Category: book

The Darkest Part Of The Forest Books Review

Author: Holly Black

Rating: 5/5

Buy: Amazon US

         Amazon UK

Definitely a new favourite!! Oh my god this book is a craft of creative and literary genius! I want to crawl inside the author’s mind because only the most beautiful brain could create this deft and whimsical story. 

The Darkest Part Of The Forest showcases a take on faeries unlike any other I’ve seen. In a town called Fairfold, the citizens are aware that creatures haunt their forests…but there isn’t much to be done about it. The fae take their children and murder their tourists, and in the woods there is a faerie boy who lies in an eternal sleep within a glass casket. Siblings Hazel and Ben are mortals of Fairfold, dreamers and wanderers who yearn for the adventure of the fae and they end up whisked into this treacherous quest that threatens the lives of everyone they hold dear. In this novel, faeries are illustrated as shockingly beautiful and with many species – but they all have mischief in common. The addictive wonder of the fae is what’s so captivating about this book, and you can see why the characters submit to their allure. The descriptions of characters and settings are lush and visual; I would love a colouring book based on this story!

The characters are just as 3-dimensional as the visuals. Hazel is fascinating in her stubborn and veiled nature, both a contrast and a compliment to Ben’s vulnerability and compassion. Severin, oh my god don’t get me started…another new favourite. There’s something so captivating about the way he talks and acts, and his character arc is stunning!

The relationships in this book are absolutely on point. Both Hazel and Ben have the most raw and real views on love. But what I value most in The Darkest Part Of The Forest is the highlight on sibling relationships. Hazel and Ben have the most complex partnership – their unconditional love, reliance on each other and desire to keep secrets are both poisonous and beautiful. However, the romantic relationships are also stunning! Ben’s final relationship has the most amazing progression and I adored it, and Hazel’s is slow burning and sumptuous.

I’m sorry this review has just been me blabbing about everything I loved in this book and I know it’s a bit repetitive… But I really don’t care. Go and read this book.

One Of Us Is Lying Book Review

Author: Karen M. Mcmanus

Rating: 2.5/5

Buy: Amazon US

         Amazon UK

I’m in two minds with this book. It both enforced and defies traditional teen stereotypes in a way which I’m not sure I’m comfortable with. It was as if each character was a 2-Dimensional trope – one side completely stereotypical, the other the total opposite. Usually, I wouldn’t have a problem with defying the norm (in fact, I’d celebrate it), but I felt like the characters had no depth to them besides these points. Exhibit A: Addy. I’m the perfect princess meets I cheated on my boyfriend. Exhibit B: Nate. I’m a criminal meets I’m a good guy. Exhibit C: Cooper. I’m a jock meets I’m gay. Exhibit D: Bronwyn. I’m a straight-A student meets I cheated on a test. I wish that there was more to these characters!!

However, I didn’t hate the book. There were moments that I adored, such as Bronwyn and Nate’s epilogue, the discovery of Kris being a boy, and the initial death scene. I enjoyed how the author fed us subtle clues and information. I liked the POV setup – in 1st person from 4 different perspectives but with clear definition of who was narrating (looking at you 5th Wave). There were a lot of things that this novel did right.

I’m split about the ending, too. The novel is called One Of Us Is Lying and WOW none of them were lying. But I did enjoy the shock of the plot twist, and it was well-executed (even if a little anticlimactic).

The final thing I want to talk about is Simon’s suicide. I felt like it was a bit of an afterthought, as if it were a side-effect if his death and not the cause of it. The whole way it was addressed concerns me. For people with suicidal ideations due to bullying or other reasons concerning there peers, Simon’s plan may be considered an option. Once again, suicide is being advertised as a revenge plot (looking at you 13 Reasons Why). It upsets and angers me, suicide is a tragedy which needs to be dealt with, not disfigured until it’s a way to get you attention. Not only does this encourage the act of causing yourself death, but it damages the view of suicide and suicide victims. The majority of suicide victims didn’t do it ‘for the attention’ for god’s sake – but that’s what the media is spreading.

So, there you have it. There were a lot of things I enjoyed about this novel, but it was the content that I disagreed with.

The Sword Of Summer Book Review

Author: Rick Riordan

Rating: 5/5

Buy: Amazon US

         Amazon UK

Wow am I getting PJO flashbacks with this one! To be honest, I prefer the format of HoO, but I understand why Riordan chose to narrate this story in 1st person. Magnus has such a loud, charismatic voice and I revelled in his sarcasm and cheek. Magnus is an amazing character, and not just as a narrator. Without spoiling anything, near the end of the novel Magnus becomes so overwhelmed by everything that’s happened to him and feels so guilty for things that aren’t even his fault. He isn’t ashamed to cry, and this compassion and emotion is something I think should be showcased in all male heroes.

