Saturday, September 29

Early Review: The Darkest Star (Origin #1)

The Darkest Star (Origin #1)
Jennifer L Armentrout

Published By: Tor Teen
Publication Date: October 30, 2018
Date Read: September 9, 2018
Genre: YA - Sci-Fi
Source: ARC from JLAnders Reviewers
Format: E-Book
Pages: 368
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34221193-the-darkest-star

From Goodreads:
When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen...but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she'd only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head...

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.

"I can think of a lot more interesting things to do in a tiny, dark space that would pass the time."

There are no words to explain just how excited I was to finally have this book in my hands. I am such an enormous fan of Jennifer L Armentrout. I have read and adored every single book she has wrote but my anticipation for The Darkest Star was very different than for her other upcoming books. Back in 2011 when I had just started this blog I was offered the chance to review a book by an author I'd never heard of. That book was Obsidian by Jennifer L Armentrout. I accepted but wasn't sure what my thoughts would be as I didn't like 'alien' books. 4 hours later I had read the entire book and was dying for more. I was lucky enough to recieve ARCs of the entire Lux series and it still to this day remains one of my favourite series of all time. So when I heard that there was a spin-off, I could not cope with my excitement. I couldn't wait to get my hands on it but I was also a little nervous... I had such high expectations for this book and was worried it wouldn't live up to them. It did! It surpassed each and every expectation I had and just completely blew me away.

The Darkest Star follows the story of Evie, a human living in a world where the Luxen are out and living among them. When Evie meets Luc she has a strange sence of deja vu. She feels like she knows him but she has never seen him before. As Evie spends more and more time with Luc, her world starts unravelling. She learns of the secrets and lies and has to discover just who she really is.

The Darkest Star is without a doubt the best book I have read so far this year. It was absolutely perfect! I had missed being in the world of the Luxen. I have read the Lux series about 10+ times, and although I will always love re-reading it there is nothing like the feeling of having a new book set in that world and experiencing it all for the first time. I could not read The Darkest Star fast enough. I originally sat down to read a chapter or two and the next thing I knew 4 hours had past and I was 70% of the way through. It was gripping and unputdownable.

Evie is such a fantastic character. I immediately loved her and loved experiencing everything through her eyes. She goes through such an important journey of self-discovery throughout this book and that journey was something she didn't even know that she needed to go through. The more I read, the more I loved her. One thing I always love about JLA's characters is that when something impossible happens to them they don't just immediately accept it... they actually have a reaction that any sane, normal person would have if this had happened to them. That reaction doesn't happen enough in the majority of YA books. Although I adored Evie, I would have loved to see events from Luc's point of view as well as he is just fantastic.

I wasn't sure how I was going to take to Luc being the main character in this book. In the Lux series, he was just this insanely creepy little boy but I absolutely loved him in The Darkest Star. Luc is most definitely the comic relief in this book. He is snarky and sarcastic and I loved that. He was the perfect mix of the sarcastic bad-boy and the super sweet, loving guy. I loved that there were two sides to his personality.

The Darkest Star was everything I could have wished for and more. It was utter perfection and my favourite read of the year. I am a little sad that I finished it so damn quickly because the wait for book 2 of this series is going to kill me. I loved everything about this book. It filled my heart to the brim and I just couldn't read it fast enough. Jennifer has done it again. Every time I think she can't write something better than what I've already read from her she proves me wrong with her next release. The Darkest Star will stay with me for a long time and I can't wait to read more of Luc and Evie. I couldn't recommend it more.

"Alive and so damn beautiful that it sometimes kills me a little each time I look at you."


Wednesday, September 26

Early Review: Sawkill Girls

Sawkill Girls
Claire Legrand

Published By: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Date Read: September 8, 2018
Genre: YA - Horror
Source: ARC from Harper 365 at YALC
Format: Paperback
Pages: 447
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38139409-sawkill-girls
From Goodreads:
Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.


Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

Sawkill Girls is a book that I hadn't heard much about before getting given an ARC of it at this years YALC. When offered the chance to read and review this book I looked it up and jumped at the chance to read it. Sawkill Girls is drastically different from the sort of books that I usually read but it sounded creepy and fantastic. I couldn't wait to read it and I actually really enjoyed this book. Much more than I thought I would.

