Book Review

Book Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E Schwab

Summary

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in Arnes—Red London—and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive. – (via Goodreads )

My Rating: 4/5

Non-Spoiler Review

Immediately from the summary you know that A Darker Shade of Magic is a unique fantasy with an original magic system. It’s so intricate and precise, varying from London to London, that I found myself loving this aspect of the novel straight away. However, at the beginning of the novel, – this could be due to me reading a lot of books at the end of the month – I found it to be quite a slow start compared to the second half of the novel. However, this is to be expected as we were being introduced to these worlds, the characters and magic system. I did enjoy the beginning of the novel but the second half was where the plot and pace really picked up. It was incredible!

The characters in this novel were also fantastic. Once again, V. E Schwab excels at creating relatable but interesting characters. I loved Kell, our protagonist and the magician in the novel. However, my favourite character was definitely Delilah Bard. She is from Grey London, our London, and seeks adventure and freedom. She is incredibly daring and fierce. I loved her! I also loved the relationship dynamic between her and Kell. It made me laugh out loud!

V.E Schwab done an excellent job of creating this world. It was so natural, concise and, occasionally, brutal that it was hard to put the book down. I was so wrapped up in the politics of each London, their history and the magic systems associated to each one. It was never confusing and it was easy to follow. It helped with how V.E Schwab managed to describe these places so well that they become extremely vivid in my head.

I’m so glad I have finally read this book and I’m very mad that I didn’t read it sooner. It’s a dark story with magic, multiverses, and amazing characters. It’s so good! It’s a brilliant first novel to begin this trilogy.

I can’t wait to read A Gathering of Shadows.

Have you read this book? What was your thoughts?

Thanks for reading!

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Monthly Wrap Up

May Wrap Up!

Hi everyone, another month gone and another bunch of books read. This month I went through a reading slump halfway through the month so I didn’t get to read as much as I wanted to. However, I’m still really happy with reading a total of 10 books this month.

First book I finished was Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo.

I rated this book 4/5 stars. It was a compelling sequel that had everything in it that I loved in the first novel.

The second book I read was Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo. This was another 4/5 stars and was a wonderful conclusion to this series.

I then read Hallow by Olga Gibbs. You can check out my full review here: Blog Tour: Hallow ( Celestial Creatures #2) by Olga Gibbs

It was 4/5 stars!

I then read Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

This was a perfect diverse book that gave me all the feels. I highly recommend this for your summer reads. 4/5 stars.

I then listened to the audiobook for Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade. This was a reread for me and it made so nostalgic from when I first read the series in my teens.

I then read Stepsister by Jennifer Donnelly. This was an original take on the Cinderella story and the story of her ugly stepsisters. I really loved this novel and it was another 4/5 stars.

The next book I read was The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon. You can see my full five star review here: Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

The next book I read was another new favourite of mine; Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. I also posted my full five star review here: Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I then read A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. I loved this book and thought it was such a great opening into the trilogy. I will be posting my review of this on Tuesday. I rated in 4/5 stars.

The last book I read in May was Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan. I really enjoyed this world. It was a brutal fantasy and I’m intrigued to see what happens in the sequel. I rated it 4/5 stars.

I started reading The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon yesterday but I only got 10% through the novel. I did want to read it yesterday but I didn’t feel like it afterwards.

I’m so pleased with my progress this month. I’ve currently read 56/80 for my Goodreads Reading Challenge. I’m excited to see what I read in June. I’m so determined to get through my TBR.

How many books did you read this month? Did you have a favourite?

Thanks for reading.

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Book Review

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Summary

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first. ( via Goodreads )

My Rating: 5/5 stars!

Non-Spoiler Review

Six of Crows was another five star read for me this month. Set in the Grisha Verse and following a group of misfits; The Dregs, as they try to pull of an impossible heist.

I recently read the Shadow and Bone trilogy, the first set of books set in the Grisha Verse and I loved them. They were rated 4 stars. However, Six Of Crows completely captured my heart. It was easily a five star read with its gritty plot and complex characters.

There are six main characters; Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper And Waylan. And, I can honestly say that I would like to a member of their group. These characters are so thought out, so flawed and incredibly bad ass! They have heart-breaking back stories that stay with you and you can’t help but want them to succeed. I was awe as they plotted their heist and completely enthralled with how Leigh Bardugo put it all together. Two characters, I won’t say who because spoilers, completely own my heart and they’re giving me all the feels! I need them together!

I can’t express how well this book is written. In terms of plot, nothing much happens in the first half of the book but you don’t notice. Bardugo keeps you captivated with her thrilling characters and the powerful world of the Grisha. It’s incredible how invested I was in this story.

Six of Crows is a compelling, thrilling read filled with adventure, revenge, magic, politics and so much more! It’s truly a remarkable book that I can’t wait to devour again and again.

