The Twelve Days of Christmas Book Tag

Happy Blogmas Day 12!

And Merry Christmas Eve! Today is the final day of blogmas and I can’t believe that I’ve managed to compete my 12 days of blogmas challenge! I’ve discovered that the key is to get organised, and if it wasn’t for my colourful spreadsheet I don’t think I would have made it past day 1! I’m fully obsessed with my spreadsheet now and planning things out so much so that I’ve already planned out my scheduled posts for January! Anyway, I’ve really enjoyed blogmas this year and I’ve especially loved reading everyone else’s posts, they’ve all helped me get in the festive mood and ready for the big day!

I want to once again thank all of my readers and followers for all their support and I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas! Lots of love and socially distanced hugs,

Amy X

ON THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE.

The partridge stood alone in the pear tree. What is your favourite stand alone?

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren. I read this during my festive 24-hour read-a-thon and it was exactly what I needed, it was lighthearted, it was adorable and most importantly it had everything I love about Christmas. I’ll 100% be checking out more of Christian Lauren’s books next year, so any recommendations would be wonderful!

ON THE SECOND DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: TWO TURTLE DOVES.

Love is in the air! Who is your one true pairing?

Azriel from A Court of Mist and Fury! Everyone else in the series has managed to find their mate and I’m very happy to fill that position for Azriel!

ON THE THIRD DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: THREE FRENCH HENS.

In the spirit of threes, what is the best trilogy you have read?

Caraval by Stephanie Garber. I’ve just finished the Caraval series and I’m OBSESSED and also embarrassed that it took me so long to continue with this series! You’d think I was used to all the twist and turns after the first book, but no! Each book held me in it’s grasp and took me on a whirlwind journey of magic, mystery and manipulation…

ON THE FOURTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: FOUR CALLING BIRDS.

Since series usually consist of four or more books, what is your favourite series?

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. The series starts as an innocent treasure hunting adventure between friends but concludes as something much deeper, darker and emotional. There’s so much hype around this series that I went into it with high expectations, all of which were surpassed. Stiefvater’s writing style is magically unique and has the power to create peacefully unnerving and impressionistic scenes that are equally beautiful and haunting. The complexity of her storylines and the way in which her characters intertwine with each other, adds another layer of intimate adoration for this series, that left me wishing for more.

ON THE FIFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: FIVE GOLDEN RINGS.

One ring to rule them all! Who is your Favourite Villain/Antagonist?

I’m loving Jacks from Legendary. I love it when an author makes to battle over whether or not you’re meant to hate a character or start falling slowly in love with them! And I wonder why I have trust issues, especially after being betrayed by so many beloved characters!

ON THE SIXTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: SIX GEESE A LAYING.

Creation is a beautiful thing. What is your favorite world/world-building?

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I’ve always struggled to find a ‘good’ sci-fi and intergalactic adventure that explores the vast expanse and possibilities of space. The possibilities are endless and I think it’s easy for authors to get carried away, but the Kaufman and Kristoff duo manage to create a universe that is limitless yet believable!

ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: SEVEN SWANS A SWIMMING.

Who needs seven swans when all it takes is one good animal sidekick? Who’s your favorite animal sidekick?

Mr Kindly from Nevernight or Saphira from Eragon. Not only would I give ANYTHING to own a dragon but both of these sidekicks are great at what they do, they’re always supporting our protagonists, giving them key advice and always have the perfect witty remark at the ready.

ON THE EIGHTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS, MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: EIGHT MAIDS A MILKING.

Milk is so 18th century. Which book or series takes food to a whole new level?

Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone – those feasts!

ON THE NINTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: NINE LADIES DANCING.

Dancing is just one skill of a Lady! Who is your favorite kickass female lead?

