February Wrap Up!

February Wrap Up!

July 23, 2019 (6)
February was a pretty great reading month and I managed to read nine books and most of them were four or five stars – which is a massive win! So let’s dive into the books I read in February.

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T172843.7751. The Foundling – Stacey Halls
I absolutely adored The Familiars by Stacey Halls so I was super excited about this one. The story of a young woman who has to give up her child to the foundling hospital and when she goes to collect her, they tell her the child was already collected years ago. A beautifully told story that I just couldn’t put down. (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T172928.8382. Belle Revolte – Lindsay Miller
A magical tale of two young women switching places to get the life they’ve always dreamed of. I really love the switch lives trope and it’s incredibly well executed in this story. Full to the brim with magic and adventure, this French inspired fantasy was such a fun read and has definitely made me want to read more from Lindsay Miller. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-20T070030.4503. The Golden Key – Marion Womack
A really fascinating historical fiction about a young man who, reeling from the death of a loved one gets caught up in an age old disappearance on the Norfolk fens. Set during the Victorian era with seances and this story has really beautiful writing and a vivid setting. It also had a surprise ending that I absolutely did not see coming. (3.5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-27T191324.8134. Havenfall – Sara Holland
The new series from Everless author Sara Holland, I really liked the idea behind this but found the story a bit on the slower side. The story of a young girl who works at an inn between realms and what happens when her uncle the owner becomes ill and she has to save the inn from falling into ruin.  I’m interested in seeing where Sara Holland takes this story next. (3/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T173228.2895. This is Going to Hurt – Adam Kay
This is absolutely not something I would normally read but I was recommended this book at an event I was at recently and decided to try it. Equal parts heartbreaking and hilarious, this is the diaries of a young doctor in the NHS. It’s a must read and definitely gave me plenty to think about. (4.25/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T174316.1036. The Stars We Steal – Alexa Donne
A retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion in space, I loved the glitz and glamour behind this story. It was a really fast paced tale that I just devoured and it has definitely made me want to pick up more from this author. I also think that’s got to be one of the most beautiful covers I’ve ever seen. (4/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-16T205726.6097. The Unspoken Name – A. K. Larkwood
This was one of my most anticipated releases and my god it was such a brilliant read. The story of a young orc girl who is set to be sacrificed to the unspoken god when she comes of age. On the day of the ritual she escapes with a mysterious man who offers her the chance to travel the realms and help him get revenge on those who wronged him. A fascinating story with an amazing cast of complex characters, this one is a must read. (5/5 stars)

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-15T174925.6048. Witness X – S. E. Moorhead
I thought this debut thriller was a fascinating read and definitely one of my favourites of the month. The story of a young woman who invents technology that allows you to view the memories of another person. When the man who murdered her sister escapes prison, Kyra has doubts if he’s guilty, but will using the technology prove his guilt or drive her over the edge? A brilliant blend of science fiction and crime thriller, this was one of my favourite of the month. (4.5/5 stars)

9. Always Here For You – Miriam HalahmyCopy of book cover - 2020-03-15T174939.477
This thought provoking read focuses on a young teenager who, feeling isolated at home makes friends with a stranger online. She spends all her time interacting with this person she believes is the same age as her but when she goes to meet him she discovers Jay isn’t exactly who he said he is. A really timely and important story on the importance of staying safe online. (4/5 stars)

So those are the books I picked up in February! If you’ve read any of these I’d love to know what you thought and I’d love to know what your favourite reads in February were!

Book Review: All the Wandering Light – Heather Fawcett

Book Review: All the Wandering Light – Heather Fawcett

July 23, 2019 (5)
Series:
Even the Darkest Stars #2 (Review of book one can be found here!)
Release Date: December 4th 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I bought a copy of this online
Rating: 3.75/5 stars

Synopsis

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 fall 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 the Empire. 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?

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-07T212534.676Even the Darkest Stars was one of my favourite reads of 2017. I loved the beautiful world Fawcett created as well as the action packed plot and slow burn romance. I’ve been meaning to get around to the second book in the duology for a while and I finally picked it up this month.

