Category: review

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.

La Belle Sauvage Book Review

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Author: Philip Pullman

Rating: 5/5

Buy: Amazon US

         Amazon UK

I never realised how much I missed this universe until I re-entered it. La Belle Sauvage is the 1st novel in a prequel trilogy to the His Dark Materials series, some of my most beloved childhood books. It follows Malcolm, the 11-year-old son of an innkeeper who meets a beautiful baby named Lyra who he is determined to protect. However, Malcolm isn’t aware of the political and transcendental conflict surrounding Lyra and is caught in the middle of a catastrophe.

I want to talk about daemons, because I don’t think I’ve encountered such a cute yet complex concept. For those of you who don’t know, the soul of each person in this universe is split between them and their daemon, an animal which is born with them and dies with them too. They have the intellectual and emotional capacity of their human (and can talk!), but the pairing also share pain and cannot be separated or they will likely die. I fear that it’s a concept that cannot be fully understood unless you have read a book in this universe, but I highly recommend that you do because daemons are a vital and complex part of this world, and Pullman can use them to twist the plot craftily (as well as my emotions).

Onto the actual book! First of all, I loved Malcolm. HIs young, naïve yet perceptive view of life is fabulous to read from, and I enjoyed him not only as a character but as a narrator as well. I loved how utterly normal he was, with his amicable yet sarcastic family dynamic and his colloquial way of speaking. 

Furthermore, I don’t think Philip Pullam could have created a more hateable villain. There is something so wrong and incandescently evil about him; so incomprehensibly horrid that he actually scared me. Even the way he talks make me cringe, and Pullman uses his daemon to create a Jaws-like suspense motif that was truly horrifying. So much for this being a kids book…

If I had one tiny criticism it would be that the magical elements of this novel weren’t dealt with quite right for me. They were hardly there, so maybe it’s something that will evolve in the next instalments.

All in all, I really loved this book and cannot wait for the sequel! (PS I know this isn’t the best shot of the book but my dog was looking so cute I couldn’t help it)

City Of Glass Book Review

Author: Cassandra Clare

Rating: 4.5/5

Buy: Amazon UK

         Amazon US

I know, I know… I haven’t rated it 5 stars BUT give me a chance to explain. I did love City Of Glass as much as the other instalments – I just felt that this whole book was a lot to take in at once. The entirety of it felt like the climax of not only the book itself but the whole series. The factor that draws me to Cassie’s writing (even more than her world) is her characters. Personally, I felt that the severity of the plot, as well written as it was, took over from the characters slightly.

Disclaimer: this is my personal opinion and only issue with this book – I still love it! The Shadowhunter world is so established at this point, and I love analysing the politics between the Shadow World and the Downworld. My favourite scene is the interaction between Clary and the Seelie Queen when Clary tells the Queen that she has everything she wants… It makes my heart swell with joy! 

I’m getting flashbacks to my first read of this series, it brings back so many memories. I know it isn’t top quality literature, but I can’t bring myself to care!

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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The Custard Protocol series by Gail CarrigerThis is a…

The
Custard Protocol series by Gail Carriger

This is a spoiler-free series
review of the first two books in the Custard
Protocol
Series: Prudence and Imprudence. In case you were
wondering/confused.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

From New York Times bestselling author Gail Carriger comes a new novel
in the world of the Parasol Protectorate starring Prudence, the daughter of
Alexia Tarabotti.

When Prudence Alessandra Maccon Akeldama (Rue to her friends) is given
an unexpected dirigible, she does what any sensible female would under similar
circumstances – names it the Spotted Custard and floats to India in pursuit of
the perfect cup of tea. But India has more than just tea on offer. Rue stumbles
upon a plot involving local dissidents, a kidnapped brigadier’s wife, and some
awfully familiar Scottish werewolves. Faced with a dire crisis and an
embarrassing lack of bloomers, what else is a young lady of good breeding to do
but turn metanatural and find out everyone’s secrets, even thousand-year-old
fuzzy ones?