Bryce Quinlan from Crescent City. Sarah has the ability to perfectly craft an imaginative and compelling storyline that is enhanced by her breathtakingly attractive and witty cast of characters that you can’t help but instantly love. Bryce is strong-willed, quick witted, emotionally raw and has her fair share of flaws and problems; everything about her was quintessential Maas and I loved her. Crescent City is ultimately her journey of self-discovery and acceptance, and it was a privilege to have been able to share it.

ON THE TENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: TEN LORDS A LEAPING.

How about your favorite leading lad?

 Ronan from The Raven Boys. For me Ronan was the standout character in this series, his character development and witty interactions are among some of my favourites.

ON THE ELEVENTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: ELEVEN PIPES PIPING.

What is your favorite book or bookish thing with musical influence? (It can be about music, reference music a lot etc.)

My writing playlist has been getting a lot of love and attention this year, it’s now my go-to playlist if I ever need to get anything done! If you read my NaNoWriMo Wrap Up post then you’ll know that one of my aims for 2021 is to write more and my plan is create ‘scene/mood’ playlists to suit what I’m writing about!

ON THE TWELFTH DAY OF CHRISTMAS MY TRUE LOVE SENT TO ME: 12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING.

Drum roll please…what is your favorite read of this year?

Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. I know I keep going on about this book but it is truly the perfect read that shattered my heart. The something deeply romantic and delicately secret about Miller’s prose, it’s so beautifully enchanting and has the ability to transcend our characters emotions straight off the page. Those last five chapter torn my heart from my chest, leaving me empty and alone, and for that I am thankful. If Song of Achillies isn’t on your TBR for 2021, then I would 100% suggest adding it ASAP!

On The Other Side – Carrie Hope Fletcher

I am such a huge fan of Carrie, her Youtube channel is one of my absolute favourites, so I was SO happy and relieved that I actually loved this book! Some may think that this opinion is biased, but it honestly isn’t, the story was strong and seriously beautifully written!

This book as had a fair amount of hype (well I heard a lot of hype), but if you don’t know this book is about Evie Snow, after living a long and fulfilling life, Evie peacefully passed away in her sleep. However she finds herself back in her 27 year old body, unable to enter her own heaven. She soon finds out that this is because her soul is too heavy to pass on because of 3 secrets she has kept her whole life that need to be revealed. In order to do this Evie has to relive and revisit her eventful and troubled life.

I think you’ll agree with me that this is a very interesting concept, it had me intrigued before I even opened the first page! I really haven’t read a book like it, and certainly one that was so well structured, that was something that really impressed me about this book, I’ve read books in the past with dual stories/time periods and I always ended up confused. This really wasn’t the case with this book, the backstory beautifully entwined with the current story and was placed at the perfect time to ensure optimum enjoyment for the reader! Also I cannot stress enough how well this book was written, and I’ve read a lot of books both well and poorly written, with this book I noticed Fletchers’ talent within the first paragraph! Everything flowed and each word was perfectly picked so I saw each character and scene so clearly, I love, love, loved it!

There are a few things that I would like clarification on though, this is in no way a criticism but I was slightly unsure as to the time period this book was set in… because I got the sense with Evie’s mother that she was rather Victorian so I pictured her in these Victorian gowns in big Victorian houses, but Evie and various other characters I pictured a lot more modern? There was the odd mention of technology so it must be modern but I can’t get the Victorian images out of my head! Also there was a touch of magic in this book, which I absolutely loved, it gave a new dimension to the story, however most of the story was set in normal life, so I was wondering whether that was genuine magic or if it was meant to be a metaphor? Either way I loved it, I was only wondering…

I really loved the characters in this book, I don’t want to say too much for fear of spoilers though… Evie was such a strong and refreshing character, I really enjoyed learning more about her and her life, inspirational is a word that comes to mind, although I couldn’t help but draw similarities between Evie and Carrie herself… It’s fair to say that I definitely pictured Carrie as Evie… Then there’s Vincent Winters, oh Vincent, what a gorgeous character, their little love story was equally adorable and tragic, he’s a lovable soul, what else can I say? Finally I’ll mention Eleanor Snow, Evie’s Mother, if there was going to be a ‘villain’ in this story it would be Eleanor Snow. Oh man, but I have to agree I did enjoy hating her! But Carrie if you’re reading this (you’re probably not) but not all people named Eleanor as as vile as Eleanor Snow, there’s one here who adored your book!

