Wednesday, September 27

Review: Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)

Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1)
Renee Ahdieh

Published By: Hodder and Stroughton
Publication Date: May 18, 2017
Date Read: August 4, 2017
Genre: YA - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Hardback
Pages: 400

From Goodreads:
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

"I believe the stars align so that souls can find one another. Whether they are meant to be souls in love or souls in life remains to be seen."

Flame in the Mist is a book that has been on my radar for so long. From seeing that absolutely stunning cover to reading the amazing blurb I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. I'm usually a wait-till-the-paperback kinda reader but when I saw the stunning hardback when I was at YALC this year I couldn't resist but get it. I absolutely adored every single second of this book.

Flame in the Mist tells the story of Mariko, the daughter of a wealthy samurai, who is on her way to meet her betrothed, the son of the Emperor. On the way her convoy is attacked with the men trying to kill her. Mariko survives, disguses herself as a boy and plans to infiltrate the Black Clan, the group who tried to kill her. But as she infiltrates them, Mariko finds things about the Black Clan that she never would have guessed. She also finds that it's the only place that she is appeciated.

I absolutely fell head-over-heels in love with this book. Right from the start I was captured by the amazing world building, characters and writing style and I just couldn't read this book fast enough. Flame in the Mist is the first book that I have read by Renee Ahdieh. I own her other books but have yet to read them. I am now totally and utterly regretting that choice. I absolutely adored her writing and storytelling in this amazing novel that I cannot wait to start reading her other books as well.

I absolutely loved everything about this book. Mariko is such an amazing character to follow through this book. I loved her. This book is full of amazing feminism but not in an obvious way. I love that Mariko fights the inequality of how women are seen by posing as a male and it really comes out about how unfair it is how women are treated in this samurai-led world. I really loved this as sometimes when I'm reading books that show feminism I feel like it's sometimes overpowering the story... however that is absolutely not the case in this book. It is just an added layer to the already phenomenal world. Mariko is such an amazing strong-willed, kick-ass and totally intelligent character and I absolutely loved her. Okami is one of our other main characters and I am totally in love with him. To start, he is a uptight, total asshole but the more I read of this book, the more I realised how amazing he truly is and I adored the relationship between him and Mariko.

Flame in the Mist was utterly amazing. I was totally taken away on this adventure filled with action, magic and Japanese mythology. I loved every single second of it and I am dying to get my hands on book 2 already. Especially after that shocking ending. If you love fantasy books set in different cultures with lots of magic, intrigue and a dash of romance this book is definitely for you. A must read.

"To me, you are magic. My heart knows your heart. A heart doesn't care about good or bad, right or wrong. A heart is always true."

Wednesday, September 20

Review: No Filter

No Filter
Orlagh Collins

Published By: Bloomsbury
Publication Date: July 13, 2017
Date Read: July 23, 2017
Genre: YA - Contemporary Romance
Source: ARC from Bloomsbury Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pages: 368

From Goodreads:
This is the story of THAT SUMMER … the one when everything changes.

Emerald has grown up in a privileged world – the beloved daughter of a wealthy family, friends with all the right people, social media addict. But Emerald's family has secrets – and when Emerald finds her mum unconscious on the bathroom floor, no one can pretend any more. Now she's being packed off to stay with her grandma in Ireland while her mum recuperates and her dad just works and works and works.

Grandma's big, lonely house is set back from the beach, and there's no phone signal or wifi. It's going to be a long summer ... Until she meets Liam.

When you're falling in love, it's hard to tell someone everything. Even if you've got nothing to hide any more. And when secrets and lies are all you're used to, how do you deal with real love – brave and true – with no filter?

The fresh, funny and poignant debut novel from Orlagh Collins, a bright new voice in YA fiction. Authentic, down to earth and sweepingly romantic all at once, No Filter is perfect for fans of John Green, Rainbow Rowell and Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

No Filter was a book I hadn't heard of until I saw the list of authors going to YALC and thought that it sounded like a super cute read. When Bloomsbury contacted me asking if I would like to review it, I jumped at that chance. No Filter was a super cute romance that was just what I needed at the time of reading it and I enjoyed it.

Emerald is horrified when she discovers that she is to be spending the summer with her grandmother  in Ireland but when she meets the intriguing Liam, her summer starts looking up. Liam is the only one she can confide in and she finds herself dreading having to go home at the end of the summer.

