Wednesday 21 September 2016

Blog Tour: Frost Like Night Review


Frost Like Night
Publication Date: September 22nd 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~
Angra is alive, his Decay is spreading—and no one is safe.

Meira will do anything to save her world. With Angra trying to break through her mental defenses, she desperately needs to learn to control her own magic—so when the leader of a mysterious Order from Paisly offers to teach her, she jumps at the chance. But the true solution to stopping the Decay lies in a labyrinth deep beneath the Season Kingdoms. To defeat Angra, Meira will have to enter the labyrinth, destroy the very magic she’s learning to control—and make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Mather will do anything to save his queen. He needs to rally the Children of the Thaw, find Meira—and finally tell her how he really feels. But with a plan of attack that leaves no kingdom unscathed and a major betrayal within their ranks, winning the war—and protecting Meira—slips farther and farther out of reach.

Ceridwen will do anything to save her people. Angra had her brother killed, stole her kingdom, and made her a prisoner. But when she’s freed by an unexpected ally who reveals a shocking truth behind Summer’s slave trade, Ceridwen must take action to save her true love and her kingdom, even if it costs her what little she has left.

As Angra unleashes the Decay on the world, Meira, Mather, and Ceridwen must bring the kingdoms of Primoria together…or lose everything

*Spoiler free, though spoilers from the previous two.

That's it, the end of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy, and I'm sad because I'm not quite ready to let go of the characters and their world. 

Continuing on from where Ice Like Fire ended, we're thrown back in to the story and aftermath of Ice Like Fire, Mather and the Thaw and Jesse, Ceridwen being captured, and Meira learning to control and use her magic in a way to defend herself from the Decay - and not feed it.

Monday 5 September 2016

I will be here, when you think you’re all alone, seeping through the cracks, I’m the poison in your bones

The Flame Never Dies
Publication Date: August 16th 2016
Publisher: MIRA Ink
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

Nina Kane was born to be an exorcist. And since uncovering the horrifying truth―that the war against demons is far from over―seventeen-year-old Nina and her pregnant sister, Mellie, have been on the run, incinerating the remains of the demon horde as they go.

In the badlands, Nina, Mellie, and Finn, the fugitive and rogue exorcist who saved her life, find allies in a group of freedom fighters. They also face a new threat: Pandemonia, a city full of demons. But this fresh new hell is the least of Nina’s worries. The well of souls ran dry more than a century ago, drained by the demons secretly living among humans, and without a donor soul, Mellie’s child will die within hours of its birth.

Nina isn’t about to let that happen . . . even if it means she has to make the ultimate sacrifice.

If you said describe The Flame Never Dies in two words they would be delicious and evil. 

Deliciously evil, because Rachel Vincent isn't messing around, folks.

Really, she's not. *cough*

Monday 22 August 2016

Bask in someone else's fame, live off of the family name, and who you are is all that matters.

Publication Date: May 10th 2016
Publisher: MIRA Ink
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël comes the first book in the Beautiful Idols series. With mystery, suspense, and an insiders-only look at Los Angeles that echoes Gossip Girl’s racy and real New York, fans of Pretty Little Liars and readers who crave pulse-pounding romance will love Unrivalled.
EVERYONE wants to be someone.
Layla Harrison wants to be a reporter.
Aster Amirpour wants to be an actress.
Tommy Phillips wants to be a guitar hero.
But Madison Brooks took destiny and made it her own a long time ago.
She’s Hollywood’s hottest starlet, and the things she did to become the name on everyone’s lips are merely a stain on the pavement, ground beneath her Louboutin heel.
That is, until Layla, Aster, and Tommy find themselves with a VIP invite to the world of Los Angeles’s nightlife and are lured into a competition. The prize, or rather the target? Madison Brooks.
Just as their hopes begin to gleam like stars through the California smog, Madison Brooks goes missing. . . . And all of their hopes are blacked out in the haze of their lies.

Unrivalled, the first in Alyson Noels Beautiful Idols series, wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but in some ways, I got exactly what I was expecting.

