Saturday, December 7

Review: Ninth House (Alex Stern #1)

Ninth House (Alex Stern #1)
Leigh Bardugo

Published By: Gollanz
Publication Date: October 8, 2019
Date Read: October 30, 2019
Genre: Adult - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 480

From Goodreads:
The mesmerizing adult debut from #1 New York Times bestselling author Leigh Bardugo

Galaxy “Alex” Stern is the most unlikely member of Yale’s freshman class. Raised in the Los Angeles hinterlands by a hippie mom, Alex dropped out of school early and into a world of shady drug dealer boyfriends, dead-end jobs, and much, much worse. By age twenty, in fact, she is the sole survivor of a horrific, unsolved multiple homicide. Some might say she’s thrown her life away. But at her hospital bed, Alex is offered a second chance: to attend one of the world’s most elite universities on a full ride. What’s the catch, and why her?

Still searching for answers to this herself, Alex arrives in New Haven tasked by her mysterious benefactors with monitoring the activities of Yale’s secret societies. These eight windowless “tombs” are well-known to be haunts of the future rich and powerful, from high-ranking politicos to Wall Street and Hollywood’s biggest players. But their occult activities are revealed to be more sinister and more extraordinary than any paranoid imagination might conceive.

"All you children playing with fire, looking surprised when the house burns down."

When I first heard that Leigh Bardugo was releasing an adult book, I could not contain my excitement. I absolutely loved Leigh's YA series, the Shadow and Bone trilogy and I couldn't wait to see what she would do with an adult book. Ninth House was very, very different from Leigh's YA books and I really enjoyed it. It was dark, creepy and at times chilling. I loved that, but just we aware if you're picking this up as you think it'll be similar to her YA stuffm you're going to be quite disappointed.

Before picking up this book, I'd seen lots of things about just how dark this book was and that there should be trigger warnings... Honestly, I didn't think that it was that bad. Yes, there are some dark themes within this book but I didn't think they were too graphic and I actually loved that as it really showed the impact that childhood trauma can have on a person's life. As a psychologist, that is such a great thing to have explored.

Ninth House was a great storyline and honestly Leigh Bardugo has such a talent with her writing skills. It was wrote in such an addictive and incredible way and I loved that. My main issue with this book was in the pacing. Ninth House is a very slow burn of a book. It's pacing is very slow and I'm not usually a lover of slow paced books. I get bored too easily. However, Ninth House is filled to the brim with twists and turns which kept me interested but I still felt like it was a bit too slow for my liking.

Ninth House was a great storyline and I really enjoyed the book. The characters were fantastic and flawed and I loved that so much. I will most definitely be reading the second book in this series and if you don't mind pacing issues then I highly recommend that you pick this book up. It was dark, magical and thrilling.

"Mors irrumat omnia. Death fucks us all."

Saturday, November 30

Review: Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake #2)

Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake #2)
VE Schwab

Published By: Scholastic Publishing
Publication Date: September 5, 2019
Date Read: October 27, 2019
Genre: Middle Grade - Paranormal
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 287

From Goodreads:
Trouble is haunting Cassidy Blake . . . even more than usual.

She (plus her ghost best friend, Jacob, of course) are in Paris, where Cass's parents are filming their TV show about the world's most haunted cities. Sure, it's fun eating croissants and seeing the Eiffel Tower, but there's true ghostly danger lurking beneath Paris, in the creepy underground Catacombs.

When Cass accidentally awakens a frighteningly strong spirit, she must rely on her still-growing skills as a ghosthunter -- and turn to friends both old and new to help her unravel a mystery. But time is running out, and the spirit is only growing stronger.

And if Cass fails, the force she's unleashed could haunt the city forever.

"What you can't see is always scarier than what you can. Your eyes play tricks on you, filling in the shadows, making shapes."

VE Schwab has fast become one of my favourite authors. Last year, around Halloween time I picked up her first middle grade book, City of Ghosts, and I absolutely loved it. When I saw there was a second book I decided to wait again for Halloween time to read it as it's so perfect for that holiday. I loved every second of this second book in the series.

