February wrap-up

Considering uni is pretty full on at the moment (just started anaesthesia) I actually managed to do pretty well with reading and read 5 books! I also found the time to do a bit more work on my blog and I’m trying to keep up to date with writing reviews – I love sharing my views of books and discussing books with other bookworms!

Here are the books I read in February:

A Quiet Kind of ThunderImage result for a quiet kind of thunder

Author: Sara Barnard
Publisher: Macmillan
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

Crooked KingdomImage result for crooked kingdom

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

CaravalImage result for caraval uk

Author: Stephenie Garber
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

Three Dark CrownsImage result for three dark crowns

Author: Kendare Blake
Publisher: Macmillan
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

A Conjuring of LightImage result for a conjuring of light

Author: V E Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

My favourite book this month was A Conjuring of Light because I absolutely adore this series and it was SO SAD to see it finished!!! I also really loved Caraval though because it was full of magic and so many PLOT TWISTS it was definitely an amazing read. A Quiet Kind of Thunder was a sweet contemporary read to break up the fantasy roll I’m on and it was so cute I loved the story. Crooked Kingdom was another brilliant end to a series and I preferred it to Six of Crows but that ending!

The only book I didn’t really enjoy was Three Dark Crowns – the writing just didn’t grab me and I didn’t see where the story was going so it felt more of a chore to get through.

 

March TBR

It’s coming up to exams soon so I’ll probably have to ease off on the reading soon but I definitely want to read The Mime Order next in time for the launch of The Song Rising which I’m going to in London! I have a couple of stand alones I might read or continue on with some other series too like The Invasion of the Tearling. There are still so many series I want to start but I need to finish off a few first! Oh and I bought the Fairyloot March special anniversary edition book box so I’ll probably read whatever book is in that too! (And I have a good idea what it is!)

Jo x

Stealing Snow book review

Stealing SnowImage result for stealing snow book uk

Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Pages: 375
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Synopsis from goodreads:

“Seventeen-year-old Snow lives within the walls of the Whittaker Institute, a high security mental hospital in upstate New York. Deep down, she knows she doesn’t belong there, but she has no memory of life outside, except for the strangest dreams. And then a mysterious, handsome man, an orderly in the hospital, opens a door – and Snow knows that she has to leave … 
She finds herself in icy Algid, her true home, with witches, thieves, and a strangely alluring boy named Kai. As secret after secret is revealed, Snow discovers that she is on the run from a royal lineage she’s destined to inherit, a father more powerful and ruthless than she could have imagined, and choices of the heart that could change everything. Heroine or villain, queen or broken girl, frozen heart or true love, Snow must choose her fate …”

I loved the modern take on a fantasy – so many fantasy books are set back in a time where technology doesn’t exist, but in this book Snow mentions frequently a TV show which is the extent of her knowledge of life. Snow has only know what it is to live under the care of doctors and nurses, she has never lived by herself or made her own choices and this book isn’t just a story of a girl discovering her own powers, but her own independence as well.

It’s got a great writing style with a little attitude and occasional quips from Snow so it adds more realism to it, but there is a lot of romance woven into the story. Snow loves Bale and everything she does is to save him and take him back to the tree, but she kisses another, develops feelings for another and all the while is still insisting on finding and caring for her Bale. Some of the romance I found a bit unnecessary and unrealistic however I loved the incorporation of family relationships when you haven’t known your real family your whole life.

It’s magical and full of snow and definitely worth reading! Now time for a few spoilers so look away if you don’t want to see!

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I was NOT expecting Bale to die in this book! So yeah I started with the big one, but has he really died? I’m not even sure he’s human or whether the King used a Bale look-a-like. I’m so uncertain with what’s happening to Bale and where he is currently at the end of the book, but I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel to find out what’s happened to him.

One thing I quite like about this book is that it actually is quite believable how much Snow loves Bale, because she’s not known anything else besides her friend inside Whittaker, so it’s no surprise that she goes after him to Algid and becomes a robber just so she can save him. I found Margot both likeable and not but it still came as bit of a shock when she died – with the robber Queen now gone, I wonder who will take over and what will happen now they didn’t manage to get the mirror.

This mirror business – what is going to happen to the mirror now Snow’s secret twin has run off with it? Oh yeah, and Snow has a secret twin?!

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This family is a bit messed up.

Jagger was a good character and I really liked the River Witch, but I couldn’t get on board with how many people Snow grows to have feelings for. First she loves Bale, then Kai, then Jagger?! Just pick a guy already!

