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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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: Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt

I’ve been really into fan-based reads at the moment, they’re great to escape too as they’re so relatable and real whilst at the same time being a bit of fun. It’s also really great to see these books existing; books about fans for fans of books. It’s a little trippy but it’s pretty damn cool as well.

Goodreads Synopsis

UCLexi Angelo has grown up helping her dad with his events business. She likes to stay behind the scenes, planning and organizing…until author Aidan Green – messy haired and annoyingly arrogant – arrives unannounced at the first event of the year. Then Lexi’s life is thrown into disarray.

In a flurry of late-night conversations, mixed messages and butterflies, Lexi discovers that some things can’t be planned. Things like falling in love…

 

This review, as ever, is spoiler-free!

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A review: Holding Up The Universe – Jennifer Niven

As soon as I’d finished All The Bright Places, I knew that whatever Jennifer Niven released next was a guarantee insta-buy. Although Holding Up The Universe came out last year and it’s taken me this to get round to finally reading it, I can easily say that this book did not disappoint!

Not an inherently perfect novel, this book has flaws, just like the characters we read about inside. Thankfully, for me anyhow, this did not detract my enjoyment of the novel by any means, but I can definitely see why these might for others.

Goodreads Synopsis

HUTUEveryone thinks they know Libby Strout, the girl once dubbed “America’s Fattest Teen.” But no one’s taken the time to look past her weight to get to know who she really is. Following her mom’s death, she’s been picking up the pieces in the privacy of her home, dealing with her heartbroken father and her own grief. Now, Libby’s ready: for high school, for new friends, for love, and for every possibility life has to offer. In that moment, I know the part I want to play here at MVB High. I want to be the girl who can do anything. 

Everyone thinks they know Jack Masselin, too. Yes, he’s got swagger, but he’s also mastered the impossible art of giving people what they want, of fitting in. What no one knows is that Jack has a newly acquired secret: he can’t recognize faces. Even his own brothers are strangers to him. He’s the guy who can re-engineer and rebuild anything, but he can’t understand what’s going on with the inner workings of his brain. So he tells himself to play it cool: Be charming. Be hilarious. Don’t get too close to anyone.

Until he meets Libby. When the two get tangled up in a cruel high school game—which lands them in group counseling and community service—Libby and Jack are both pissed, and then surprised. Because the more time they spend together, the less alone they feel. Because sometimes when you meet someone, it changes the world, theirs and yours.

This review will be spoiler free!

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An ARC review: Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Let’s be honest now, I don’t really need to tell you much about this book. I’m sure everyone by now, will have heard of Caraval. This book is outrageously hyped, so much so that we are seemingly setting it up for a fall. What book can live up to this ridiculous amount of hype?

Caraval is a magical place that Scarlett has always wanted to experience, now about to be married, she finally gets her wish. The elusive Master Legend has invited her and her sister to play – just don’t get carried away.

I must say, Caraval did not disappoint, although I had a few issues with it, overall they were minimal compared to the enjoyment I felt whilst eagerly turning page after page, happily devouring this book for the great book that it is. This book, in my opinion, deserves the hype it has found itself built upon, an exquisite fantasy adventure that will keep your interest from beginning to end.

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A review: Anna and the French Kiss – Stephanie Perkins

This book resided on my Amazon wishlist for a long while, I’d read so many excellent reviews both on here and on bookstagram that I’d been debating buying it for such a long time. However, I am not the biggest fan of contemporary fiction. I’ve potentially mentioned this a few times before – so I won’t go on again about it.

I received the book as a Christmas present, so it was time to swallow my dislike. It’s unfair to judge every book because of the few I’ve read and not liked. This and the other two book in the series were so well raved about that I took the plunge and made this the next book on my TBR list.

This review contains no spoilers.

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A Review: Legend – Marie Lu

I’d been meaning to pick up a Marie Lu title for awhile – I’d heard good things about the Legend trilogy and then even better things about The Young Elites and I knew I’d have to find out for myself – what is so wonderful about these books.

So, one afternoon, me and my boyfriend were perusing our local charity shops (okay, I was, he was being dragged along, a feat he’s used to by now), and I’d already picked up The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, therefore any book purchase on these trips means it’s a success. And then I found jackpot – the entire Legend trilogy, in hardback, in a lovely little box-set. All for £4. What a bloody bargain.

Anecdote out of the way; let’s get on to the actual book. Legend is the debut novel by author Marie Lu – set in a Dystopian society where the United States is no more; it is split The Republic vs. The Colonies. We meet both June and Day, our heroes from two different worlds; June; the prodigy, the Republic’s next big thing. Day, the boy from the slums who is the Republic’s most wanted criminal. We follow their stories, as they intertwine and pull our hearts in along with them.

There are no spoilers in this review!

Continue reading “A Review: Legend – Marie Lu”