Cassidy Blake is on tour with her parents, visiting the most haunted cities and this time they are visiting Paris. With the creepy Catacombs as a back drop Cassy finds herself with a big problem. A poltergeist wrecking havoc on the city and only she can help him.

I loved every second of Tunnel of Bones, it was exciting, addictive and creepy. Everything you could possibly want in a paranormal, ghost book. Once again I was taken on a journey through the Veil with two of my favourite characters. I absoliutely love Cassie and Jacob. They are cute and utterly hilarious to follow through this journey. I absolutely love them and they are some of my favourite characters ever!

One of the things that I love most about this series is that each book is set in a different place. I loved the setting of Tunnel of Bones and I can't wait to see where book 3 will be set. Tunnel of Bones was a fun and fantastic story and I can't wait to read more spooky stories in famous haunted places. If, like me, you love spooky stories but are too much of a wimp to read horror then this series is perfect for you. I highly recommend it.

"It's hard to believe in ghosts, until you see one, and then it's hard not to."

Wednesday, November 27

Review: Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4)

Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4)
Kendare Blake

Published By: Macmillan Publishing
Publication Date: September 19, 2019
Date Read: October 20, 2019
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 480

From Goodreads:
After the battle with Katharine, the rebellion lies in tatters. Jules’s legion curse has been unbound, leaving her out of her mind and unfit to rule. Arsinoe must find a cure, even as the responsibility of stopping the ravaging mist rests heavy on her shoulders, and her shoulders alone. Mirabella has disappeared.

Queen Katharine’s rule over Fennbirn remains intact—for now. But her attack on the rebellion exacted a high price: her beloved Pietyr. Without him, who can she rely upon when Mirabella arrives, seemingly under a banner of truce? As oldest and youngest circle each other, and Katharine begins to yearn for the closeness that Mirabella and Arsinoe share, the dead queens hiss caution—Mirabella is not to be trusted.

In this conclusion to the Three Dark Crowns series, three dark sisters will rise to fight as the secrets of Fennbirn’s history are laid bare. Allegiances will shift. Bonds will be tested, and some broken forever.

The fate of the island lies in the hands of its queens.

The Three Dark Crowns series has been one of the best series I have read this year to date. I have realy loved every moment of the previous three books and I was so excited to read the conclusion to this series. This was probably my favourite book of the series and, in my opinion, the perfect ending to such a fantastic series. I loved every moment of it.

I could not read this book fast enough. It was absolute perfection and that is due to the utterly fantastic storytelling skills of Kendare Blake. This series has been the only book series by Kendare Blake that I have read and I have loved her world building, characterisation and amazing storytelling. I will definitely be reading more of Kendare's work in the future.

Five Dark Fates was fast paced and epic. I finished it within two days as I couldn't put it down. Before reading the book I had seen a lot of mixed opinions about the ending of this book but I actually loved it. It was very bittersweet but I felt like that really fit this series. I've never been one who is crazy about happy ever after endings. Don't get me wrong I love a good happy ending but for some series it just doesn't fit for every single character to get a happy ending and to me, this is one of those series. I felt like it was so fitting and perfect.

Five Dark Fates was the epic conclusion to an epic series that I was hoping for. I loved every single moment of the series and it is one that I would read over again and again. If you're a fan of YA fantasy series, with fantastic world-building and characterisation, I highly recommend this series. It was absolutely fantastic!

Saturday, November 23

Review: D.O.G.S (STAGS #2)

D.O.G.S (STAGS #2)
MA Bennett

Published By: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: August 8, 2019
Date Read: October 13, 2019
Genre: YA - Mystery / Thriller
Source: Review Copy from Hot Key Books
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368

From Goodreads:
After the dramatic events of the last few weeks, Greer Macdonald is trying to concentrate on her A levels. Stuck for a play to direct for her drama exam, she gets help from an unexpected quarter . . .

