#BookReview: Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

35530652Hi guys, a bit of a stranger one!

I’m going to write up my review for Grey Sister when I haven’t yet reviewed Red Sister, the first book in the series! Oups! I recently finished reading Grey Sister and I just need to get all of these awesome feelings off my chest.

Red Sister synopsis:

I was born for killing – the gods made me to ruin.

At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth. Sweet Mercy hones its novices’ skills to deadly effect: it takes ten years to educate a Red Sister in the ways of blade and fist.

But even the mistresses of sword and shadow don’t truly understand what they have purchased when Nona Grey is brought to their halls as a bloodstained child of eight, falsely accused of murder: guilty of worse.

Stolen from the shadow of the noose, Nona is sought by powerful enemies, and for good reason. Despite the security and isolation of the convent her secret and violent past will find her out. Beneath a dying sun that shines upon a crumbling empire, Nona Grey must come to terms with her demons and learn to become a deadly assassin if she is to survive…

Genre:  Fiction
Year Of Publication: April 2018
Publisher: Harper Voyager UK
Pages: 400
My rating:  5 stars

I loved the Red sister, but Grey Sister is out of this world amazing! Mark managed to PSX_20180731_191655.jpgcapture the dark atmosphere and bring it up to a whole new level. There is literally not a single bad word that I can say about this sequel. Definitely not suffering from middle book syndrome (why do I believe this is a trilogy? don’t know…).

All of the awesome characters from Red Sister take centre stage in this sequel and truly come alive. I remember being 100 pages in and struggling to put the book down because it was THAT GOOD! I also love Mark’s writing style, he has a unique voice and the ability to summon characters and settings to life, to make you care. I was also impressed by his ability to not only write about girls but also understand them. The world building and magic system are so well done it makes logical sense and drags you into the story and doesn’t let you leave.

As I’ve already said, there isn’t a thing that I can fault this book which is probably my favourite fantasy book of 2018 and of all time. There is no denying that Mark Lawrence is a god!

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Have you read Red sister and/or Grey Sister? What did you think? A few of my friends loved it, some of my friends didn’t, so feel free to share your comments. Reading is subjective and we’re all entitles to our opinions as long as they’re respectful!

Lots of love,

Jane

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#BookReview: To kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

37769536“Princess Lira is siren royalty and the most lethal of them all. With the hearts of seventeen princes in her collection, she is revered across the sea. Until a twist of fate forces her to kill one of her own. To punish her daughter, the Sea Queen transforms Lira into the one thing they loathe most—a human. Robbed of her song, Lira has until the winter solstice to deliver Prince Elian’s heart to the Sea Queen or remain a human forever. The ocean is the only place Prince Elian calls home, even though he is heir to the most powerful kingdom in the world. Hunting sirens is more than an unsavory hobby—it’s his calling. When he rescues a drowning woman in the ocean, she’s more than what she appears. She promises to help him find the key to destroying all of siren kind for good—But can he trust her? And just how many deals will Elian have to barter to eliminate mankind’s greatest enemy?” (Goodreads blurb)

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel! As always, my unbiased review.
Genre:  Fantasy
Year Of Publication: 6 March 2018
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 352
My rating: 5 stars

Oh my days, I totally loved this book! I just finished reading it today and what a journey this novel has been! Perfect blend of characters, plot and good writing. It is one of the best retellings I’ve read lately!

“I’ve made a mistake. It started with a prince, as most stories do. Once I felt the thrum of his heart beneath my fingers, I couldn’t forget it.”

THE CHARACTERS….

d52d96951ed469247aa60eb3fb2b5dc1Lira and Elian, the main characters of this story, both have a clear understanding of duty and what their roles within their respective kingdoms should look like, each chasing a goal regardless of how difficult it may be. I really loved them as individual characters and thought that their journey of discovery was really well fleshed out. I really enjoyed their banter and sparring, the tension between them felt natural, authentic. But is it all as black and white as they believe? How does truth really look like and what would that mean for them?

The most notorious members of the Saab were a very fun and interesting bunch to hang out with. We get to know them well enough to like them and root for them, but not too much to overshadow the main characters or take away from the plot, so I really liked the balance in that. I thought that these characters were individualised enough to merit being mentioned with the main characters and all had strengths and weaknesses that added to the plot and to the main characters development! If there was something that I wanted explored more, was perhaps the Queen herself, however it is explained that once a siren becomes a Queen, things change, so I wasn’t very bothered about that, really (don’t wanna say to much and spoil things).