If you have not read this book, I highly recommend you do!

If you have read this book, what was your thoughts?

Thanks for reading!

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Book Review

Book Review: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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Summary

A world divided.
A queendom without an heir.
An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep. ( via Goodreads )

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Non-Spoiler Review

The Priory of the Orange Tree is an epic standalone fantasy with sorcery, dragons and fantastic characters. This book was on my Spring TBR and I’m so glad that I finally managed to read this sensation novel.

First of all, I know a lot of people are intimidated by the size of the novel but I can honestly say that I didn’t notice it at all when reading. I was completely immersed into the fantastic world and the compelling plot that Samantha Shannon created. Also, the novel is separated into six different books which breaks it up for the reader as well.

Samantha Shannon’s writing throughout is truly beautiful. Each character that we see through the multi-perspective narrative; Tane, Ead, Loth and Niclays, are written so carefully and so different from on another. Each of them bring something completely different to this engaging novel. Tane a fierce female dragon rider with an unknown past, Ead a sorcerer in the Queen’s palace, Loth a gentlemen, the heir to his own estate, and Niclays, an alchemist searching on how to make eternal life. These are only the main characters but the side characters were equally amazing and owned my heart. For example, Loth’s sister, Margaret was another example of a powerful female character.

Not only is this epic fantasy filled with outstanding characters that will give you all the feels. The world created by Samantha Shannon is so concise and exquisite, there is so much detail woven into the narrative that it immerses you into this world. However, the description is not heavy or too much to take in. I found that Shannon delivered information for the reader when needed and it never became confusing for me. It’s honestly a wonderful read.

The Priory of the Orange Tree is absolutely outstanding and words can’t do justice how much I loved this book.

The novel also has a f/f romance which I completely loved. They officially own my heart. A m/m romance was only mentioned in the story. I loved the dragons and the characters, also there were so many empowering female characters in this book. Ah, it’s so good!

The Priory of the Orange Tree is a thrilling fantasy filled with politics, adventure, tension, intrigue, dragons, amazing characters, empowering female characters and ancient magic. I loved this book so much. It’s one of my favourites!

I honestly can’t wait to read this book again! I highly recommend this book to everyone who is a fan of fantasy.

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Blog Tour, Book Review

Blog Tour: Hallow ( Celestial Creatures #2) by Olga Gibbs

Summary

Being one of the most formidable archangels with the power to end the world doesn’t serve you well if you don’t know how to use it.

Thrown into a battle of courts and factions, tangled in a web of intrigues and palatial games, naïve Ariel is surrounded by powerful angels, chasing their own agendas.

There’s no one she can trust. Everyone stands to gain something from her death.

To avoid the bloody battle that Baza brought to her door at Uras, Ariel retreats back to Apkallu (Earth) to find her sister, but the Heavenly battles and intrigues she flees follow her, as Baza’s immense hold on Apkallu forces Ariel and Rafe to make uncomfortable choices.

Ariel’s fight for survival is far from over and it looks like it’s going to be a deadly one.

Review

I am so thankful that I am able to be part of another Blog Tour for Olga Gibbs. I took part in the Heavenward blog tour, the first book in this series. You can check out my review Here.

Hallow is the second book in the Celestial Creatures series by Olga Gibbs. It’s a YA fantasy that follow Ariel, a young girl who is learning how to be an angel. Hallow takes place immediately after the first novel.

I want to start by saying that I read this book in one day. I couldn’t put it down. Olga Gibbs’ writing captivates the reader from the first page. Immediately, I was pulled back into the world of angels and one that I loved so much.

Ariel, our protagonist, goes through a lot in this novel and you can help but root for her. I really related to Ariel’s struggle throughout this novel. She is dealing with so much and her nature to preserve, to keep fighting is inspiring. Olga does a fantastic job of creating a balance between Ariel struggling, almost giving up, to her pushing through that and continue to fight. This is such a realistic approach and Olga does it so well.

Hallow has an engaging plot filled with drama, suspense and action. The plot twists at the end of the book was sensational. Olga has really created a magnificent page turner that is impossible to put down!

I can’t wait to read the next instalment of this series.

Author

Olga Gibbs lives in a leafy-green town, nestled amongst the green fields of West Sussex, England. She was writing from the age of fifteen, mainly short stories and novellas and was a guest columnist for a local newspaper. When she is not dreaming up new adventures for her imaginary friends, she does outreach work with teenagers.

She is currently writing a second book in the “Celestial creatures” series and another stand-alone psychological crime thriller book.

Author Links:

Website: https://olgagibbs.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/olgagibbsauthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/olgagibbsauthor/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorOlgaGibbs/

Purchase Links:

Available to buy from (multi link): https://books2read.com/u/m2vkw6

Heavenward (Book 1) Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/u/bWzWlx – During the Blog Tour readers will be able to download Heavenward FREE on all platforms.

