In book review ember in the ashes sabaa tahir wrap up

SERIES WRAP UP: The Ember Quartet

Series Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: Sabaa Tahir
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Young Adult

"There are two kinds of guilt. The kind that's a burden and the kind that gives you purpose. 
Let your guilt be your fuel. Let it remind you of who you want to be. Draw a line in your mind. Never cross it again. You have a soul. It's damaged but it's there. Don't let them take it from you"

Hey guys! I'm introducing a new format to my blog in which I review a series all at once. I've been binge-reading more and more books and instead of posting numerous reviews right after another, I figured I'd introduce wrap-ups to my blog in which I collect them all in one post and do a collective review. First up, this absolutely gorgeous series!

Book 1:
An Ember in the Ashes
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

Book 2:
A Torch Against the Night
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

Book 3:
A Reaper at the Gates
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

What is this series about?
An Ember in the Ashes is set in a dark world that is reminiscent of the Roman empire and follows the slave girl Laia. When Laia's brother is arrested and her remaining family is killed, Laia is left with nothing. In the hope of getting her brother back, she is forced to turn to a group of rebels, who, in turn, ask her to spy for them on the military academy. During her time there, she meets Elias, a soldier who dreams of deserting. Together the two of them find an unlikely ally in each other, and must navigate a way to defeat a common enemy.

You are my temple", I murmur as I knee beside her.
 "You are my priest. You are my prayer. You are my release."

What did I think about this series?
I've wanted to read these books for the longest time because I heard nothing but great things about the author, and the premise of this book sounded A-MA-ZING. The recent (or fairly recent, at least) release of A Reaper at the Gates did it for me, and I finally decided to binge-read this series. Let me tell you.... I LOVED IT SO SO MUCH! I'm honestly so puzzled why this series isn't more hyped because Sabaa Tahir has produced a straight-up masterpiece.

Plot-wise these books are very strong. The high fantasy setting based on a world that is inspired by ancient Rome really sets the gritty tone that is central for this series. The world-building in this is absolutely fantastic. Despite the brutal tones of the story, I found it such an easy series to get through. The plot was well-paced, with intense action right from the start of the first instalment. Right up until the last part of Reaper at the Gates, I JUST COULD NOT STOP READING THESE.  All of these books kept me on the edge of my seat and the tip of my toes, you name it. 

Character-wise, I fell head-over-heels in love with both Laia and Elias, I'm still iffy on Helene, but I do think she's such a fascinating character. The books are told with a dual POV at first, which then turns into a triple POV when Helene's voice comes in. I fell in love with Laia in the first chapter, it was quite literally love at first sight. Laia is brave, relatable, and Tahir showcases such a human side of her character. After all, she's just a human girl stuck in a brutal situation and trying her hardest to survive in the midst of all the chaos going on. Then there's Elias, who is quite literally one of my new favorite male characters of all time. Elias is a soldier, forced to do what is expected of him. What I love about him is the duality of his character. Elias' isn't a perfect and is only trying to follow his heart. He's also such a softie when it comes to Laia, and their dynamic is my favorite thing EVER! (so eloquent, I know, but it's true!)

This series was genuinely such a good and bing-worthy read. The fast-paced and quite down-to-earth writing of these books is what made them so enjoyable for me. The simplicity made them great. The stakes kept on getting higher the further the story went, and the twists and turns kept on coming. 

Something that bothered me a little was the consistent violence towards women. I have issues with things like this and I don't particularly love seeing it represented in YA fiction, even though I know this book is supposed to be brutal and is set in a dark universe. I also didn't love the love-triangle plot in these books, and I found it quite pointless. I dislike the best friend is secretly in love with the main character trope, and I think I could've loved Helene a lot more if her arc hadn't started like that. I still think she's an interesting character, though, and I've started to love her a lot more compared to my feelings in the first book.

When it comes to the grander spectrum, these things didn't matter to me so much. I'm so elated to have picked up these books because I honestly think this is one of my new favorite series. The originality of the story, the dark and interesting setting, and these gorgeous characters all made this a solid five-star read. I NEED PART FOUR RIGHT NOW! 