The story picks up right after the events of book one, following Kamzin as she attempts to stop the witches from attacking the Emperor and destroying the world. Like book one the story is pretty faced paced, following both Kamzin and River in alternating POVs as we see them fighting for what they believe is right.

River is my favourite character in the series and I really enjoyed seeing him with the other witches, getting a chance to know more of his back story as well as getting to meet his brothers. The witches are really fascinating and I loved the dynamics between the characters in this book. Kamzin is also a brilliant character. She’s strong willed, fearless and determined to do what’s right. I was particularly fascinating with seeing Kamzin use Azar-at’s power, and the slippery slope of the demon’s power.

While I really enjoyed All the Wandering Light, I do think book one is a stronger story. All the Wandering Light has a bit more of a romance focus and I was more interested in how they were going to stop the witches than everyone pairing off. The story has a pretty satisfying ending however it did leave the reader with quite a few questions and I would really love for there to be a third book, giving us a chance to see the characters after the events in this duology.

All the Wandering Light is a wonderful story of magic, revenge and saving the world. If you’ve read Even the Darkest Stars you won’t be disappointed. If you’re looking for a new fantasy to binge read, this one is exactly what you need.
4 Stars

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl and the Stars – Mark Lawrence

Waiting on Wednesday: The Girl and the Stars – Mark Lawrence

July 23, 2019 (3)

Synopsis

In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown.

On Abeth the vastness of the ice holds no room for individuals. Survival together is barely possible. No one survives alone.

To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.

Yaz is torn from the only life she’s ever known, away from her family, from the boy she thought she would spend her days with, and has to carve out a new path for herself in a world whose existence she never suspected. A world full of difference and mystery and danger.

Yaz learns that Abeth is older and stranger than she had ever imagined. She learns that her weaknesses are another kind of strength. And she learns to challenge the cruel arithmetic of survival that has always governed her people.

Only when it’s darkest you can see the stars.

Thoughts

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-04T191405.408Mark Lawrence is one of my all time favourite authors so The Girl and the Stars is definitely one of my most anticipated releases of 2020. I don’t think I’ve ever given one of his books anything less than four stars so I have some really high expectations for this new book. The synopsis sounds so intriguing, Lawrence always creates really interesting magic systems and the icy setting of this story sounds brilliant. I really like the cover too and I’m so interested to see where Lawrence takes this all new series – I’m honestly still reeling from the Red Sister trilogy. If you haven’t had a chance to pick up any of his books yet I’d highly recommend them, he has a brilliant back catalogue of series for you to try. The Girl and the Stars is publishing April 30th 2020 from HarperVoyager.

Blog Tour: Havenfall – Sara Holland

Blog Tour: Havenfall – Sara Holland

July 23, 2019 (2)
Series:
Havenfall #1
Release Date: March 3rd 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury Books
Pages: 320
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me an E-ARC to review through the Fantastic Flying Book Club.
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Synopsis

A safe haven between four realms. The girl sworn to protect it–at any cost.

Hidden deep in the mountains of Colorado lies the Inn at Havenfall, a sanctuary that connects ancient worlds–each with their own magic–together. For generations, the inn has protected all who seek refuge within its walls, and any who disrupt the peace can never return.

For Maddie Morrow, summers at the inn are more than a chance to experience this magic first-hand. Havenfall is an escape from reality, where her mother sits on death row accused of murdering Maddie’s brother. It’s where Maddie fell in love with handsome Fiorden soldier Brekken. And it’s where one day she hopes to inherit the role of Innkeeper from her beloved uncle.

But this summer, the impossible happens–a dead body is found, shattering everything the inn stands for. With Brekken missing, her uncle gravely injured, and a dangerous creature on the loose, Maddie suddenly finds herself responsible for the safety of everyone in Havenfall. She’ll do anything to uncover the truth, even if it means working together with an alluring new staffer Taya, who seems to know more than she’s letting on. As dark secrets are revealed about the inn itself, one thing becomes clear to Maddie–no one can be trusted, and no one is safe . . .