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts

This is such a funny series.
It takes place during the reign of Queen Victoria, in a steampunk/supernatural world.
This is a parallel universe to our own except with dirigibles or airships
galore and vampires and werewolves living in plain sight in high society. The
vampires live in hives, with one queen and several drones. They have a great
influence in regard to fashion and etiquette. The werewolves live in packs with
an Alpha. They have close ties to the military. Both groups are immortal, can’t
be out in daylight, and have a big role to play in her majesty’s government.
This may seem like quite a complex world to grasp, and it may be so, because
this is the third series Gail Carriger has written about this world. The first
series was the Parasol Protectorate (with
this series main character’s mother as the leading lady) and the second being
the Finishing School series (which
takes place before the events of the first series), which I have read and
reviewed before. You do get the basics of the world in the first book of this
series, but if you would like to completely understand this world you should
read the other two series as well.

The main character Rue is the
daughter of Alexia Tarabotti, the main character from the Parasol Protectorate and Lord Conall Maccon, Alpha to a powerful
werewolf pack. She is also the adoptive daughter of Lord Akeldama, one of the
most influential vampires in England. Confused yet? As far as I understand it,
this arrangement was put into place to make sure Rue would not be partial to
one species of supernatural over the other, because she herself in very
powerful. She is a Metanatural, meaning she can steal the supernatural shape of
anyone she touches, turning herself into a vampire or werewolf while also
nullifying the supernatural person in question into a mortal, for a limited
time. This ability means she gets to live quite a different life from your
normal British aristocratic lady during the Victorian era.

The characters are what makes
this story so entertaining. On her airship Rue assembles a crew with some of
her best friends, the Tunstell twins Primrose and Percy, whose mother is a
vampire queen, and Quesnel Lefoux, slightly irritating and very charming French
engineer. Together the four of them get up to some crazy adventures, but
nothing that can’t be solved with Rue’s special abilities or a nice cup of tea.
Seriously, these people drink tea like it’s the answer to everything. Also,
they of course abide by the proper manners of their time-period. It makes me
want to start drinking tea with my pinkie high up and speak like a proper lady.
It’s hilarious to see how meticulous they are about etiquette and proper dress.
They are a great and quirky group that work of each other beautifully. My only
complaint is that the two ladies are nicknamed Rue and Prim which constantly
makes me think I’m reading the Hunger
Games
.

I liked both books, but I feel
like the second was even better as I had gotten to know the characters and the
world a bit better. I realize this series might not be everyone’s cup of tea
(see what I did there?), but I hope you will still give it a go. It may very
well surprise you. I was not sure about it at first either, but I ended up
loving it. I’m very excited to read the next book in the series when it comes
out (there are two more in the works). It’s such a hilarious read and really
takes your mind of things. It’s light and fluffy and just plain whimsically
funny.

//love from L

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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

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ya-book-reports: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi Rating:…

ya-book-reports:

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Rating: ★★★★☆

Synopsis

Juliette hasn’t spoken to another human being in almost a year. She is locked up in an asylum for a crime she did not intend. They locked her up to keep everyone else safe. Juliette’s touch is lethal, and no one knows why. Isolated since childhood, Juliette has never known affection, warmth or any kind of human contact. She has almost lost what little hope she had to begin with, but everything changes when she gets a cellmate. The Reestablishment, who promised everyone to fix this broken world, has plans for her. Plans to utilize her powers as a weapon. But Juliette has plans of her own. Plans to fight back.

