A review: Frost Like Night – Sara Raasch

I am finally catching up with all the reviews I did not write whilst I took myself away from the blogosphere. My drafts are the biggest they’ve ever been as I finally have the writing bug again.
Next up on my long-list of books to review is the concluding third of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy; Frost Like Night.

I began reading this trilogy a few years ago now, picking up the first not long after its release on a whim; as it checks off a lot of check boxes of things I like in a fantasy novel;

  • leading lady
  • multiple lands centre around a specific ~something
  • mAgicAl PoWers!!!
  • weather-centric magic to boot
  • there’s so much more but this list is not the review so I’ma stop

So here we are, the last in the trilogy. I was very tentative going into it as I’ve been burned my trilogies in the past; they’ve always started so strongly, the second book is literally either astounding or appalling and the third never ever concludes it fully.

FLNMeira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything.

So let’s find out just how Frost Like Night held up!
This review, as ever, is spoiler free.

Continue reading “A review: Frost Like Night – Sara Raasch”

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A review: This Savage Song – V. E Schwab

I have a confession to make, before This Savage Song, I’d never read a V. E. Schwab book. Which is all sorts of insane for a self-confessed fantasy lover. Thankfully, I can now say I’ve read at least one! (almost two, currently on Out Dark Duet).

Goodreads Synopsis

TSSThere’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

As always, this review is spoiler-free!

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The July wrap-up.

July. The month I took away to re-evaluate and restart. It was very much needed and I was completely burnt-out. I couldn’t read, I couldn’t write. I was in a proper slump. It was not a fun time.
So I turned my attention to other hobbies/past-times; video games, tv shows, gym, etc. It really helped refocus my mind, and whilst I still couldn’t sit down and write, I did manage to push through my reading slump. And I really really got back into reading. Without the pressure of reviewing everything I was reading (well, mostly), I powered through a lot of books on my ever-growing TBR.
In the end, I ended up reading 7 books! My very own mini victory.

Books Read;

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller | Hot Mess – Lucy Vine | One Of Us Is Lying – Karen McManus | The Dry – Jane Harper | This Savage Song – V. E. Schwab |
Our Dark Duet – V. E. Schwab | Wilde Like Me – Louise Pentland

My favourite of the month would definitely be Our Dark Duet; it was emotional, it was thrilling, it was heartbreaking, it was e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. I loved loved loved this duology and thought they were both written so perfectly.
My least favourite would probably be Hot Mess, although I enjoyed it, it just had some real competition! It was a fun story that I found surprisingly relatable, the lead character really resonated with me in some ways. I also love reading contemporaries set in England because I love recognising names/slang/places/brands.

Overall, it was a great month for reading as I enjoyed every single book I read. It was also quite a varied month of reading too; I enjoy mixing up the genres I read as it keeps them all quite fresh and I never get bored of a particular one.

Books To Read;

I’m not one for setting strict TBR’s. I am very much a mood reader, and I don’t often read two books of the same genre in a row, I always like to mix it up as I mentioned above.

But I do have a couple of books that I want to get to this month at least so I guess I’ll tell you about those.

Alex, Approximately – Jenn Bennett | The Dream Thieves – Maggie Stiefvater 
Salt To The Sea – Ruta Sepetys

I have awaited Jenn Bennett’s new book for ages, as I loved loved loved Night Owls (The Anatomical Shape Of A Heart for U.S readers!). So, when this at last came into the bookshop on my last shift I knew it would be one of my last discounted purchases.

I, also, finally purchased The Dream Thieves at long last, as much as The Raven Boys wasn’t my most favourite, I did love the characters, just not the lacklustre plot, so I do really want to see how they progress, it just wasn’t at the top of purchase list.

Last month I got my hands on Between Shades of Gray, a very very lucky charity shop find, and it broke my heart. The way the author wrote just broke me and left me wanting more at the same time. Perhaps I’m just a glutton for punishment.

 

So there’s my potential TBR, but definitely not guaranteed. I make no promises, although I do plan on starting Alex, Approximately today, so that’s a start.

An ARC review: Countless – Karen Gregory

I think I’ve gotten to a point a lot of book bloggers can relate to; I let my NetGalley ARC’s build-up and just sit there, on my shelf. It’s terrible, I know they’re there, but when they’re somewhat hidden on my kindle, and I can see all my physical books sitting pretty on my shelf, you know what is more likely to get picked to be read next.
But May is the month I tackle those ARCs! This journey begins with Countless by Karen Gregory.

For those sensitive to eating disorders, especially anorexia, here’s a warning as those are the strongest themes in this book.

Goodreads Synopsis

CL-KGIs there anything that’s concerning you?’ Felicity says. ‘College, home, boyfriends?’ Though she’s more or less smiling at this last one.