Read More

Share Tweet Pin It +1


In book review enchantee re

REVIEW: Enchantée

Title: Enchantée
Author: Gita Trelease
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: February 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

"This was the Paris of the strivers, of those who dwelt low, not high.
This was not the Paris of balloonists. 
It was her Paris, and it was the same as it had been this morning.
But she, perhaps, was not."

I first heard about Enchantée in 2018, and fell in love with the cover (I mean, who wouldn't, come on...). I'm a huge history buff so the premise, set during the French revolution, sounded great to my ears! Enchantée did just what the title teased it would, this story was an enchanting, magical fairytale.

What is this book about?
Enchantée follows Camille, who lives in the poor backstreets of Paris. When her parents die of smallpox, and her brother deserts the army to succumb to his alcohol addiction, Camille is left to take care of her ill sister. She uses tame magic "la magie ordinaire" to create an income, and give her sister and herself the care she needs. But when that no longer suffices, Camille has to go somewhere else for money. Using her mother's ancient darker magic, she transforms herself into Baroness de La Fontaine to blend in with the French high society at the court of Louis XVI. At first, providing for her and her sister is all that's on her mind, but when she meets a young balloonist by the name of Lazare, a dangerous hope starts breeding inside Camille that can't wait to get out. 

"Disorder is the beginning of change, Papa had said. 
When taxes rise, when the harvest fails, and bread prices rise: 
see what happens."

What did I think of Enchantée?
Enchantée was everything I hoped it would be and more. I know people say "don't judge a book by a cover" but I still kind of do that from time to time (don't blame me!). However, this gorgeous cover lived up to a gorgeous story. Paris during the French revolution has always insanely intrigued me. I love the rich atmosphere that the author describes when it comes to the lavish court in Versailles. This, in combination with the stark contrast to the gritty and dark streets of Paris really set the tone for this story.

Plot-wise, this book reminded me of a Disney movie in the nicest way possible. Camille's quest in Versailles really had that Cinderella-esque feel. Mix this with the interesting, but relatively simple magic system, it worked very well. I'm always a little apprehensive when it comes to fantasy stand-alones because of the way it needs to wrap everything up in the span of one single book. Whereas duologies or series would have numerous books for world-building and setting up the plot, this all needs to be done within one when it comes to a standalone. Pacing is something I find extremely important in general, but more so when it comes to books like this. I can honestly say there wasn't a boring moment in this book. Because the magic system was relatively simple, there wasn't too much of the book devoted to explaining it, which I loved. The beginning pulls the reader right into 1789 Paris, and there isn't a dull moment since. 

Character-wise, I loved Camille's character. She's a great heroine, and a very human one at that. Her constant responsibility for her sister, as well as the selflessness and her imperfections made her really likeable to me. Also really nice was to see that her brother didn't actually get a redemption arc despite being her family. It bothers me when authors try to excuse abusive behavior, and there was none of that with this book. Beware that there's a trigger warning though when it comes to alcoholism and physical abuse!

Romance-wise, I adored Lazare as a love-interest and as a character. I loved their romance together and I their interactions were SO CUTE! Lazare's kind, smart, and intelligent, which I much prefer to the broody dark male love-interest that is often presented in YA literature. Their dynamic felt really fresh, I loved it! Lazare is half Indian, and the book briefly addresses racial tensions, which I find not a lot of historical YA fantasies tend to do very often, so I thought that was refreshing! Because of how soon they met, there was a danger of the romance feeling a little insta-lovey, but because this is a standalone, and due to the fairytale-like atmosphere and feel of the story, this didn't necessarily bother me.

Because the plot was so magical and well-paced, I wasn't bummed that there wasn't much of the actual revolution going on. As much as I love history, I don't go into historical fantasies for the historical accuracy. I thought this book was a really refreshing take on this time-period, and an absolute gem (especially considering this is a DEBUT novel, like whaaaat?) in the YA standalone department. I will 100% read Gita's next novel, and this book has now been added to my 'favorites' list! J'ADORE! 