Sawkill Girls follows three very different girls all living on Sawkill Rock, a small coastal island. When girls start going missing regularly, Zoey and Marion are determined to figure out what happened to them, especially after Marion's beloved sister is one of the victims. But Val does everything to try and shake them off because she is hiding a dangerous secret. There is something else on this island... something that has been taking girls and with every feed he is getting stronger. Can Val, Marion and Zoey band together to destroy the monster and save everyone else? Or is the monster fated to escape and take over?

Before picking up Sawkill Girls I had read a lot of YA Fantasy books and really wanted to read something a bit different. Sawkill Girls was just what I needed. It's unique and different from anything that I have read before and it is one of the most gripping books that I have ever read. Right from the start I couldn't put this book down. I had sat down with the intention of just reading a chapter or two to see what it was like and the next thing I knew I was a good 150 pages. I was completely taken in by this unique and mysterious story.

Sawkill Girls in the first book I have read by Claire Legrand and I will definitely be picking up more of her work in the future. I enjoyed everything about this book. Her world building and characters were fantastic and the more into the story I got, the more I couldn't put it down. It's such a fantastic storyline but the characters really make this book. There are so many important and diverse aspects of these characters and I loved that. I was just rooting for them all to come out well and Claire wrote this book and her characters so emotively and it worked perfectly.

I am so glad I got the chance to review Sawkill Girls. It's definitely not the type of book I normally pick up but it has opened my mind to trying a few more books that are out of my reading comfort zone. Will I read Sawkill Girls again? Probably not. It's not the kind of book that I would enjoy reading over and over but that's nothing to do with how incredible this story is, it's just the kind of book that's so mysterious and I wouldn't read it in the same way now knowing how it ends. Although it's not one that I personally would re-read, I highly recommend it to everyone. It's such a fantastic book and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it.


Saturday, September 22

Review: Red Queen (Red Queen #1)

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) 
Victoria Aveyard

Published By: Harper Teen
Publication Date: February 12, 2015
Date Read: July 21, 2018
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 388
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22369406-red-queen

From Goodreads:
This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The poverty-stricken Reds are commoners, living in the shadow of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.

To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from the Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.

Then Mare finds herself working at the Silver palace, in the midst of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control

"The gods rule us still. They have come down from the stars. And they are no longer kind."

Red Queen is one of those books that I was absolutely dying for and just never picked up. After it was selected as the group read for my book club I finally read this book and I honestly don't know why I didn't pick it up before now. I really enjoyed Red Queen, it's the type of book that is right up my street.

Red Queen follows the story of Mare Barrow. Mare is a Red girl who finds herself working at the palace of the powerful Silvers. But Mare could be in danger as she is a Red with the power of a Silver. Suddenly finding herself pretending to be long-lost Red royalty Mare finds herself caught in a world of lies and danger. Can she escape with her life... and her heart in tact?

Red Queen is the perfect mixture of fantasy and dystopia. Anyone who knows me knows that I adore those two genres. Fantasy is my fave genre of all time but I also love a good dystopia. This series is a mixture of the two and I adored that. It has fantasy as it's core with the magic of the Silvers but with hints of how her life was 'before' there is definite themes of a dystopia / post-apocalyptic feel. The world building in this novel was fantastic and I just couldn't stop reading.

The characters in Red Queen were fantastic. I absolutely loved following this story through Mare's perspective. She is a fantastic loving character who will do absolutely anything to protect her family and friends. She isn't the brightest character in the world and is a touch naive but I loved her. Her heart is in the right place and she learns a lot throughout the novel.

Red Queen is full of twists and turns that I did not see coming at all. I was well and truly kept on my toes and couldn't believe what was happening. I really enjoyed every single moment of this book and I cannot wait to read more of this series. If you're a fan of fantasy novels filled with magic, intrigue and danger then this is definitely the book for you. An explosive start to what I know will be a fantastic series.

