors and I just couldn't wait to get this in my hands. There are no words to explain my utter excitement when I got a copy of this from Bloomsbury Publishing. I just had to dive in right away and I was not disappointed.

Now I know what you're thinking... if you follow my blog or follow me on social media you'll know that I am not a big lover of YA Contemporary novels. I'm a fantasy fan through and through but there is just something about Brigid's books that makes me love them no matter what genre they are. I have devoured almost every single book Brigid has ever published and adored all of them. She is just such a fantastic storyteller and has this amazing talent of developing these multi-dimensional characers that I love so much. Usually I need a good strong magical or fantasy-eske storyline to keep me going in books but with Brigid's books I just don't. I love her storylines and characters so much that that is enough. Nothing else is needed.

Call It What You Want did not disappoint. I loved every single moment of it and fell head over heels for these characters. One of the things that I loved about this book was that a lot of the drama that happens it's because of the parents and it's the kids that are dealing with the fallout. I loved this as I felt like it was so unique and different from other contemporary books. I also loved that both of the main characters are flawed and make mistakes... it's usually one of them in contemporary books so to see the two main characters matching in this I thought was just fantastic.

As usual I adored every single second of this book. I will never be bored of Brigid Kemmerer's books they are just phenomenal. It's not my favourite of her books... that space is reserved for her fantasy book (obviously) but I thoroughly enjoyed Call It What You Want and I can't wait to read more from Brigid. I'd absolutely love her to write a companion novel about Connor so I will wait and see. If there's one contemporary novel you're going to read this year make sure it's this one.



Wednesday, June 19

Review: Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)

Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2)
VE Schwab

Published By: Titan Books
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Date Read: May 6, 2019
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 470
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34397653-our-dark-duet

From Goodreads:
Kate Harker is a girl who hunts monsters. And she's good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows -one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim's inner demons- Kate must face a monster she thought she'd killed, a boy she thought she knew and a demon all her own …

"Because she knew a secret: there were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous."

Our Dark Duet has been sat on my shelf unread since it's release in 2017. I absolutely loved the first book in this duology and I absolutely couldn't wait for the second book to be released. But then when it was I just got busy and never got around to reading it. In preperation for YALC 2019 and as part of my Series Catch-Up Challenge I finally picked up this absolute gem of a book. I loved Our Dark Duet so very much and although it broke my heart slightly it was such a perfect conclusion to this duology.

Our Dark Duet is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Honestly, VE Schwab is fast becoming one of my very favourite authors. I just adore everything that she writes. Her writing style has a sort of poetic beauty to it. Everything I have read of hers just resonates so deeply with me and Our Dark Duet was no different. This story is a fantasy story full of monsters on the surface but when you dig deeper it's really about that difference between human and monster and the fine line between good and evil. It's such a deep and meaningful message of what it is to actually be a decent person and to make those good choices rather than the bad. I just adore this story so much.

VE Schwab's characterisation is just so on point. Kate and August are some of my very favourite characters of all time. They're just so multi-dimensional and when you look at them in this book, the difference from those characters we met at the start of This Savage Song is unbelievable. They have both changed so much due to the horrific things that they have gone through but they still come together to hope they can be a good person regardless of what they have done. I just adore both of them. Through these characters' actions is the question of whether anyone can be all bad or all good... because often there is no black and white. It's a mixture of gray.

Our Dark Duet is a dark book. It's a story set in a world of monsters... we know that's not a very happy place and honestly it's such a bittersweet ending to this series. I loved every single second of it and even though the ending completely and utterly broke my heart it was such a beautifully perfect ending for this series. It doesn't tie everything up.... but that's okay. It gives you the one thing that these characters have been fighting for since the beginning... hope!

Our Dark Duet was everything I could have wanted and more for the finale of this stunning duology. I could not have wished for a more beautifully written book and this is one I will read over and over again and I know it will still move me even though I will know what is coming. I cannot recommend this series enough, so if you haven't yet read it... well what are you waiting for? It's utter perfection!

"You might not want to fight your monsters, August. But I'm fighting mine."