All in all, this was a wonderful book, I very much enjoyed it and was totally hooked from the start, I highly recommend it! I’m going to give this book a 5 out of 5 stars, a beautiful story that I loved experiencing!

Code Name Verity – Elizabeth Wein

I understand that this is a very popular book among a lot of people, and I also understand that it represents a lot of important people and a pivotal moment in history but… I really struggled to get on with this book…

This book is a little complicated to describe but I’ll do my best… in brief this book is about two best friends who are both heavily involved in WWII and both end up in Nazi occupied France. Things very quickly turn south as one of them is arrested by the Gestapo, will she tell them all she knows or will she sit in brave silence?

I’m going to start with the positives! This book was interesting, I learned a lot about various roles during the war, especially women’s roles and how much of a big part they played in terms of spying and finding out vital information during WWII. I really do think that some people would really like this book because it was interesting but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

My main issue with this book is that the story is completely mixed up. Most of the time I didn’t know what was going on and when I did figure it out it would change… To give you a sense of this, the first half of the book is one of the characters (I would say their name but it would be a spoiler and they have so many bleeding names!!) writing about her whole life to the Gestapo. Although this is really clever and an interesting idea, in my eyes it set the book off to a bad start because I have literally NO clue what was going on and it made me instantly disinterested.

Also there was no break between what this character was writing to the Gestapo and what they were thinking or physically saying out-loud to Gestapo officers… if that makes sense? Also you’re learning everything about this world and these people’s lives through someone spilling their guts to the Gestapo who would torture them had they not said anything, so how do we know if it’s at all true? Plus, none of these stories you’re learning about are chronological and basically the whole first half of the book makes no sense. I hope i’m not being ignorant, it’s just my opinion, perhaps I was just being too stupid to understand it?

I really wish I enjoyed this book more because it was such an interesting subject that has always fascinated me. But in my opinion this book was somewhat let down by the style in which it was put together. I do stress though that others will enjoy this book! But it most definitely isn’t the book for you if you don’t like a book that you have to persevere with, it is also good to keep in mind that you really have to concentrate with this book, it isn’t great to read late at night before you go to bed because it will literally make no sense.

With that in mind I’m going to give this book a 2 out of 5 stars… it just wasn’t for me but from seeing other reviews it does seem as though it’s a Marmite book…

 

Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

I always love it when I’m buying a book and cashier sings its praises, it always makes me want to read the book even more. So this book started off well right from the beginning in Waterstones!

I’m just going to jump right into this, this book is set in the same world as the ‘Shadow and Bone‘ series but is in a different time period, has different characters and is a completely different story. This book is based in the country of Kerch instead of Ravka and follows the rag tag gangs within Kerch but mainly the Crow Club (gang) and it’s most prominent members. This gang gets contacted for a massive mission which is to break into the most well guarded and notorious prison in the Kingdom, The Ice Court and rescue a prisoner. It is clear this is a suicide mission, but with the prize of 30 million Kerch, Kaz and his team cannot resist.

Whilst browsing the shelves, this book intrigued me, mainly because I’d read the Shadow and Bone series, which was good but it wasn’t my favourite. Because of this I really wanted to know what it was like because I did like the world and was interested in learning more about it and exploring new areas and new characters. This book did not disappoint, it was so exciting and intense. The characters were strong with intimate and complex backstories which beautifully intertwined with the story line. I actually preferred this greatly to the Shadow and Bone story, I feel as though the story was a lot stronger and the characters were much more complex and likable.