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THE PLOT…

The story at it’s core is a retelling of Little mermaid, but a lot darker and sinister. To be bfeb42423bf9c2d0db6822f585c81c08honest I do not remember much of the Little mermaid, just the fierceness of her hair and just an overall idea of the plot line, but absolutely loved the direction in which this story went and kept me guessing every step of the way. I had a general idea what would happen in the end, but I was totally in loved with the story and was at the edge of my seat.

What I liked as well is that we get some political intrigue, as well as travelling to other kingdoms and meet other races and explore part of those worlds which I really found fascinating. The pacing as well was really well done, not too slow, not to fast… although the ending was sweet torture! I don’t know how I managed to pace myself and read properly, and not rush to the end!

THE WRITING…

The writing was really good, especially the dialogue between the characters. There was a lot of banter and messing around which went well in hand with the pirate mood (if there is such a thing!) of the story. I thought the descriptions of the other kingdoms were very creative and interesting, painting a lush enough atmosphere without slowing down the plot. I would love more stories set out in these worlds actually! I also really liked that the sirens although they were beautiful, they were also terrifying and powerful creatures not only by virtue of their song, but also their strength. The mermaids and meremen were an interesting addition to the story and I found fascinating their differences as I would normally don’t see any difference between the sirens and mermaids.

This is about the writing, there are little gems scattered throughout the story that elevate it to another level and show different layers of the characters and plot.

THE ENJOYMENT…

I really loved this story! Totally enjoyed it and I would recommend it! This book will go high up on my list of favourite ones!

What I enjoyed the most, was how this story made me feel! I wanted to be there, on a ship navigating the seas, wanting to throw myself into the sea and feel the coolness of the weaves on my skin. The seas did feel alive when reading this!

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Happy Reading

Xoxo

Jane

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#BookReview: The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert

Hi reader fam, how are you doing? I am going to post soon the wrap-up for March, but I wanted to share with you first my thoughts on The Hazel Wood that I recently finished reading. The beginning of April has been an incredibly productive reading time, and fingers crossed it will continue to be like that because I already finished 3-4 books. Yeah…

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“Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

The Plot…

The story is focused on Alice and her journey in finding her mother who is taken away, and doesn’t have anyone else to help her but Finch, the cute kid at school who is obsessed with her gran’s stories. The funny thing, it’s not even a spoiler as it is given away in the book description. The plot takes a very long time to pick up and unfortunately I saw the plot twist at the end midway (which was a total bummer), but I was still hooked and enjoyed it. I felt that it was quite simplistic and relied too much on the whimsical writing and Alice’s obsession to find her mother which felt sometimes like dust in my eyes. The ending left me quite unsatisfied as well; I loved the fact that she managed to break the wheel, but was deflated about some other choices.

What this story did very well, was the suspense of Alice finding her mother. The mystery aspect of the novel kept me turning the pages until I finished reading it, so well done there!

Characters…

Alice, the main character, is a 17 years old girl followed by bad luck as bad things continue to happen to her and her mother. I initially liked Alice as a character, but as I progressed I started to like her less and less until I wanted to smack her in the head. I do not understand why she was so hung up on other people being rich. It really annoyed me that she thought that her mother’s husband was not good enough for her because from what I read, he did not do anything to Ella. Same with her step-sister who wasn’t actually mean to her, she was just rich and could afford to do eccentric things like rich people do. That’s it. Does that make her bad? No! Alice hated on because she was rich, like rich people do not have feelings or a brain.

But she did not stop here, she acted like a turtle with Finch who was there for her every step of the way. It was not his fault that his dad had money, he was actually a decent, smart guy who was better off without her. Why did she have to be like this? Being rich doesn’t mean you’re bad or not good enough, so talk to the hand! (and no, I am not rich) I know, I know, it makes sense when you read the ending, but what bothered me was that it was never challenged, like Finch never turned around to say ‘Hey, that shit is not ok!’ I actually really liked Finch and I wish he would’ve been treated a bit better as he was key for her journey and deserved a lot more credit.

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Alice is looking to find her mother Ella, but I struggled to understand her obsession, it felt really unhealthy and unbalanced. Ella became less than a person, became an idea that Alice was chasing, memories strung together by flowery writing. It also annoyed me to no end that right at the beginning of the book, Alice acted with so much jealousy towards her mother because she married and was convinced that Ella needed to leave him because he was not good enough for her. Ella, giving their past experiences and her ability to manipulate situations and people to get what she wanted, was perfectly capable of looking after herself. Somehow Alice made everyone seem less for almost all of the book.