A priceless lost play, buried by time, is pushed under her door. It is Ben Jonson's The Isle of Dogs, a play considered so dangerous in Elizabethan times that every copy was burned . . . except one. As the students begin to rehearse it, events become increasingly dark and strange, and they lead Greer back to where she never thought she would return - Longcross Hall.

There she discovers that not only is the Order of the Stag alive and well, but that a ghost from the past might be too ...

After enjoying the first book in the S.T.A.G.S series, I was looking forward to seeing what was next for these characters and so I was looking forward to picking up the sequel. Once I realised that this one followed a forbidden and forgotten play I was super excited. As such a literature lover it really interested and intrigued me.

Honestly, I wish I could say that I enjoyed this book. It was intriguing and once again the writing style was very addictive but honestly I found myself a bit bored and it took me so long to read this book as I found that the pacing was really off. Yet again, this was not, in my opinion, a thriller and I was actually really disappointed in it.

I will definitely pick up another MA Bennett book in the future should she write another genre, but honestly I probably won't pick up another one of her thrillers as they are just too contemporary for my liking and I find contemporary books slow and boring. If you enjoy contemporary's then this will probably be a good book for you but unfortunately, it fell a bit flat for me.

Wednesday, November 20

Review: S.T.A.G.S (STAGS #1)

S.T.A.G.S (STAGS #1)
MA Bennett

Published By: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: August 10, 2017
Date Read: October 12, 2019
Genre: YA - Mystery / Thriller
Source: Review Copy from Hot Key Books
Format: Paperback
Pages: 290

From Goodreads:
Nine students. Three bloodsports. One deadly weekend.

It is the autumn term and Greer MacDonald is struggling to settle into the sixth form at the exclusive St. Aidan the Great boarding school, known to its privileged pupils as S.T.A.G.S. Just when she despairs of making friends Greer receives a mysterious invitation with three words embossed upon on it: huntin' shootin' fishin'. When Greer learns that the invitation is to spend the half term weekend at the country manor of Henry de Warlencourt, the most popular and wealthy boy at S.T.A.G.S., she is as surprised as she is flattered.

But when Greer joins the other chosen few at the ancient and sprawling Longcross Hall, she realises that Henry's parents are not at home; the only adults present are a cohort of eerily compliant servants. The students are at the mercy of their capricious host, and, over the next three days, as the three bloodsports - hunting, shooting and fishing - become increasingly dark and twisted, Greer comes to the horrifying realisation that those being hunted are not wild game, but the very misfits Henry has brought with him from school...

"It's unbelievable really, the reviving power of a hot bath, a cup of tea and a roaring fire."

Thriller's never used to be my sort of read. I never really would have chose to pick them up until a year or two ago when I picked one up out of the blue and loved it. Since then, it's never been a favourite genre of mine but every now and then I do love to dive into this genre. As it was nearing Halloween, it was the perfect time for me to read a thriller so when I was offered the chance to review this one I jumped at the chance. S.T.A.G.S was a interesting and addictive read and I enjoyed it.

S.T.A.G.S follows the story of Greer, a unpopular and quiet student at the prestigious S.T.A.G.S boarding school. When Greer is invited to a mysterious weekend with the most popular people in school she is intrigued and excited. But is there more to this weekend? Greer may be in danger by going... but can she resist the popular and the powerful?

Honestly, I was a little bit disappointed in S.T.A.G.S. It is dubbed as a YA thriller and I was super excited to be creeped out, but this was not creepy in the slightest. I would call this book a thriller in the loosest sense of the word. It was more like a YA contemporary where the characters had some murderous tendencies. It was more a mystery than a hard-core thriller. I just feel like I was expecting mroe from it and although I really enjoyed the storyline I wanted it to be a bit more thrilling.

One thing I really enjoyed was the storyline and the writing. MA Bennet's writing was addictive and I couldn't put the book down. It was a fast-pacing and intriguing storyline and I enjoyed the world building and story telling. I will definitely pick another MA Bennett book up at some point.