What I really loved about this book was that it was so gripping! Right from the start it was interesting and I kept wanting to know more, there was no faffing they got straight into what the story was about and the main premise of the story. I just wanted to keep reading, but the best thing was that you never really know what was going on, you never knew if the gang are genuinely in trouble of if Kaz Brekker or the gang had something else up their sleeve! Because of this it was literally impossible to predict and I never knew what was happening and the ending was always so up in the air, even two pages from the end!

I don’t want to say too much about the characters because there is a lot you learn about each character and I want to keep that as a surprise. But I will say a tiny bit about the 6 main characters… Firstly there is Kaz Brekker (Dirtyhands) he is very high up in the gang and will do anything for money. Secondly there is Inej, known as The Wraith, she has silent feet and can climb anything. There is also Nina a Corporalki Grisha from Ravka and Matthias from Fierda who was trained to kill Grisha. Finally there is Jesper a good friend of Kaz Brekker but also has a slight glambling problem and Wylan who is always made fun of for being young and inexperienced. The characters were each so unique and different from each other, also each chapter was from a different perspectives so you got to know all of them really well!

I really did love this book, I would recommend it to anyone who loves a bit of excitement in a book. There are so many twists and turns I promise you that you won’t get bored! I’m going to give this book a 5 out of 5 stars, I really did love this book and it lined up perfectly for a sequel so I seriously cannot wait for the second book!!

A Court of Mist and Fury – Sarah J Maas

Firstly, I would just like to apologize for how late this review, it took a while to read because here in the UK it is currently exam season so both Amy and I have had our heads stuck in text books instead of reading books… Anyway, wow, I have waited such a long time to read this book, the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, was amazing and I just couldn’t wait to jump back into this world! Although I try not to have high expectations, it just couldn’t be helped with this book, my expectations were sky high, but I am very happy to say that my expectations were met and even surpassed!

For those who don’t know, this is book follows from the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses (ACOTAR). This book picks up a couple months after the horrific incidents from ‘Under the Mountain’ in the first book and shows how those events have impacted upon all members of the Spring Court, but especially Feyre and Tamlin. I feel as though readers should go into this book relatively blind, as I did, there is just a lot in the book that could easily be spoiled by mentioning any of the plot. I will try my very best to keep this review spoiler free but I can’t make any promises about not spoiling the first book ACOTAR, if you wish to read that review I will link it HERE.

So, on to my opinions! Firstly I really liked how this book really throws you back into the story, there isn’t an awkward re-introduction, things just start happening right from the start which gripped me straight away! This book really quickly became ‘that book’ that I would look forward to reading at the end of the day and it was always such a treat to come back to, especially after a long day of grueling school work! I would also like to add that I am really sad that I’ve finished it, I keep thinking that I will be able to continue the story each night and I’m crushed each time I realise that I’m going to have to wait a whole year before I know what happens next! Grrrr!!

All the main characters return from the first book mainly Feyre, who’s character development is truly fantastic in this book, she grows so much, I was actually really proud of her, especially after all that she had to ordeal under the mountain! Also Tamlin returns (obviously), my opinion of Tamlin was always changing in this book but he’s just as gorgeous as always, especially without that darn mask! Finally there is Rhysand, I’m still totally in love with Rhys, that hasn’t changed from the first book! I just loved how he would always manipulate a situation to be able to pop up and the most awkward times! Haha!

This book really is an emotional roller-coaster and I was either crying, laughing or gasping with shock (oh yes I gasped with shock A LOT!). However I would say that the main plot of the book was a little bit overshadowed with other themes of the book, so I kind of felt that I wasn’t as well informed as I probably could have been when it came to the ending, but this might have been because it was late at night and I was tired and zoning out a bit… The only other criticism is that the book dipped in action in the middle a little bit, but that part was really essential to the story, so although it was a little more dull, it was absolutely necessary!