Thoughts

I didn’t have very high expectations for this book when I picked it up, but it surely surprised me. Reading it was a thrilling ride and after the first hundred pages I was unable to put it down. Juliette was a really interesting character to me. She has been isolated her entire life and has zero experience of other people, so seeing her respond to the events that take place made this novel even more capturing. Some might say she is overly dramatic and naïve, but I’ll have to put that down to her imprisonment. When you have never felt anything but your own loneliness every experience and emotion is bound to hit you like a tidal wave. In the beginning she is very fragile, but she goes though some serious character development when she discovers the truth about her fatal touch. My favourite part of this book, however, was the prose and the writing style. The whole book is filled with crossed out sentences. These are the things Juliette is trying to stop herself from thinking or saying, and it gives an entirely new perspective of her. The prose reminded me a bit of Matched. It’s very poetic. It takes some getting used to, but it is absolutely beautiful and makes the story flow. Shatter Me is in many ways a dystopia, but it is also very focused on romance. We get to follow the very first relationship Juliette forms, and as it is the first everything is very intense. To me the romance in this novel was not so much about two people, but a portrayal of what it feels like to fall in love for the very first time. The poetic prose really makes these scenes come alive. Juliette’s discovery of the freedom that comes with this love and the strength that comes with her powers really makes this an unforgettable read.

//Love from L

More reviews here

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina GeorgeRating: ★★★☆☆SynopsisOn…

The
Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Synopsis

On a barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop, or rather a
‘literary apothecary’, for this bookseller possess a rare gift for sensing
which books will soothe his customers’ troubled souls.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. For
twenty-one years he has nursed a broken heart – and never dared open the letter
his love left behind. But the arrival of an enigmatic new neighbour inspires
Jean to unlock his heart, unmoor the floating bookshop and set off for
Provence, in search of the past and his beloved.

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts

I went to Paris a few months
ago and fell in love with quite a few bookshops over there. I had not heard
anything about this book before – I picked it up solely based on the title. It
just seemed like the perfect combination. It was both that, and a lot of other
things I did not expect.

As the blurb said, this story
is about a man going on a journey to heal his broken heart. As the title
suggests, it is also a story about books. However, it has less to do with Paris
than you would expect. The story starts out in the city of light, but pretty
soon it becomes a road trip story taking place on a boat through the French
country side. Along the way Jean Perdu meets a bunch of unique and hilarious
people, who all bring something vital to the story. The most prominent of these
being Max; the young author of a bestseller, now on the run from his publishers
and fans who demand he write something just as great this time. However, Max
has had writers block for years. Out of all the characters, he is the one I
could picture the most clearly in my head (namely Ben Whishaw as Q).

This was a surprisingly sad
story. I won’t give away details, but the story takes a turn for the melancholy
after a little while, which I rather think a reader should know before picking
this book up; especially as it was marketed as a feel-good. However, this book
manages to mix the sad parts with hilarious and thrilling adventure in a
beautiful way. And all the while there is the underlying focus on books and
their healing powers. This is as much a story of the power of literature as it
is of lost love. As a certified bookworm, I loved the bookish parts especially.

This was a bittersweet read,
both gloomy and uplifting. As it is not YA which is what I usually read, I
found it a bit harder to relate to the characters and their issues, as they are
all quite a bit older than me. I would recommend this book to all the
booklovers out there who believe in the magic of reading, and are looking for a
slower read.

//love from L

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. MaasThis is the third part…

A Court
of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

This is the third part of the
A Court of Thornes and Roses series, so beware of spoilers. I have reviews for
the first and second books here.

Rating: ★★★★★

Synopsis

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information
on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to
its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit—and one slip may
spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down
upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal
High Lords—and hunt for allies in unexpected places.

(from Goodreads)

Thoughts

I finished this book a few
weeks ago but I just had to get my thoughts together before I was even close to
being able to write about it. So much went down in this book and I just love
this series so much!

