Book Review: Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp

Book Review: Before I Let Go – Marieke Nijkamp

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Release Date:
January 2nd 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 358
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis

Best friends Corey and Kyra were inseparable in their snow-covered town of Lost Creek, Alaska. When Corey moves away, she makes Kyra promise to stay strong during the long, dark winter, and wait for her return.

Just days before Corey is to return home to visit, Kyra dies. Corey is devastated―and confused. The entire Lost community speaks in hushed tones about the town’s lost daughter, saying her death was meant to be. And they push Corey away like she’s a stranger.

Corey knows something is wrong. With every hour, her suspicion grows. Lost is keeping secrets―chilling secrets. But piecing together the truth about what happened to her best friend may prove as difficult as lighting the sky in an Alaskan winter…

Review

Where do I start with this strange, beautiful book? I have yet to read Nijkamp’s This is Where It Ends (I have now ordered it and that will soon change), but this book had a really interesting premise and sounded like a good read. After reading just a few pages I was completely sucked in, and I can safely say Before I Let Go is already a contender for my top reads of the year. (I know it’s only January, but it was so so good).

book cover (97)The book is set in this eerie, dark little town called Lost Creek in Alaska. Our main protagonist Corey grew up there but has since moved away, returned after the death of her best friend Kyra. But Lost has change in the months she’s been away, and Corey is no longer part of the community, she’s an outsider which the townspeople don’t take too kindly too. I loved this setting, it was so vividly described and such a claustrophobic and unsettling place. There were more than a few times when I felt a shiver from this cold dark landscape.

I don’t want to say too much about what happens in the story because I would hate to spoil it for anyone, but it touches on so many fascinating subjects – friendship, loyalty, belonging and mental health. It’s a fascinating book, with so many twists and turns that I absolutely didn’t see coming.

I loved Before I Let Go from start to finish – I loved the short chapters that kept my mind racing (and itching to know what was going to happen next). Nijkamp did a fantastic job building up the tension and the suspense, and some of those climax scenes I couldn’t have put the book down if the world around me was ending. The story is set over six days, but so much happens in that time. Corey was such an interesting protagonist, dealing with the grief of losing her friend, of being shunned from the community. I loved her determination, to stand up for what she thought her friend would have wanted, and to find out what really happened.

This spooky eerie thriller will have you on the edge of your seat, The beautiful vivid writing will linger in your mind longer after you’ve finished reading, and if you love a book that will keep you guessing Before I Let Go is just what you need.
5 stars

Book Review: The Wicked King – Holly Black

Book Review: The Wicked King – Holly Black

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Series:
The Folk of the Air #2
Release Date: 8th January 2019
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Pages: 336
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy from my local Waterstones.

Synopsis

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

The first lesson is to make yourself strong.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

Review

This book gave me such a book hangover I’m not sure I will ever enjoy another book again.

book cover (13)I’m pretty sure that’s all the review you need but I’ll attempt to go into a little bit more detail. The Wicked King is the second instalment in the Folk of the Air series. This is already a massively popular series and book one – The Cruel Prince – was on everyone’s best of 2018 list (including mine). Going into The Wicked King I had a certain amount of trepidation – what if it’s all filler and suffers from second book syndrome?

Well that absolutely was not the case. The Wicked King is unputdownable. The stakes are higher, the plot twists are earth shattering and it is without a doubt one of my all time favourite books. Holly Black has created this immensely lush and beautiful world that is just a dream to be in. The characters are so complex and fascinating – Jude and Cardan are everything but there’s also a whole host of secondary characters who fascinate me so much. Jude is such a fascinating protagonist, fighting for what she wants and I loved seeing things from her perspective.

There’s plenty of action and excitement in The Wicked King too – not to mention a dash of romance. If you’re a fan of twisty fantasy this is definitely a series to pick up and binge read immediately – if you’ve already raced through The Cruel Prince then The Wicked King is worth the wait and definitely needs to be your next read.
5 stars

Book Review: Out of the Blue – Sophie Cameron

Book Review: Out of the Blue – Sophie Cameron

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Release Date:
22nd March 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
Pages: 272
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis

When angels start falling from the sky, it seems like the world is ending. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

As the world goes wild for angels, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, still reeling from her mother’s recent death and the sudden disappearance of her ex-girlfriend, she’s determined to stay out of it.

