Category: ya

Atmospheric, yes. Well-plotted? Mostly.The Pri…

Atmospheric, yes. Well-plotted? Mostly.

The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton

Nor Blackburn is the 8th daughter of the great witch Rona Blackburn. After arson destroyed her home, Rona cursed herself, her children, and the residents of the Anathema Island. Nor just wants to be unremarkable and invisible, except she seems to have more power than any Blackburn witch that came before her, maybe even Rona. Nor’s mother Fern publishes a book that purports to sell spells– any spell– for a price. Except the price paid and the price listed are not quite the same thing. Now Nor must find a way to protect her island and those she loves, even from her own mother.

I liked the Price Guide a lot for it’s atmosphere, setting, characters, and thematic elements. I did not love the plot. The plot itself is kind of weak. It meanders a bit, rushing towards confrontations and then oddly setting them aside, and sort of unravels at the end, where you are left with a slightly inexplicable cliffhanger of sorts. But the setting! The lushness of description, the vividness of the prose– totally great. It’s moody, dark, unafraid to be scary at times, and filled with delightful little touches of wonder and mystery. Even though it was violent and bloody, I wanted to live in Nor’s world, where amazing magics live hand in hand with the mundane. 

4 stars.  

The Testing Book Review

image

Author: Joelle Charbonneau

Rating: 4/5

Buy: Amazon UK

         Amazon US

I gotta say, I’m divided on this one. I adored the plot and loved the world, I could tolerate the characters, but the writing was just basic in my opinion. Howevever, that wasn’t enough to stop me enjoying this novel.

We’ve seen many a YA dystopia: young adult girl who’s not traditionally beautiful but still pretty goes on with her oblivious life until one day [insert event here] happens and she realises she must rebel against the corrupt society she lives in. Not gonna lie, this isn’t much different. BUT, when reading it I found that I didn’t actually care? It was entertaining! I was never bored, and I enjoyed the progression and character arcs. And whilst the setting was mysterious, I thought it was definitely dystopian, but it was also quite relatable and relevant. 

The characters were not bad. I didn’t fall in love with them as much as those from a lot of series, but they’re certainly weren’t unlikeable. I did enjoy the developments each character went through, and how they each dealt with the loss of innocence that faced them all. Some threw it away willingly and relished the freedom, whilst others avoided immoral acts at all costs, shocked when they realised were the only ones who did. The theme of morals and values was prominent, along with “do the ends justify the means?”, both of which are fascinating, psychologically, to explore.

However, the writing was pretty basic. It wasn’t badly written, it just didn’t do much for me. There was a line that literally said, “And then the world exploded”, which is a little ridiculous even for YA. I understand that not all writing styles are jaw-droppingly clever, I just prefer more adventurous styles.

Overall, worth the read. Definitely one for if you don’t want to focus too hard but still want a compelling story.

Because You Love To Hate Me Book Review

image

Author: Various Authors (edited by Ameriie)

Rating: 4.25/5

I LOVED this story collection. Villainy is something that fascinates me greatly – anything from the psychology behind it to circumstances that bring it on. Really, there couldn’t be a better book for me. And, for the most part, that was true.

As much as a loved the short-stories themselves, I also loved the additions to each from the book-tubers who set the challenges. Studying literature has always interested me, and the fact that we get to pull apart the each character and storyline made me so happy. Not only this, but we also get fun and quirky articles and tit-bits on villainy including The Bad Girl’s Guide To Villainy and Keep The Darkness At Bay self help guide. However, my favourite was Jessethereader’s letter to death titled ‘Dear Death’. it honestly made me cry as I resonated with it so much.

Now, the stories themselves. My favourite was Victoria Schwab’s ‘Death Knell’. I have never read anything by Schwab before (but Monsters Of Verity is on my tbr), and I adored her writing style beyond measure! It was so poetic and whimsical and the story itself was darkly beautiful. Another one that stuck in my head was ‘Julian Breaks Every Rule’ by Andrew Smith, a story that centres around a modern, adolescent psychopath. The narration was so incredibly funny – like, laugh out loud funny! The difference in tone, story and moral in each tale is huge and it made for a very compelling read with lots of variety. Each story is also so relevant and relatable to real life, discussing important themes and bringing critical topics to the foreground.

There was only one story I wasn’t a fan of…the first one. Now, I love Renee Adhieh and The Wrath And The Dawn, but I didn’t like the concept! The story was dull and did nothing for me. 

On average, 4.25. Would highly highly recommend!

Cell 7 Book Review

Author: Kerry Drewery

Rating: 2/5

Okay, I did not like this book. It centres around a girl who is on Death Row for the murder of a famous celebrity – but the catch is that her case is a reality TV show and the public decide if she lives and goes free, or dies. The premise sounds captivating, and I had high hopes that weren’t really reached.

First of all, the format wasn’t my thing. Some of the writing was in a script-like fashion for the reality show, and the writing in those sections was so lazy. I never got to see the author‘s style since she wrote mostly in stage directions and plain dialogue. And the show was called ‘Death Is Justice’… Come on.

This leads me on to my second point: the whole criminal case-reality TV concept was dealt with so trivially. I know it’s a YA dystopia and not an adult thriller, but I think I would have preferred a bit more deathly realism suitable to the world this book is set in. Small things, like the voting numbers being mentioned every chapter and the presenters being so happy-go-lucky when talking about executing people, made the story seem belittled – as if it was attempting to make Death Row cases amusing. It needed to be more sinister to be believable.

However, there were a couple of points which I enjoyed. Martha describing each of the cells she was kept in required not only creativity from the author, but also emotion. Here, she exceeded in both those things. The flashbacks were expertly placed: enough information for us to understand the following events, but not too much to stop us speculating what may have happened. 

I probably will end up reading the rest of the trilogy for completion’s sake – but it wasn’t that impressive for me and I would be hesitant to recommend.

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

Find it on Goodreads

More reviews

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi HeiligRating…

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

Find it on Goodreads

More reviews

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

Find it on Goodreads

More reviews

The Custard Protocol series by Gail CarrigerTh…

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

Find it on Goodreads

More reviews

ya-book-reports: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi Par…

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: 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