I would also like to mention that this book is VERY steamy, and when I say steamy I mean adult fiction steamy, there is a lot of sex and adult themes! I looked up the age rating for this book and it said 14-17, but if I am really honest, I wouldn’t want a 14 year old reading those scenes, I know if I read that at 14 I would have… well let’s just say I would have learned a lot…! So if you are on the younger side, perhaps just be prepared? Or maybe wait until you’re older? I obviously don’t want to tell you what you should or shouldn’t read but I just want people to know that it is very graphic in places and is maybe not a book for tweens… Although saying that the scenes worked with the story and were very well written!

In conclusion I REALLY LOVED THIS BOOK! The twists and turns were AMAZING and it is unreal how much I want to read the next book. Even though I had a few (very small) criticisms, they didn’t lessen the quality of the book at all! One thing Sarah J Maas is very good at is continuing a story successfully! I’m going to give this book the biggest 5 out of 5 stars, I loved it so much! Lastly I have tried SO hard to keep this review spoiler free as I know not everyone has read it yet, including my co-blogger Amy, so please feel free to leave a comment but please keep it free of spoilers (I know it’s very hard!)

Lady Midnight – Cassandra Clare

Righty ho, before we get started with this mammoth review (trust me it’s going to be a long one!) I just want to disclaim that the first half of this section will be SPOILER FREE, but after a big warning, the second half will be a SPOILER review because I can’t not talk about what happened, but there will be ample warning so if you haven’t yet read Lady Midnight and don’t want to be spoiled, leave at that point.

OH MY GOODNESS! I am actually so excited to write this review also emotions are still very high so if this review isn’t very coherent I do apologise! So, this Shadowhunter book is set approximately 5 years after the last Mortal Instruments books left off, it follows the lives of Julian Blackthorn and his family and Emma Carstairs in the Los Angeles Institute. This book is an absolute Shadowhunter classic with action, adventure, love and loss, but it’s also a bit of a murder mystery with Emma trying to find out who killed her parents, as we found out in the last Mortal Instruments book.

I was SO excited for this book it’s unreal, anyone who has followed our blog for a while knows that I (Eleanor) adore the Shadowhunter novels, it’s one of my favourite worlds to live in! However, this did mean that I had incredibly high expectations going into this book, which is usually a bad thing for any book. Although this book absolutely did not disappoint, it was everything I was hoping for AND MORE! The characters in this book were so strong, I cared for them so much and felt their pain with them. The characters that I’m going to talk about in this half of the review are going to be Julian and Emma, because I’m so scared of spoiling it for you guys and they are the main characters… Anyway, lets start with Emma, I loved Emma so so much, her character was really quirky and she had some amazing one liners, she kind of reminded me of Jace. She is also an amazing Shadowhunter, she’s an amazing fighter and is so determined, anything she sets her mind to will get done, she’s just a great character! Now onto Julian, oh Juilian, he is another amazing character, he kind of reminded me of a combination of Will and Jem, he’s very thoughtful but he also feels emotions very deeply and you can’t help but feel pain for him! All the characters in this book though are so incredibly written and the emotions you feel for them are so powerful, you just have to appreciate Cassandra Clare’s talent, she is awe inspiring!

Another thing I really love about this book is that it touches on so many real issues in life, things like young carers, body image, learning difficulties like Autism and mental health issues. The book in no way focused on these issues but they were always in the background and were hinted at, because of this, it never felt like they were being thrown in your face. They were subtly obvious, which I thought was incredibly clever, it must have been hard to obtain that balance.

Finally, for this section at least, I want to talk about the pace of this book, because this isn’t the first or even the second shadowhunter book, it wasn’t necessary for there to be so much description about the world. The story jumped straight into the plot, why they where there and what they were doing. This made the book feel a lot faster paced without having to stop for extra description and the pages just kept turning!!