 While it's hinting at a mystery, Unrivalled at the core is more of a character driven story centred around Young Hollywood - as the mystery aspect doesn't start until over half way, and what I loved about it, and the part that I was expecting, is the darker and seedier side to Hollywood as three young people want and try to make it, and one who has reinvented herself to make it and try to hang onto it.

We have four perspectives (well, technically five, but there's only a few chapters of the fifth perspective towards the end of the story), our opener prologue belongs to Madison, the one that made it, Layla, an aspiring reporter, Tommy the musician who wants to prove himself to a father who doesn't know he exists, and Aster, an actress who will do anything to make it.  The characters are easy to distinguish and have their own voice and characteristics, which usually seem to disappear when it comes to third person, but didn't with Unrivalled. Some characters stood out more than others, and Madison by far is the most interesting, considering she's already made it and changed, we have the mystery of who she used to be and get little glimpses at that. Whereas the other characters are who they are, and we get to see how they start to change and conform into a certain standard person you need to be to cut it in Hollywood. 

Sadly, when it comes to the romance, that's where I started getting exasperated *some of the consistency in some character’s characteristics become inconsistent, especially Layla's, seeing as it was a little early on, but with Aster's show how dignity is something to be played with when it comes to how far you'll go to get what you want.

For me, Unrivalled is the kind of read in the way that it's so trashy it’s so good in the best way because it's compulsive and addicting and I couldn't put it down and let's admit it, you'll eat your way through it like you're going to want to eat the cover.

Rating: 3.5 - 4/5


* Thanks for the word, Verushka!  Anybody want to give me a word to include in my next review?

Monday 25 July 2016

The Pokemon Go Book Tag

The tag was created by Aentee at Read at Midnight
I was tagged by Preethi @ The Lone Reader

I read Speak when I was thirteen, borrowed it from my school's library, I think it was the first book I actually wanted to read (opposed to being forced to read, I’m looking at you Juniors), but what really kicked off reading again (now don't judge me) was, yup, Twilight.

Of Mice and Men, I hated it the first time I read it, but alas, coursework and exams said I had to read it again and again and again (I think I read it a total 12 times in a year and a half) and I fell in love with it after dissecting e v e r y l i t e r a l thing. I'll leave you with this, because I am mean.

Tuesday 12 April 2016

If I could turn the page, in time then I'd rearrange, just a day ortwo, close my, close my, close my eyes

 Seven Ways We Lie
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Amulet
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

Paloma High School is ordinary by anyone’s standards. It’s got the same cliques, the same prejudices, the same suspect cafeteria food. And like every high school, every student has something to hide—whether it’s Kat, the thespian who conceals her trust issues onstage; or Valentine, the neurotic genius who’s planted the seed of a school scandal.

When that scandal bubbles over, and rumors of a teacher-student affair surface, everyone starts hunting for someone to blame. For the unlikely allies at the heart of it all, the collision of their seven ordinary-seeming lives results in extraordinary change

Seven Ways We Lie is a very character centric story, there are seven perspectives, some perspectives are more frequent than others, but most of them stand out and you can tell which character you're reading from, their characteristics are clear and that was done amazingly. There is a lot of inner monologue and getting to know the characters and their family lives, there isn't a lot of plot or story other than the ongoing teacher student relationship.

Despite that, Seven Ways We Lie handles a lot of heavy topics. Like holy shit I won't name them all because some are a surprise, but we have the different types of relationships, what we already know, a student and teacher relationship, sexuality and the obvious that comes along with that, slut shaming and double standards. Let's start with that one, shall we?

 Olivia is a little lonely, so she'll hook up at parties etc, and yeah, there is an underlining meaning there for why she wants to do it, but at the end of the day, it's her body to do with whatever she wants to do, and people give her shit, but for what? Because she likes sex? Because she's a woman who likes sex? Because women can't like sex, right? So gross. She's a total slut. But hey, see that guy over there that hooked up with two girls in one night? Yeah, you know, that dude, a total hero, right? Double standards. The worse thing though, even her own friend thinks it, too. (Whatever, Claire, just because you aren’t getting any.)