Then something incredible happens: an angel lands right at Jaya’s feet – and it’s alive …

Review

book cover (96)I recently did a 24 hour readathon and this was one of the books I was hoping to get to. After reading just a few pages I was absolutely hooked and I’m pretty sure I barely even breathed as I devoured this beautiful and original book.

This is such an important book and it deals with so many issues. It deals with grief in a really fascinating way as Jaya and her family attempt to recover from her mother’s death. It also deals with friendship, sexuality, race, family relationships and lots more in between. I felt that Out of the Blue was fantastically written, with real and realistic characters. I loved our main character Jaya, there’s so much character development as she finds this angel, meets Allie and her brother Calum, and attempts to understand her place in the world.

One of the things that really made this book for me was the setting. Growing up and living not too far from Edinburgh made this book a must read for me. I loved seeing the familiar setting and the portrayal of the crazy festival season. I thought Sophie Cameron did a wonderful job of bringing Edinburgh to life, as well as making it believable that angels could crash land in the city. When I read the synopsis I wasn’t sure that falling angels would be believable but Cameron’s world-building is superb and powerful.

Out of the Blue is one of those books that stays with you even after you’ve finished reading it. Vivid, beautiful and imaginative, this is definitely one of my favourite books of 2018.
5 stars

Waiting on Wednesday #12: All the Wandering Light – Heather Fawcett

Waiting on Wednesday #12: All the Wandering Light – Heather Fawcett

Synopsis

The second in a sweeping and action-packed fantasy duology loosely inspired by the early climbers of Mount Everest—perfect for fans of Tamora Pierce and Kristin Cashore.

After the terrifying events on Mount Raksha, the witches have returned, and River has betrayed Kamzin to regain his dark powers. The witches’ next step: march on the Three Cities and take over the Empire—led by River’s brother, Esha.

If Kamzin is to save Azmiri and prevent the destruction of the Empire, she must find a star that fell in the Ash Mountains to the north. Fallen stars have immense power, and if Kamzin and Lusha can find the star, they can use its magic to protect their homeland. To get there, Kamzin has allied with Azar-at, the dangerous and deceptive fire demon, who can grant her great power—in exchange for pieces of her soul. But River wants the star too, and as their paths collide in dangerous and unexpected ways, Kamzin must wrestle with both her guilt and her conflicted feelings for the person who betrayed her.

Facing dark magic, a perilous journey, and a standoff against the witches, can Kamzin, Lusha, and Tem find the star and save their Empire?

Thoughts

Welcome to another Waiting on Wednesday! This week I’m talking about All the Wandering Light the second instalment in the Even the Darkest Stars duology. I read the first book near enough in one sitting, I loved this beautiful icy cold setting and I really adored the characters. I adore the fact that it’s inspired by the accounts of early climbers of Mount Everest. It’s such a unique idea for a fantasy story. I’ve been dying for more since I turned the last page so I’m incredibly excited about the release of this next book. The fact that it’s a duology means this will also be the last book and I have no idea how it will end. The cover is also stunning if it has as many twists and turns as the last book I’m sure I’ll be up all night reading it. All the Wandering Light is publishing 24th January 2019 from Harper Collins.

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors In 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: New To Me Authors In 2018

BOOK REVIEW (83).pngToday for Top 10 Tuesday I’m talking about the authors that I read that were new to me in 2018. There were actually quite a few that I read and have become some of my favourite new authors and I’m so pleased that I have a back list of their books to read.

1. Ami Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
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My number one has definitely got to be Ami Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. I read and devoured Illuminae and Gemina in 2018 and I also read Lifelik3 by Jay Kristoff and adored that too. I loved their high action space adventures and I’m honestly dying to read Aurora Rising already.

2. V. E. Schwabbook cover (54)
Despite owning a few of her books I’d never read any of them until 2018. I read Vicious and City of Ghosts and they were both five star reads. I thought they were expertly written and I couldn’t put them down and I’m so excited to jump into more of her work.

