Dear Martin by Nic Stone Book Review

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You need to read this book.

Everyone needs to read this book.

The cover to this book is exceptional. I love the colouring and everything about it. It’s so beautifully designed. It’s one of my favourite covers.

I read this book at the beginning of the month before I got into my reading slump. It wasn’t really a slump but I found myself taking so long to read books that I was actually enjoying. I just had no desire to read.

So, I was fully invested in this book. Honestly, it had me from the first page. It’s such an incredible, powerful and moving novel. Dear Martin is not just a story told through letters but is told through many narrative structures that simply make a great addition to the story telling. The letters to Martin Luther King that the protagonist, Justyce McAllister, allows us to truly see the thoughts and questions that he is raising about society unfiltered. It’s during these pages where the book becomes very thought provoking. Even though as a white woman, I can not relate to the racism Justyce faces, I found myself asking questions as well. Nic Stone did a wonderful job of really capturing the struggles that Justyce McAllister throughout the novel.

I fell in love with most of the characters in the book. It was hard not to. Stone created such interesting and different characters that really made it intriguing to read their conversations. The group of characters are often in discussion about race, gangs and other tough issues. Nic Stone did an excellent job of approaching these issues and offering a variety of perspectives from her diverse characters. These discussions are truthful, intense and uncensored, making readers truly see the faults within society. During these discussions, Stone did an excellent job of writing them. In life, when we have serious discussions or debates its a flurry of people speaking their opinions very fast. Stone conveys this by turning the usual narrative form into a script like form to truly demonstrate the fast paced conversation happening.

The way Nic Stone’s writing style changed dependent on the situation and what was happening within the novel. I loved it. It was slightly experimental but executed perfectly. It made the read, for me, so much more interesting. I love it when writers explore and play with the boundaries of writing. It keeps it original and fresh.

However, this story was not just intense read on race through discussions and letters. It was a story about friendships, relationships and learning about ourselves. Through the friendship between Justyce and Manny, Stone balanced the intensity with humour.

This book is not only filled with these powerful letters but it tells a beautiful yet heart breaking story of self-discovery, learning, friendship and race in America.

This has become one of my favourite books of all time. The story had my heart from the first page. It was a  heart-breaking yet gripping read. Nic Stone’s writing is absolutely amazing and I can’t wait to read her latest novel Odd One Out which, I believe, is to be released in October.

Please read this book. Its a short novel and is so worth reading. I highly recommend this read.

Thanks for reading!

Twitter @LaurenKnapper

Instagram -LozzysThings

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Time to Write Tuesdays Update

I forgot to post last week and this week I haven’t actually wrote anything. It’s been a super busy week so I haven’t really had a chance. So, I’ll write about what I wrote last week.

Last week, I hadn’t written much at all. I hadn’t felt inspired. I felt like I was in a writing slump. I think it was because it was the end of the month.

However, last Monday I felt inspired. I give myself the writing time of 2 hours. In all honesty, I don’t think I intended to write that long. I surprised myself.

My fingers were tapping so quickly on the keyboard, my ideas spiralling as I wrote. I love that feeling when you have a surge of ideas and you can’t get them down quick enough. It’s one of the best feelings as a writer.

I managed to write 2,000 words in one and half hours. I was so excited by this!

Just typing this up as made me super excited to get back to writing and continue where my story left off.

Thanks for reading!

Twitter- @LaurenKnapper

Instagram – LozzysThings

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken Book Review

What initially attracted me to this series was all the hype that surrounded this month due to the movie adaptation being released. I haven’t seen the film but seeing so many people talk about it made me want to read it. I am always interested to read books when there’s so much hype around them.

All I can say the hype…DID NOT LET ME DOWN!

The Darkest Minds is a YA dystopian series that follows the main character, Ruby, in our world where children have died from an unknown disease or have been given abilities. This was such an intriguing concept for me because it reminded me of X-Men and I love the idea of normal people having different abilities and powers.

First of all, Bracken executes this dystopian world perfectly. The world is in chaos with children in camps and imprisoned because of their abilities. The descriptions wasn’t rushed and the detail was so excellent to fully submerge into this world. Bracken builds the setting of this story so carefully that’s impossible not to think it’s real. Also, not all of the information is thrown at you. It’s not overwhelming. Instead, as Ruby learns the truth of the world so does the reader and I love it when that happens. It brings you closer to the character, I think.