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Monthly Wrap Up

April Wrap Up!

Hey, everyone! April was a fantastic reading month for me considering how much I had to do for university. Taking part in the 25inFive Readathon really helped me bring up my total of how many books I read this month.

I read a total of 15 books this month! 15! I am so excited because it means I am getting through my massive TBR which is one of my bookish goals for this year. I read a lot of book so if you want to see the reminder of the books I’ve read, check out my 25inFive Readathon: Wrap Up! There you can see the 6 books I read during the readathon!

Here’s the list of books I read in April.

We Are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo

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My Rating: 4/5 stars

Full review: Book Review: We Are Blood and Thunder by Kesia Lupo

 

Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds.

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Full Review: Book Review: Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

Viper, The Isles of Storm and Sorrow by Bex Hogan

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Full Review: Book Review: Viper, The Isles of Storm and Sorrow by Bex Hogan

Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

My Rating: 4/5 stars

Full Review: Blog Tour: Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

My Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Lastly, I finished reading Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope.

My Rating: 3.5/4 stars

I enjoyed all of the books that I read this month. I really hope I can continue to read like this and get through my TBR. How much did you read this month?

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Readathons

25inFive Readathon: Wrap Up!

As you all know I recently participated in the 25inFive Readathon that finished yesterday. If you read my 25inFive Readathon TBR then you know, I set myself the challenge of reading four books. However, as the challenge went on, I read other formats like graphic novels and audiobooks.

However, I managed to read for the total of twenty five hours over the span of five days. I am so happy that I’ve managed to complete my first readathon without any problems.

Here’s the books I read:

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

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You can check out my full review Book Review: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto here.

I then finished DC Comics: Bombshells Volume 5: The Death of Illusion and DC Comics: Bombshells Volume 6: War Stories.

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I rated both of these 3/5 stars. I enjoyed them and I am intrigued to see what will happen with these characters in Bombshells United.

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

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3/5 stars.

Queer Eye by Antoni Prowski, Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, Karamo Brown and Bobby Berk.

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I listened to the audiobook of this part autobiography, part self-help and advice book. I rated it 4/5 stars.

Batgirl Volume 5: Deadline

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I rated this 3/5 stars.

I also listened to beginning of the audiobook Karamo: My Story of Embracing Purpose, Healing and Hope by Karamo Brown. I finished that today so I will be posting about that audiobook in my April wrap up post!

I also started Seige and Storm by Leigh Bardugo, book two in the Shadow and Bone trilogy. I am still reading this book and will probably be posting about it May Wrap Up.

I loved taking part in this readathon and it allowed me to get through a few books that’s been sitting on my TBR for awhile. I hope take part in more readathons! Let me know in the comments if you’re participating in any upcoming readathons.

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Book Review

Book Review: Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

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Summary

I had a sister, once…

In a world ruled by fierce warrior queens, a grand empire was built upon the backs of Phoenix Riders—legendary heroes who soared through the sky on wings of fire—until a war between two sisters ripped it all apart.

I promised her the throne would not come between us.

Sixteen years later, Veronyka is a war orphan who dreams of becoming a Phoenix Rider from the stories of old. After a shocking betrayal from her controlling sister, Veronyka strikes out alone to find the Riders—even if that means disguising herself as a boy to join their ranks.

But it is a fact of life that one must kill or be killed. Rule or be ruled.

Just as Veronyka finally feels like she belongs, her sister turns up and reveals a tangled web of lies between them that will change everything. And meanwhile, the new empire has learned of the Riders’ return and intends to destroy them once and for all.

Sometimes the title of queen is given. Sometimes it must be taken. (via Goodreads )

My Rating: 5/5

Non-Spoiler Review

First of all I would like to thank Netgalley and Ink Road publishing for allowing me to read the e-arc of this sensational novel.

Crown of Feathers is my second five star read of the year and it’s well deserved. Nicki Pau Preto creates a magnificent world filled with a rich history. The magic system in this high fantasy had me hooked immediately; there are animages (those who have animal magic and can communicate with animals) and the rare shadowmages (who can communicate with people’s minds).

The sisters in this book, Veronyka and Val, had me intrigued from the very beginning. Val is the older sister and is quite controlling and aggressive with her actions and her sister, Veronyka, which made for an interesting dynamic between them. Veronyka is the protagonist in this story and I found her to be strong, relatable and in charge of her own fate. I love Veronyka and her growth throughout the novel. Also, Crown of Feathers is a multiple narrative novel that allows insight to other characters. This multiple perspective is written excellently by Nicki Pau Preto. She makes clear distinctions between the characters, each of them bringing new plots and information, and I found myself loving each perspective we were given. I can not express enough how much I loved these characters, all of them, even the minor characters hold a special place in my heart.

