#BookReview: The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

Hi Guys! Been away from here for quite some time and I do apologise for abandoning you, but I got a new job and it’s been MANIC! I might write a life-update if you’re interested, let me know in the comments down below! But enough, of that for now, I got a book review to write!

Genre:  YA fantasy
Year Of Publication: May 2018
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 512
My rating: 3.5 stars

39127492“A princess, a traitor, a hunter and a thief. Four teenagers with the fate of the world in their hands. Four nations destined for conflict. ” [Goodreads blurb]

 

THE CHARACTERS….

I really enjoyed the characters in this book, especially Princess Catherine, Tash and Ambrose. March and Edyon’s storylines and relationships were quite predictable so I was not that excited for their perspective, especially since I had a feeling from the beginning that what March has been told may not have been entirely true. Their personalities really come through and shine, including those of the side characters that GIF-affectionate-amore-heart-heartbeat-in-love-love-GIFare around them. I felt that I got a good enough understanding of them and felt emotionally invested in their story.

I really LOVED how Princess Catherine was written, her storyline was incredible and she kept me going through. She has grown so much from the beginning of this novel and her transformation is incredible! Also… that ending!

THE PLOT…

The plot was interesting and the politics of this world were construed and reminded me quite a bit of Game of Thrones in the sense in which power was a key element, especially in Brigant were Princess Catherine resides, to begin with. I thought that it was all well pulled together towards the end and it all made sense. To be honest, the way this was crafted it’s what blew me away so much, even more than the writing or the characters.

THE WRITING…

The writing was really good, the characters and the plot were well pulled together, although slightly predictable at times. I wanted to know a bit more about the demons, where they were coming from and how all of that worked, but I believe that this might be, hopefully, picked up on the sequel. Sometimes I did feel a little bored and struggled to continue, but fortunately, the chapters were quite short so that helped with the momentum. I did like the fact that it did not shy from violence.

THE ENJOYMENT…

I did enjoy this book, I do recommend this book, especially if you are a fan of multiple POV’s and intersecting storylines. Have you read it? what did you think?

Xoxo

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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Instagram #GIVEAWAY: The Witch’s Kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

Hello reader fam! How are you? Snowing and sunshine in the Midlands (UK), so got the fire on and eating some healthy, nutritionally balanced dinner! I’m on a roll with a healthy diet, but more on this some other time I guess, because today I wanted to let you guys know that I am running on my Instagram page a giveaway of a copy of The Witch’s Kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, the first book in an amazing trilogy, as well as a signed bookmark and 3 signed bookplates!

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I’ll rewind a little bit to tell you why I wanted to do this giveaway and how much I came to love this series! So in Winter 2017 I saw the cover on twitter, fell in love, and purchased it in December 2017. It sat there for a while between a million other books that need reading and one day I picked it up and said “That’s it, I’m reading you now!”. I was a bit nervous because I didn’t know much about it and I was so lusting over the cover I wanted it to be as good.

IMG_20180203_143107_418-1.jpg…. and it WAS! It was just as good as I wanted it, and more! I’m not going to go into a lot of detail because I do plan to do a full review on all of the books, but I absolutely loved the characters and how the plot progressed, so at the end of the book I was struck. I needed more of Merry and Leo, so bought The Witch’s Tears and was so afraid to start reading it knowing how much I enjoyed the first one, and oh boy! OH BOY! It was BETTER! Usually middle books suffer from this middle-book syndrome and they’re a bit… Meh!, but not this one. I was blessed by the stars with a copy of The Witch’s Blood (thank you Kate and Liz, and Harper Collins!) and it was incredible.

I am so sad that it was the last book in the series, I really loved the characters so much, I wanted more for them. I really loved that family was a key element unlike other YA novels where family is either dead or not present. Merry and her brother Leo has such a #goals relationship!

This series was an incredible emotional roller-coaster for me and I am so happy that I happened to find the series and read it, which is why this giveaway is happening! I want to share the love and hoping that someone else would fall in love with the story as much as I did.

Details for the giveaway can be found here, but all you gotta do it follow me on IG, like the picture and comment for the chance to win a copy of The Witch’s Tears, a signed bookmark and 3 bookplates!

IMG_20180119_172817_783.jpgSixteeen-year-old Meredith is fed-up with her feuding family and feeling invisible at school – not to mention the witch magic that shoots out of her fingernails when she’s stressed. Then sweet, sensitive Jack comes into her life and she falls for him hard. The only problem is that he is periodically possessed by a destructive centuries-old curse. Meredith has lost her heart, but will she also lose her life? Or in true fairytale tradition, can true love’s kiss save the day? (Goodreads blurb)

Let me know on the comments down below if you read this book/series and what did you think, and if you plan on entering my giveaway!

Love you all,

Jane.

Continue reading “Instagram #GIVEAWAY: The Witch’s Kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr”

#EndOfTheYear: The most disappointing 5 books I read this year – some unpopular opinions

This year has been really fun year and the beginning of my Bookstagram during mid-summer, so I got to find a lot of new books and want to read more. I found a lot of great books which I completely loved, but also read some books that were a massive let down.

DISCLAIMER: Just want to put it out there before we begin, that I may talk about books that you like or love. Just because I hated it, it doesn’t mean you can’t love it. This is no way shape or form an attack on anybody, I am just expressing my own opinions and feelings. 