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I just liked the whole world of Algid and Snow’s wit as well as the element of magic woven into the story – it was reminiscent of Narnia with a different take on modern life.

Finding out her father was really the King all along was a good twist in the tale and the prophecy of his child having immense power was a good motive for the King to try and kill his children. Bit harsh though but I liked what it brought to the plot.

A good quick fantasy read if you’re looking for something different!

Glass Sword book review

Glass SwordImage result for glass sword book

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: Orion
Pages: 464
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Synopsis from goodreads:

“If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare’s blood is red – the colour of common folk – but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?”

Well after only having been available to buy for months and months, I finally got round to buying and actually reading the sequel to Red Queen and it was amazing! Mare has a new enemy and a whole new outlook on life as she discovers who she and the people around her really are as she starts her quest to find others like her. But after being betrayed, can Mare ever trust anyone again or will doing so be her downfall?

Glass Sword is a brilliant sequel and one that doesn’t fail to deliver drama and action with a whole heap of character development thrown in as well. Starting off fast-paced and the first two chapters chock-full of action, it certainly gripped you from the off. It had a completely different feel to Red Queen and while I definitely enjoyed Red Queen more, its sequel was still pretty strong and I didn’t want to stop reading at all.

Mare has suffered at the hands of friends and enemies alike but now she has a clear focus in mind – find the newbloods and protect them from her new foe. However her ordeal has hardened her and suddenly Mare is thrown into the midst of war and a long battle for peace is her focus, which cannot afford to waver even as relationships are tested and stretched in all directions.

The Scarlet Guard is bigger than Mare ever imagined and do not support her in her mission, let alone her blood so Mare has to choose who to trust, if she even can trust at all any more. It’s a sequel that has your heart racing and your mind screaming at the characters and that ending!!!

Now I can’t give anything else away without spoilers so do not read on if you haven’t read Glass Sword or Red Queen and you don’t want to be spoiled!

Image result for spoilers river song

Okay so the book pretty much picks up where it left off in Red Queen and my god has Maven taken on an evil persona. Everything was go go go in the first two chapters and I LOVED evil Maven (he’s just so brilliantly written), secretly smiling to myself whenever he popped up throughout the book and wishing to see more of him and understand why he has such a desperate thirst for power.

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(Moment to appreciate Andy stroking a cuddly monkey toy.)

Cal seemed hurt by his brother’s betrayal and his father’s death, but not at all haunted by the fact that he did it (physically, not willingly since Elara was controlling him) which you would expect. Come to mention it, all the characters in this book (to say they’re only teenagers or early twenties – Mare being just SEVENTEEN herself) coped with everything with extreme maturity and made it just a tiny bit unbelievable and annoying at times.

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I want characters to be realistic and have a bloody breakdown every now and then! But anyhow, Cal doesn’t really belong anywhere and seems to just float along at the beginning, just relying on his soldier qualities to keep his head above the water. Mare on the other hand seems completely unaffected by Maven and just gets on with finding the newbloods.

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Is this girl even human?! Cry, scream, shout – just show us some emotion! Whatever.

Maven though.

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Maven was just awesome okay, he is such a good villain and I loved the whole note thing. It was such a cunning and clever thing to do to let Mare know that she could stop the killing by giving herself up and writing to her like he is a friend – it’s ingenious! I was just waiting to see who found the letters and of course it was Cal but he didn’t even seemed that bothered by their existence really. All through the book I was just waiting to see Maven pop up and cause drama and it was brilliant whenever he did.

Glass Sword still had the Red Queen vibe and I love Victoria Aveyard’s writing but it was very different to Red Queen with its focus – finding the newbloods. So the characters are basically living in a plane and going around the land picking up newbloods from the list Julian gave Mare. It was a little dull at first after they found the first newblood, but it picked up speed again when they started finding dead newbloods – the ones they didn’t get to soon enough.

I loved reading about the powers that each of the newbloods have, though a little unbelievable at times. It’s just interesting to see that Silvers have certain powers but Reds seem to have unique abilities and that’s what separates them even further.

Farley was more of a background character in this but the relationship between her and her father was interesting; the Colonel is vile, especially when he locked up Mare and Kilorn helped.

The moment I read that bit:

Image result for mr bean shock gif

But thank goodness it was all a ruse – I don’t think I could deal with Kilorn betraying Mare as well!

But I must mention the part when Elara died – it was totally unexpected!