 

Wednesday, June 12

Review: The City of Brass (Daevabad Trilogy #1)

The City of Brass (Daevabad Trilogy #1)
SA Chakraborty

Published By: HarperVoyager
Publication Date: February 19, 2018
Date Read: May 4, 2019
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: ARC from Illumicrate
Format: Paperback
Pages: 544
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36475759-the-city-of-brass

From Goodreads:
Step into The City of Brass, the spellbinding debut from S. A. Chakraborty—an imaginative alchemy of The Golem and the Jinni, The Grace of Kings, and One Thousand and One Nights, in which the future of a magical Middle Eastern kingdom rests in the hands of a clever and defiant young con artist with miraculous healing gifts

Nahri has never believed in magic. Certainly, she has power; on the streets of 18th century Cairo, she’s a con woman of unsurpassed talent. But she knows better than anyone that the trade she uses to get by—palm readings, zars, healings—are all tricks, sleights of hand, learned skills; a means to the delightful end of swindling Ottoman nobles.

But when Nahri accidentally summons an equally sly, darkly mysterious djinn warrior to her side during one of her cons, she’s forced to accept that the magical world she thought only existed in childhood stories is real. For the warrior tells her a new tale: across hot, windswept sands teeming with creatures of fire, and rivers where the mythical marid sleep; past ruins of once-magnificent human metropolises, and mountains where the circling hawks are not what they seem, lies Daevabad, the legendary city of brass, a city to which Nahri is irrevocably bound.

In that city, behind gilded brass walls laced with enchantments, behind the six gates of the six djinn tribes, old resentments are simmering. And when Nahri decides to enter this world, she learns that true power is fierce and brutal. That magic cannot shield her from the dangerous web of court politics. That even the cleverest of schemes can have deadly consequences.

After all, there is a reason they say be careful what you wish for . . .

"So you just live quietly with these powers? Haven't you ever wondered why you have them? Suleiman's eye... you could be overthrowing governments, and instead you steal from peasants."

The City of Brass is one of the most unique, fast-paced and exciting YA Fantasy books I have ever read. This book had been sat on my shelf for a number of months, after I got an ARC of it from my Illumicrate subscription box. I tried reading it a few weeks ago but I put it down as I felt like the first chapter didn't grip me. However, after a friend was raving over how amazing this book is I couldn't help but pick it up again. I am so glad that I did as this is now one of my favourite Fantasy books of all time. I loved it.

One of the things I absolutely loved about The City of Brass is the setting. It's set in the Middle East and honestly, although I've read a few books set here I don't feel like there is enough. As someone who has never been there I find it so fascinating to read about these different places and cultures that I have no idea about. As well as this I found the mythology behind the magical aspects of this book so incredible. I just couldn't get enough of the different types of Djinn. I couldn't get enough of this incredible magical story.

A part of me almost can't believe that this is SA Chakraborty's debut novel because it was just stunning in everything. The mythology, the setting, the characters... everything was just so superbly developed and written I would expect this sort of thing for someone who has been publishing books for years. If her craft is already so well honed for her debut novel, I can't wait to see what her future books are going to be like. If anything like this they are going to absolutely blow me away.

The City of Brass was utter perfection for me. I couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved our protagonist Nahri. Right from the start when she thought she was just a human up to going through this journey of finding out just how special and magical she was. I loved seeing everything through her eyes. It was pretty perfect as Nahri was learning all about this magical world along with us and I felt like that was pretty amazing as when they were describing things about this world it didn't feel like it was just for the readers but for Nahri as well. I absolutely loved Dara... our dashing but emotionally damaged hero/villain all rolled into one. He is my favourite character out of the whole book and I can't wait to read more in the next book.

The City of Brass was just phenomenal. I loved every moment of it and I can't believe it took me so long to read. I did find the first few chapters a little slow which dragged the rating down slightly for me but honestly I'm so glad I read this. This book broke my heart a little towards the end and I can't wait to read book 2. It cannot get her fast enough. I can't wait to read more from this author. If you love fantasy book filled with magic set in far away places... this one is definitely for you.

"Greatness takes time, Banu Nahida. Often the mightiest things have the humblest beginnings."


Wednesday, June 5

Review: Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2)

Down London Road (On Dublin Street #2)
Samantha Young

Published By: Penguin
Publication Date: May 9, 2013
Date Read: April 16, 2019
Genre: Adult - Romance
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 464
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17661143-down-london-road

From Goodreads:
Johanna Walker knows what she wants. And that's a strong, steady, financially secure man who will treat her well and look after her and her little brother, Cole - something her parents have never done.