Well that’s it for the non spoiler section of the review, I truly, truly LOVED this book, so please if you’re a fan of this world I implore you to read this, it is incredible! For that reason I’m going to award it a massive 5/5 stars! If you have read the book and wish to read on then please do, I will be talking about some of the events in the book and my thoughts on them. If you don’t want to be spoiled then please click off now, I really don’t want the responsibility of you being spoiled because that is literally a crime!

 

 

!!**SPOILERS AHEAD** **SPOILERS AHEAD**!!

 

 

HOLY SMOKES! Okay, in this section, I’m just going to give a run down on what I thought were the best/most shocking/ most emotional moments of the book, I will also give my opinions on them and what I was thinking when I was reading them!

First of all let’s talk about the forbidden love story between Emma and Julian. I honestly don’t think I have ever shipped a couple so hard, but it was also so painful because at the back of my mind I knew they could never be together because of their Parabatai bond, but you know what, that didn’t stop my feelings and all I want is for them to be happily in love with no limits! What was also interesting is that they didn’t really declare their love for each other until about 400 pages in, so all this time we’re building up to them eventually being together which just builds the emotion even more, and made me ship them even more, well played Cassandra Clare! But lets talk about that beach scene! HOT DAMN! At first I didn’t think they actually went all the way, because in The Mortal Instruments, it took like 5 books for Jace and Clary to finally have sex. It only really dawned on me that Emma and Julian had sex when Julian was talking about contraceptive runes and stuff and I was like “OH, OH! THEY DID IT!” and it just made me so happy! Although, I’m not gunna lie, the last couple pages when Emma was trying to ‘break Julian’s heart’ because of the repercussions of Parabatai falling in love LITERALLY KILLED ME. I know it was necessary because I don’t want Julian and Emma to get all power hungry and destroy their family, but jeeeze, those pages were so hard to read!

On to the next thing, Mark. I was SO HAPPY that Mark was in this book, he added another dimension to the whole story. He was such a good character as well, he was so childlike because he had essentially been indoctrinated into faerie. He also turned out to be incredibly loyal to his family and eventually, we saw a cheeky side to him, especially in the last line of the whole book when he said ‘Why lie’. I took this as Mark wanting to ‘do stuff’ with Emma, so they didn’t have to lie to Julian and the rest of the family. This was so cheeky, I was a little dumbfounded by this as first as I didn’t really see Mark as that kind of character, but once it sunk in I thought it was funny and quirky and just showed how Mark had developed throughout the book.

Okay, now let’s talk about the main plot and plot twist of this book. I loved the whole murder mystery element to this book. I was totally involved in the plot, and I’ll be honest I had no clue who The Guardian was, I had a sneaky feeling that maybe it was Dianna but I wasn’t 100% sure. So when we found out it was Malcolm was completely knocked for six! Initially I really liked Malcolm, he was funny and intelligent, and I was like YES ANOTHER MAGNUS! But noooooo no no no! The little git, I felt genuine fear when he took Tavvy, holy moley! But I was glad Emma finally had closure on who killed her parents all those years ago and no one I cared about died, I was so pleased and thankful that Cassandra Clare didn’t kill anyone!

Some of the new characters were amazing, I loved Christina, Perfect Diego and the whole Blackthorn family, I also had so much respect for Julian and all he’s done for his siblings, effectively becoming a single parent at 12 years old! But most importantly I was so intrigued by Kit, I couldn’t get my head around who this boy was, especially as as he effectively starts off the whole series! I knew he was important but I just couldn’t figure out why, so when we found out he was a Herondale I was like “WHOA WHOA WHOA! WHAT THE F*CK!” Cassandra Clare is so clever because even though I thought the main plots were out of the way, something else comes flying out of the woodwork!

I am SO excited about the next book, even though it’s going to be so painful to read with the whole forbidden love thing! But this series has completely sucked me in and I just can’t wait! If you’ve stuck with me through this whole review, well done because insanely long (1500 words!) but also thank you, and I hope you enjoyed this book as much as I did, and also please be considerate in the comments for people who haven’t read the book and keep the spoilers to a minimum! Thank You!

