Wednesday, August 30

Review: A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)
VE Schwab

Published By: Titan Books
Publication Date: February 24, 2015
Date Read: July 5, 2017
Genre: Adult - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 401
From Goodreads:
Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.

"I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still."

A Darker Shade of Magic is a book I have seen everywhere for such a long time. I bought the series a little over a year ago as VE Schwab was going to YALC and it was one of my YALC 2016 TBR... but still I didn't read it. I had read and loved Victoria's other books Vicious and This Savage Song and it was well past time I finally read this series. Dude why did I not read this book sooner? I absolutely loved this book. It is just unbelieavable amazing!!

In a world filled with magic there are four overlapping worlds, with the most prominant city of London. Grey London is a dying world where magic no longer exists. Red London is brimming with magic. White London is dying for a taste of the magic of Red London and Black London no longer exists after magic has consumed it. Kell is special. He is one of the last Antari's. People with the power to walk between the worlds. But Kell also smuggles things from one world to another, and when one transaction goes wrong it could have life threatening consequences.

I freaking loved this book. I absolutely adore VE Schwab. She is fast becoming one of my all time favourite authors. She's just utterly phenomenal. Right from the very first word I was enamoured with this world and these characters. The more I read the more I wanted to read faster and faster so I could find out what was going to happen. She has definitely sealed herself on my auto-buy authors list. I don't even need to know what her books are about, I will read anything this amazing woman writes.

I absolutely loved the two main characters in A Darker Shade of Magic. They are such an unlikely pair to be companions but it worked so well. Kell was an amazing character who only wants to protect his family and the worlds and when he meets Lila, the unlikely companion from another world, it really changes his perceptions of everything. I loved Lila she is such a kickass character and I loved her attitude towards everything. She has this insane love of knives and everywhere she goes she ends up getting a new knife. This shows her amazing and heartbreaking back story of having to protect herself from such a young age. She was a great character to follow throughout the storyline.

A Darker Shade of Magic is filled to the brim with magic, mystery, action and adventure. I loved every single second of it. I was a little disappointed to see no romance in this book, as I am a sucker for a romance hidden behind all the magic in fantasy books but this book is so action packed that you have much more to keep you occupied so I didn't miss it as much as I would in other books. However I would really like to see a little bit of romance come into the series in future books.

A Darker Shade of Magic is a fantastic start to a series, and I fell head over heels in love with this series and it's characters. I cannot wait to see what it going to happen next and I will be jumping straight into book 2. If you're looking for a new series to take you on an amazing adventure then look no further. This book is definitely worth the read.

"Some thought magic came from the mind, others the soul, or the heart, or the will. But Kell knew it came from the blood."

Friday, August 25

Early Review: If There's No Tomorrow

If There's No Tomorrow
Jennifer L Armentrout

Published By: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: September 5, 2017
Date Read: August 16, 2017
Genre: YA - Contemporary
Source: ARC from JLA
Format: E-Book

From Goodreads:

Lena Wise is always looking forward to tomorrow, especially at the start of her senior year. She's ready to pack in as much friend time as possible, to finish college applications and to maybe let her childhood best friend Sebastian know how she really feels about him. For Lena, the upcoming year is going to be epic—one of opportunities and chances.

Until one choice, one moment, destroys everything.

Now Lena isn't looking forward to tomorrow. Not when friend time may never be the same. Not when college applications feel all but impossible. Not when Sebastian might never forgive her for what happened.

For what she let happen.

With the guilt growing each day, Lena knows that her only hope is to move on. But how can she move on when her and her friends' entire existences have been redefined? How can she move on when tomorrow isn't even guaranteed?

"What would I have done differently that night if I'd known there was no tomorrow? EVERYTHING. I would've done everything differently."

It's no surprise to anyone who knows me that Jennifer L Armentrout is my favourite author of all time. Everything she writes I will read (apart from when she writes about clowns but let's not talk about that) and there are no words to describe just how excited I was for If There's No Tomorrow. I knew that I would just absolutely love this book and I was right. This book is without a doubt the best contemporary that she has wrote.

Lena made a huge mistake. One that changed the lives of everyone she knows and now she is wracked with guilt. How can she move on when she is carrying around this guilt and responsibility that she feels? How can she when if all of her friends found out what she had done they would never forgive her?