Writing style…

The Hazel Wood is slow paced and whimsical, wanting to read like a fairytale and building a dreamlike (or nightmarish) quality to it, but that’s ok, I can like that. What I do not like, is weird descriptions like “dead coffee” or “furious glitter”. Like what’s that supposed to mean? Why do I feel like it was meant to pull wool over my eyes…?

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World Building…

Again, it felt that the world building was not as good as it could’ve been and for at least 70% I had no idea what the rules of the game were as a lot of the things happened because Alice had lots and lots of hunches…

Enjoyment….

The Hazel Wood, regardless of my picks on the characters, plot and writing style, it was extremely entertaining and kept me hooked. I read 50 pages on Tuesday night, and finished it off yesterday, in one sitting. I was hooked and I could not put it down until I finished it!

I will give it 3.5 stars because although I had some issues with it and wanted more from the plot and the characters, it kept me really entertained.

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Have you read it yet? What do you think?

Xoxo

Jane

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#BookReview: Firebolt by Adrienne Woods

33379357The first thing that attracted me to this book was gorgeous cover and the promise of dragons. You guys know me, I love a gorgeous cover and dragons!

The story starts with the main character, Elena, going on the run again with her father when they are attacked by… dragons! Things happen, and she ends in a strange place called Paegeia where more things should happen…. However, they don’t.

*This book was provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

The Characters

I did not get a grasp of the characters, who they are and where do they come from. There was no character development whatsoever. The romance between Elena and the love interest was so sudden I could not, for the life of me,understand what she loved about him besides his hot kisses. The only time spent together was at the cafeteria and making out. That’s it. And shrieking or crying.

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Oh, and everyone was gorgeous! There was this occasion when her boyfriend introduced her to another male and she instinctively through he was gorgeous and hot. Every male she encountered was hot and wanting her except for tall, dark and handsome Blake… *sigh*. Do we have to make ALL characters gorgeous to the point of perfect?

Then there was the writing…

I haven’t seen so many errors in a published novel in a very long time and the writing itself was tedious and felt flat. The descriptions didn’t work for me either, they were simply… lifeless. The was a lot of information dumping; pages and pages were the author just throws a lot of information to the reader without attempting to address them to a context and it was difficult to read. Each character that Elena was used to dump information. No, just no. Thank you.

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Then there was the plot…

From start until 50% when I DNF-ed this book, nothing ever happened plot-wise, just a lot of teen drama and information dumping. Not one real fight, not one attempt from Elena to find out what happened with her father and why! Yes, she cried on a few occasions before going to bed and was tearful when she remembered his jokes, but that was it. She was vehement about staying at the Draconia Academy and study, although she so often complained about the studying, and was more interested to make-out with the gorgeous boyfriend. I was so frustrated with this that I had to stop as there were hours left to read on my kindle and couldn’t… Just couldn’t. I must also mention that the story felt extremely predictable and I can bet my money that I guessed the end.

This book could’ve been good if it would’ve had a plot and more life-like characters that I could root for. I am extremely disappointed to say that I did not like what I have read, although I did like the beginning scene which hooked me right in. That’s the one thing that I liked and kept me reading, waiting for something that sadly never came.

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1 star

What was the most recent book that you read and did not like?

Xoxo

Jane

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November TBR and Mid-November Check-In

Hi guys! It seems to that I am trying to catch-up with things, but I am finally updating you on what I have planned to read this November, but since it is already mid-November I thought it would be a good idea to also update you with where I am with my reading progress as well. I have managed, so far, not to derail and only to read from this list. I kept it a lot shorter, although the books are a lot thicker, and I am still struggling with time as I am working on my Doctorate application so… Like I shouldn’t even be doing this right now, but procrastinating like a boss!

*Does anyone know where I can buy some more time? There aren’t enough hours in the day!*

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IG: Jane_Kelsey

These amazing hardbacks were featured in the Fairyloot boxes across different months. Aren’t they beautiful?

I am happy to say that I have already read Caraval by Stephenie Garber. I really liked this book, I gave it ⭐⭐⭐⭐. Although it was slow to start, it definitely delivered. I am really looking forward to read Legendary. I am now reading Wicked like a Wildfire by Lana Popovic. This has a similar pacing with a slow burn beginning, but once things pick up they do. I am anticipating this will be another 4 star read, but since I have not finished reading it yet…

I am then thinking of reading either Six of Crows or Percy Jackson. I haven’t yet decided, but I do need a change of pace before jumping into Even the Darkest Stars by Heather Fawcett. I have a few more books which are slow-burners in the background that I am hoping to read here and there, but not even I know how much time I will have.