3. Holly Blackbook cover (13) 
This one is kind of cheating because I did read The Spiderwick Chronicles when I was little, but I honestly don’t remember much about them and couldn’t have told you who the author was at the time. In 2018 I read The Cruel Prince and like everyone else I absolutely fell in love. The Wicked King came out a week or so ago and I can confirm it will definitely be in my favourite books of 2019.

book cover (26)4. Jenny Han
I don’t read much in the way of contemporary so I had never heard the name Jenny Han until the release of the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Netflix adaptation. Fast forward a few weeks and I’d read the entire trilogy. Burn for Burn is on my January TBR so I think it’s safe to say she’s definitely a new favourite.

5. Kiersten WhiteUntitled design (18)
Kiersten White is an author I was quite familiar with though I’d never picked up any of her books. I read The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein and it was one of my favourites of last year. I’m definitely looking forward to diving into more of her work and I have an e-ARC of Slayer waiting for me too!
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6. Amanda Hocking

Amanda Hocking is another name I knew in the bookish community and I had bought a few of her books but they were somewhere in my mammoth TBR. I was kindly sent her Valkyrie duology and I could not put it down. She’s definitely become an author I want to read more from.

7. Sally GreenUntitled design (37)
The Half Bad series is something that sounds right up my alley but for some reason I’ve never picked it up, but when I got sent a copy of The Smoke Thieves I read it in a few sittings and I was really excited to meet Sally at YALC. I’m really hoping to get to the Half Bad books in 2019.
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8. Alwyn Hamilton

Rebel with the Sands is a series that so many people in the bookish community adore and I had never given it a go. I read the first book in the series in 2018 and it completely stole my heart. I can definitely see why Alwyn Hamilton is so beloved and I can’t wait to read more of her work.

9. Kiran Milwood Hargrave book cover (25)
I don’t read an awful lot of middle grade but The Girl of Ink and Stars caught my eye because of it’s beautiful cover and eye-catching title. I adored this story and I was even more excited when I got to read an ARC of The Way Past Winter. If anything I loved this even more and Kiran has definitely become my favourite middle grade author.

book cover (94)10.  Jen Williams
Right at the start of 2018 I was asked to be on the blog tour for The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams. I hadn’t read the first book in the series but it sounded like something I might enjoy so I said yes and ended up reading The Ninth Rain and The Bitter Twins back to back because they were such brilliant reads.

So those are my top ten new to me authors in 2018! If you’ve read any of their books let me know what you thought or if you’ve a favourite you think I should read and if there were any favourites that were new to you last year. 

Christmas Book Haul!

Christmas Book Haul!

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Today I’m back with the second half of my December book haul! My family were kind enough to get me quite a few books for Christmas so I thought I would do a little update on what they were!

1. Empire of Sands – Tasha Suri

book cover (83)This gorgeous fantasy book has caught my eye a few times so I’m really excited to pick it up.

The Amrithi are outcasts; nomads descended of desert spirits, they are coveted and persecuted throughout the Empire for the power in their blood. Mehr is the illegitimate daughter of an imperial governor and an exiled Amrithi mother she can barely remember, but whose face and magic she has inherited.

When Mehr’s power comes to the attention of the Emperor’s most feared mystics, she must use every ounce of will, subtlety, and power she possesses to resist their cruel agenda.

Should she fail, the gods themselves may awaken seeking vengeance…

2. A Gathering of Shadows – V. E. Schwab
I’m trying to complete my collection of V. E. Shwab books and she is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I’m hoping that once I but A Conjuring of Light I’ll be able to binge the set.

book cover (86)It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell’s possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland’s dying body through the rift–back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games–an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries–a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

3. This Cruel Design – Emily Suvada
The second instalment in the This Mortal Coil series, the first book ended on such a cliff hanger that I am dying to know what’s in store next.

book cover (84)The nightmare of the outbreak is finally over, but Cat’s fight has only just begun.

Exhausted, wounded, and reeling from revelations that have shaken her to her core, Cat is at a breaking point. Camped in the woods with Cole and Leoben, she’s working day and night, desperate to find a way to stop Lachlan’s plan to reprogram humanity. But she’s failing—Cat can’t even control her newly regrown panel, and try as she might to ignore them, she keeps seeing glitching visions from her past everywhere she turns.