But when she meets the gorgeous Cameron MacCabe, a new bartender at work, Jo can't deny the instant and undeniable attraction she feels. Cam doesn't fit into her strict specifications of her perfect partner at all - but for once she is tempted to let her heart rule her head.

And as their intense connection grows, Jo has to stop hiding the truth about herself and her family. Is Cam prepared to accept Jo for who she really is? And is Jo willing to let someone into her life for keeps?

"I've never met anyone as quietly brave and strong as you. I've never met a woman so unassuming, so kind, and so selfless."

Down London Road has been sat on my TBR for absolutely forever. I remember reading the first book in this series way back in 2012 and I loved it. I immediately bought book 2 as soon as it came out but then after sitting on my shelf for so long, I was reluctant to read it. My reading tastes have changed so much since then and romance and contemporary books are just not my thing anymore. However, as part of my 2019 'Series Catch-Up' Challenge I finally picked up this book and I am so very glad I did. I absolutely loved it.

Samantha Young is such an absolutely phenomenal author. Right from the start I was completely in love with these characters. I adored them and I couldn't read this book fast enough. As someone who often gets bored when reading romance novels I found this one absolutely incredible. I was so enamoured by this book and I ended up reading it in one day. That is super quick for me and it is all a testament to how incredible of an author and storyteller Samantha Young is.

One thing I adored about this book is that we got to see glimpses of characters that we knew from the previous book. I loved that. That's one thing about series like this that I do love. We get a whole new story while also being able to catch up with the characters that we love. Johanna was such a fantastic character to narrate this story. Right from the start I loved her and sympathised with her situation. She was so closed off and she honestly goes through a great journey of self-discovery and challenging the thoughts and beliefs that she has always had. That is one thing I loved most about this book.

Down London Road was a fast-paced, heart stoppingly romantic instalment in the On Dublin Street series. I cannot praise this book enough. It was absolutely fantastic. If you are a lover of contemporary novels then I highly recommend this series. I can't wait to read the rest of the series... and I'm not even a lover of this genre. It was absolutely fantastic!

"Some people are born with family, and others have to make family."


Saturday, June 1

Wrap Up: May 2019


Hey guys,
Can you believe it's June already... that means next month I go to comic con and YALC... I am soooo excited!!
Well here is my wrap up for May... it was my birthday month so I got a lot of books this time.

Book Haul: The Birthday Edition

Hardcopies:




Bought:
  A Girl Called Shameless (Izzy O'Neil #2) by Laura Steven
The Girl Who Came Out of the Woods by Emily Barr
The City of Brass (Daevabad Trilogy #1) by SA Chakraborty
The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad Trilogy #2) by SA Chakraborty
Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber
The Darkest Bloom (Shadowscent #1) by PM Freestone
The Last Namsara (Iskari #1) by Kristen Ciccarelli
If You Could Go Anywhere by Paige Toon
Lancelot by Giles Kristian

Gifted:
Reign the Earth (The Elementai #1) by AC Gaughen
Oh My Gods by Alexandra Sheppard
We Are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo
Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep #1) by Adrienne Young
Viper (Isles of Storm and Sorrow #1) by Bex Hogan
One Enchanted Evening by Anton du Beke
The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe
The Tattooist of Auschwitz (The Tattooist of Auschwitz #1) by Heather Morris
Some Kind of Wonderful by Giovanna Fletcher
A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses #1) by Cassandra Clare
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

Illumicrate Books:
Descendents of the Crane by Joan He
Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kauffman

Books Read in May 2019:



The City of Brass (Daevabad #1) by SA Chakraborty - 4 Stars
Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by VE Schwab - 4 Stars
The Kingdom of Copper (Daevabad #2) by SA Chakraborty - 5 Stars
A Good Girls Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson - 4 Stars
Sky in the Deep (Sky in the Deep #1) by Adrienne Young - 5 Stars

How was your bookish May?

 

Wednesday, May 29

Review: Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone #3 / Grisha #3)

Ruin and Rising (Shadow and Bone Trilogy #3; Grisha #3)
Leigh Bradugo

Published By: Indigo
Publication Date: June 19, 2014
Date Read: April 16, 2019
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 350
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22535408-ruin-and-rising

From Goodreads:
The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

"Maybe love was superstition, a prayer we said to keep the truth of loneliness at bay."