 

In The After Light – Alexandra Bracken

I have quite a few different opinions about this book, good and bad, so I’m going to do a bit of background and then jump right into it!

So this book is the last book in the Darkest Minds series, after the emotional end of the second book Never Fade, I had simultaneous high expectations, excitement and curiosity about how the last book would pan out and how one of my new favourite series would end. If you wish to see what we thought on the first two books I shall leave the links here (The Darkest Minds and Never Fade)

Right, let’s get to it, we’ll start with the negatives. This book was VERY SLOW, I felt that it was a real slog to get through to the climax of this book, there was just too much sitting around planning things and too much politics. I know it was developing the story and building to the end, but compared to the previous two books which were action pact all the way through, it was just boring! Secondly, Ruby really annoyed me in this book! Some of the things she did were really frustrating, and it just seemed to me that the better choices were really obvious however she still did the opposite. I suppose emotions were high and everything so perhaps things weren’t so clear, but still, it annoyed me, it just seemed as though she was trying too hard to be a martyr.

Well that’s it for the negatives, on to the bits that I LOVED! Firstly, overall, Liam was such a little cutie, he is definitely one of my faviourite characters, but again some of the things he did were a little irritating, but what he did helped the overall story. Also he was just adorable, especially with Ruby, and there were some really cute lovey dovey scenes that were a nice relief to the intense politics of the rest of the book. Finally, without a doubt, the best part of the book was the end! Bracken took it in a different direction to what I was expecting which I loved, also it was really exciting, really intense and had me on the edge of my seat! It was a brilliant and satisfying ending to the series!

Overall, I did enjoy this book but the ending made it A LOT better! I’m going to award it a 3 out of 5 stars, a definite read to finish the series, especially if you want a secure closure, but not my favourite in the series.

Prince of Hazel and Oak – John Lenahan

This book took me A LONG time to read, over a month, but this was mainly because things were on TV that were distracting and school had me so tired that when I went to bed, I would just fall asleep and forget about reading! That being said, the book was a little bit slow… but it did pick up and the ending was pretty kickass!

This is the second book in the Shadowmagic series, if you haven’t read the first one, I have reviewed it, so I would suggest popping over and reading that first. This book pretty much picks up exactly where the last one finished and I was very happy to be back in The Land! This book continues the adventures of Connor and his friends Araf and Essa, but the main premise of the book is a quest to find a cure for Connor’s very sick father, and time is certainly of the essence, there are also a few surprises along the way and the introduction of some awesome new characters!

Let’s start with the very beginning, it’s a very good place to start… I was not expecting this book to start the way it did, I was so shocked with the circumstances that Connor found himself in in the first couple pages, it certainly had me on the edge of my seat and got me very excited for the rest of the book! However, after this the plot did start to thin out and dull down a little bit, to be honest I was disappointed. It took a long time to get to the good bits and some things were just not necessary, this probably contributed to the fact that it took me so long to read. Although when we did get to the good bits, they were very good and exciting!

The ending though was just pure class, it was one of those endings where I had absolutely no idea how they were going to get out of this sticky situation, and if it was me in that situation, I would be basically stuffed! Although saying this there was one element that I don’t want to give a way, but I think it was supposed to be this huge twist, but I saw it coming from a mile off, to be honest I was very glad my 6th sense was right! Overall, the beginning and the end saved the book for me, the middle was just too slow and boring, if the book hadn’t ended the way it did, them this book wouldn’t be getting such as positive review! I liked this book, I’m going to award this book a 3 out of 5 stars, a good second book in the series, but I think I do prefer the first, but let’s see how the third one does!