The characters were incredible. Usually, when reading I care about the main characters and one or two side characters. It’s only in rare instances where I really care about all of them and feel emotion towards characters that I dislike too. I found myself falling in love with almost every character. Of course, Ruby, Liam, Chubs and Zu were my favourites. I wanted to be a member in their group. Yet, I also found myself rooting for the other children they met along the way. I wanted all of these children to be okay and to be able to live in this world without feeling scared.

Even characters I disliked, I won’t say because of spoilers, I actually hated them. I have never felt so many emotions for so many characters! The characters were just sensational written.

Bracken constantly had plot twists throughout the book. I was constantly needing to read more and see what happened next. It was so addicting! The characters didn’t have an easy journey either. They were constantly having obstacles thrown at them. It wasn’t the expected ‘good journey’ and then it all goes wrong at the end. It was a realistic struggle for them.

The second half of the book only added to the tension. I loved the second half so much that I read it all in one sitting. I just couldn’t stop myself from reading!

Ruby, the protagonist, has such a journey in this first book alone. In the beginning, she’s frightened and scared and is completely different by the end of the book. Bracken had such a beautiful way of writing Ruby, I felt everything she was feeling. Bracken truly makes me you feel so connected to her characters. It’s exceptional.

The ending. I’m still recovering. It was heartbreaking. I cried and cried and cried. It was so heart wrenching and I wasn’t expecting it at all. I was a mess.

The hype surrounding this book was well deserved and I’m so glad that I’ve read it. I can’t wait to read the second book and continue the series!

The second book; Never Fade has arrived today so I will be definitely reading that in next month’s TBR.

Thanks for reading!

Twitter- @LaurenKnapper

Instagram- LozzysThings

A Court of Wings and Ruin Book Review

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)

Ok.

Wow.

So whilst I was reading this book I have never felt such anxiety whilst reading! I was constantly bracing myself and panicking about what was going to happen to my favourite characters. I was a wreck.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is the third instalment in the A Court of Thorn and Roses series and it’s what the last two books have been building for.

Despite this book not being the final book in the series, it felt very much like a finale. This story was filled with tension from start to finish as it picks up where A Court of Mist and Fury left off.  I don’t want to spoil anything, just in case you haven’t read it, but there was constantly something happen this book. Maas wrote danger at every turn for our beloved characters and new characters. Something was constantly being put in their way, another obstacle they had to overcome.

Honestly, from start to finish, this book was incredible.

One of the most amazing aspects of this book is how Sarah J Maas writes characters. She’ writes exceptional characters with so much depth yet its not overwhelming when all of them are together in one room. This happens during a few scenes throughout the book especially when all of the High Lords come together. Also, Maas’ attention to detail means that the Courts come to life so vividly in our imagination that you can not help but picture yourself there.

I felt that in this book, Feyre, the protagonist, really found herself. She becomes so strong and fierce. She always been but in this book, there’s an edge to this character that I haven’t seen before and I loved it. Honestly, there’s so many strong female characters in this book that it’s hard not to love just for that reason.

Also, there is an introduction to LGBTQIA characters in this book. I’m not going to say who. Don’t worry. Reading about these characters and seeing their struggles was such a beautiful addition to this story. I haven’t read many fantasy series where there are LGBTQIA characters and until this series was one of them. There were was also a POC characters in this book. However, the representation is very little.

I cried several times whilst reading this book. Also, I found myself putting the book down because I didn’t want it to come to an end.

A Court of Wings and Ruin is a such a fantastic book. I know I’m repeating myself but Sarah J Maas is such a talented writer. She really grasps the fantasy genre and creates astonishing worlds and endearing characters. Her world building is enchanting and I love going back to this world of the Faerie.

This was such a wonderful instalment of this series! I’m in awe of Sarah J Maas’ writing.

I can’t wait to start the TOG series too!

Also, I can’t wait to see how this series develops and unfolds!

Thanks for reading.