What are you guys reading this month? Do you like whimsical, magical books, or do you prefer fast-paced novels?

In December I am planning to read cute novels, preferably with a Christmas or romantic theme, do you have any recommendations?

Xoxo

Jane.

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Finally, July TBR!

0707-2017-0818229199019505976It’s that time again… and I’m late…. but here it is, finally, my July TBR!

*Drums rolling*

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The fearless by Emma Pass. I picked this one up because I totally loved the cover. I know, I’m shallow, but look how pretty it is! Anyway, don’t know much about this book, but seems to be the a sort of post-disaster book, maybe with some zombies. Don’t know, but I will find out!

 

 

 

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Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns by John Green. I finished reading the Fault in our stars and I loooooooved it! So in the spirit of that, I have added these on as well.

 

 

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Lost boys  by Lilian Carmine. This is another handsome book cover (hah!) and the blurb was very interesting, promising an angsty, dark, paranomal romance? Girl meets Ghost? Yeah, right up my alley.

 

 

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The night circus by Erin Morgenstern which seems to be about a circus (duh) that arrives in town without warning. This circus is only open at night and it promises, to me at least, some dark and wonderous creatures. Fingers crossed!

 

 

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And last but not least, the novelisation of Wonder Woman by Nancy Holder. Oh boy, I could not resist picking that one up! I saw the movie and totally loved it. I am a huge fan of Wonder Woman and I am looking forward to read this whilst imagining Gal Gadot as the character.

 

 

 

 

This is the official list as I know that unofficially I will be picking more books and reading them because I am a complete and utter bookwhore! There, I said it!

                                     🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤🖤

If you have any recommendations for me, please comment down below and let me know if there is anything that you think that I might enjoy. I love receiving your recommendations.

Also, if you keep an eye out I’ll be soon posting a pool so you can choose some of the books I will read next month!

Love,

Jane.

🖤

The Last Shadow Gate by M.W.Garza – Review

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As soon as I received The last Shadow Gate which was published on the 7th of March 2017 I almost screamed! You guys know how much I love Michael’s writing and for me this was his first book not zombie infested (Ha!) so I was really excited to read it.

Like always, Michael delivers a beautiful story about two half-siblings who suddenly find that they have to spend the summer together at their great-grandmother in upstate New York. Following the mystery of their great-grandfather disappearance through a mystical shadow gate located into the woods, they find themselves into a realm populated by strange creatures. Gavin and Naomi must learn to work together and trust each other in order to find their way back home, back to safety.  

The story starts slow, introducing the main characters, Gavin and Naomi, and building on their relationship whilst the promise of adventure is at every step, luring you in, tantalising the reader with each page. Although the beginning is much slower than what I normally prefer, it is well paced, with good writing and characters that vibrate.

I really liked the plot and how it all started because it was all so simple, the pieces of the puzzle all falling into place, whilst staying true to its characters. Gavin is twelve so as soon as his father mentions the mystery of Papa Walker and his quest for the Shadow Gate, he is hooked. Naomi, being the older sister, is reluctant to take the story of Papathe-word-adventure-500x330 Walker finding these mystical Shadow Gates at face value, so Gavin has a bit of a hard time to her her to run along with him. But now since they are both having to spend the summer together at Mama Walker’s home, why now explore and give into the spirit of adventure? Who wouldn’t? That’s the genius of it.

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The plot and the characters help propel the story forward in a way that is natural and easy to read. The two main characters are quite different in ages, but also personalities. Gavin is more on the nerdy side, enjoying computer games, whilst Naomi is more outgoing with an extended social circle of friends, although we do see glimpses of the little girl that misses her father. These characters develop from the minute they hit the page, and the writing really shows the different facets of their personalities. However, not only out main characters are enchanting, but also those which you’ll meet along the way travelling with the children past the point of no return.

Would I recommend this book? Hell’s yeah! Michael is not only a gifted wielder of words, but also a master in creating spectacular worlds with vivid characters to pull you in along for the ride. This beginning of series is very much promising and I am looking forward for the next one!

You can get The last Shadow Gate here!!

4-5-star

Michael W. Garza often finds himself wondering where his inspiration will come 411H8-2iXoL._UX250_from next and in what form his imagination will bring it to life. The outcomes regularly surprise him and it’s always his ambition to amaze those curious enough to follow him and take in those results. He hopes that everyone will find something that frightens, surprises, or simply astonishes them.

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