I think The Sword Of Summer holds possibly my favourite cast of characters…ever. I love Samirah, her stubborn and restless nature perfectly balanced with her soft side. And can we talk about the fact that she has a MAGICAL HIJAB! This is the quality urban fantasy content I need! Hearth is also so precious, I love how Riordan seamlessly incorporated the deaf community into a fantasy setting and made it a subtle but necessary part of the story. The last character I wanna talk about is Otis – what an absolute legend. You can’t help but feel bad for the goat, but his scenes are always comedic and slightly awkward, which I love. The diversity of this series is incredible, but what I appreciate most is that THE DIVERSITY ISN’T FORCED. It’s a basic, integral part of the story.

I learn so much from Riordan’s novels, and I do have a fascination with mythology. But, for whatever reason, I’m least knowledgeable about Norse myths and culture. Now that I know more, I’ve begun to draw parallels between fictional Norse universes (Thor: Ragnarok now makes so much more sense!). 

The final thing I want to mention is the showcase of homelessness. Now, I will admit my ignorance to the homeless society, and for that I have always been sincerely guilty. After reading the beginning of The Sword Of Summer, I have a new understanding even though it’s a work of fiction. It’s helped me realise my ignorance and, now, I’m more empathetic.

Overall, an action-packed, diverse and emotional novel – definitely one of the best of the year so far!

City Of Fallen Angels Book Review

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: 4/5

This re-read is actually starting to make me sad. My 14-year-old self is yelling at me for being so critical, but I can’t help but see the general averageness of the writing style. Which sucks because the story and the world are amazing, as well as the beautiful, loveable characters.

I’m going to get the negative out of the way and talk about how pointlessly angsty the Clary/Jace romance is. I understand why it happens in terms of the plot, but I got so bored of their back-and-forth events of “Jace wants to punish himself”. I dreaded their interactions, which upsets me because just because  they’re the main characters doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the book – apart from the fact that they’re in every chapter

BUT the other romances in this book are beautiful and exciting to explore. Not only the romances, but the friendships too. I love seeing these perfectly formed characters interacting and thinking ‘wow that was such a Jace thing to say’ or ‘that was so Magnus’, and it’s probably unhealthy how much I feel like I know these characters…

Reading this book knowing that the series was originally just going to be a trilogy definitely changed things for me. Half of me felt that this book was just unnecessary… But putting that out of my mind, I did still enjoy it – a very readable and yet still exciting instalment.

Beth Holland’s review of The Coldest Girl in C…

Beth Holland’s review of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown: undefined

Beth Holland’s review of The Son of Neptune (T…

Beth Holland’s review of The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olympus, #2):

Check out my Son Of Neptune review! All my other Rick Riordan reviews are on my master list here if you wanna read more of my thoughts on Percy Jackson and his universe – and let me know what you think of PJO too!

Currently Reading // September 9th 2017

Currently Reading // September 9th 2017

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligRating: ★★★☆☆SynopsisIt…

The Girl
from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Synopsis

It was the kind of August day that hinted at monsoons, and the year was
1774, though not for very much longer.

Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their
crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate
ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and
her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times – although
a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix’s father is only interested in
one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her
mother was alive. Something that puts Nix’s existence rather dangerously in
question…

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts

I was really excited to read
this book for the longest time. First of all – time-traveling pirates. That’s
the best thing imaginable. Secondly – the cover is just so incredibly beautiful
(I know, I know, don’t judge a book by its cover), that it drew me in. In the
end the book may not have quite lived up to my expectations, but it was still
an enjoyable read.

The concept of this story is
spectacular and unique. It’s such a cool idea that a person would be able to
navigate to any map, be it real or imaginary. My first thought when the
characters described how they travelled between times was of course: “So if they
had a map of Hogwarts or Narnia, they could just go there?” That made me very
excited. Do you have any idea how often I’ve dreamt of being able to do that?
However, navigating, as they call it, it a bit more complicated. The map has to
be hand drawn and made in the contemporary time, so a map of India in 1774 must
have been drawn in 1774. And in order for them to travel to a mythical or
imaginary land the person who drew the map must believe the place is real. This
makes it sound like mythical maps are extremely rare, but apparently not. On
the ship the crew has a bunch of magical objects from different myths, such as
a bottomless sack from an Irish story and luminescent herring from a
Scandinavian myth explaining the Northern Lights. They even have a crew member
from an imaginary city.

The crew is able to navigate
to these strange and magical places all thanks to Nix, our main character. The
girl is like a walking encyclopaedia of myth and history. I am myself a big fan
of mythology, but there was still so much mentioned in this book that I had no
idea about. Still, you could keep up with the story without knowing all the
facts beforehand. And for the very curious (like me) there is a handy dandy
author’s note in the back detailing the origins of most of the myths and
objects mentioned in the story.