If There's No Tomorrow is just utter perfection. I loved every single moment of it and with most JLA books as soon as I started this book I couldn't put it down. I loved every moment of it and I couldn't read fast enough for the need to know what was going to happen to these amazing characters. Jennifer once again gave us incredible characters that we could fall in love with and experience this amazing journey with them. I absolutley loved Lena, and I really sympathised with her throughout the whole book. I really felt for her and just wanted to reach into the book and give her a massive hug. Sebastian is such a typically amazing JLA book boyfriend. He is sweet and perfect and everyone who reads this book will fall head over heels in love with him.

If There's No Tomorrow has a much more sombre feel to it, due to the nature of this story but that made me love the book so much more. Often in contemporary books I feel like it's the same typical story and you know exactly what is going to happen but with this one I did not feel like that whatsoever. It's not just another romance book. It has a storyline that runs so much deeper than that and it will utterly break your heart in the most perfect way.

If There's No Tomorrow is without a doubt the best JLA contemporary book, in my opinion. My favourite will still remain to be her paranormal books. If There's No Tomorrow really makes you think about the most important things in life and how one action really can influence so much, no matter how little and insignificant you think that action is. It will break your heart and make you sob but you will love every single second of it. It is utter perfection.

"We were reading. Together. And there was something so nerdily perfect about what we were doing that I might've fallen in love all over again."


Wednesday, August 23

Review: One of Us is Lying

One of Us is Lying
Karen M McManus

Published By: Penguin
Publication Date: June 1, 2017
Date Read: June 24, 2017
Genre: YA - Thriller / Mystery
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 365
From Goodreads:
Yale hopeful Bronwyn has never publicly broken a rule.

Sports star Cooper only knows what he's doing in the baseball diamond.

Bad body Nate is one misstep away from a life of crime.

Prom queen Addy is holding together the cracks in her perfect life.

And outsider Simon, creator of the notorious gossip app at Bayview High, won't ever talk about any of them again.

He dies 24 hours before he could post their deepest secrets online. Investigators conclude it's no accident. All of them are suspects.

Everyone has secrets, right?

What really matters is how far you'll go to protect them.

"I don't know why it's so hard for people to admit that sometimes they're just assholes who screw up because they don't expect to get caught."

One of Us is Lying is a book that I came across after the author list for YALC was posted. As soon as I read the blurb I was intrigued. I'm not usually a thriller / mystery reader but this one just sounded so damn good... and I wasn't wrong. I absolutely adored every single second of it.

One of Us is Lying follows the lives of four students in Bayview High. Each of them a perfect stereotype of high school students, a nerd, a bad boy almost-criminal, the jock and the prom queen. After the death of fellow student Simon, a guy who has no shortage of enemies due to his app About That where he posts the most notorious gossip rumours about fellow students. Suddenly the four unlikely friends find themselves the suspects in Simon's death. But is something else at play? Or is one of them the real killer and lying about everything? Who can they trust?

I absolutely loved this book. Seriously it is just so amazing. First off the characters are just perfect. I love that our main four characters show the main stereotypes of high school students but the more you read the more you find deeper depths to them and I loved that. I loved all four of the main characters but my favourite were by far Nate and Bronwyn. I loved them and I was rooting for a romance between them so much. They were just utterly incredible.

One of Us is Lying is more a mystery book than a thriller to me. We definitely have the thriller aspect in the fact that Simon has died but the rest of the book is more of a 'who dunnit?' type of book and let me tell you Karen wrote this book so phenomenally. I am having an incredibly hard time believing that this is her debut because the writing is just stunning and so well done. Although I guessed some things correctly, namely one of the main characters real secret, the big storyline (who killed Simon) I just couldn't figure out. I had a different person in my mind as having done it every couple of pages. It shows how well this book is written when it keeps changing your mind and keeps you guessing right till the end. Oh and by the way, I still never called it. I was so surprised by the ending.

One of Us is Lying is a must read for everyone. I am not a typical mystery reader. To be honest, I usually avoid mystery and thriller books but then the past year or so I've read some that I have loved. They are pretty hit and miss with me but this one was definitely a hit and I am so so glad that I gave it a shot because it was just incredible. If you, like me, don't usually read these types of books I urge you to give this one a shot because it's amazing. This is without a doubt one of the best books I have read all year. Go read it. I promise you won't be disappointed.

"I guess we're almost friends now, or as friendly as you can get when you're not one hundred percent sure the other person isn't framing you for murder."