No Filter is the debut novel of Orlagh Collins and I enjoyed it. I really liked the characters of Emerald and Liam. Emerald shows signs of an addiction to social media and I really enjoyed the back story of teens being addicted to things like Instagram and the amount of distress that can cause. Liam was super sweet and I found myself just loving his points of view throughout the book.

No Filter is not the best book I've ever read in my life and there were elements that irritated me a little. No Filter is told from the points of view of both Liam and Emerald which I enjoyed but the narration seemed a little jumpy to me. For example, you'd be reading Emerald's point of view and she mentions plans with Liam in 3 days time and the next moment it's jumped to that day. I kind of felt as if they didn't have lives seperate from each other. Like nothing happened to them in their life in those times they were apart and I found that a littel irritating.

Overall, No Filter is a super cute, flirty romance and I enjoyed it. It's a good read and the perfect book for if you're wanting a break from a different genre.

Wednesday, September 13

Review: A Conjuring of Light (Shade of Magic #3)

A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3)
VE Schwab

Published By: Titan Books
Publication Date: February 21, 2017
Date Read: July 19, 2017
Genre: Adult - Fantasy
Source: Gifted from Donna from Book Passion for Life
Format: Paperback
Pages: 666

From Goodreads:
Witness the fate of beloved heroes - and enemies.


The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire, leaving a space for another London to rise.

Kell - once assumed to be the last surviving Antari - begins to waver under the pressure of competing loyalties. And in the wake of tragedy, can Arnes survive?

Lila Bard, once a commonplace - but never common - thief, has survived and flourished through a series of magical trials. But now she must learn to control the magic, before it bleeds her dry. Meanwhile, the disgraced Captain Alucard Emery of the Night Spire collects his crew, attempting a race against time to acquire the impossible.

And an ancient enemy returns to claim a crown while a fallen hero tries to save a world in decay.

"Bad ideas are my favourite kind."

A Conjuring of Light was without a doubt the best book of the series. The Shades of Magic series is one that has just completely and utterly blown me away and I couldn't have asked for a more amazing and satisfying ending than I got in A Conjuring of Light. It was a rollarcoaster of emotions and at one point I didn't know how this story could ever end well, but VE Schwab did it superbly.

The battle is upon us. The Black King is in Red London and he wants to rule everything. How can you fight a shadow? Especially one that can infect the minds and bodies of almost everybody in the city? In order to fight, Alucard Emery and his crew must leave London and sail the seas in the hope to collect a legendary item that just might help them defeat the Black King.

I loved this book so much. I was a little worried about starting this one straight after A Gathering of Shadows, especially after I felt that that one took me forever to read and I just wanted to finally get through it. But I needn't have worried, because although A Conjuring of Light was longer than the other books, I read it the quickest of the three. It was absolutely stunning. I couldn't put it down. It was fast paced and held my attention so much, I read around 60% of it in one day.

VE Schwab has sealed herself as Queen of Fantasy. Her storytelling is so superb. She really has written such an intricately designed world and she executed everything flawlessly. There were points in this book where I was so worried about how it would end, because I really couldn't see how all of my beloved characters were going to get out of this, and save the world that everybody loved. But I should have just trusted Victoria because she clearly knew what she was doing and she ended this series perfectly. She even did the impossible... made me love a character I had previously disliked, if not hated.

If you'd have said to me when I was reading the first book in this series that I would end up loving Holland, I would have laughed in your face. I hated him! But a lot of this book was looking back on Holland's past and explaining why he was the way he was, and I found myself sympathising with him so much. He had been through so much crap in his life and I really just wanted to hug him. VE Schwab could have easily left Holland's back story out of this book and focused more on the other charaters and events happening. I am so glad that she included it, as to me, it gave the whole story such an added depth. It made me love Holland and his story just utterly broke my heart.

A Conjuring of Light was pure fantasy perfection. I cried, I laughed and I went on such an adventure with these characters. I loved every moment of it and I truly believe that this is the best fantasy series I have ever read... and I've read a lot. I cannot praise this series enough. I just adore it so much and I know it will be a series I will re-read over and over again. If you haven't already read this series, I highly recommend that you do. It will make you laugh, swoon and cry your heart out... and it is worth every single second of your time.

"Love and loss, are like a ship and the sea. They rise together. The more we love, the more we have to lose. But the only way to avoid loss is to avoid love. And what a sad world that would be."