The story mostly takes place
in Hawaii in the 1800’s. I have always wanted to go to Hawaii, so learning more
about its history was really fascinating. This was a story I had never heard
before in my life. I am starting to realize what an interesting history Hawaii
has, and would really like to learn more.

I found the main character to
be extremely smart, but a bit hard to relate to. She keeps herself at arm’s
length from the other characters, and also from the reader. The rest of the
characters in this story are very diverse, which always makes a story better in
my opinion. The ships motely crew come from all over the world and from all
different times, which makes a very interesting mix.

This is most of all an adventure
story, but from the blurb I thought it would also have quite a bit of romance
in it. I mean, the front reads “A journey through time. A journey to love.”. In
spite of that, I do not think this was a love story at all. Sure, there was
some romantic tension between a few characters, but not at all enough to call
it a romance. This turned out to be the complete opposite of most YA, where
there is usually more romance than you expected. Instead, this book focuses
more on the love within families, which is refreshing.

I really enjoyed this story.
It had plenty of adventure and lots of myth and history. I adore the
time-traveling concept, and I look forward to seeing where the author takes the
story in the next book (I believe this is a duology?). I recommend it to all
history- and mythology nerds out there or to anyone looking for an entertaining
adventure story. Also, how could you say no to time-traveling pirates?

//love from L

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ya-book-reports: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi Part threeof the…

ya-book-reports:

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Part threeof the Shatter Me trilogy. Parts one and two here.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

Omega Point
has been destroyed. Juliette does not know if her friends or any of the rebels
are still alive. The only thing she knows for sure is that she will no longer
sit by and watch when she has the power to change things. She will do whatever
it takes do bring the Reestablishment down, and she will do it with Warner’s
help. The person she never thought she could trust. The person who saved her
life. If Juliette is to discover the true strength of her gift, she will also
have to face the truth about her feelings.

Thoughts

This was by
far my favourite book of the series. I waited for two book for this to happen,
and I’m so happy we got there: Juliette has finally realized what a badass she
is and it is awesome! She is so sure of herself now, and it makes me so happy
for her. The cross-outs that were so frequent in the first book are all gone by
the end, which really shows her brilliant character development. Another
character who has had some extreme development is Warner. I don’t believe I’ve
ever changed my mind about a character as completely as I have with Warner. It
really shows how important perspectives are for how you view a story. Another
character that I fell in love with in this book is Kenji. At first I just
thought he was the comic relief but in Ignite Me he becomes such an amazing
friend to Juliette. Any scene with him in it made me happy. Now, as you can
probably tell by my ramblings, my favourite part of this book was the
characters. They are all so broken and twisted in so many different ways, and
we get to see them break down and pick themselves back up again, and it’s
really great. I really loved the relationship between Juliette and Warner, as
well. I mean, how can you not! They are adorable and they complement each other
so well. Also, how beautiful is this cover!? It goes so well with the symbolism
of Juliette’s character development. I flew though this book, I loved it even
though the ending was rather abrupt, and it is one of the most interesting
series I’ve read.

//Love from
L

Find it on Goodreads

More reviews here

ya-book-reports: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi Part two ofthe…

ya-book-reports:

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Part two ofthe Shatter Me series, part one here.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

At the end
of Shatter Me, Juliette, Adam, James
and Kenji all manage to escape to Omega Point, the rebel base where people with
all kinds of abilities like Juliette’s live together, hiding from the
Reestablishment. In Unravel Me, we pick up with a Juliette who is still afraid
of her own power. She still feels like an outsider. Escaping was supposed to
set her free, but now she has to battle her own demons. She needs to face her
past and learn to control her powers. Most of all, she needs to stop running. Before
it’s too late. Before the war arrives.

Thoughts

Juliette is
still a very problematic character. She is overreacting and shutting other
people out. She has the power to literally crush walls, but she is too afraid
to see it, which is very frustrating. Her relationship with Adam is getting
increasingly unstable, which is not making things easier for her. Thankfully,
she gets some extreme character development, which is one of my favourite
parts. Unravel Me really picked up
about halfway through, when the really exciting things started happening. It
had some great plot twists that left me so incredulous. That’s what really kept
the story going for me, the constant twists and turns and the urge to know what
would happen next. It deals with some pretty deep motives of ethics and morals,
which I was not expecting but loved nonetheless. The best part of this novel,
however, was that it made me realize that villains are often the most
interesting and complex characters. If you read this, I would recommend keeping
the next part of the trilogy, Ignite Me,
close at hand. This ending will leave you desperate to know what will happen
next.

//Love from
L

Find it on Goodreads

More reviews here