"Cal betrayed me, and I betrayed him. And you betrayed us both, in a thousand different ways. I choose no one."

 

Wednesday, September 19

Review: The Red Queen Prequel Novellas (Red Queen #0.1/0.2)

 Queen Song (Red Queen #0.1)
Victoria Aveyard

Published By: Harper Teen
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
Date Read: July 17, 2018
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: E-Book
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25005214-queen-song

From Goodreads:
Queen Coriane, first wife of King Tiberias, keeps a secret diary—how else can she ensure that no one at the palace will use her thoughts against her? Coriane recounts her heady courtship with the crown prince, the birth of a new prince, Cal, and the potentially deadly challenges that lay ahead for her in royal life.

Red Queen is a book that has sat on my shelf for so long, unread. After finally deciding to pick up Red Queen I decided that I would read the two prequel novellas first. I always love reading prequel novellas before the series as it gives me an insight into what is to come and I also get to up my reading challenge. It's a win-win.

Queen Song is a really cute story and I did enjoy it. As I'm reading this prior to Red Queen I didn't know anything about this world at all or who any of the characters were, yet I really enjoyed it. I really liked Coriane and felt so deeply for her and what she was going through. It was so heartbreaking seeing her spiralling down into depression and insanity and for a novella to get you to feel for this character so much in such a short time is a really good sign.

I really enjoyed Queen Song and it has made me really interested to see what is going to happen with the other characters. I can't wait to read Red Queen after this intriguing and thrilling novella. 



Steel Scars (Red Queen #0.2)
Victoria Aveyard

Published By: Harper Teen
Publication Date: January 5, 2016
Date Read: July 17, 2018
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: E-Book
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25362018-steel-scars

Farley was raised to be strong, but being tasked with planting the seeds of rebellion in Norta is a tougher job than expected. As she travels the land recruiting black market traders, smugglers, and extremists for her first attempt at an attack on the capital, she stumbles upon a connection that may prove to be the key to the entire operation—Mare Barrow.

Following Queen Song, I was actually really excited to start the second prequel novella, Steel Scars. I was honestly really disappointed in this novella. It didn't grip me as much as the first prequel novella and honestly, I found it really boring.

Steel Scars is clearly a backstory to someone who I am sure will be a very important character in the series but reading this before Red Queen made me confused and bored. I just didn't really want to read it. There were so many times I wanted to abandon this novella but I forced myself to continue. I am looking forward to reading Red Queen but maybe this novella would have been better read after the first book, not before.


Saturday, September 15

Review: A Sky Painted Gold

A Sky Painted Gold
Laura Wood

Published By: Scholastic
Publication Date: July 5, 2018
Date Read: July 16, 2018
Genre: YA - Historical Romance
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 356
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39709339-a-sky-painted-gold

From Goodreads:
Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer - a handsome, dashing brother and sister - Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams.

But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions... And is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family?

A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning Gatsby-esque backdrop, this is perfect for fans of I Capture the Castle and Eva Ibbotson.

A Sky Painted Gold is a book that I had seen all over twitter for a while and it just looked so interesting. Now this book is not my usual kind of read whatsoever. I am more of a paranormal / fantasy reader and this book being a contemporary with a historical twist is nothing like the books that I usually read but I couldn't put it down. I loved every second of this stunningly beautiful book.

A Sky Painted Gold follows the story of sixteen-year-old Lou. Lou has done everything with her older sister so when her sister gets married she feels a little lost and alone. Who is she without her sister? Suddenly she is caught in a whirlwind adventure with the new rich family who has come to Cornwall for the summer. But as she falls head over heels for their lifestyle how will she manage when they leave at the end of the summer?

This is the first book by Laura Wood that I have read and I loved every single second of it. Laura has the most beautiful writing style and I just couldn't stop reading. Everything about this book was just beautiful. The story, the world building, the characters... everything. The writing is just so stunningly lyrical and I enjoyed it so much. Lou was such a great character to experience this beautiful story through. At the beginning she was a lost little girl... by the end she is a mature young woman ready to start her own individual life. She grows so much as a person and learns that it's okay to be different from everyone else and to just be yourself.

