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review 2016-06-16 21:57
Reread Thought: A Court of Thorns and Roses
A Court of Thorns and Roses - Sarah J. Maas

Reread June 2016 in preparation for reading A Court of Mist and Fury.
Knocking it down a star. I actually liked the story a little more the second time round, but this time I wasn't quite as blown away by the writing and the world building or the Tamlin romance. (I'm leaning more towards Team Rhysand) I didn't love it and I still don't like Feyre much. Just don't. But I still want to know where the story is going, particularly because of some of the brilliant fan art I've seen.


You can see my first read review here

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review 2016-04-26 15:14
Review: Wolf by Wolf
Wolf By Wolf - Ryan Graudin

April 25 2016 - Started again yesterday and finished this evening.

Very good. 3.1/2 stars. Brutal and hard to read at times but excellently written, utterly gripping and finally got to the impossible to put down. Exciting and nail biting, full of tension and adrenaline. Yael was a great lead and I'm looking forward to finding out how this concludes after that brilliant twist at the end.

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review 2016-04-12 16:44
Review: Wild Swans
Wild Swans - Jessica Spotswood

I received a copy from Netgalley.


A very enjoyable, well written coming of age YA novel with a theme of summer and family. Tells the story of 17 year old Ivy Milbourne who lives with her well known and respected in town grandpa. The Milbourne family is an old family which goes back for many generations and has sparked a legacy of brilliant women who all seem to be exceptionally talented and have something heartbreakingly tragic happen to them.


Ivy doesn’t quite know where she fits into this legacy. Her mom left when she was a baby and never came back. Ivy’s tried many different things but can’t seem to find a particular “gift” that she excels at. She’s pretty good at poetry and swimming but not to epic standards. She’s very middle of the road and trying to find a way to make her grandpa proud of her. Her plans for the summer are relaxing and having fun with her friends before senior year starts.


Until her mom shows up again with two younger children – bratty 15 year old Isobel and sweet and innocent 6 year old Gracie. Erica the mother pretty much moves to the top of my list in the Worst YA Parent award. She’s horrible and a gigantic bitch from the moment she appears – even introducing Ivy to her new children as their aunt rather than their older sister. She does of course, have REASONS for this. She’s beyond selfish, she yells, she swears and she drinks like a fish.


The grandfather is a very well respected professor and a calming presence, but can be quite demanding in a not even realising he’s doing it way. Ivy finds herself in the middle of all this drama. She’s got new responsibilities of handling her younger sisters. And to top it all off, the grandad says one of his students will be working with them this summer, transcribing some journals from the Milbourne famous and tragic grandmother who also wrote great poetry and something from her collection is about to be published or commemorated. In comes gorgeous poetry mad Conner. And Ivy falls head over heels.


It’s very realistic and a beautiful portrayal of growing up in a tiny town with a family legacy to uphold. Ivy shows some remarkable restraint in dealing with all this new drama thrown her way. New sisters to deal with, her struggles to understand her mom and her behaviour and why she left, one of her best friends starts behaving like a total asshole when she starts to get closer to Conner, and then there’s her feelings for him. While all at the same time she’s screaming inwardly and barely seems to know how to handle it all. Ivy shows some remarkable character growth throughout the novel.


The family drama is moving and the arguments which in one terrible incident spill out in public making things all the worse. It can be very uncomfortable to read, the mother’s piss poor attitude towards Ivy and her grandpa particularly.  The siblings find their way towards each other, Gracie is adorable, Isobel is fifteen and away from everything she knows and she acts like a stroppy brat. But even Isobel by the end grows tremendously as a character. Ivy’s romance with Conner is sweet and believable. A tad more insta-lust than insta-love but it’s interesting to see how they work together with the family drama and Ivy’s friends and Connor’s friends and their different circumstances. Very maturely handled.


A very good, very enjoyable read.


Thank you to Netgalley and Sourcefire Books for approving my request to view the title.

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review 2016-04-10 12:08
Review: And I Darken
And I Darken - Kiersten White

I received a copy from Netgalley.


I don't quite know what to make of this one. I must admit, I expected something very bloody and violent, especially with the 'Game of Thrones' comparisons I keep seeing when looking through the reviews on Goodreads. While it certainly had its bloody and brutal moments, what I wasn't expecting at all for it to a brilliantly plotted and intricate political fantasy. 