Okay, so we pick up with Feyre
being an undercover agent in the Spring Court, pretty soon after the horrifying
events at the end of the second book. For those of you who don’t quite remember
(I didn’t when I picked this book up), this is pretty much what happened
(SPOILERS FOR BOOK TWO COMING UP, THIS IS YOUR FINAL WARNING): Feyre and the
Night Court went to Hybern to nullify the cauldron, the King of Hybern’s most
deadly weapon. Their plan backfired spectacularly as they had been betrayed by
both the mortal queens and Tamlin, who had also turned over Feyre’s two sisters
Nesta and Elaine to the King. The whole incredibly intense and emotional scene ends
with Ferye’s sisters being made Fey, Nesta being a total badass/bitch and
promising to kill the King for hurting Elaine, Lucien realizing he and Feyre’s
sister Elaine are mates, Cassian almost dying and getting his wings torn to
scraps, the King severing the bargain bond between Feyre and Rhys (not the
mating bond as everyone thought at first), Feyre tricking Tamlin into thinking
that she had been bewitched into staying with and loving Rhys, and her being
taken back to the Spring Court with him. Geesh. I was so emotional reading that
ending. So, we start out in ACOWAR
with Feyre at the Spring Court faking recovery after being “abducted” by the
Night Court, Tamlin totally buying that story (because he’s dumb), Lucien being
very suspicious of Feyre (because he’s clever) and also knowing that she is the
only one who can help him get back to his mate. Meanwhile Rhys, the Night
Court, and Feyre’s sisters have escaped back to the north to heal and plot. And
that’s just the beginning…

This book very much centres on
Feyre growing into her new role as High Lady (another last-minute reveal of the
ending of ACOMAF). Her being back at
the Spring Court shows how drastically she has changed and developed since the
last time she was there. She is such a badass now I can hardly recognize the
timid girl from the first book. She is so sure of herself and her powers, and
is so beautifully in control in this plotline of scheming and intrigue. In
fact, this book is mostly about political intrigue and gearing up for the big
war with Hybern. Feyre is brilliant as High Lady in this storyline. Seeing her
face down the other High Lords was a treat. I also loved learning more about
the other Lords and their respective magic later on in the book. However, Feyre
and the others can be a bit frustrating at times. I occasionally find myself
wanting to shake them and scream “how could you think this was a good plan, you
moron?!”. In spite of that, I do love them to bits.

Another big theme in this book
is family. Throughout Feyre has to choose between her old friends (i.e. Lucien)
at the Spring Court and her new family at the Night Court, but also a lot of
focus is put on her relationship with her sisters, which was shaky at best
before they both became immortal. It also focuses a lot on the relationships
within the Night Court group, between Feyre, Rhys, Mor, Cassian, Azriel, and
Amren (this group is one of my favourites of all time!). They are just
wonderful together, but in this book we learn more about their history together
before Feyre met them, which is quite extensive what with them being immortal
and all. I especially loved learning more about Mor. I think character
development is a big theme all around, as well as the political intrigue part. There
is also a lot of history being revealed about Prythian and the wall, which I
feel was pretty unexplored before.

This book is so full of
intrigue and deception that sometimes you have trouble remembering who is on
which side. In some cases, you never really figure out where their loyalties
lie. I am still not sure whether some were double or triple spies. It keeps you
on your toes throughout the story. All of the plotting eventually leads up to
the big battle that we have been preparing for throughout the last two books. The
final battle scenes were so well written that I flew through them. At times it
felt like everything was happening in slow-motion and I was right there in the
middle of it. It was quite a surreal reading experience.

I loved this book! I think it
brought the story forward in a beautiful way, and kept the action going right
to the end. It answered many questions while also creating new ones. I did not
love it as much as ACOMAF, but then
again that was one of my favourite books of all time so that’s quite hard to
beat. As always with Sarah J. Maas the writing was beautiful, the characters
were phenomenal, and the story was packed with amazing plot twists. I can’t
wait for the next book to come out. And if you haven’t read this series yet
(first of all, WHY ARE YOU STILL READING I WARNED YOU ABOUT SPOILERS!) please,
please, PLEASE pick it up. It is one of the best fantasy series I have ever
read.

//love from L

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Sidenote! I think I just read
that this was the last part of a trilogy? I am in such denial. I thought this
was going to be a six-part series! How have I not heard of this before?! According
to this there are going to be three more books set before and after the “first
series”.
I just can’t process that this was the last book with Feyre and Rhys
as the main characters, I just won’t stand for it *melts into a puddle*. Also
the story feels far from finished. Someone please tell me if this is true or if
you know more about this!