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Friday, January 26, 2018

Beat the Backlist Update and 2018 Book Goals

So it is scarily near the end of January already! I thought this year I would set a few bookish goals, last year I tried joining the Beat the Backlist with NovelKnight in the hope I would get though some of the books that have been sat on my bookshelf for ages. I did manage to get some of these books read but not really much of a success, so this year I am going to set a few of my own goals.
1. Finish one series a month: so either I finish a series which I have started, or I binge read a series I come across.
2. Spend more time on Instagram: posting more pictures, joining more bookstragram challenges and linking in with more bookstagram accounts.
3. Increase my blog comments: In the second half of last year I stop keeping up with and commenting on other blogs and I have missed this, so I hope to start doing this again.
Wish me Luck!


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas

Synopsis From Goodreads

The Girl of Fire and Thorns meets The Queen of the Tearling in this thrilling fantasy standalone about one girl’s unexpected rise to power.

Freya was never meant be queen. Twenty third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. However, when an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne.

Freya may have escaped the massacre, but she is far from safe. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life.

Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father, who always wanted the best for her, but also wanted more power for himself.

As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.
Source: Christmas Present

My Review
4 Stars

Standalone YA fantasies have become a rarity and this, plus the beautiful cover drew me to this book, back when it was first realised. I have been waiting for the cost to come down so I could buy it, but I put it on my wish list this Christmas and received the beautiful hardback edition, and I love it inside and out. This book grabbed my attention within the first few pages. Freya has such a humorous way of describing the king extravagance at court, and I just loved her internal monologues.
After the tragic and unexpected turn of events, Freya goes from the outcast of the courts to being thrown into the deep end of court politics. Cautiously making friends, looking beneath their 'court masks' as she saw them before, ands seeing them with fresh eyes, getting to know people beyond her preconceptions.
The plot of the book begins as a new queen finding her feet, and investigating the murder of her predecessor to ensure her own safety. But as the book progresses it become more of a race for answers to prove her innocence in the face of a civil war. I loved this progression of motives behind the investigation. I also loved the mix of tactics used to solve the murder with the blending legends, and scientific knowledge. I enjoyed the relationship between Freya and those around her, from her tense relationship with her father, to her hesitant friendship with the next in line and her budding feeling for the late King's illegitimate son.  
Although I loved all these aspects of the book, I just can't give it 5 stars, it didn't blow me away. I think I was expecting a bit too much of the book. and I feel as though the concept didn't reach its full potential which is why I couldn't quite give it the 5 stars. However, don't let that put you off reading it, as I really enjoyed this book and smashed though it in a few days even with the family here over the busy Christmas period.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

WEE BOOK REVIEW: The Conspiracy of Us

Synopsis from Goodreads

Avery West's newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead.

To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle — beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family — but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she's falling in love with.  
Source: Christmas Present  
Wee Review
4.5 Stars
This book is one I have has my eye of ages, but finally received it as a present for Christmas and couldn't wait to get stuck into it.  This is a fast-paced thrilling read that takes you in a journey around the world and is filled with mysterious theories and secret societies. I loved the characters, their strong personalities and the way that they interacted and connected.
I soon got lost in the mystery, history, and hunt for answers. It reminded me a lot of Ally Carter's series. I loved the world that Maggie creates, although this is a high fantasy, we get to see this new world, where ancient societies are the everyday, half written prophesies are taken as gospel and must be obeyed, and there is always someone watching and following! 
At the beginning I wasn't the biggest fan of our main character Avery, I mean who just gets on a plane to Paris with a basic stranger? And why wouldn't you be concerned about your mum not answering her phone for days, when she must be wonder where the heck you have gone? But anyway, she did slowly begin to take control of what was happing and show her intelligence as she helped to put clues together -redeeming my opinion of her.
Overall, I loved this book, it was full of action, secrets and mystery. With high-stake drama, great characters and even bit of romance.      