The representation in this novel is fantastic but it doesn’t feel forced. It’s natural which is another reason why I loved it. There is rep for the disabled, rep for mental illness like phobias, and there was also a gay slow burn romance. I’m not going to go into detail because I don’t want to spoil! There’s so much diversity in this novel, even if it’s only briefly mentioned, and it was simply woven into the story. It was natural, part of the world, like our own. This diversity made Crown of Feathers a unique fantasy and one that felt incredibly real.

Crown of Feathers has an exceptional plot that leaves you mesmerised. Nicki Pau Preto gives you information on the history of this fantastical world that is highly important to the story. When reading it made feel as if I was part of the world and someone was telling me about the history of my world. Sometimes, the pacing of the story slowed but I loved it. It allowed me to get to know these characters, seem them interact and watch tension build. I enjoyed every second of reading this novel and I truly didn’t want it to come to an end, so much so, that I made myself put the book down so I could stay in this world a little longer. The ending of this first novel was spell-binding, I wasn’t expecting it at all, much like other surprising plot twists throughout the novel.

Crown of Feathers is an exceptional first novel in a brand new trilogy and I can’t wait to read the second book. It’s a unique, diverse and magical read that will completely captivate you with Nicki Pau Preto’s talented writing. I highly recommend this novel.

Thanks for reading!

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TBR

25inFive Readathon TBR

I took part in the 25inFive Readathon last December but due to a number of things I was unable to accurately keep track of what I was reading. However, now that I am somewhat done with my upcoming assessments, I have the time to read again and want to participate in readathon.

The 25inFive readathon is simple. There is one challenge; read for a total of 25 hours over the span of five days. The readathon will be taking place from 25th-29th April. You can find out more information on the Instagram page here. 

The first book that I am hoping to finish is Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto.

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Secondly; Odd One Out by Nic Stone

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Thirdly, Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

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Finally, Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Negan

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I will be posting my progress on my Instagram and my Twitter to let you all know how I am getting on with my second ever readathon!

Are you taking part in this readathon or any upcoming readathons?

Have you read any of these books?

Let me know in the comments below.

You can also follow me on my Goodreads.

Thanks for reading!

Blog Tour, Book Review

Blog Tour: Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen

I am so pleased to be on the blog tour for Dutch Girl by Robert Matzen. I’m a huge fan of history. So, I was so glad when I was given the opportunity to read about my idols during World War II.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Smith Publishing for allowing me to read the e-arc and also send me a physical arc.

Summary

Twenty-five years after her passing, Audrey Hepburn remains the most beloved of all Hollywood stars, known as much for her role as UNICEF ambassador as for films like Roman Holiday and Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Several biographies have chronicled her stardom, but none has covered her intense experiences through five years of Nazi occupation in the Netherlands. According to her son, Luca Dotti, “The war made my mother who she was.” Audrey Hepburn’s war included participation in the Dutch Resistance, working as a doctor’s assistant during the “Bridge Too Far” battle of Arnhem, the brutal execution of her uncle, and the ordeal of the Hunger Winter of 1944. She also had to contend with the fact that her father was a Nazi agent and her mother was pro-Nazi for the first two years of the occupation. But the war years also brought triumphs as Audrey became Arnhem’s most famous young ballerina. Audrey’s own reminiscences, new interviews with people who knew her in the war, wartime diaries, and research in classified Dutch archives shed light on the riveting, untold story of Audrey Hepburn under fire in World War II. Also included is a section of color and black-and-white photos. Many of these images are from Audrey’s personal collection and are published here for the first time. – (via Goodreads )

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review

Dutch Girl follows young Audrey Hepburn during the Second World War. The foreword is written by her youngest son, Luca Dotti.

Audrey Hepburn was shy, introvert that longed to be a dancer in the ballet. We learn of Audrey’s childhood; her father leaving, her mother’s pro-German attitude before the war and how this effected the young girl. It was her dream to become a dancer. It was these dance lessons that allowed her to become more expressive in life.

As a reader, we follow this young girl who longed to be a dancer through her traumatic time in the Netherlands during the war. We find out in this interesting book why Audrey Hepburn was so hesitant to talk about the war during interviews with the media. Dutch Girl gives historical context to the beloved star and her family during this devastating period. We follow the family and Audrey as they grieve, they starve, and live in their cellar.

Dutch Girl is a wonderfully written book and has been well researched. There’s so much writing, context and sources mentioned that truly bring a strong description of Audrey Hepburn, her family and the Netherlands during the Second World War. I loved this book because I truly felt with every page I was learning something new. It’s truly heart-breaking.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Audrey Hepburn, like myself, or a lover of history. It’s a fantastically put together and after reading, you will sit thinking how lucky we are.

Thanks for reading!

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