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Elara has been killed off! Now Maven hasn’t the influence of his crazy mind-controlling mother and this possibly means that Maven could be saved. It’s just so exciting to think what’s going to happen in King’s Cage because Mare might manage to bring back the man she got to know in Red Queen, or believing that she can could be her downfall… There’s so many directions the plot could go and I can’t wait to see where!

But when Elara died I couldn’t help thinking it was a bit of a shame because she was brilliantly evil and we won’t get to see more of her. Oh yeah, and Shade died! But how could she kill off Shade?

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Shade was awesome and I loved how he also had an ability and could share that with Mare when her other brothers aren’t there for her. It was such a good ability as well! And what about him and Farley? Now she’s alone. But again, Mare didn’t really seem to react like how I would expect – no tears or screaming, just a sort of empty indifference till she finally went to see how her on family was coping.

However the ending of Glass Sword was, again, totally unexpected. Mare finally giving herself in to save her friends and becoming Maven’s pet was just whaaaat-

Image result for shock gif

I really have no idea what’s going to happen in the next book – will Maven become captured and trapped in a cage or will he construct a cage for Mare and the book revolves around her escaping from his clutches? Damn you title for being so teasing! From reading the description, it sounds as if Mare is in a cage of silent stone and powerless to escape, but how much of the book will see her within Maven’s hold?

This sequel certainly has a clear rebellion feel to it and you can tell that the whole set up of the government is going to be demolished at some point in the series, and hopefully equality will exist between the Silvers and the Reds. I can’t wait to read King’s Cage!

The Star-Touched Queen book review

The Star-Touched QueenImage result for the star touched queen

Author: Roshani Chokshi
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Pages: 342
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Synopsis from goodreads:

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself. “

Wow was this book full of beautiful descriptions and just gorgeous story-writing. It reminded me a little of The Wrath and the Dawn with its exquisite detail and world-building – it was just so magical!

The Star-Touched Queen portrays a girl that is cursed (not literally, just everyone believes her to be) and the stars have dealt her a fate in a world where star signs are taken as gospel. On the dreaded day on which Maya has to demonstrate her unyielding loyalty to her father and Raja, a stranger enters her life with the promise of saving her life in return for her wisdom and hand in marriage. Maya is now destined to be queen of Akaran, a mysterious and magical place that soon unravels itself to her. But as distrust builds and the fate of an entire world rests in her hands, who is beside Maya and who is against her?

“I know your soul. Everything else is just an ornament.” – Roshani Chokshi, The Star-Touched Queen

Packed with beautiful descriptions and enough drama and action to last a series, TSTQ certainly didn’t disappoint.

I initially picked up this book because I had heard it was amazing all over bookstagram and there’s a quote from Maas on the front so I thought it was probably worth getting but after Nevernight and the hype it did not live up to for me, I was a bit hesitant to start this one. But am I glad I did! The writing is wonderful and the story surprised me with the direction it took – it felt more like an exhilarating finale to a series than the start of one!

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From the first page I just had this gut feeling that it was going to be a good book and it definitely was – Maya was brilliantly constructed and came into her element when Amar made her his queen. A sharp mind and caring attitude, she had fairness and judgement in balance when it came to making tough decisions, something that was discouraged in her life back with her family where her only use was to the Raja’s political advantage.

Amar was just dreamy though. Mysterious but always asking for the best from Maya and to believe in herself to rule, he respected her and valued her honest opinion. Though sometimes he came across a bit too much (like with the guy who works at Monica’s restaurant in FRIENDS and goes out with Phoebe in The One With Rachel’s Date – he’s just too caring sometimes that it’s annoying) but he was always considerate of Maya and gave her the respect she deserved as a person.

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Though a bit confusing and mind-boggling at times to follow, TSTQ has a brilliant story and I really have no idea where it will go in the sequel (but everything gets explained a little bit better apparently). With a talking horse and a tree bearing memories, TSTQ is a story that you will not regret experiencing!

Things take a dramatic twist towards about two-thirds the way through the book though;  it felt more like an explosive finale to a series rather than the first! The only problem with this book was that everything was a little confusing though and a lot didn’t really get fully explained, however I have heard that things make more sense in A Crown of Wishes, its sequel.

I won’t mention any spoilers this time because to be honest, I didn’t understand what was going on myself! There were a few characters you become unsure of as you read this book and I still don’t know what to make of them now – it’s one of those books that you have to just sort of roll with but I’m really looking forward to the sequel and finding out what’s going on.

A really beautiful book with gorgeous description and wonderful world-building!