Goodreads | Amazon

Read More

Share Tweet Pin It +1


In arc review book review books fantasy wicked saints young adult

REVIEW: Wicked Saints

Title: Wicked Saints
Author: Emily A. Duncan
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: April 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭/5

"We're all monsters, Nadya, some of us just hide it better than others."

I'm going to try to keep this review short, but Wicked Saints is hugely hyped all around the book community. After reading the premise, it also peaked my interest, and when I received a review copy I immediately got to reading. Let me tell you that this book took me a month to finish. For someone who reads around 150 to 200 books a year, that is a long time. Without further ado, let me get into the review.

What is this book about?
In a world where clerics talk to one god in particular, one of them hears all the gods. Wicked Saints follows three different characters; a girl with the ability to talk to gods, a boy consumed by darkness, and a prince who doesn't know who to trust. All of them band together to assassinate the king and stop a war brewing in their country. Can they stop the horrificness and brutality of the war, or will they succumb to a darker power?

What did I think about this book?
In short, I did not love this as much as I hoped I would. Writing-wise, I could not for the life of me get through this. For a story that promises such intriguing storylines, the plot was excruciatingly slow. The writing also did not pull me in as I hoped it would; her writing is fine, but I thought there were some cliché lines and plot-points that just didn't do it for me.

Plot-wise, I understood the writer's intention, I really did. 2019 is a year where villains are the new cool and morally grey characters are a must. However, her characters, especially Malachiasz, felt very, dare I say, cheap. Don't get me wrong, I love characters like The Darkling from the Grisha trilogy, but I do so because they have a certain amount of complexity and they interest me. The dark villain in Wicked Saints is not nearly as well-written as he warrants, in my opinion. I see where the writer wanted to go, but his character fell incredibly flat for me, and oftentimes didn't even make any sense.

The characters I did end up liking to a certain extent were Nadya and Serefin. Nadya has some definite similarities to Alina (I strongly believe this book was inspired by the Grisha trilogy in particular and I even think it's marketed that way? Don't quote me on that!), and Serefin I thought was interesting on his own. I would've preferred to read a book about him, rather than the whole plot this book presented.

Briefly, addressing the setting, there's an overload of Russian-based stories nowadays, so it's crucial for authors to introduce a well-written, original universe. This is where I think Wicked Saints succeeded. I really enjoyed the heavy emphasis on religion and gods. It shows the dark side of religion, and the whole universe has a medieval vibe.

Lastly, please be careful reading this book if any of your triggers include self-harm, abuse, and alcoholism (that last one is used as a character trait/aesthetic, rather than an actual problem, which..... I don't fully agree with). 

All in all, this book formed a minor disappointment. The book's premise really had me intrigued, but it didn't fully plan out like I hoped it would. The setting and some of the characters, were good, but the main plot didn't fully interest me, and I had trouble getting through the book. This, in the end, only ended up being a 3 star read for me.

[Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for sending a Review copy!]

Read More

Share Tweet Pin It +1


In book recs chick-lit like us series new adult romance romance books romance recommendations the hating game winston brothers

Love is in the Air: My Favorite Romance Books!

Hey lovelies! With January officially behind us and Valentine's day right around the corner, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to compile a list of some of my all-time favorite romance books. Romance is one of my main genres and they're the kind of books I tend to gravitate towards when I have a lot on my mind, or when I just want something quick and easy to read, so I have an extensive list of them in my "read" pile. Among many trashy ones, there are a few that stick out, so let's get into the list!

The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
I'm gonna start off with a book that I never shut up about. I feel like I always mention The Hating Game whenever I get the chance, but it's just that good. The Hating Game centers around Lucy and Josh, who hate each other. The two of them work at the same publishing company, and are both up for the same promotion. This hateful tension between them reaches a new height and not everything might be what it seems, which means that all kinds of yummy tropes ensue. 