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-27T191324.813I read and loved Sara Holland’s Everless a while back (I still need to get round to Evermore!) so I was really intrigued when I heard she was coming out with a new series set in a completely new world. Havenfall is the story of Maddie Marrow a young girl who spends her summers at the Havenfall inn – a sanctuary between worlds. She hopes one day to inherit this inn from her Uncle, but when a dead body is discovered and things start to go wrong, Maddie has to race to uncover the truth behind the goings on in Havenfall.

I always thought the concept for Everless was really unique and I felt the same way about Havenfall. The idea of a sanctuary between worlds was so fascinating and Sara Holland does an excellent job building this world for the reader to sink into. Holland has a really gorgeous writing style and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in her writing. I did feel the story was a bit slower paced, lots of the book is taken up my introducing the world and the characters so it is much more slow burn.

Maddie is a really interesting protagonist and I liked her as a character. There’s a bit of romance in the story and I enjoyed this because it didn’t take away from the main plot too much. The story touches on a variety of themes and has a diverse cast of characters. It also had a few surprising twists towards the end that I didn’t see coming. Overall it was a really enjoyable read and I’m looking forward to reading the next instalment in the series. It also has a completely stunning cover and I can’t wait to pick up a physical copy.

If you’re a fan of Sara Holland’s Everless duology or you’re looking for an exciting new fantasy series to start, this is definitely one to pick up!
4 Stars

Book Review: The Unspoken Name – A. K. Larkwood

Book Review: The Unspoken Name – A. K. Larkwood

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-02-12T180706.446
Series:
The Serpent Gates #1
Release Date: February 11th 2020
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 464
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

Review

Copy of book cover (96)Epic fantasy on the grandest scale, The Unspoken Name is a bloody brilliant read and I didn’t want it to end.

The story follows Csorwe, Chosen Bride of the Unspoken. She knows how her life will end. On the allotted day, she will enter the mountain and sacrifice herself to the god known only as the Unspoken One. When that day comes and Csorwe is given the opportunity to live she takes it. Her new destiny? To help mysterious wizard Sethennai overthrow an empire and reclaim his title.

One of the things I loved most about this book is how richly detailed it is. There’s so much research about the many worlds Csorwe visits, the people, places and religions. Every aspect of this story was so well fleshed out and it was so easy to dive into this vivid and richly imaginative world. The world building is excellent and the story is well plotted and cleverly executed. Despite the many worlds and many gods the story never got confusing and it was so easy to understand the systems Larkwood has built within the story.

The characters were really fascinating and I loved Csorwe so much. She’s a really interesting protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her grow from appointed sacrifice to something so much more. There is so much character depth in each of the characters in this story. There’s also some diverse representation within the novel too. The romance was so sweet and I really enjoyed watching the relationship evolve (I won’t say which characters because I don’t want to spoil this wonderful book for anyone).

The Unspoken Name is a brilliantly addictive tale of vengeance, magic, relationships and so much more. If you’re looking for a new binge worthy fantasy read, this is definitely a must buy. Your only trouble will be counting down the days until the next book is released.
5 stars

Book Review: Belle Révolte – Linsey Miller

Book Review: Belle Révolte – Linsey Miller

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-02-06T162547.808
Release Date:
February 4th 2020
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 384
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars

Synopsis

Emilie des Marais is more at home holding scalpels than embroidery needles and is desperate to escape her noble roots to serve her country as a physician. But society dictates a noble lady cannot perform such gruesome work.

Annette Boucher, overlooked and overworked by her family, wants more from life than her humble beginnings and is desperate to be trained in magic. So when a strange noble girl offers Annette the chance of a lifetime, she accepts.

Emilie and Annette swap lives—Annette attends finishing school as a noble lady to be trained in the ways of divination, while Emilie enrolls to be a physician’s assistant, using her natural magical talent to save lives.

But when their nation instigates a frivolous war, Emilie and Annette must work together to help the rebellion end a war that is based on lies.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-02-02T170242.071This is my first time picking up a book by Linsey Miller. I’ve always wanted to pick up a copy of Mask of Shadows but never got around to it so when I heard she was releasing a new French inspired fantasy standalone, I was absolutely intrigued.