When news arrives that the Hydra virus might not be as dead as they’d thought, the group is pushed into an uneasy alliance with Cartaxus to hunt down Lachlan and fix the vaccine. Their search takes them to Entropia, a city of genehackers hidden deep in the desert that could also hold the answers about Cat’s past that she’s been searching for.

4. Night Film – Marisha Pessl
I’ve seen this on a few lists of really scary and intense reads that you can’t put down and it sounded so intriguing that I couldn’t wait to get a copy.

book cover (85)On a damp October night, 24-year-old Ashley Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Though her death is ruled a suicide, veteran investigative journalist Scott McGrath suspects otherwise. As he probes the strange circumstances surrounding Ashley’s life and death, McGrath comes face-to-face with the legacy of her father: the legendary, reclusive cult-horror film director Stanislaus Cordova–a man who hasn’t been seen in public for more than thirty years.

For McGrath, another death connected to this seemingly cursed family dynasty seems more than just a coincidence. Though much has been written about Cordova’s dark and unsettling films, very little is known about the man himself.

Driven by revenge, curiosity, and a need for the truth, McGrath, with the aid of two strangers, is drawn deeper and deeper into Cordova’s eerie, hypnotic world. The last time he got close to exposing the director, McGrath lost his marriage and his career. This time he might lose even more. 

5. A Winter’s Promise – Christelle Dabos
I’ve seen a few people compare this to Harry Potter and that definitely had me wanting to know more. It’s a lot bigger than I was expecting it to be but it sounds brilliant and I’m really looking forward to it.

Long ago, following a cataclysm called “The Rupture,” the world was shattered into many book cover (82)floating celestial islands. Known now as Arks, each has developed in distinct ways; each seems to possess its own unique relationship to time, such that nowadays vastly different worlds exist, together but apart. And over all of the Arks the spirit of an omnipotent ancestor abides. 

Ophelia lives on Anima, an ark where objects have souls. Beneath her worn scarf and thick glasses, the young girl hides the ability to read and communicate with the souls of objects, and the power to travel through mirrors. Her peaceful existence on the Ark of Anima is disrupted when she is promised in marriage to Thorn, from the powerful Dragon clan. Ophelia must leave her family and follow her fiancée to the floating capital on the distant Ark of the Pole. Why has she been chosen? Why must she hide her true identity? Though she doesn’t know it yet, she has become a pawn in a deadly plot.

6. The Graces – Laure Eve
I’ve always wanted to read The Graces and had planned to pick up a copy at YALC last year and by the time I went they didn’t have any copies left. I’m so happy to have a copy now and it’s going to the top of my TBR.

book cover (87)Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

7. The Selection Series – Kiera Kass
Everyone tells me that this is the kind of series that you just plough through because it’s so fun and you just need to binge all the books. I’m going on holiday for a few days at the end of the month so I might take this with me because I think it would be the perfect series.

book cover (88)For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

8. Melmoth – Sarah Perry
I haven’t had a chance to read my copy of The Essex Serpent but Melmoth sounded even more intriguing to me so I was really excited when I unwrapped a copy on Christmas morning.

book cover (92)For centuries, the mysterious dark-robed figure has roamed the globe, searching for those whose complicity and cowardice have fed into the rapids of history’s darkest waters—and now, in Sarah Perry’s breathtaking follow-up to The Essex Serpent, it is heading in our direction.

It has been years since Helen Franklin left England. In Prague, working as a translator, she has found a home of sorts—or, at least, refuge. That changes when her friend Karel discovers a mysterious letter in the library, a strange confession and a curious warning that speaks of Melmoth the Witness, a dark legend found in obscure fairy tales and antique village lore. As such superstition has it, Melmoth travels through the ages, dooming those she persuades to join her to a damnation of timeless, itinerant solitude. To Helen it all seems the stuff of unenlightened fantasy.

But, unaware, as she wanders the cobblestone streets Helen is being watched. And then Karel disappears. . . .

9. A Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas
book cover (89)Carrying on my Sarah J. Maas collection with the newest instalment in the ACOTAR series. I’ve heard mixed things about this but seeing as it’s so short I can’t imagine it will take me long to get through.

Hope warms the coldest night.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. 

Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

10. Kings of the Wyld – Nicholas Eames
book cover (93)This is a book I never thought I would pick up because I wasn’t sure it was my kind of thing, but after reading so many reviews – particularly the ones from Justine at I Should Read That, I thought I would give it a shot.