So here’s the rank of the most…. un-loved books I read this year. 

dadwa5. Ocean of Secrets by Aimee Friedman. This book I rated with 2 stars because the writing was fine, I liked the main character and the relationship she had with her mum, but it never delivered on the fantastical element. It felt really flat and the romantic interest did not move me in any way shape or form. I kept on waiting for a climax (pun not necessarily intended) that never happened. *Sigh*

4. The Initiation & The Captive Part 1 (The Secret Circle #1) by L.J. Smith. Where do I even3099780 begin with this one? Main character and love interest meet and kind of have feelings for each other in 5 minutes. She literally sees a thread uniting them and feels that he is stirring something in her heart. We also get the idea that their romance isn’t a possible one because they are from different worlds. Then she moves (so we get the new girl trope as well) and is bullied by these girls and somehow she gets sucked into their Secret Circle and… I give up on life! I really tried to like this book. I kept on reading even when I didn’t want to continue reading, but the ending, when this dude appears is what made me want to throw the book at the wolves! I might want to read The Captive one day (maybe) just to see if it improves at all, but I highly doubt it. I might want to poke my eyes out with a fork first. Just saying. I know that I lot of people love this book, but it just didn’t do it for me. I have this one a 1.5 star rating  because I did like the concept.

173380593. The fearless by Emma Pass. The premise was amazing and I hands down love anything that is zombie/virus inspired. I am a sucker for these books. Even as a kid, Cass annoyed me to great lengths so it wasn’t quite the surprise that it continued to annoy me seven years later. This book was pitched like it was great for the fans of The Hunger GamesMatchedDivergent, and The Fifth Wave, but it had none of the qualities. I would’ve loved it if it would’ve had a plot that made more sense, characters that I could’ve cared about and less predictability. I DNF-ed it because I couldn’t cope with it. I did skip towards the ending and it was to no surprise that my predictions were right, gave myself a pat on the back for saving myself the time. I gave this book 1 star.

77473742. I am number 4 by Pitacus Lore. I did not care about this book or it’s characters. I honestly could not form any kind of attachment to any of them and I was really close to DNF-ing this one as well. I think I read it around the same time I was reading Fearless so it completely and utterly put me in a reading slump. But I continued to persevere and finished this book. The writing was juvenile, the plot had more wholes than Swiss cheese and the I wanted to smack the main character constantly. I’ve read books where the main character was a male and I could relate, I was able to care for his existence and did not make stupid mistakes. The only thing that made me happy at the end, was the girl. No, not the love interest, the other one, and if you’ve read the book you know who I’m talking about. This girl is the only reason why I will want to read I am number 9, but not any time soon. Gave this book 1.5 stars.

Before going to Number 1, I have two dis-honourable mentions:

  • Immortal Nights (Argeneau #24) by Lynsay Sands. I didn’t even know it was a series 28269994when I picked it up and I will surely not want to pick up the rest of the series. The plot was weak, action was non-existent and some bad guys who were far enough so that our main characters could have sex, but getting conveniently close so the tall, dark and handsome Tomasso would actually speak with Abigail. I think this book tried to by angsty, but failed big time. I think it wanted to be a lot of things, but did not manage.
  • Two cabins, one lake. This is the only romance that I have added on this list because when I fancy reading some steamy romance, I am not necessarily 25727873looking for plot depth or incredible writing style, I am looking for characters that I can root for. This book substituted any kind of plot with sexual desire and character development was non-existent. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what the book was about because there was no plot, nothing but want and sex. Those brothers of hers were not funny, if that was me they would’ve slept outside if they’d tried to pull that kind of sh*t on me, in my house.

and finally, the anticipated Number 1, which I think some of you might  know which book it is:

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12576579Number 1: The Night School by C. J. Daughterty. I do apologize for the fans of this book, in no shape or form my opinions on this book reflect on you as a reader, but I HATE this book. There is no other word for it. I made a full review for it here  so check it out if you want to read more as to why I hate it. Want to know a few reasons as to why I hate it?

* spoilers ahead *

The lack of communication between characters made the whole plot possible. There’s  a lot of insta-love flying about and our girl is oblivious to everything. For a girl that was all trouble, she is now completely docile and a rule abiding student. The way sexual abuse was handled in this book was all wrong as well and the guy who was guilty received no punishment whatsoever. Worst of all, the main character, the girl who was almost raped, said to him at a later date when he apologised (he apologised! hahahaha!) that it was fine, she accepted his apology and was still unsure if she was into him. Say what? He gave her alcohol and took her into a dark corner with the intention of having sex with her and she said no, he shoved her so hard to the wall that she tasted blood!!! Then she’s still worried that Carter (the other dude) might think she is “a slapper”, and he lets her to believe that. The shit part it’s not that he’s an asshole, the shit part is that her internal beliefs are never challenged! So well done by adding some victim blaming in there too! And the ending, oh, the ending! I just don’t even want to talk about it as it fills me with rage all over again.

So what do you guys think? Have you read any of these books? Yes, I have strong feelings about certain books, but I would be more than happy to have a conversation and hear your comments on the comment section down below.

Until next time,

Love,

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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