This book is my go-to when I'm feeling sad or I'm having had a bad day, and I think I've re-read it at least 10 times in the past 3 years. Also, Sally's newest novel 99 Percent Mine contains an epilogue about Lucy and Josh, so make sure to check that out if you're in need of more of these two!

Amour Amour by Krista and Becca Ritchie
This sports romance centers around the gymnast Thora James, who has dreamt of joining the Circus ever since she was little. Thora pursues her big dream and auditions for Aerial Etherial, the most renowned circus company in Vegas. When she encounters top-of-the-bill athlete and "God of Russia" Nikolai Kotova, sparks seem to fly between the two of them. But her techniques aren't good enough, and the only one who can help her be better is Nikolai. With his help, can Thora fulfill her dream of becoming a performer? 

I recently re-read Amour Amour and it's shot back onto my list of favorite romances. The dynamic between Thora and Nikolai has that partners-in-crime feel that I love. I love sports romances and this one is near the top of that list!

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient is a book that I've mentioned numerous times. This romance is about Stella, who is a mathematician at a big company. Stella has Asperger's syndrome, which causes her to struggle with physical intimacy. To deal with this issue, she decides to a hire male escort named Michael to teach her the ropes of sex. Despite the fact their relationship starts out as a business arrangement, the two end up catching feelings for each other.

This book is filled with steamy, but also soft scenes. The reason why The Kiss Quotient is extra special is because it is an own voices novel written by a Vietnamese author who also has autism herself. This one won last year's Goodreads Choice Awards for best romance, which is certainly no surprise because this book is an absolute romance gem! 

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata
The Wall of Winnipeg and Me is another sports romance, and not the only Zapata novel on this list. This author is an automatic read for me when it comes to romance books, so it's not a stretch that she made it on here twice. The Wall of Winnipeg and Me features Vanessa, who is the personal assistent to Aiden, also known as "the wall of Winnipeg." Aiden, however, treats her like sh*t, so Vanessa decides to quit on him. BUT, when Aidan shows up at her door, wanting her to come back, is Vanessa really able to tell him no?

The Wall of Winnipeg is one of the first books I read when I started reading new adult literature, and I haven't come across a lot of books that were able to top this one. Aidan and Vanessa are such a cute couple, which makes this book a perfect read for the Valentine season!

Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
It's no secret I've been really liking Christina Lauren's recent books, and the most notable one is Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating. Hazel know's she's very intense; with a lack of filter, a legion of pets and a ton of weird hobbies don't make her the easiest person to deal with. Hazel meets Josh in college, but the two of them don't hit it off until after Josh breaks up with his cheating girlfriend. The two of them find each other blind dates to find that perfect someone. But what if they're perfect for each other?

Josh and Hazel is sweet, funny, painfully relatable, and very very cute. If you're looking for a quick, witty and breezy read, check out this awesome book!

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
This is the second Mariana Zapata book on this list, and again the absolute top of the romance genre. I always call this book a combination between Yuri on Ice (if you've seen that one, it's GREAT) and New adult romance. This book centers around figure skater Jasmine, who, after her old one quits, is in need of a pair-skating partner. When ice-legend and archenemy, Ivan Lukov, makes her an offer to skate together and win the championship, she really wants to say no.... but will she?

This book is a delicious winter-y read. I read this right when it came out during the winter olympics last year and I absolutely ADORED it. This book has so many different elements; hate-to-love, competition, self-reflection, that all make this into the amazing book it is. 

Tangled Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
This book is a very recent release, but already made it to my top romantic favorites. Tangled Like Us is the fourth book in the Like Us series, but farout the best one. This book is set around Jane Cobalt, who is America's celebrity princess. When an advertisement goes out in the newspapers to find Jane a potential suitor, all of single America goes crazy and ends up on her doorstep. To prevent any threats from coming in, her boyfriend Thatcher Moretti, needs to do the unthinkable: fake-date his client. But can the two of them ignore their sizzling attraction to one another and keep things platonic, or will their fake relationship throw things off-kilter?