Twitter -LaurenKnapper

Instagram- @LozzysThings

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey Book Review

The Gilded King was sent to me in exchange for an honest review and I can’t tell you enough how happy I am that it was sent to me!

The novel is the first in Jaffrey’s Sovereign series. This is a sequel series to her first; Solis Invicti. I haven’t read the first series that takes place in this political vampire world, however, after reading this book I was itching to see where it all started.

The cover to this book is gorgeous. I love how the cover brings together the red and blue. It’s so beautiful designed.

The Gilded King is a compelling new twist on vampire myth. I haven’t read any vampire fantasy in so long but Jaffrey’s new way of approaching vampires made me excited to read about them again. Jaffrey creates a thrilling and excellent world that is dominated through division and blood.

The book is told through two perspectives; Cameron and Julia. These two characters are very different characters and we see the workings of this flawed world through the both of them. Jaffrey’s direct and clever narrating means that both characters are explored thoroughly and confidently throughout the book. She pays attention to both characters and their story in excellent depth that it’s impossible not to become wrapped up in their stories.

I fell in love with both Cameron and Julia, both of them on the opposite side of the division. It made it so interesting to see the world of the Red through Cameron and the working world of the Blue through Julia.

I was addicted to this book from the first page. I was quickly thrown into this world and I didn’t want to leave. I’m already counting down the days for the second book! Also, I’m beyond excited to read the first series that takes place in this intriguing world.

Throughout The Gilded King, I was in awe of the enchanting plot devises and twists that had me eagerly turning the pages. The ending left me speechless! I was just staring at the book and thinking I really need the next one. I have to see how this unfolds!

Also, Jaffrey writing was so clear and concise that I didn’t feel like I didn’t know information from the first series. Everything was explained.

In The Gilded King, Jaffrey’s writing is wonderful and entertaining. I can’t to carry on reading these books. They’ve quickly become one of my favourite series. I know I’m repeating myself but I honestly fell in love with this world.

I highly recommend this book filled with love, politics, adventure, manipulation and danger at every turn.

Thanks for reading!

Twitter @laurenknapper

Instagram- LozzysThings

Time To Write Tuesday- Planning

Hi, so here it is my new weekly update on how much I’ve written this week. Last week I had achieved just under my weekly target of 2,000 words.

However, this week I’ve spent majority of my writing time planning. I have been drawing sketches, researching and making little notes for my fantasy novel. It’s not a lot of work done in terms of word count but I’m so glad with how I’ve spent my time this week. I’ve been writing character profiles, notes on the supernatural, and drawing maps.

I can really see the characters developing and the world forming. It’s so exciting to see the novel coming together. It’s such a wonderful feeling being that one step closer so I can really jump into the writing again.

What about you? Did you have goals this week?

Thanks for reading!

Twitter- @laurenknapper

Instagram- LozzysThings

The Other Side by Justin Jay Gladstone Book Review

The Other Side was sent to me in exchange for an honest review. I was so kindly sent the limited edition of this book which included The Other Side whilst also implanting the companion book, Equilibrium and Chaos.  I loved having this edition of the book because it brought the story together with the rules of the other side and illustrations in chronological order with the book. The images were incredibly useful in reinforcing the rules and ideas of the novel. They suited well with the tone of the novel.

What initially drew me into this book was the concept. The possibility of a parallel universe to our own where everything about ourselves were opposite. I loved the idea. It’s original and a truly fascinating idea that was well thought out and considered throughout the novel. The structure of the other side with it’s rules and how the characters are different in the Other demonstrate how much hard work Gladstone put into the novel and into creating these ideas. I loved how the other side worked and constantly found myself wondering what my Other would be like. It was so intriguing!

Another element of this novel was how it seemed to embody a lot of genres but make it work. There’s subtle hints of a suspenseful thriller whilst also being an engaging science fiction story. The book also addressed a lot of important themes; manipulation, family, friends, mental illness, power, exploitation, addiction and rape.

However, the novel wasn’t too heavy with these topics. Instead, there was humour in the right places to help ease the tension in the novel and not make it such a hard read.  There was a perfect balance between the two.