Friday, August 18

Non-Review: We Were Liars

We Were Liars
E Lockhart

Published By: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: May 13, 2014
Date Read: June 19, 2017
Genre: YA - Thriller / Mystery
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 242
From Goodreads:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from New York Times bestselling author, National Book Award finalist, and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.

And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

We Were Liars is a book that I have had on my shelf for years. I remember buying it at my very first YALC about 3 years ago (maybe 4 I can't remember) and I just remember all of the hype surrounding this book. Like seriously, everyone who read this book seemed to absolutely love it. And I really wish I could say the same. I wanted to love this book. I really, really did. I just... didn't.

We Were Liars revolves around a group of rich families and the secrets that they carry. It had such a great premise but I just couldn't get into it. I didn't connect with any of the characters and I was so bored. I didn't want to continue reading because I didn't really care what happened to the characters and I am really not curious at all to find anything out about how it all ended.

I really wanted to love this book but it just wasn't for me.

Wednesday, August 16

Early Review: The Treatment

The Treatment
CL Taylor

Published By: Harper Collins
Publication Date: October 19, 2017
Date Read: August 7, 2017
Genre: YA - Thriller
Source: ARC
Format: Paperback
Pages: 284 

From Goodreads:
Cecelia Ahern’s Flawed meets Never Let Me Go in the pulse-pounding YA thriller from the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author of The Escape.

“You have to help me. We’re not being reformed. We’re being brainwashed.”

All sixteen year old Drew Finch wants is to be left alone. She's not interested in spending time with her mum and stepdad and when her disruptive fifteen year old brother Mason is expelled from school for the third time and sent to a residential reform academy she's almost relieved.

Everything changes when she's followed home from school by the mysterious Dr Cobey, who claims to have a message from Mason. There is something sinister about the ‘treatment’ he is undergoing. The school is changing people.

Determined to help her brother, Drew must infiltrate the Academy and unearth its deepest, darkest secrets.

Before it’s too late.

The Treatment was a book that I hadn't really heard all that much about, until I was at YALC and saw that the UK publisher was giving ARCs out at their stand and I thought that it sounded pretty good. Now, I'm not much of a thriller reader... to be honest I'm an absolute big baby and thrillers usually creep me out a lot. Saying that I have read a few YA thrillers and although I find them a bit touch or go I have found a few that I have really enjoyed so thought that I would give The Treatment a go.

I've never read anything by this author and with The Treatment being her YA debut I have to say I am impressed. CL Taylor writes YA really well. She really embodied the essence of the teenager that she was writing and I found it so believable and easy to read. My attention was grabbed and I really enjoyed reading Drew's story.

Drew's story was quite a unique one and as a psychology teacher I really enjoyed the psychological elements to this. I really liked the fact that the treatment was created by psychologists and based off psychological research. Although naturally I was very critical of these elements the author pulled it off really well. It was accurate and wrote in a way that anyone who didn't have any psychological knowledge could follow it easily, which is really quite impressive as psychology can be confusing and complex.

As I said, thrillers aren't my usual go-to read and this is definitely not going to ever be one of my top reads of the year. Not because it's not a great book, it is, but just because it's not my usual genre. It really kept my interest and I was interested all the way through and really couldn't wait to see how it was all going to end.

The Treatment is a good YA thriller that any fans of thrillers will no doubt absolutely love this book. I enjoyed it and will definitely be on the look out for others from this author.

Wednesday, August 9

Review: Truth or Dare

Truth or Dare
Non Pratt

Published By: Walker Books
Publication Date: June 1, 2017
Date Read: June 18, 2017
Genre: YA - Contemporary Romance
Source: Featured in Illumicrate Subscription Box
Format: Paperback
Pages: 383
From Goodreads:
A powerful and moving novel about bravery from the Guardian's "writer to watch" Non Pratt, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Holly Bourne. How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you're willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

Truth or Dare is a book that I couldn't wait to get my hands on from the moment I first heard of it. Non Pratt is one of my all time favourite authors. I have loved every single thing that she has wrote and she is definitely one of my auto-buy authors. I was dying to read Truth or Dare and when it was featured as the Illumicrate box in May 2017 I couldn't contain my excitement.

Truth or Dare is the story of Claire and Sef and their willingness to do whatever it takes to raise the money needed to help the care of Sef's recently disabled brother. Claire hates being centre of attention but she as she volunteers reading to Sef's brother and sees the progress that could be destroyed if he has to move centres she is willing to do anything to help. Plus, she gets to spend all of her time with super hot Sef it's a win win. But when Sef starts taking dangerous risks is it all worth their lives?