“Trust is won in years. Not words.” – Roshani Chokshi, The Star-Touched Queen

Of Fire and Stars book review

Of Fire and StarsImage result for of fire and stars book

Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 389
Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Synopsis from goodreads:

“Betrothed since childhood to the prince of Mynaria, Princess Dennaleia has always known what her future holds. Her marriage will seal the alliance between Mynaria and her homeland, protecting her people from other hostile lands. But Denna has a secret. She possesses an Affinity for fire—a dangerous gift for the future queen of a kingdom where magic is forbidden.

Now, Denna must learn the ways of her new home while trying to hide her growing magic. To make matters worse, she must learn to ride Mynaria’s formidable warhorses—and her teacher is the person who intimidates her most, the prickly and unconventional Princess Amaranthine—called Mare—the sister of her betrothed.

When a shocking assassination leaves the kingdom reeling, Mare and Denna reluctantly join forces to search for the culprit. As the two become closer, Mare is surprised by Denna’s intelligence and bravery, while Denna is drawn to Mare’s independent streak. And soon their friendship is threatening to blossom into something more.

But with dangerous conflict brewing that makes the alliance more important than ever, acting on their feelings could be deadly. Forced to choose between their duty and their hearts, Mare and Denna must find a way to save their kingdoms—and each other.

Of Fire and Stars is written in an alternating pattern between Mare and Dennas’ viewpoints and I loved the complete contrast in their personalities. Mare is definitely not your typical princess, she’s more at home in the stables with her horses than dressed in finery attending important meetings and dinners. However Denna is absolutely the princess and future queen she has been brought up to be, taking on the heavy responsibility of her kingdom completely, abandoning her true feelings for the sake of her duty.

We see the steady progression of the two forming a friendship as the royal Directorate refuse to take action and discover the truth behind attacks and what it means for the kingdom. Denna is clever and quick to act and Mare is daring with a thirst for justice, which forms an unstoppable duo as they soon find out who is really to blame.

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Not every character is thoroughly formed though as I didn’t really feel like I knew anyone else besides Denna and Mare – it would have been good to see more character development with Thandi and the King as well as Nils. It just felt like some scenes were a bit rushed at times and swiftly moved on when more could have been said or done to just flesh-out the world and relationships that bit more.

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One thing I have to mention though is that I read a lot of fantasy that involves royalty and such, but none like this. I have never encountered a world where relationships are so freely accepted whatever gender you are and it was ridiculously amazing to read about! Men with women, men with men and women with women, it was a beautifully simple message that love is love and who even cares as long as it’s love?!

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Oh and the FOOD DESCRIPTIONS in this book were gorgeous – you can always tell if a book is going to be good based on how they describe food in the book (or lack thereof) and this one was definitely on to a winner.

A slow-burn romance and two characters that defy all odds to solve a mystery together with just a sprinkle of magic thrown in, Of Fire and Stars is a great story (with a beautiful cover may I add) that I do not regret picking up. And I’m pretty sure I’ll be picking up the sequel!

January wrap-up & February TBR

I had a surprisingly good month for reading in January! A good start to the reading year. I’m back at uni and finding it difficult to balance lectures/practicals and social life as well as keeping myself healthy both mentally and physically. That’s why I like to try and read a bit everyday because it gives me satisfaction seeing me progress through a book and I love posting about books and sharing my reviews of them!

So here are the seven books I read in January:

Stealing SnowImage result for stealing snow uk

 

Author: Danielle Paige
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

The Sky is EverywhereImage result for the sky is everywhere

 

Author: Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

Of Fire and StarsImage result for of fire and stars

 

Author: Audrey Coulthurst
Publisher: Balzer and Bray
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

The ChemistImage result for the chemist

 

Author: Stephenie Meyer
Publisher: Little Brown and Company
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

ViciousImage result for vicious uk book

 

Author: V E Schwab
Publisher: Titan Books
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

Six of CrowsImage result for six of crows uk book

 

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Group
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

Milk and HoneyImage result for milk and honey

 

Author: Rupi Kaur
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the GalaxyImage result for hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

 

Author: Douglas Adams
Publisher: Random House
Rating: Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

 

 

 

 

February TBR

I plan to read Crooked Kingdom next to finish off the Six of Crows duology and mix it up with a bit of contemporary and read A Quiet Kind of Thunder. I may start a new series and finally get round to starting the Shadowhunter series and read City of Bones, but I have a couple of stand alones I could read depending on how February goes work wise. A Conjuring of Light will DEFINITELY be on my February TBR as I’ll be buying that as soon as it comes out and reading it straight away. I also just received Caraval in my Fairyloot box (see my unboxing here) and I am so excited to start that!!

Jo x