A Sky Painted Gold was one of the best books I have read so far this year. Considering it's a book that I don't usually read I was completely hooked. Right from the start to the very last page I couldn't read it fast enough. I read this book in one sitting as I just couldn't stop reading. This book is filled to the brim of English countryside, the importance of friendship, being yourself and just a touch of heart-stopping romance. I wish there has been a little bit more romance in it but the entire book is just beautiful and moving. I highly recommend it.



Wednesday, September 12

Early Review: The Dark Princess (Balance #3)

The Dark Princess (Balance #3)
Janelle Stalder

Publication Date:
Date Read: August 18, 2018
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: E-Book
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32735559-the-dark-princess

From Goodreads:
Prophecies are simply words written by men of the past. What truth do they hold?

When the monsters from childhood dreams suddenly appear in real life, Hope French doesn't know what to believe. Is she going crazy? Should she tell her mother?
And when strange people start coming around, showing up at her high school and at her home, the small world she's known with just her mom, and good old faithful Cat, suddenly gets a lot smaller. Truths from the past are coming to light, threatening the very core of Hope's beliefs.

Every path in life is chosen, not predetermined.
Or is it?

"I would give my life to protect you."

The Dark Princess is a book that I have been dying to get my hands on for so long. Honestly I don't really read many indie/self-published books any more but Janelle Stalder's work is the exception. Every single one of her books I have devoured in just a few days. They are so incredible I just can't put them down and The Dark Princess was no exception. It was absolutely incredible.

Now, I was a little bit confused at the beginning of this book but that is completely my own fault. It has been so so long since I read the previous book that I had completely forgotten what had happened. Within a few pages of The Dark Princess I went back and re-read the ending of Poise and from that moment I was completely taken away with this incredible book.

The Dark Princess follows the story of Hope, a teenage girl who has unexplainable things happening to her, like monsters from a fairytale attacking her in the dark. Soon Hope is taken on a crazy journey with the utterly gorgeous demon who seems to always be around protecting her. Hope is suddenly questioning everything she thought she knew about her life and her family but one thing is uncertain... will she survive the attacks before the person behind them is found?

The Dark Princess is without a doubt one of my favourite reads of the year so far. One thing I was not expecting was for this to be my favourite book of the series. The first two books of the series followed Vivian and Caleb, Hope's parents, and I was so in love with their story I was a little bit sad when I realised that this book was following the point of view of their daughter, Hope. However, the more I read the more I loved Hope's story and I ended up more invested in her story than that of her parents. I loved every second.

Janelle Stalder is without a doubt one of my favourite authors of all time. Her story-telling, world-building and characterisation is just jaw-droppingly amazing in every book. I absolutely adore her work and this series is one I could read over and over a million times and never tire of it. I felt this way about The Dark Princess. Janelle just hooked me in right from the start and I just couldn't put the book down. Through twists and turns I was constantly on the edge of my seat unable to read fast enough to see what was going to happen to these amazing characters that I love so much.

The Dark Princess has everything you could possibly want in a book. It's filled to the brim with mystery, intrigue, action and romance. I loved every single moment and will be sat here dying for book 4 for the coming months. Guess it's time to start re-reading the series from the beginning again. If you're looking for one paranormal romance series to read this year make sure it is Janelle Stalder's Balance series. You won't be disappointed.

 "Never thank me, Vivian. Don't you know by now? I'd do anything you ask of me. Anything at all."


Saturday, September 8

Review: Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1)

Sweet Black Waves (Sweet Black Waves #1)
Kristina Perez

Published By: Imprint
Publication Date: June 5, 2018
Date Read: July 15, 2018
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 448
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31179006-sweet-black-waves

From Goodreads:
Not you without me, not me without you.

Two proud kingdoms stand on opposite shores, with only a bloody history between them.

As best friend and lady-in-waiting to the princess, Branwen is guided by two principles: devotion to her homeland and hatred for the raiders who killed her parents. When she unknowingly saves the life of her enemy, he awakens her ancient healing magic and opens her heart. Branwen begins to dream of peace, but the princess she serves is not so easily convinced. Fighting for what's right, even as her powers grow beyond her control, will set Branwen against both her best friend and the only man she's ever loved.