I really liked Truth or Dare. I particularly loved that we get to read the events from both Claire and Sef's points of view. First of I loved Claire. She is such a sweet and caring character and I seriously think we need more people in this world like Claire. The world would be a much greater place if people were more like her. Throughout her first half of the book I fell in love with both her and Sef. Then we got Sef's point of view and it shows just how skewed one person's point of view. You see a totally different side of Sef when reading from his point of view. I went from loving him to being less than impressed with him. By the end of the book I liked him again but this book really shows just how people can appear to be one thing when they are in fact quite different behind closed doors.

I really enjoyed reading Truth or Dare. It was fast paced, emotional and amazing. I couldn't put it down and I found myself getting through the book super quickly. Non's writing was one again stunning. I don't think it's possible for Non to write a book I don't like. It's still not my favourite. Nothing can quite beat Trouble for me, it still remains my favourite Non book but Truth or Dare was right up there are one of my favourite books of the year. I highly recommend this amazing book for everyone.

"Be careful not to confuse a beautiful face with a beautiful heart. Not everyone is blessed with both."

Friday, August 4

Early Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe
Lauren James

Published By: Walker Books
Publication Date: September 7, 2017
Date Read: August 1, 2017
Genre: YA - Sci-Fi
Source: Bought at YALC
Format: Paperback
Pages: 290

From Goodreads:
Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Lauren James is an author that I hadn't read anything by until I saw her speak at YALC in 2016. Immediately I bought her books and fell head over heels in love with them. When I heard that her new book was going to be sold early at YALC I was so excited. If there was one one book I wanted to buy at YALC, it was The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. I just knew it was going to be amazing. And it was... but so much better and more surprising than I ever could have imagined.

Romy Silvers is the lone surviver on her spaceship. She is the first person to ever be born in space and with both of her parents having perished along the journey, she is a 16-year-old commander. She is on a mission to find Earth II, a new planet in which to start a new colony of people. But the only communications she has is with NASA, until she hears that there is a newer, faster ship on the way to her with a new commander, a boy called J. Their only communication is via email and Romy finds herself falling in love with him. But is everything as she expects and what will happen when their ships finally do connect?

Oh. My. God!! There are no words for me to be able to describe how utterly phenomenal this book is. It was stunning and beautiful. I am already such a big sci-fi fan. My favourite books are fantasy book or books set in space so this is the perfect type of book for me. I loved every moment of it and I thought I had it all figured out. Then Lauren throws the most enormous twist that I ever expected in. I was literally sat there slack jawed just repeating WHAT?!?!?! all the time. I literally could not believe it.

Lauren James has quickly climbed the ranks up and sealed herself near the top of my favourite authors of all time. Anything she writes, I will read. Her writing style is just beautiful and flawless. I love everything about it and as soon as I start reading, I can't stop until the book is finished. I also absolutely adore than in all of her books she has scientists in there. I mean can you get anything cooler than that?

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was not what I expected... it was a million times better. So many times when I'm reading I already know what is going to happen so to have a book that really surprises me is utterly amazing. I loved every second of this book and I am left wanting more. I really hope that there may be a sequel in the works because it is absolutely stunning. If there is one 2017 release that you read this year made sure it is this one.

Wednesday, August 2

Early Review: Fireblood (Frostblood #2)

Fireblood (Frostblood #2)
Elly Blake

Published By: Hodder and Stroughton
Publication Date: September 7, 2017
Date Read: July 27, 2017
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: ARC from Hodder Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 408

From Goodreads:
Against all odds, Ruby has defeated the villainous Frost King and melted his throne of ice. But the bloodthirsty Minax that was trapped inside is now haunting her kingdom and everyone she loves. The answers to its demise may lie to the south in Sudesia, the land of the Firebloods, and a country that holds the secrets to Ruby's powers and past....

Despite warnings from her beloved Arcus, Ruby accompanies a roguish Fireblood named Kai to Sudesia, where she must master her control of fire in a series of trials to gain the trust of the suspicious Fireblood queen. Only then can she hope to access the knowledge that could defeat the rampaging Minax - which grows closer every moment. But as sparks fly in her moments alone with Kai, how can Ruby decide whom to trust? The fate of both kingdoms is now in her hands.

"Lady Ruby, you already have. You've melted my icy heart."