I didn't love the previous books in this series, but this one really stayed with me (I still reread passaged every now and then). If you're looking for a soft relationship and some great characters, definitely check out this book!

How To Fall in Love by Cecilia Ahern
This book is one I read when I just got into reading (new) adult books. How To Fall in Love centers around Christine, who, when walking around town late at night, stumbles upon a man trying to commit suicide by jumping off a bridge. Adam has had a rough few weeks and doesn't think life is worth living anymore. Christine, however, is determined to make Adam fall back in love with his life before his 35th birthday. 

How to Fall in Love is not only a love story between two people, but also a love story for life itself. Despite it being a long time since I've read this gem, I still think the message and the story are beautiful and worth a read. Excuse me while I go reread this myself now, thank you.

Beard Science by Penny Reid
Beard Science is a fairly recent read for me. It's the third instalment in the Winston Brothers series and focuses on Cletus Winston, who is considered a bit of an oddball around town. Meanwhile, Jenn Sylvester is known as the Banana Cake Queen. She is collapsing under the social media pressure and high expectations of her parents. When Cletus offers her his help in exchange for something Jenn has that could destroy him, who is she to say no?

While I loved the whole Winston Brothers series (Beard in Mind, Dr Strange Beard, etc were all amazing!), this one stood out to me the most because of the characters and relationship. Nice to note is also that this series contains a lot of rep (mental health, diverse characters) that has actually been diligently researched. In short, not a single reason to not pick up this book ASAP! 

I think these should be enough to last throughout the rest of the month. I read a lot of romances (a lot of them hits, most of them misses) so this list keeps expanding. These are definitely part of my top favorites, though! To end on a lovely note, I hope everyone has a nice Valentine's day (in my case Galentine's!) or just a good regular ole' Thursday! ♥

Read More

Share Tweet Pin It +1


In arc book review christina lauren review the unhoneymooners

REVIEW: The Unhoneymooners

Title: The Unhoneymooners
Author: Christina Lauren
Genre(s):  Romance, New Adult
Release: May 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭,5/5

"A curl falls over his eye just after he's said this, 
turning the moment into a Hollywood shot that completely mocks me. 
A small set of fireworks - only a sparkler, I swear - goes off beneath my breastbone, because he is so damn pretty. 
And seeing him vulnerable, even for a second, 
is so disorienting it make me imagine a time 
when I can look at his face and not hate it."

I read a lot of romantic books. Some of less, some of more quality, but I can definitely say I love me a good romance. The first time I've ever picked up a Christina Lauren book was one of their earlier series, I didn't love the Beautiful Bastard series, but their most recent books have been on the top of my list when it comes to must-read romances. While not having read My Favorite Half-Night stand yet, their other books (think of Josh and Hazel's Guide to Not Dating, Roomies, Love and Other Words and, of course Autoboyography) have really struck a chord with me. 

What is this book about?
The Unhoneymooners focuses on Olive, who has a lifetime of bad luck, or so she believes. Olive's identical twin-sister Ami is getting married to her fiancé Dane, an eternal frat boy. Which brings Olive to one major problem: she hates Ethan, the best man and Dane's brother. When nearly all of the wedding guests, including the bride and groom themselves, suffer from acute food-poisoning, there are only two people who can go on their non-refundable honeymoon for them. Olive and Ethan are ready to start a cease-fire in order to cash in their free vacation, but what if this cease-fire ends up turning into something more? 

"I can pretend to like you." I pause, adding out of the self-preservation instinct, "Probably."
Something softens in his demeanor. 
His hand moves closer, curling around mine, warm and encompassing. 
My reflex is to jerk away, but he holds me steady, gently, and says, 
"Good. Because we're going to have to be a lot more convincing on that boat."

What did I think of The Unhoneymooners?
The premise for this book is what initially pulled me in. I've slowly been coming around to the hate-to-love trope, and I'm gradually enjoying more of them (if written well). I've said numerous times that this trope isn't for me a lot of the time, but I've been branching out and trying more of them recently (The Risk, Dream, We Hunt The Flame, we get it Julia, there's a pattern). This, and the fact that Christina Lauren's recent books hold a special place in my heart is why I felt a pull towards this book and couldn't wait to pick it up!