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

2017 Bookish Review: My Favourite Contemporary Romance

The Contemporary Romance genre has made it into my top rated novels of the year. I have always considered myself more of a fantasy reader than a contemporary lover, but I have quite a few contemporary romances to share with you today:
Military Contemporary Romance
Rites of Passage is a great military school novel. This book follows Sam as she joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. I adored this book and read it twice this year, find my reviews here.  
Popular Contemporary Romance
The Lovely Reckless was one of those books which was everywhere. As such I was a bit hesitant but I loved the sound of the synopsis, and ended up loving this book.  Alyson Noel's and Carrie Ryan's thoughts of this book (blurbed on the back cover) sum up my experience of this book: "An insanely addictive, sexy, rush of a read." "The Fast and The Furious meets Romeo and Juliet". Find my full review here.
Student Teacher Romance
A Different Blue is deep, heart-breaking, full of loss and self doubt, searching and finding, of discovering and falling. This is a powerful story as Blue discovers her true self. Find my full review here.
Mafia Romance
Mafia and his Angel is a book which I first read on Wattpad and is now published. It follows Ayla and Alessio as their lives are thrown together. I love a good forbidden romance and that mafia angle always makes for some great action.
Dark New Adult Romance  
King is dark and gritty, sexy and romantic. Doe is a desperate but strong main character trying to make the best of the situations she find herself in while also being considerate and caring. Find my full review here.
Suspenseful Contemporary Romance  
 Burying Water alternates between two time periods which are hugely contrasting. One following the self named 'Water' as she settles into the quite country life; while the other follows Jesse in his city life as a mechanic as he finds himself in the wrong circles and falling for the 'wrong' girl. This book was just an amazing read, what enjoyed the most was the mystery of Water's history, and trying to guess the events which lead up to her memory loss, slowly discovering clues, while also waiting for her to grasp hold of those memories she had shut out. See my full review here.
As I am not seasoned contemporary romance reader, is there any books that you think I might like that I missed out on?

Sunday, January 07, 2018

2017 Bookish Review: My Favourite Urban Fantasy

It is coming to the end of the first week of 2018 and I am continuing to look back at my favourite reads of 2017.  Today I thought I would share some of my favourite urban fantasy finds: 
Favourite Urban Fantasy Standalone
Alaska  was a bit of a surprise for me. There are so many 'same-y-same-y' werewolf books within this genre, and this one stood out to me. See my full review here.
Favourite Urban Fantasy Finished Series
The Mackenzie Grey series is one of the UF series which I binge read in 2017, I loved Mackenzie she is snarky and sarcastic.
Favourite Urban Fantasy Unfinished Series
The first two book in the Tommi Grayson series were both 4.75- 5 star reads and I loved them. Tommi is a snarky, down to earth, kick-ass, independent woman who has some great friends who have her back, and I can't wait to see where this series takes us next.
Most Surprising Urban Fantasy
Moon Burned was a bit of a surprise to me, I am fascinated by female gladiator characters and it mixed well with the supernatural theme. Not your typical werewolf book and worth the time and money.

Friday, January 05, 2018

ARC BOOK REVIEW: Everless by Sara Holland

Synopsis From Goodreads

In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries.

No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever.

But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.
Source: e-arc from publisher via netgalley
4.5 Stars
I was drawn to this book because of the beautiful book cover (especially the hardback cover edition).With all the hype around it, I have to admit I was a bit hesitant as I hadn't read any reviews when I started it. But this was a great YA fantasy to start my 2018 reading. Everless has great world building and some unexpected plot twists.
I knew by the end of the first chapter I knew I had made the right choice in picking up this book. The first chapter opens with a hunting scene which reminded me of The Hunger Games and ACOTAR. I loved the way that the time is money sorcery is translated in this book, I loved this idea when I read the synopsis and was impressed the way it played out. It is a thought provoking idea! We also get to know a lot about our main character in this first chapter. We can see her love for her farther and her frustration at the differing social classes. As well as a hint at a luxury/easier childhood.
I loved the interactions between Jules and the various characters in Everless. Her interactions with the Gerling brothers, visiting royalty and her fellow servants. I wasn't expecting her to get along with Lady Gold but it was fun to watch friendships grow between the classes and the different groups of servants.  This genre us often tropey but the author almost plays with these tropes, hinting at them and then directing the story a slightly different way. This book is a great example of how much my opinion of characters changes through out a book.
Everless was beautifully written with great world building. This book is unique and has some unexpected plot twists - trust no one  and look for help in the most unlikely places!

Monday, January 01, 2018

2017 Bookish Review: My Favourite Fantasy

I didn't read as many fantasy book as I thought it I did, but here is some of my favourites that I have read this year.

Fantasy Standalone
Long May She Reign is a recent read for me, but is one of the only standalone fantasy books I have read this year.  
Fantasy Duology

 I finally got around to reading Six of Crows this year! I have been hesitant to pick it and read it though. Originally it was because I wasn't a great fan of Leigh Bardugo's other series set in the same world (I never made it past the first book), and secondly, all the hype kind of put me off. However, I finally did pick it put to read, and I loved it!
Fantasy Series I Started This Year

There are quite a few series I have started this year, and am now waiting for the release of the sequels. One of my favourite have been The Valiant, which has a strong female lead, some mysterious happens, a great sisterhood, political manoeuvring and even a bit of romance. Highly recommend read if you're into either fantasy or historical fiction - full review here.

The second book in this category would be The Kingmaker Chronicles. I loved the romance between Cat and Griffin as well as the expanding world and backstory.
Fantasy Series I Finished This Year

I haven't finished that many fantasy series this year but A Court of Wings and Ruin has to be the best.  

What have been your favourite fantasy reads of the year?