I remember buying this full trilogy back in 2014 when Ruin and Rising was first releasing and honestly I am kicking myself for leaving it till 5 years later before I actually read them. I was a little nervous about how I was going to like Ruin and Rising as I have loved the series so far but I knew I was not going to like the ending... I was right, there are parts of the ending that I disliked but honestly it was a decent ending for Alina's story and I still enjoyed the book.

Ruin and Rising picks up where Siege and Storm left off, with Alina and co searching for the Firebird so that they may finally defeat The Darkling. This book was, in my opinion, the slowest paced of the trilogy. It took me a bit longer to read this one than it did the other two books. There were so many times in the book where I was just wishing for it to pick up a bit and it did... for it to slow down. There were some incredible twists going on in this one that I was so excited about but it just didn't end up coming to anything really.

My biggest gripe with this series is that I really dislike Mal. I just don't get him. He's negative and complains all the time... to be fair he did improve slightly in this one but he is no where near my boy Nikolai or even The Darkling. I actually loved The Darkling. Although this does sound quite negative I actually did love this series and I can't wait to read the spin off series set in the same world as honestly the development of this world is absolutely incredible and one of the things I loved the most about this series.

Ruin and Rising was a good ending to the trilogy and although there were things that I didn't like, I knew that they were going to happen so I had already accepted that there would be things that I didn't like. Overall it was a good, satisfying ending to Alina's story and I am super happy that I finally read this series. Roll on the next book!

"You are all I’ve ever wanted. You are the whole of my heart."


Wednesday, May 22

Review: Nightblood (Frostblood Saga #3)

Nightblood (Frostblood Saga #3)
Elly Blake

Published By: Hodder and Stoughton
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
Date Read: April 10, 2019
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 448


From Goodreads:
The explosive finale of the New York Times bestselling Frostblood Saga, perfect for fans of the Red Queen and A Court of Thorns and Roses series.
 
Ruby's world has changed more than she ever could have imagined. She's in love with a powerful Frost King. She's the heir to the Fire Throne. And she may be a Nightblood--the spawn of a vengeful deity hellbent on releasing his wraithlike Minax from their prison. Once freed, these beasts will roam the earth, devouring every last person until he or she is nothing but an empty husk. But Ruby is able to control the Minax to a degree, and now she, her beloved Arcus, and her friend Kai must find a way to bring Frostbloods and Firebloods--sworn enemies--together to make a stand against a foe more deadly than any they've faced.


In this heart-pounding finale of Elly Blake's gorgeously written and action-packed Frostblood Saga, the fate of Frostbloods, Firebloods, and all of humanity is at stake.

There are no words to explain how excited I am to have finally finished this amazing YA Fantasy series. I have been in love with this series and it's characters for a few years ever since I got an ARC of book 1 back in 2017. I fell in love with this world of Frostbloods and Firebloods and I couldn't wait to see how it was all going to end. I can honestly say this was one of the best conclusions of a series I have read to date. It was just fantastic.

Nightblood picks up where Fireblood left off, with the frostbloods and firebloods in a tentative aliance so that they can work together to defeat the God Erus. Nightblood was such a fantastic fast-paced book and honestly I couldn't put it down. It's been quite a while since I devoured a book in one sitting but I did it with this one. Honestly, I was so hooked right from the start I couldn't put it down as I desperately needed to know what was going to happen.

In my opinion, Nightblood was absolutely perfect. I loved the ending of this series so much. My heart completely went through the wringer while reading this book. I was in tears at one point and utterly heartbroken but I should have put my trust in Elly Blake that it would all work out well. She is such an utterly fantastic author and I will definitely be picking up whatever she decided to write next. I loved every single second of this whole trilogy and I am officially a fan for life of hers now. Honestly, the way she wrote the struggle that Ruby goes through in this book was so realistic and emotive. I'm pretty much convinced she could write anything and I would love it.

Nightblood was jam-packed full of action and romance and I cannot sing its praises enough. The romance was just completely heart-melting and I couldn't stop myself from just wanting to read more and more of the sweet moments between Ruby and Arcus. They were just so sweet and perfect for each other. The action in this one keeps you on your toes. I did not know what was going to happen next and I was constantly second guessing what I thought. I enjoyed every single second. I am a little bit sad that I have to say goodbye to these characters and I hope that Elly decided to write a spin off at some point. I would love to see a series following Kai. If you've started this series and not yet finished it I highly recommend that you do. It was absolutely perfect!

"Ice no longer scared me. Its facets were beautiful, especially when it caught and held the vibrancy of flame."