Belle Révolte is the story of two girls – Emilie des Marais, a young upper class girl who dreams of being a physician. But due to her status as a woman and a member of the elite, she is forced to study the midnight arts which are much more sensible for a young woman. Annette Boucher dreams of studying the midnight arts, but with no money she can’t afford the school fees and does not wish to a physicians hack. When Emilie and Annette meet, they swap lives allowing each one to live the life they’ve always dreamed. However things aren’t as clear cut as they seem, with the nation heading to war a secret underground group calling for a revolution, – will Annette and Emilie survive?

This story was just such a fun read. I loved the beautiful French inspired setting and I completely fell in love with this world of magic and war. I found the magic system really unique and fascinating – the idea of there being two types of magic – noonday arts which focused on healing and fighting and midnight arts which focused on scrying and divining the future.

Belle Révolte was a really fast paced read with lots of action and adventure going on. It was so easy to get caught up in the story. The alternating chapters between the two main characters gives you a chance to get to know both protagonists as they learn new skills and fight to save Demiene.

I really love the swap identities trope and I thought it was done so well in this story. Annette and Emilie were both really interesting characters and I enjoyed seeing how they adapted to the new world they had ended up in. They’re both quite strong-willed characters but Annette is the softer kinder of the two, with Emilie being the more stubborn and outspoken of the pair. The story features a number of diverse characters and also some really sweet romances which I really liked. They were a nice addition to the story without taking over the main plot.

Linsey Miller makes a lot of interesting comments about class and gender and weaves it into a beautiful story filled to the brim with magic, politics and adventure. If you’re looking for a fast paced and fun read this February, Belle Révolte should definitely be on your wishlist.

Book Review: A Queen in Hiding – Sarah Kozloff

Book Review: A Queen in Hiding – Sarah Kozloff

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-02-02T173114.458
Series:
The Nine Realms #1
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Amazon.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Orphaned, exiled and hunted, Cérulia, Princess of Weirandale, must master the magic that is her birthright, become a ruthless guerilla fighter, and transform into the queen she is destined to be.

But to do it she must win the favor of the spirits who play in mortal affairs, assemble an unlikely group of rebels, and wrest the throne from a corrupt aristocracy whose rot has spread throughout her kingdom.

Review

Copy of book cover (98)I know I’ve only read nine books so far this year, but I’m calling this as one of my favourite books of 2020.

A Queen in Hiding is the first in a four part fantasy series from Sarah Kozloff. The story follows Cerulia, princella and heir to the throne of Weirandale. When a scheme is uncovered to overthrow her mother the Queen, Cerulia is sent to live in hiding to protect her from those that wish her harm. As she lives in hiding she must master her magical talent, and learn the skills she will need to reclaim her throne.

I honestly loved every second of this epic fantasy tale. It had everything you could possibly want in a book. Full to the brim with magic, political intrigue and adventure I struggled putting this one down and definitely had a few nights where I stayed up way too late reading it. It’s not a short book by any means but I raced through it eager to find out Cerulia’s fate. She’s a fascinating character and I’m so excited to see how she grows through the next three books. The story is told in alternating POVs between quite a wide range of characters and I loved getting to see what was going on in other parts of the world at the same time as Cerulia is living in hiding. The story is expertly crafted with well fleshed out characters. I loved the political intrigue in this story, characters scheming and working against each other to meet their own ends.

As well as the wonderfully written characters I felt the world building in this story was truly superb. There was so much detail in the history surrounding the spirits and the religion, it felt effortless just to dive into this world. The magic system based on elements was also well explained and fit into the world really well. I really liked that magic was present in this world but not in a really overbearing way, it was a very subtle approach that worked so well with the story. Kozloff writes big battle scenes incredibly well too and I loved those epic moments of life and death. She brought them to life so vividly that I couldn’t look away from the book even if I wanted to.

One of the worst things about being a fantasy reader is waiting a long time for the next instalment in the series but amazingly Kozloff is publishing the entire series in four months. With the next instalment due in only a few weeks, so now is absolutely the time to get reading A Queen in Hiding – you won’t be disappointed.
5 stars