October Reviews | 1 October – 7 October 2016

Perhaps a month of average books was necessary. My theory is that the more I read the harder it is for me to be impressed, intrigued and excited by a book.

My month began with the first three books in the Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole. Cole is one of my favourite supernatural romance authors but I have not been the biggest fan of her foray into YA.

So far it is has been the weirdest mix of post-apocalyptic, dystopia, fantasy and supernatural. I was overcome by how many elements there were and, although there was nothing inherently wrong with the way they meshed together, not enough time is devoted to each element because the “romance” overrides everything.

Poison Princess | Kresley Cole | 4 October 2016 | 3 stars

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“Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future-and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Derveaux.”

This was actually a fairly strong start to the series. I could feel Evie struggling with her hallucinations and the setting was clear in my head. I even liked the storytelling element. We are told from the start not to trust her version of events and there is nothing I like more than a purposefully-written unreliable narrator.

What let me down was the relationship drama. There is just so much petty jealousy and so many irritating conversations (both internal and external) about what certain characters did or didn’t do, and who they do and don’t like. Dudes. The world is ending. Finding food and water is a struggle. You are creating vegetables with your blood. You have bigger issues. This is a theme that ran throughout the three books and something I constantly struggled with.

Endless Knight | Kresley Cole | 5 October 2016 | 2.5 stars

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“Evie has fully come into her powers as the tarot Empress. And Jack was there to see it all. In the aftermath of killing Arthur, Evie realizes that there is a war brewing between the teens who’ve been given powers following the apocalypse, and it’s kill or be killed. When Evie meets Death, the gorgeous and dangerous Endless Knight, things get even more complicated. Somehow the Empress and Death share a romantic history. One that Evie can’t remember, but Death can’t forget. Evie is drawn to Death, but in love with Jack. She is determined to discover why she’s been granted these powers, and in the process, struggles to accept her place in the prophecy that will either save the world, or destroy it.”

And here cometh the love triangle *eyes roll right out of my head*

The second installment in the series was good at exploring the universe more and the history of these tarot kids – unfortunately it was through the lens of Death’s and Evie’s history. Now, I am a hopeless fangirl who can’t help but choose a side and I love me a bad boy, so I am all about the Death.

This book was also good at exploring the “evil” side of this to-the-death game. Everything is not black and white and everyone has different motives and a different sense of morality and ethics. I liked the sense of discovery in this book.

It was very dragged out though. And repetitive. And very “I broke up with you in my head therefore I feel free to do what I want with whomever I choose because I am 17 and can adult”. I just did not have time for Evie’s shit. I just want her to have a bit more backbone. Go, FUCK ALL THESE BOY PROBLEMS and get her shit together.

Dead of Winter | Kresley Cole | 6 October 2016 | 2 stars

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“Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, the Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.”

And this is where I went “HELL TO THE NOPETY NOPE!!” It was legitimately an entire book about “Which boy will Evie choose?” I could even feel her exhaustion with it. And I was sitting there the entire time wondering why she should have to choose anyone at all. There was also some sort of incestuous evil twin thing going on but that was sort of glanced over because WHICH BOY?!?!

So, yeah. I think I have given up, despite there being another two or three books. I was tired and no longer cared what happened to the characters. Because, quite frankly, they were all fairly rank, desperate and fighting over a girl who is wishy-washy and condescending towards a character with Asperger’s.

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Half-Yearly Report

My darling friend created this questionnaire to help us figure out all our book feelings from over the last six months and it is super fun! JOIN JOIN JOIN!

How many books have you read so far this year?

SRC half

What has been your favourite read?

In the Shadow of Blackbirds| Cat Winters

All the Bright Places| Jennifer Niven

Jasper Jones| Craig Silvey

Were you surprised by any books you read?

Red Rising | Pierce Brown

red rising

Did any books disappoint you?

Tomorrow, When the War Began | John Marsden

john marsden

What character did you connect to most?

Celaena Sardothien when reading The Assassin’s Blade – Calaena’s back story helped create a much more powerful character who I somehow love even more!

celaena

What are you excited to read before the end of the year?

Queen of Shadows | Sarah J Maas – can’t half tell which author I love…

queen

Have you read your most anticipated book of 2015 yet, and if so was it worth it?

Black Iris | Leah Raedar AND YES! Beyond epic

black iris

Have you discovered any new favourite authors or series?