Fireblood was one of my most anticipated reads of 2017 and there are no words to explain just how excited I was to receive an ARC of it from the wonderful people at Hodder Publising. I am still so beyond excited that I have read this absolutely phenomenal book. Frostblood, the first book in this amazing series, was one of the next debuts and starts to a fantasy series I have ever read and I had such high expectations for the follow up. When I have such high expectations for a second book in a series I am usually disappointed as I usually find second books in trilogies to be a stepping stone just leading to the next book. Fireblood is absolutely the opposite of this. I was totally blown away and I would go as far as to say this is one of the best books I have read this year to date.

Elly Blake is one of the most talented fantasy writers I have come across. Right from the start of the book I was just completely sucked into the story and the characters and I just couldn't stop reading. I loved every single second of this book and it was just utterly stunning. She made me fall in love with the characters I already loved and made me love the newer characters too. I'll be honest and say I was a little bit nervous about this book as the blurb sounds very love-triangle eske but I needn't have worried. If you are worried about this I urge you to just read the book. It's not how you expect it to play out.

Ruby is such an amazing lead protagonist. I love her and she goes through quite an emotional journey in this one. I loved experiencing it all with her, from her discovering another fireblood, called Kai, to her confusing feelings to her sorting through everything. I loved experiencing every step of it with her and although I am 100% on Team Arcus, I love Kai. He is a sweet guy who just wants to best for everyone.

Fireblood was utter perfection. It has flirtation, romance and action. I loved the journey through this book. There are so many twists and turns and some of them I never saw coming. I was so shocked at parts and I am still in awe of this amazing book. I highly recommend that everyone read this amazing series. I absolutely cannot wait for the final book of this series. It needs to be in my hands like... yesterday. I loved every moment of it.

"You're my home."


Tuesday, August 1

Wrap Up: July 2017

Hey Guys,
Can you believe July is over already? July was such a busy month for me so I didn't read quite as much as I'd wanted to. I headed to London twice this month, one to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on stage which was absolutely incredible and then again for a 3 day book convention. It was utterly amazing.

Book Haul:

My book haul is absolutely enormous this month as not only did another Zoella book club round come out but I also gained so many books at the book convention. Due to this my book haul section is split into different sections this month:

Hardcopies - Zoella Books:

After the Fire by Will Hill
The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr
Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera
Girlhood by Cat Clarke
The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary B Schmidt
Letters to the Lost by Brigid Kemmerer

Hardcopies - YALC Haul


Our Dark Duet (Monsters of Verity #2) by VE Schwab
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren Jame
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody
Gilded Cage (Dark Gifts #1) by Vic James
Pantomime (Micah Gray #1) by Laura Lam
Song of the Current (Song of the Current #1) by Sarah Tolcser
Defy the Stars (Constellation #1) by Claudia Gray
When We Collided by Emery Lord
Mafiosa (Blood for Blood #2) by Catherine Doyle
Because You Love To Hate Me (Compilation)
Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh
A Monster Calls Deluxe Edition by Patrick Ness


The Fandom by Anna Day
Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsey Cummings
The Treatment by CL Taylor
I Am Traitor by Sif Sigmarsdottir

Books Read in July 2017:

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by VE Schwab - 5 Stars
A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by VE Schwab - 5 Stars
A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by VE Schwab - 5 Stars
No Filter by Orlagh Collins - 3 Stars
Fireblood (Frostblood #2) by Elly Blake - 5 Stars

Reviews Posted in July 2017:

2017 Challenges Update:

This year I am challenging myself to:
  • The Totally Doable 2017 Reading Challenge
  • The 2017 Debut Author Challenge
  • The 2017 'Continue a Series' Challenge
  • The Zoella Book Club Challenge

The Totally Doable 2017 Reading Challenge

I am so happy with my progress in this challenge so far this year. Like last month rather than selecting books for the categories I just read what I wanted and then saw if any of them fit.

This month I read one more for this challenge, which was start a new series. I read A Darker Shade of Magic by VE Schwab, which is book 1 in the Shades of Magic series.

Challenge Total: 11/12

The 2017 Debut Author Challenge

This month I read No Filter by Orlagh Collins

Challenge Update: 4/5

The 2017 'Continue A Series' Challenge

This month I did finish a series, however it was a series that I started this year so I am not counting it towards my challenge.

Challenge Update: 3/5

The Zoella Bookclub Challenge

I didn't read any Zoella books this month. Her new round has now been released but I am not adding that to my challenge yet. I'm gonna try and read these ones first.

Challenge Update: 7/16

Top 3 Books of July 2017:

What did you read this month?