S.T.A.G.S was an intrguing and addictive storyline but it just fell a little bit flat for me. If you enjoy contemporary books with a mystery twist then this will be the perfect book for you. Unfortunately, I'm just not much of a contemporary reader and I was expecting more.

"It was like that bit in Beauty and the Beast when the Beast dances with Belle. Except there was no Belle. And no music. And no candlelight. Just a beast."

Wednesday, November 13

Review: Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3)

Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3)
Kendare Blake

Published By: Macmillan Publishing
Publication Date: October 4, 2018
Date Read: October 6, 2019
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 447

From Goodreads:
One Crowned, Two Exiled, A Revolution Rising.

The battle has been fought, blood has been spilt and a queen has been crowned, but not all are happy with the outcome.

Katharine, the poisoner queen, has been crowned and is trying to ignore the whispers that call her illegitimate, undead, cursed.

Mirabella and Arsinoe have escaped the island of Fennbirn, but how long before the island calls them back?

Jules is returning to Fennbirn and has become the unlikely figurehead of a revolution threatening to topple Katharine's already unsteady rule.

But what good is a revolution if something is wrong with the island itself?

"Some people leave too much space behind when they are gone."

As soon as I finished reading the incredible second book in the Three Dark Crowns series, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the next book. Young Adult Fantasy is my favourite genre and this series is fast becoming one of my favourites. It has such incredible world building and characterisation and I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen, especially after the gobsmacking ending of the second book.

Two Dark Reigns picks up right where One Dark Throne left off, with Mirabella and Arsinoe on the mainland and Katherine on the throne. Before long Mirabella and Arsinoe find themselevs drawn back to the Island and back into the fight with Katherine. Now Katherine is on the throne does that mean that they are safe? Or should there truly only be one queen left alive?

I really enjoyed Two Dark Reigns, but I have to admit that it was my least favourite of the series so far. While Mirabella and Arsinoe were on the mainland I found the pacing of the book really slow and I just found myself rushing through as I couldn't wait to get to the parts set back on the island. As soon as I got there I loved the book, it was incredibly addictive and fast-paced and I couldn't read it fast enough. Arsinoe remains to be my favourite of the three queens and she really went through an incredible journey throughout this book, with her visions of past queens and I absolutely loved those parts. They were so intriguing and I can't wait to see how it all comes together in the final book.

Two Dark Reigns was a good instalment in a fantastic series. I really enjoyed it and I can't wait to see how everything plays out in the final book. It was a little slow but it was definitely due to building up to what I'm sure is going to be an epic conclusion of the series.

"You don’t threaten the life of a queen and live to tell the tale. Taking the life of a queen… now that is another matter."

Sunday, November 10

Wrap Up: October 2019

Hey Guys,
So I'm super late posting this. I had completely convinced myself that I had already created this post and now I'm sat here 10 days after this should have gone up creating as clearly I completey forgot. So here it is... my super late October wrap up.

Book Haul:


Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake #2) by VE Schwab
The Iron Warrior (The Iron Fey #7) by Julie Kagawa
The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
All That She Can See by Carrie Hope Fletcher
When The Curtain Falls by Carrie Hope Fletcher
In The Time We Lost by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo

For Review:

STAGS (STAGS #1) by MA Bennett
DOGS (STAGS #2) by MA Bennett
*Thanks to Darkroom Tours and Hot Key Books

Subscription Boxes

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh *Fairyloot*
Angel Mage by Garth Nix *Illumicrate*

Books Read in October 2019:

Two Dark Reigns (Three Dark Crowns #3) by Kendare Blake - 3 Stars
STAGS (STAGS #1) by MA Bennett - 3 Stars
DOGS (STAGS #2) by MA Bennett - 2 Stars
Five Dark Fates (Three Dark Crowns #4) by Kendare Blake - 5 Stars
Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake #2) by VE Schwab - 5 Stars
Ninth House (Alex Stern #1) by Leigh Bardugo - 3 Stars

Reviews Posted in October 2019:

Top 3 Reads of October 2019:

What was your favourite read of October?