I'm gonna start off by saying that I the apprehension for the execution of this trope was completely unnecessary. I loved everything about this book. The banter between Ethan and Olive was funny and had me laugh out loud numerous times. Their dynamic, while hostile at first, turned comical and love-y pretty quickly, which I really liked, but it didn't turn into an insta-love type situation. The pacing of the story was pretty perfect, with equal amounts of time for relationship moments and build-up.

I really like the author's writing style. The ability to seamlessly switch between genres (Autoboyography is one of the best YA's I've read in a while, and Josh and Hazel is one of my favorite romances ever!) is admirable. The comedic undertone in their writing makes it so that their books are never boring or slow-paced. Also a quick shoutout to their new cute cover designs. I really like the aesthetic they have going on when it comes to their newer books.

Back to the plot; I liked that the strictly hating-fase didn't take up the majority of the book and that there was a big amount of story reserved to actually see them in a relationship and see them dating. Also have I mentioned this book contains a FAKE DATING trope? NO? Well, I loved it! The vacation portion was definitely my favorite of the book!

Which brings me to my next part of the review: the characters. I LOVED Olive's character. She was funny and I loved her take-no-shit attitude. She was also terribly relatable at times. Her insistence of her perpetual bad luck and pessimism, while in danger of getting annoying, actually wasn't. The authors found a good balance when it came to her character.  Ethan, too, was a likeable love-interest, but I did have a few problems with his behavior sometimes. The biggest problem I had with the book (which didn't terribly bother me but since this is a review it is worth mentioning nonetheless) was the conflict at the end. I do understand why the authors felt the need to create some kind of escalation, but I thought the issue at hand felt a little contrived? The issue itself felt a little forced and had me frustrated at times, also had me like him a little less for a while I understand his reasoning, but it had me annoyed for a little while

However,  I loved this book as a whole. The epilogue at the end had me DYING of cuteness, and the Unhoneymooners gave me a definite Hating Game vibe (in a good way!) which is my favorite romance of all time (no, apparently I can't go one review without saying how much I like THG, sorry!). I adored the relationship between Olive and Ethan, and the comedic undertone in Christina Lauren's writing made this a very, cute, quick, and enjoyable read!

I'll for sure be adding this to my ever-growing list Christina Lauren favorites. This is a solid 4,5 star read for me and I can't wait for their next novel! The Unhoneymooners releases May 14th, 2019.

[Thank you to Netgalley for providing a Review Copy of The Unhoneymooners!]

Read More

Share Tweet Pin It +1


In book review elle kennedy the risk

REVIEW: The Risk

Title: The Risk
Author: Elle Kennedy
Genre(s):  Romance, New Adult
Release: February 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭/5

"So, you want a date on Friday night-"
"A fake date."
"A fake date," I amend. "Well, in return, I want a real one."
"A real what?"

This review is going to be short and sweet. Elle Kennedy has written some of my favorite romances in the New Adult genre (HIM, The Deal, WAGS) so I jumped at the chance to review this highly anticipated beauty. Opinions were divided about The Chase in particular (the previous Briar U book), but I objectively loved it (I think I gave it 4 stars as well!). Anyway, when I found this beauty in my kindle this morning I couldn't wait to devour it!

What is this book about?
The Risk is the second instalment in the Briar U series, which centers around the Briar University Hockey team. Brenna Jensen, the daughter of Briar's highly esteemed coach absolutely loathes Jake Connelly, Harvard's star player, but she can't ignore the undeniable chemistry that is brewing between them. In order to land her dream internship, Brenna name-drops Jake in a conversation with the misogynistic boss of the firm, which ends in a straight-up disaster. Her potential future employer now thinks she is dating Hockey star Jake Connelly, and the worst part of it? Connelly isn't opposed to the idea.