Inspired by the star-crossed tale of Tristan and Eseult, this is the story of the legend’s true heroine: Branwen. For fans of Graceling and The Mists of Avalon, this is the first book of a lush fantasy trilogy about warring countries, family secrets, and forbidden romance.

"Love doesn't care about a noble birth, only a noble heart. Which is why you'll never have mine."

Sweet Black Waves was one of my most anticipated releases of 2018. I absolutely adore YA Fantasy so when I heard about this new one that also a retelling of the Tristan and Eseult tale I knew I would absolutely love it. I was not disappointed with this one. It was incredibly difficult to put down. I absolutely loved it.

Branwen is cousin to the Princess of Iveriu. She is still broken from the death of her beloved parents at the hands of their enemies, the Kernyvmen. When Branwen comes across a wounded Kernyvman although she wants to leave him, her healing nature has to help him. But as she nurses him back to health she starts to fall in love despite the fact that they are supposed enemies. As Branwen starts to dream of peace between the two countries Branwen realises that she will stop at nothing to help the two countries put the war behind them, but will she survive with the love of both Tristan and her beloved cousin?

I loved... and I mean absolutely LOVED Sweet Black Waves. I thought it was a little bit slow at the start but after I got through those first 50 or so pages, I couldn't put it down. I absolutely loved every single second and I couldn't stop reading. Sweet Black Waves is an incredible fantasy story but with a romance right at the heart of the story. I loved that the love story took such a big role as I find in a lot of YA fantasy novels the romance is very much in the background. I found it refreshing and lovely to have the romance right there front and centre of the story.

Kristina Perez is such a fantastic author. I absolutely loved her writing style. It was beautiful and so easy to find yourself emerged in the storyline. I really can't commend her enough. Her writing, worldbuilding and characterisation was completely perfect. I loved that this story was inspired by the classic tale of Tristan and Eseult. It followed the story perfectly but with a few differences. I remember reading the story of Tristan and Eseult years ago and loving it but I loved this adaptation even more. Although I did guess some things that would happen due to my knowledge of the classic tale and I started getting worried about how it's going to play out.

I adored the characters in this book. Both Branwen and Tristan were incredible and you find yourself completely rooting for them. They were just so sweet and perfect and romantic. They completely made my heart melt multiple times througout this book. The one character I didn't really like was Essie, i.e. Princess Eseult. She was just so selfish and childish. She irritated me greatly. Surely it's not a surprise that she may have to marry for something other than love... I mean she is a princess and may need to do things to put her land and her people before herself. The more I read the more I disliked her and by the end... well I can't stand her. The ending totally broke my heart and it was all Essie's fault *sobs*.

Sweet Black Waves is such a perfect novel. I loved it so much and it is one of my favourite reads of the year. If you love fantasy stories and are a hopeless romantic then this is the series for you. I am now waiting very impatiently for book 2. I need it like right now. What a fantastic masterpiece this book is. It's not to be missed.

"True love was more powerful than death or dishonour."


Saturday, September 1

Wrap Up: August 2018


Hey Guys,
Can you believe it's September already? I can't believe how fast the summer went. I'm back in the swing of work again which is great... but also means less reading time *cries*. Anyway here's my month in books.

Book Haul

Hardcopies




For Review:

A Curse so Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

Bought:

The Darkest Legacy (The Darkest Minds #4) by Alexandra Bracken
Catwoman (DC Icons #3) by Sarah J Maas



Illumicrate:



Books Read in August 2018:


The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken - 4 Stars
The Prince (Wicked Trilogy #3.5) by Jennifer L Armentrout - 4 Stars
Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken - 5 Stars
In the After Light (The Darkest Minds #3) by Alexandra Bracken - 3 Stars
The Dark Princess (Balance #3) by Janelle Stalder - 5 Stars
Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J Maas - 5 Stars *Re-Read*

Reviews Posted in August 2018:


Top 3 Books of August 2018:





How was your month in books?