Maria V Snyder

Jennifer Niven

Cat Winters

Stephanie Perkins

His Fair Assassin series

Darkest London series

Book Review: In The Woods

Not to be mistaken by the glory that is Into The Woods…

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… but this lovely little little murder mystery instead:

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“As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.”

This book had some issues but was an overall good read. I legitimately read the majority of it in a seven-hour reading session. My brain hurt afterwards.

Let’s start with the story

I am going to forewarn you and tell you that this is the first in a series; I did not realise this until after I read it and was frustrated because *spoiler warning* the 1984 crime isn’t solved.

Anyhoo, I loved how it unfolded. At times it was tedious but only in the best of ways – it helped you feel the exact same frustration that Ryan and Maddox experienced during their investigation. I think it was a little misleading to say that there were similarities between the 1984 crime and the most recent one. I think French was trying too hard to make a connection so that it would affect Ryan psychologically and emotionally more during the book. I also guessed what would happen in the end as the hints dropped throughout the book were far from subtle. Don’t get me wrong, it did not ruin the reading experience for me one little bit – I still thoroughly enjoyed reading it happen.

Now the characters

This is Ryan boiled down to a rather inspiring quote from the book:

“What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this – two things: I crave truth. And I lie.”

Ryan is a bit of a douche: “emotionally crippled” would probably be a bit of an understatement. He likes explaining a lot of things in detail and sometimes this is helpful but sometimes it is irrelevant. GET IT TOGETHER MAN!

Maddox is BOSS. You want to be her because she is such a badass. The relationship/partnership between these two makes me ridiculously jealous as well. French has written the dialogue between these two very well; you can imagine that they spend the majority of their time together as they bounce off each other really naturally.

The evil-doers will give you the heebie jeebies (which I maintain is a real state of being). They range from psychotic to beyond pathetic, and straight on to depraved.

The rating

4 out of 5 delicious stars. I don’t know if I will continue with the series, but I will probably keep track of what happens in them as I really want to know what happened in the f***ing woods in 1984. It’s eating at me.

 

 

Book Review: Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J Maas

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*Post may contain spoilers* – you need to take my advice and just read the series; you would be doing yourselves a favour.

What the series is about:

This badass female character – Calaena Sardothien – is an 18-year old assassin who is “rescued” from a slave camp after a year of doing hard labour and being tortured. I say “rescued” as the son of the King who placed her there in the first place is the one who gets her out so that she can compete to become said King’s champion … the champion does all the King’s dirty work, and no, I don’t mean cleaning his stanky-arse pantaloons.

It’s hard to describe without giving too much away, but Maas masterfully unfolds this world of magic, mystery and action. She builds this character who is incredibly strong, yet broken; she knows she is flawed and has weaknesses but is given the tools to overcome them. And she has a bitchin’ wardrobe. I can not adequately describe how much I love Calaena.

The men:

You can not have a YA story these days without some romance, and some swoon-worthy male characters. Maas does not disappoint. On one hand you have Prince Dorian who saved her from the mines and shares her love of reading – they have companionship. On the other hand you have Captain Westfall who is in charge of the King’s Guard and helps Calaena train so that she can regain the strength and will to win the competition.

GIF_Fans Self

This book:

*definite spoilers – avert thine eyes*

Firstly, you are going to need a third hand because HOT DAMN there is another man that enters the picture. His name is Rowan and you are going to love/hate him. Without going too deeply into the events of previous books, Calaena is sent away to learn more about a specific kind of magic and Rowan is the one that gets to decide when she can learn more. Rowan becomes a much needed friend to Calaena and you are going to love how their story unfolds.

I found myself getting very annoyed by Calaena during the the first half of this book – she is a deep, depressing spiral as she can’t stop blaming herself for the death’s of certain people. The guilt almost suffocates her. The more you read, the more you realise she needs to hit rock bottom so that she can then use that strength to become a better, stronger person.

When a book is in mid-series I am always concerned that the author will use it as a stepping stone for the last couple of books instead of making it a book in its own right. I thought this was happening at first: a lot of events were taking place that seemed very preparatory, but there are underlying events that take place which allow this one to stand on its own (PRAISE THE LORDE!)

What I really love about her series is that each book shows you a little more of the universe, so you aren’t flooded by all this information about a fantasy universe in the first book. You are slowly introduced to places and characters that have different levels of importance and it keeps you on your toes. You just never know what is going to happen.

Another beautifully-written book by Maas. I am so thankful that this is an author I started reading.

Rating: 5/5