"I hate that when he looks at me, he still sees that 
self-destructive girl with the poor decision-making process. 
But I'm not her anymore. I haven't been her for a long time." 

What did I think of The Risk?
I'll start by saying I absolutely adored the dynamic between Brenna and Jake in The Chase. The little moments between the two of them really built the anticipation for them when they appear in The Risk. I, then, again absolutely adored their dynamic in this book. I feel like a broken record because I keep repeating this, but I'm not necessarily a fan of the hate-to-love trope, unless it's done in a particular way. I really enjoyed the interactions between the two of them and I especially appreciated the soft edge their relationship had. Connelly being a fairly brash guy with a soft touchy side a added such a nice layer to his character. Having said that, I would've loved there to be a little more of the fake dating aspect. Their little pretend-hate scenes and their banter formed some of the best parts of the book. 

As far as romances go I think this was an improvement from The Chase. Their dynamic felt a little more organic and I liked Connelly more than Fitzy, but Summer has remained a great character throughout both books. The dynamic between Summer and Brenna, in particular, was great to read and made me smile a ton!

Then, the real highlight of this book for me was definitely Brenna's character, and she might be my favorite protagonist of the whole series (Off Campus included!). I loved her attitude towards men and life, how strong she was, and her vulnerable edge. Her backstory really made me feel for her. I specifically liked the emotional moments with her father, and those scenes were some of the high points of the book for me.

I also want to give a quick shoutout to Rupi, I really liked her as a side-character and how brazen and energetic she is. I hope to see some more of her in potential future books (or even her to get her own book? please?). 

Despite the fact I really enjoyed this, where The Risk loses a star is its plot and side-story. Some of the story felt very predictable and the drama often a little contrived. I didn't love the climax of the story because it reminded me of a load of other romances I'd already read. I know that romance is character-focused a lot of the time, but that doesn't mean it has to necessarily be predictable. I would've loved to see more of the fake-dating plot instead, or even more about Brenna or Connelly's backstories. 

The particular side-story that bothered me was the way in which Connelly's best friend (of whom I loved that she was a girl!) had to have a crush on Connelly. I mean, I get, it, it adds drama, but this only solidifies the view that women are in constant competition for the attention of men and can't have guy friends. It also felt like this side-plot didn't serve any purpose. I didn't really understand the necessity of her being jealous of Brenna? 

Albeit not perfect, I really enjoyed The Risk and devoured it in (almost!) one sitting. Despite some of the contrived drama, it hit the mark for a good romance. There are steamy scenes, cute banter, and Brenna is for sure one of my favorite Elle Kennedy characters; her relationship with Connelly was frustratingly cute. I look forward to see what other books Elle releases in the Briar U series!

[Thank you to Elle Kennedy for providing an ARC of The Risk]

Read More

Share Tweet Pin It +1


In book review books grisha king of scars leigh bardugo nikolai lantsov review six of crows

REVIEW: King of Scars

Title: King Of Scars
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre(s):  Fantasy, Young Adult
Release: January 2019
Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭/5

"Remember who you are. Nikolai knew. 
He was a king who had only begun to make mistakes. 
He was a solider for whom the war would never be over. 
He was a bastard left alone in the woods. 
And he was not afraid to die this day."

January has been a month of solid 5 star reads for me, especially the second half was filled with excellent books. Now, let me first start off this review by pointing out that this is probably one of everyone's most anticipated releases of this year; the continuation of a universe that is hugely popular in and outside of the book community. After the huge hit (and future netflix show) that is the Six of Crows duology and the Grisha trilogy, Leigh Bardugo returns to her beloved universe with Nikolai's story. This all means that I had pretty high expectations when it came to this book. 

What is this book about?
King of Scars is set after both Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) and Ruin and Rising (Grisha #3), and focuses on the character Nikolai Lantsov who's been a prominent figure in the universe. After surviving the civil war, Nikolai's country is still going through a tumultous time and he himself has a dark form of magic festering inside him. With the help of Zoya, a legendary squaller and his general, Nina, a heartrender and spy, and a monk, Nikolai has to figure out a way to bring peace to his country and lay the monster inside him to rest. 