Clay Cooper and his band were once the best of the best — the meanest, dirtiest, most feared crew of mercenaries this side of the Heartwyld.

Their glory days long past, the mercs have grown apart and grown old, fat, drunk – or a combination of the three. Then an ex-bandmate turns up at Clay’s door with a plea for help. His daughter Rose is trapped in a city besieged by an enemy one hundred thousand strong and hungry for blood. Rescuing Rose is the kind of mission that only the very brave or the very stupid would sign up for.

It’s time to get the band back together for one last tour across the Wyld. 

11. Uprooted – Naomi Novik
I still haven’t read Spinning Silver (oops), but I think Naomi Novik is going to be an author I really love. I love the idea of these fairy tale style stories so I’m hoping to get this one soon.

book cover (91)A dark enchantment blights the land.

Agnieszka loves her village, set in a peaceful valley. But the nearby enchanted forest casts a shadow over her home. Many have been lost to the Wood and none return unchanged. The villagers depend on an ageless wizard, the Dragon, to protect them from the forest’s dark magic. However, his help comes at a terrible price. A young woman must serve him for ten years, leaving all she values behind. 

Agnieszka fears her dearest friend Kasia will be picked at the next choosing, for she is everything Agnieszka is not – beautiful, graceful and brave. Yet when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he takes.

12. The Call – Peadar O’Guilin
This YA dystopian has long been on my wishlist and it sounds like such an addictive read!

book cover (90)THREE MINUTES
You wake up alone in a horrible land. A horn sounds. The Call has begun.

TWO MINUTES
The Sidhe are close. They’re the most beautiful and terrible people you’ve ever seen. And they’ve seen you.

ONE MINUTE

Nessa will be Called soon. No one thinks she has any chance to survive. But she’s determined to prove them wrong.

TIME’S UP

Could you survive the Call?

So those are all the lovely books I got for Christmas! If you’ve read any of these definitely let me know what you thought of them and also let me know if you received any beautiful new books for Christmas!

Book Review: Between the Blade and the Heart – Amanda Hocking

Book Review: Between the Blade and the Heart – Amanda Hocking

BOOK REVIEW (81).pngSeries: Valkyrie #1
Release Date: January 2nd 2018
Publisher: Pan Macmillian
Pages: 319
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4.75 stars

Synopsis

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. The balance of the world rests on her ability to carry out orders. But when Malin discovers that her mother spared the life of an immortal who was destined to die, her world is thrown into chaos.

As Malin wrestles with the knowledge that her mother might not be who she thought, she’s also thrust into the path of a gorgeous blue-eyed guy named Asher who needs her help slaying the rogue immortal who destroyed his family. Malin, along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend, must decide where her loyalties lie…and whether helping Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and to her heart.

Review

Amanda Hocking is an author that has been on my radar for a long time, I own a few of her books but I’ve never gotten around to reading them. I know so many people love the Trylle Trilogy so I was definitely looking forward to giving this a go. I loved this fast paced and exciting read and I am now definitely going to be catching up on all of Amanda’s books that I missed.

book cover (81)I always enjoy books with Norse mythology and Between the Blade and the Heart is chalk full of myths and legends. I loved the level of detail that Hocking put in, the story feels well plotted out and well researched. I also loved the dark, dank setting of a world full of demons and creatures. The world building is an odd mix, with run down buildings and dingy bars but also hovering bikes and other technology.

The book of course has plenty of action and fighting scenes, but there’s also a fair bit of romance too. I’m normally not that big a fan of romance heavy books but I felt the romance unfolded naturally and it wasn’t too in your face. I also really liked the characters. Our main protagonist Malin is a Valkyrie in training, learning her trade as well as school and dealing with a less than affectionate mother, she makes for a really fascinating character. She’s strong and brash and often tends to have her mind on things other than the end of the world. I thought she was a great flawed and likeable character. Joining her is a cast of secondary characters who were well fleshed out and definitely added an interesting mix to the story.

I really enjoyed this fun book and ended up reading it really quickly. If you like your books fast paced and full of action, you’re bound to enjoy Between the Blade and the Heart. Your only problem will be waiting for the release of book two!
5 stars