Definitely very dark in tone from the start and the cloud of darkness never really brightens. Lada is an animal right from the moment of her birth, she reacts on sheer determination, instinct and her desire to be her own person no matter what. As good as that is, especially in a time where women are nothing more than pawns to be moved about for gaining power and to serve as required,  Lada's constant brutality as she grows up and outmaneuvers her away around can get very tiring. Her strength and cunning and her push for power is quite admirable. She detests being a woman and can't seem to get her head around some feminine concepts, even when other women who seem to be in what she considers a waste of life explain how they can use their femininity to manipulate the way of the world to their own advantage. She'd rather do it through her orders, blood and strength. She's a brilliantly written anti heroine, it's almost impossible to like this girl but reading about her is absolutely compelling. 


Her younger brother Radu is one of the other main focuses. Radu was a weak and sickly child, sneered at and bullied mercilessly as a child, beaten by peers, tutors and even (especially) Lada herself. Radu's only redeeming feature at the start of the book seems to be that he's a very beautiful boy with the potential to be very intelligent. He's calm and sense and logic to Lada's brutality. Radu shows some of the most incredible character growth as the novel develops. He's definitely my favourite character in this series. I just loved reading about him. He finds his solace in religion and converting to Islam when he and Lada are moved from their childhood home to another empire, he discovers solace in prayer, strength in loyalty and in finding and showing kindness where he was shown none. His journey is incredible as he learns to to manipulate and work this to his advantage through such different tactics. It's quite amazing to see how he balance's this against his struggle with his sister. 


The third main character, Mehmed, the son of the sultan in the empire Lada and Radu are sent to as political pawns. He befriends both of them. He's in a very precarious position as he finds himself the next sultan in line with potential power that everyone wants to claim. He has very different relationships with both Lada and Radu. Mehmed appears very weak to begin with but his strength builds as his political position and ambition shift along with his relationships with Lada and Radu. 


I did find all the political side of it a bit boring at first, especially given the nature of Lada's character where not much was happening even though it was exceptionally well written. Lots of names and different people with different stakes and how they fit in with the main characters and how things affected them. It did get significantly better as it moved on and the characters intertwined and grew up. People change, relationships shift. It got darker, more brutal and more compelling. I read the first 70% of this in a day, and finished the rest the following day. 


It's a slow moving fantasy with a lot of intricate plots and twists, and some brilliant characters. Really looking forward to see where this series is going. 


Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children's for approving my request to view the title. 

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review 2016-04-08 15:28
Review: Unrivaled
Unrivaled - Alyson Noel

I received a copy from Netgalley.

This is very very different from all the other Alyson Noel books I have read, and while I detested the Immortals, I really liked Soul Seekers, I absolutely loved loved loved this one. It's everything that should be wrong about Hollywood, obnoxious starlets, sleazy insultingly rich club owners with no moral compass whatsoever, over driven teens who will do anything to succeed who don't care about lying or backstabbing to get ahead. And it was completely addictive and utterly brilliant.

I don't think I liked a single character in this book. Ambitious Layla with a gossip blog wants to be a serious reporter. Small Midwestern town Tommy wants to make it big on the music scene and pretty Persian Aster wants to be a famous actress. All of them are overshadowed by current It Girl and teen star Madison Brooks and her heartbthrob boyfriend tv star Ryan (who’s last name I have already forgotten).  While I didn’t like the characters much and the plot was rather silly, the writing was utterly addictive. Once I started, I couldn’t stop.

The story is told in alternating view points from each character – Layla, Tommy, Aster and Madison. Each character has a great deal more to their original first impressions.  Layla, Tommy and Aster come to a competition to run some glamorous night clubs in a competition run by a well known figure head on the scene Ira Redman. Each has their own team and club to run, there are cash incentives, goals – each needs to get their club running, generate the most interest and customer turnover and get the biggest stars to show up. Big ass prize and a real contract job for the winner.  Insert backstabbing, rivalry and underhand tactics to get the show going.

The name on everyone’s lips is Madison Brooks, who has her own story. Madison appears to be more than just your average Hollywood starlet. She’s clearly driven, she’s clearly a big bitch, but she’s also very shrewd and intelligent. And has a secret past that she’s trying desperately to keep hidden.

When the competition starts heating up – Madison disappears. Murder? Kidnapping? No one knows. And all three of our main characters – Layla, Tommy and Aster – all have motive to be responsible, Madison has had an impact – both positive and negative on all of them. It’s brilliantly twisty and impossible to guess as the police dig in and investigate.

Left at one hell of a great cliffhanger. (I already have my own theories) the wait for the next one is going to KILL ME.

Fantastic, addictive read.

Huge thanks to Netgalley and Mira Ink for approving my request for this one.

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