"Nikolai had been told that hope was dangerous, had been warned of it many times. 
But he’d never believed that. 
Hope was the wind that came from nowhere to fill your sails and carry you home."

What did I think of King of Scars?
Bardugo's books are hit or miss for me. The Grisha trilogy I felt almost apathetic to; I didn't find myself connecting with the main characters a lot, and didn't care for most of the plot. Six of Crows, however, I absolutely ADORE and still consider one of my favorite fantasy series of all time. Despite much I disliked the Grisha trilogy (mainly the last book, but I didn't find the overall plot that interesting either) Nikolai was one of the few characters in the book that managed to capture my full attention and that I actually ended up loving a lot. I won't lie and say I wasn't eagerly anticipating this novel, because I was, but I also was a little apprehensive.

Bardugo does what authors like Cassandra Clare do; release one series, and safely write within the same universe, whether it's prequels or sequels, all of Bardugo's books so far have been in the same world. I don't necessarily mind when authors do this, but this does mean that there's a big risk of universes and stories getting "over-written". However, I have to give Leigh credit when I say that King of Scars didn't drag out the universe in any way. Instead, it added to the rich world that shapes these books. While the Grisha trilogy books weren't my favorite thing in the entire world, the universe presented in the books is so intricate and wonderful. I absolutely love it and consider it one of my favorite fictional worlds to dive into.

The plot in King of Scars was an interesting one. However different, I liked it far better than the Grisha trilogy, but a little less than Six of Crows, placing it somewhere in the middle plot-wise. Character-wise, however, it stole my heart completely. Nikolai is a great character; layered, charismatic, and selfless. I fell even deeper in love with him than I already was. But, the real show-stealer for me was definitely Zoya. I didn't expect to love her as much as I do. When I read Grisha, I didn't really think much of her, and before reading this book I was adamant I wasn't going to like her potential relationship with Nikolai. Oh, boy, I was wrong. Zoya is the best character in this book for me (Sorry Nikolai, I love you boy!). She initially reminded me of Nesta from A Court of Thorns and Roses, who is not a necessarily a character I like, but the added layers to her character were exactly what I needed to fall in love with her. Zoya is fierce, independent, brave, and powerful; all adjectives that make up a good female character. I loved the way she was written and I can't wait to see more of her in the sequel). I also really enjoyed her decision to revive the Darkling, because he is, admittedly, one of the better and most interesting villains in the YA fantasy genre.

The relationship between Zoya and Nikolai, then, took me completely by surprise (in a good way!). Like I said: I was determined to dislike them before the book even released, that's how sure I was they wouldn't work together. I normally go for a softer dynamic than theirs. Well, I guess I'm boo boo the fool, because I ended up LOVING them together. Their relationship and emotional scenes (however little scenes there were) were one of the highlights of the novel for me. I absolutely adore them. This book showcases how Nikolai implicitly trusts Zoya to take care of him and his country, and how Zoya trusts him with her life in return. I love their complicated and layered dynamic and I can't wait to see what the next book brings on that front!

Another honorable mention goes to my girl Nina. Nina is one of my favorite Dregs, and I was delighted to see her return (as a protagonist, no less!) in this one. Still mourning the death of her Druskelle, Matthias, her scenes absolutely wrecked me. I didn't even like Matthias that much as a character, but her pain shows through so clearly on every page, it was devastating to read. But, on to happier things; I do love where her dynamic with Hanne is going, and I'm excited to see how the two of them further develop (I recall Leigh promising a f/f relationship in any future Nina books, so I'm counting on her to give the people what they want, please? Thank you?)

Anyway, to conclude my review. The plot has improved from previous the Grisha books, but the real strength still lies in its characters. I loved this book and it was a solid five star read for me. A Six of Crows reread is in order now, because I miss my dregs.

Read More

Share Tweet Pin It +1


Powered by Blogger.