 Speaking of...

At first I wanted to give Claire a chance, hoping she would grow, because we're all insecure in our own ways and I don't know a person who compares themselves to somebody else, like when I see people who are confident, I wish I was more like that, but the obvious thing to wishing we were more like somebody else is we don't actually know if that person feels confident, they could look it, but looking and feeling are very two different things. So yeah, I wanted her to figure that out, but then she just got worse and when somebody finally handed her ass to her, what she did next is absolutely fucking terrible and it is not okay, because what she did? There's a line, and Claire went too far over it to see it, and I don't care, she never redeemed herself.

The teacher/student relationship plays a little like Ezria's in Pretty Little Liars. They met outside of school, didn't know he was a teacher she a student etc. at a few years older than the student, would it seem like such a big deal? Not as much. The thing with this student and teacher relationship though is more to do with the abuse of position and responsibility, because it didn't make it weird or seedy because she's underage, they haven't had sex.

Seven Ways We Lie also deals with different aspects of sexuality and sometimes lack of sexuality. I'll hide this part, it's a little spoilery, since one is subtle and the other you don't know about straight away

Valentine is asexual? There are a lot of things pointing that way, but it's not actually said. And the way he is (takes things at face value, blunt, things that he says at the way he says things point to being on an autism spectrum (AS?) but again it's not actually said. Lucas is pansexual, but he describes it more along the lines of bisexual because it's easier for people to understand) but I love how it was handled, both of them because we don't get Pan or Asexual in books much, and I've only come across one YA with a character being asexual.

While I didn't connect to some of the characters and some issues didn't get as much light as they should have and feel a bit left open, Seven Ways We Lie nailed diversity and debunking* stereotypes.

Rating: 4/5


 *So, I was talking about writing reviews with Amber, and she gave me a word I had to use in my next review, so debunking it was. Anybody want to give me a word to include in my next review?

Sunday 3 April 2016

And I'm a little bit scared tonight, I need to run just far enough, so I can smile again, smile again, so I can smile again

The Steep & Thorny Way
Publication Date: March 8th 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
~A copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review~

A thrilling reimagining of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Steep and Thorny Way tells the story of a murder most foul and the mighty power of love and acceptance in a state gone terribly rotten.

1920s Oregon is not a welcoming place for Hanalee Denney, the daughter of a white woman and an African-American man. She has almost no rights by law, and the Ku Klux Klan breeds fear and hatred in even Hanalee’s oldest friendships. Plus, her father, Hank Denney, died a year ago, hit by a drunk-driving teenager. Now her father’s killer is out of jail and back in town, and he claims that Hanalee’s father wasn’t killed by the accident at all but, instead, was poisoned by the doctor who looked after him—who happens to be Hanalee’s new stepfather.

The only way for Hanalee to get the answers she needs is to ask Hank himself, a “haint” wandering the roads at night.

The Steep and Thorny Way is exactly what I've come to expect from Cat Winters, if you've read and loved one of her books, you'll know you get rich, authentic setting, it's history well researched and a book full of meaning, and The Steep and Thorny Way is no different.

 The Steep and Thorny Way's stories are important to be told, from Hanalee and her parents, to Joe and a small town taken over by the KKK and the way minorities and people of a different religion, and people who 'don't quite fit in' were treated. And it's brutal and horrific and I'm sure, since it's YA, that it's less violent than it would've been, but it still has its impact, because it's hard to read it when you want to hurt characters every few pages, and believe me, you'll want to hurt certain characters every few pages.

However, the mystery surrounding Hanalee father’s death left me bored, even with the ghostly paranormal twist Cat Winters has, because it's more of a slow going plot, but it definitely went a different way than I was expecting it to, but it also went an important way that showed the way minorities were faced.

Setting aside the violence, there's also the fact that minorities had no rights or control over their own lives. No rights over who you can date and marry, if you can have children. 

The Steep and Thorny Way shows you how far we've come since the 1920's, but it also shows how we haven't come far enough.

Rating: 4/5