I found myself quickly getting attached to the characters and their lives. Their relationships were so different from each other that it always made it interesting to seem them interact. Also, I’ve never felt so much sympathy for a main character before. Leon had been wronged and manipulated by the people he trusted and I found myself wanting to put everything right for him. Gladstone definitely creates a wonderful set of characters that you can help but root for in all the turmoil that they are facing.

I am so glad I read this novel. I loved the fast pacing, the concept, the characters. Well, everything about it. I read the majority of it in one setting because it just kept sparking my curiosity about this other world. It’s so intriguing and thought provoking in a way I wasn’t expecting as well. The novel also has QR codes which you can use to interact with the story on your phone!

I can’t wait to see how this story unfolds and what happens to the characters of both worlds.

Go check out this book!

Follow: @theothersideeb on Twitter for more!

Thanks for reading!

Twitter -@LaurenKnapper

Instagram- @LozzysThings

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas Book Review

This book grabbed my heart, held it for awhile, then threw it and stomped on it. Several times.

A Court of Mist and Fury is book two in A Court of Thorn and Roses series. I adored every inch of this book. Every single word had me so involved and engaged with the plot in a way I hadn’t been with a book in a while. This book made me fall in love with this series so much more than what I had expected. Also, I was so blessed to go into this book without knowing any spoilers because I feel like it would have ruined the experience for me.

This book takes place after the first one. (I have done all my reviews without spoilers and it’s so hard to do this one without giving any away!) We see the outcome and how the characters have changed the traumatic ending of the last one.

A Court of Mist and Fury is one of my favourite books for several reasons. One of them is due to Feyre, the protagonist of the series. Her journey through this novel is sensational. Maas manages to keep the essence of Feyre alive throughout. However, at the beginning of the novel she is a shell of her former self. I never wanted to help a character so much and tell her it would be okay. Also, I have never been more frustrated with Tamlin and Lucien for allowing the girl he loved and friend to become less than what she is. I loved how she progressed throughout the novel and became much stronger and happier than she initially had been in the first book. Sarah J Maas wrote Feyre’s journey so captivating and genuine that it really struck me. It was incredible.

Another reason why I fell in love with this book was due to the appearance of new characters and the new location of the Night Court. Okay, so I want to go to the Night Court. Can I be whisked away there please? Maas wrote such a beautiful location that it truly came to life off the page. Her writing is so wonderful when it comes to setting and her attention to detail brings the magic and the world to life.

The introduction of the new captivating characters such as Mor, Cassian, Azriel and Amren were another factor that made this book one of my favourites. Sarah J Maas does such a wonderful of creating interesting characters with an absorbing history that you can’t help but love them. Every character, no matter how small, has a story. Her description makes me feel as though I know these characters and it’s truly mesmerising.

There’s so many elements to this story that the first one lacked for me. I loved the first book but there’s something about A Court of Mist and Fury. I can’t explain but I enjoyed the world of the Night Court, the new characters and Feyre so much more. The love story that developed in this book blew me away. It was so genuine and beautiful that the couple has become one of my favourites of all time.

I’m not going to say who just in case you haven’t read this series.

Go and pick up this series. You won’t regret it at all. It’s the perfect adult fantasy.

I love it so much.

Thanks for reading!

Twitter- @laurenknapper

Instagram- LozzysThings

Time to Write – I did it!

Wow.

When I set myself the goal of writing for four hours a week and writing a minimum of 2,000 words, I almost laughed at myself. Honestly, I thought I was being ridiculous. There was simply no way after a reading slump would I be able to write that much every single week. Impossible.

Turns out, it was possible. Kind of.

Last week, I waited impatiently for the arrival of my new laptop so I could write. When I was younger, I had to write on my laptop straight away. I had to type away at the keyboard and watch my story take form on the page. Every time I took pen to paper my writing didn’t truly convey what I wanted to say. I found when I wrote on paper, my language was simple and the story didn’t flow in the same way.

However, after setting myself this challenge, I found myself with my pen and notebook. Initially, I had sat at my new laptop, ready to type but I was intimidated by the blank screen. I hadn’t wrote anything for so long. What would it be like? So, instead, I picked up a pen. I scratched the pen along the paper as the ideas began to flow. There’s nothing quite like writing is it? It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to create something words. It truly is my favourite thing to do.