Wednesday, September 6

Review: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)
VE Schwab

Published By: Titan Books
Publication Date: February 23, 2016
Date Read: July 15, 2017
Genre: Adult - Fantasy
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Pages: 508
From Goodreads:
Four months have passed since the shadow stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Rhy was wounded and the Dane twins fell, and the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift, and into Black London.

In many ways, things have almost returned to normal, though Rhy is more sober, and Kell is now plagued by his guilt. Restless, and having given up smuggling, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks like she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games—an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries—a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night reappears in the morning, and so it seems Black London has risen again—meaning that another London must fall.

"Standing there on display was painful enough.
Now came the truly unfortunate task of socializing"

A Darker Shade of Magic completely and utterly blew me away. I loved every single second of it. I couldn't believe how much I had missed by not reading this sooner. I couldn't help but jump straight into A Gathering of Shadows.

A Gathering of Shadows picks up with A Darker Shade of Magic left off. Lila has left, now a thief on a ship while Kell is left back in Red London with his family. The only difference is now the King and Queen no longer trust him at all.

I really felt for Kell throughout this one. He did all he could to protect and save his family and his world for the majority of them to turn on him and not trust him at all. At many points throughout reading A Gathering of Shadows I wanted to yell and shake them a little bit. Kell was really a kind of prisoner in this book and I really just wanted to reach into the book and hug him a little.

I absolutely loved the new characters added into this second installment of the Shades of Magic series. I absolutely adored Alucard, the captain of Lila's ship who carries with him just as many secrets and mysteries as she does herself. I loved seeing glimpses of his past and I ship him and Rhy so much. They were so adorable in this one. I loved seeing the start of the little romances in this book. It's not a major part of the book but it's there in the background and I loved that.

A Gathering of Shadows was such a great installment in this series but I had a really odd experience reading it that I've never had before. I was loving the storyline, the writing and the characters but I felt it was taking me absolutely forever to read this book. I don't know whether I was just reading it too slowly but I really couldn't wait to finish the book. It was just lasting me for so so long. I had my mind set that I was going to have a break from the series after finishing this book. Something short and sweet but then VE Schwab hit me with that cliffhanger! Seriously guys, it is the mother of all cliffhangers so how could I not jump straight into A Conjuring of Light. If you're reading this series guys make sure that you have book 3 to start striaght away!

A Gathering of Shadows was a great book and I really enjoyed it. I didn't love it quite as much as I did the first one but I know, as all middle books in a trilogy, it's setting up for all the crazy things to go down in the final book of the series. I can't wait to see how it all plays out.

"Crossing worlds, killing royals, saving cities. The marks of every good courtship."

Friday, September 1

Wrap Up: August 2017

Hey Guys,
Can you believe it's September already? This year is going so fast and I feel like the summer went by in the blink of an eye. I read quite a bit in August which was awesome. See my month in books below.

Book Haul


The Wrath and the Dawn (Wrath and the Dawn #1) by Renee Ahdieh
The Rose and the Dagger (Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare
Lord of Shadows (The Dark Artificies #2) by Cassandra Clare



For Review


Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Nyxia (Nyxia Triad #1) by Scott Reintgen

Books Read in August 2017:

The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James - 5 Stars
Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh
The Treatment by CL Taylor - 3 Stars
Roar (Stormheart #1) by Cora Carmack - 5 Stars
If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout - 5 Stars
Vendetta (Blood for Blood #1) by Catherine Doyle - 4 Stars
Inferno (Blood for Blood #2) by Catherine Doyle - 5 Stars
Mafiosa (Blood for Blood #3) by Catherine Doyle - 5 Stars

Reviews Posted in August 2017:

Fireblood (Frostblood #2) by Elly Blake
The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
Truth or Dare by Non Pratt
The Treatment by CL Taylor
We Were Liars by E Lockhart
One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus
If There's No Tomorrow by Jennifer L Armentrout  
A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by VE Schwab

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 Challenge

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 a book set in the future. That book was The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James.

I am so thrilled as I have now completed this challenge with 4 months to spare!

Challenge Total: 12/12

The 2017 Debut Author Challenge

Unfortunately I was unable to read any other debuts this month.

Challenge Total: 4/5

The 2017 'Continue a Series' Challenge

Unfortunately, I was unable to do anything else for this challenge this month.

Challenge Total: 3/5

The Zoella Bookclub Challenge 

Unfortunately I didn't read any more for this challenge this month.

Challenge Update: 7/16

Top 3 Books of August 2017:

What did you read this month?