The Sin Eaters Daughter – Melinda Salisbury

This is another book where I have mixed feelings about it and I’m still trying to decide whether I liked it or not. I picked up the book mainly because of the cover which I thought was absolutely gorgeous and I was expecting something along the lines of ‘Throne of Glass’ and ‘Graceling’ but that wasn’t the case.

Twylla’s mother is the Sin Eater and Twylla trained her entire childhood to take over for her mother. But a chance encounter with the Queen revealed Twylla to be Daunen embodied a Goddess who can consume poison and not be killed. A Goddess who can kill anyone with just a touch.

I loved the idea of the protagonist having poisonous skin, and was really intrigued by the idea. The world building I also thought worked really well and I enjoyed learning more about the founding of the kingdoms, it’s traditions like the sin eating and more about the gods. The world is well thought out and has a Game of Thrones, medieval-esque vibe which I really enjoyed.

But I felt for about 80% nothing really happened and there wasn’t any exciting or adventurous plot to the story which I was disappointed about however by the end of the book the storyline picked up with the big revel which I enjoyed.

As for the characters, the protagonist Twylla is extremely naïve given her power is exceedingly lethal. Instead of being all deadly and all she’s just your typical protagonist who does nothing at all. Then we have Lief I didn’t like him that much. I kinda liked his personality at first and he seemed to be very loyal, but there wasn’t much about him that made me love his character.

I wasn’t a fan of the relationship between Twylla and Lief as I felt like it was very instal-love. I didn’t sense very much chemistry between Lief and Twylla and there wasn’t enough development before certain events in order for me to become completely convinced of their connection.

I pretty much only liked one character and that was the Queen who played the role as the villain as she was all kinds of crazy. I mean legit maniac and sadist. I don’t know about you, but murdering someone because he smiles too much is well asinine. She made everything so much more intense and gripping. 

Overall, it’s sad to say that I rate this book 2.5/3 stars as for me it was a bit disappointing and could have been so much better!

Alienated – Melissa Landers

I picked up this both due to all the hype it was receiving and I have to admit I had high expectations. By no means is this a bad review as it was an enjoyable read which just didn’t tickle my fancy!

Two years ago, an alien race from the planet L’eihr made contact with humans for the first time. They have superior intelligence, technology, and medicine. Both governments agreed to a temporary alliance to see if their nations can co-exist peacefully and learn from one another. L’eihr will be sending three of their most gifted teenagers to live with three human families. Cara Sweeney, future valedictorian of her high school, is chosen to host Aelyx, including bringing him to her school. As you can imagine, not everyone is in accordance with this plan, fearing that the aliens have an ulterior motive. Protesting quickly escalates to hatred and violence, leading to a fast-paced and high stakes conclusion.

The storyline I thought sounded fab and I was really looking forward to what happened however I felt that actually the storyline was pretty predictable which in some cases was a little disappointing but at the same time a found it addicting so much so I found it difficult to put down and if I had more free time would have finished it in a matter of days! The idea of the L’eihrs however I really liked and found really interesting learning more about their culture.

Character wise I still have mixed feelings for Cara, I loved the idea of her having a blog and wanting to be a successful journalist as she reminded me of myself but I hated the fact that she joined the exchange for her blog not to say thank you for helping her mother! I did though like how she was able to stick up for herself and was also smart but compassionate as well.

As for Aelyx, I wasn’t a fan of his at first as he came off as snobbish and judgmental, however over time, mostly due to Cara and her family’s kindness and his budding romance with Cara, his emotionless exterior begins to crack. It’s a well done character arc, and I was swooning for him way before the end. However, one negative about both characters were that they were very cliche and easy to predict which took away some of the suspense and drama.

However I liked how the parents weren’t missing in action in this book. Cara’s parents were present in the story. I liked how they were involved with their kid. Not like most of the fictional parents on YA books who are almost always absent throughout the book.

Overall, I rate this book 3.5 stars as it was an enjoyable read with a interesting storyline and characters but I am still unsure whether I will be picking up the sequel.