I don’t smile. Instead, I feel my face go hot. Silence stretches as wide as an ocean.
When I look up, Felicity has this expression on her face like she’s just seen Elvis. Slowly, she leans forward and in a gentle voice I’ve never heard her use before she says, ‘Have you done a pregnancy test?’

When Hedda discovers she is pregnant, she doesn’t believe she could ever look after a baby. The numbers just don’t add up. She is young, and still in the grip of an eating disorder that controls every aspect of how she goes about her daily life. She’s even given her eating disorder a name – Nia. But as the days tick by, Hedda comes to a decision: she and Nia will call a truce, just until the baby is born. 17 weeks, 119 days, 357 meals. She can do it, if she takes it one day at a time …

Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, Karen Gregory’s debut novel is a story of love, heartache and human resilience. And how the things that matter most can’t be counted. Perfect for fans of Lisa Williamson, Non Pratt and Sarah Crossan.

Apprehensiveness aside, I was really surprised by this book. Surprised by the heart-breaking realness of this book. It doesn’t gloss over any aspect of the harsh realities that surround these incredibly taboo subjects. Both eating disorders and teen pregnancies come with a stigma – ones that author Karen Gregory explores within the pages; she does not shy away either. She tries and tries to show to us, the readers, that there is more than just what we see on the surface. And I for one, came away from this book with a greater knowledge and understanding that I didn’t have before.
To say I enjoyed the way Karen Gregory never beat around the bush seems like a bad word choice – more like I was in awe of it. Never once did shew romanticise or glorify the situation Hedda, our main character, was in.

Hedda was a very torn character. From the very first time we meet her, you know this book is not going to sunshine and rainbows. She lies, she plays up to the character she’s made for herself, and yet, we see the insecurities that plague her, the numbers she counts for comfort and control.
I don’t think I’ve read such an honest insight – it was genuinely heartbreaking to read. To go through Hedda’s struggles and internal arguments, her battle with her eating disorder that she calls Nia. This entire book from beginning to end is Hedda struggling and as bleak as that sounds, it’s also very, very real. Nothing, not even a potential love interest, nor her own child will magically fix Hedda because that is real-life. Only you can fix you, and you need to want to fix you.
Hedda showcases a kind of strength, I personally don’t see often in YA. Sure, she has no superhuman abilities, she’s not heading to war, nor does she have the fate of a nation/kingdom/country/world on her shoulders. But it’s a strength that is so real, so tangible, you can almost see it. It’s the kind of silent strength that’s underappreciated. She’s t r y i n g, and that in itself is half the battle. I was so invested in Hedda, I was rooting for her the whole way through.
There is genuinely so much more I could write about Hedda, but you truly should experience her story yourself.

The impact of this book still had me reeling long after I’d finished it, even when I’d moved on to another book. It definitely is a book that doesn’t leave you, not for a while – it’s one that has me talking about it constantly. A book that, despite it’s bleakness, I believe it’s one that many should read. Just to get into that headspace, which yes, is completely terrifying but is one that is nothing but complete and utter reality.

This book is something very different; there is barely any romance, there is not much of a happy ever after, there is no big hallelujah moment. And that is why this book makes the impact it does. because most lives do not have those things by 17, mine sure didn’t. You don’t magically get better, you have to fight, and struggle and fall down and pick yourself up again.
I, wholeheartedly, recommend this book.

 

 

A review: Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer was one of the first books I received via my workplace as an advanced copy – so there was lots of excitement from me upon getting my hands on this absolutely stunning book!

Goodreads Synopsis

STD
The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

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An ARC review: Flame in the Mist – Renée Ahdieh

I can’t even begin to explain how shocked I was when I was approved for an ARC of this book from the publisher through NetGalley, this is probably my biggest title to date, so that’s quite exciting for me and my little space of the internet. And I had every right to be so excited – this book was everything I expected it to be, and so much more!

Goodreads Synopsis 

FITMThe daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.

Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she’s quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she’s ever known.

This review is spoiler free!

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A review: Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Hey ho, I’m jumping on the bandwagon a bit here, I realise. It was the recent release of the Netflix series that got me interested in reading this book. It is a very polarizing subject at its core. Suicide is never a light subject, nor should it be taken as one.

Goodreads Synopsis

13RWYou can’t stop the future.
You can’t rewind the past.
The only way to learn the secret . . . is to press play.

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker–his classmate and crush–who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah’s voice tells him that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he’ll find out why.

Clay spends the night crisscrossing his town with Hannah as his guide. He becomes a firsthand witness to Hannah’s pain, and as he follows Hannah’s recorded words throughout his town, what he discovers changes his life forever.

Trigger warning: suicide. This review contains spoilers.

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