In my notebook, I wrote on a total of six pages. I know, you’re thinking that’s not a lot but it was for me. It was something to get me back into the flow of writing. This week, I also continued writing the fantasy idea that has been buried in my head for years.

After submitting the prologue and first two chapters for an assignment last year in my creative writing class, I lost interest in writing the story. I was disenchanted from it. The world building had become terrifying for me. I had zero confidence that I could bring the idea to life in the way I wanted. Do you have that fear as writer?

Thanks to Sarah J Maas and her fantastic book, A Court of Mist and Fury, I became inspired. I will be posting my review tomorrow for this book but it completely blew me away. The characters, the world building and the themes of the book were sensational. Her writing is so detailed and so full of depth that it made me want to look back at my own fantasy work again.

I managed to write a total of 1,058 words for the fantasy novel I am working on. I found myself falling in love with my idea and my characters again.

This week I’ve estimated that I’ve probably wrote 1,500 words. 500 words less than what my target was but I doubted that I was going to reach that goal straight away. However, I’m so excited to see that I managed to reach 1,500 words considering I haven’t written anything for months. Well, other than these blog posts.

I am hoping to reach my goal of 2,000 words next week.

What about you? Do you have any writer’s goals?

Thanks for reading!

Twitter – @LaurenKnapper

Instagram- LozzysThings

Every Exquisite Thing and Learn About Loss Reviews

Every Exquisite Thing and Learn About Loss are two short stories from the Ghosts of the Shadow Market series by Cassandra Clare. These are based in the world of the Shadowhunter Chronicles and follow Jem Carstairs through his visits to the market. I have been following these stories and eagerly awaiting their releases. However, these two magically slipped away from me and I had no idea that they had already been released. Disappointed and annoyed with myself, I quickly purchased and downloaded the books. I read them in one sitting.

I’ve decided to combine these two reviews as they deal with much smaller stories. Also, I have so many reviews to post. I am so behind but I don’t want to publish them all immediately because I’m sure that I will fall behind on my reading eventually.

Every Exquisite Thing by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson

I fell in love with this book immediately.

Anna Lightwood is such a wonderful beautiful protagonist. She’s strong, independent and knows who she is, even in a time where she would be shunned for it. I loved reading and exploring this character as she will be one of the characters in the up and coming shadowhunter series, The Last Hours.

This book sees Anna’s first love and heart break. It also contains LGBTQIA representation which is so important. Clare and Johnson portray the difficulties of being part of the LGBTQIA community during this unaccepting time. They also demonstrate the struggles and pressures women face to behave a certain way and how society had expectations for them to live their lives.

This is definitely my favourite story from the Ghosts of the Shadow Market series. This an exceptional short story about love, first love, family, and most importantly, acceptance. Throughout there subtle hints about The Dark Artifices series which only made me that more impatient for Queen of Air and Darkness.

I definitely recommend this story. Clare and Johnson have come together to create a magnificent story about the power of love and much more powerful it cane be with acceptance.

Learn About Loss by Cassandra Clare and Kelly Link

Learn About Loss is focused solely on Jem Carstairs and his past relationships, ones that we adored whilst reading The Infernal Devices.

One of my favourite things about this story was the setting. I loved how the Market was placed in a Carnival. It made the story have this darker edge that the others hadn’t necessarily had before.

Also, this book the appearance of Emilia, an Iron Sister in training. Emilia was an endearing character who was lively and empowering. I also enjoyed the way Emilia and Jem seemed to bounce off each other, it made for an interesting and fun dynamic between the two of them.

This story didn’t have much connection to other books except a minor one to The Dark Artifices. However, it was a lovely and emotional read. I won’t say too much because I don’t want to give out any spoilers if you haven’t read this yet. Just know that if you loved the relationship that Will and Jem shared then by the end of this book, Clare and Link will have you crying happy tears.

I’ve been loving these stories from this collection. It’s been satisfying my need for the Shadowhunter world whilst I wait for Queen of Air and Darkness. They’re fantastic little reads that will have you feeling so many emotions in a such a short time.

Have you read these books? Or, any of the Shadowhunter books?

Thanks for reading!

Twitter -@LaurenKnapper

Instagram- LozzysThings