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

Blog Tour: Devil Darling Spy – Matt Killeen

Blog Tour: Devil Darling Spy – Matt Killeen

July 23, 2019 (4)
Series:
Orphan Monster Spy #2
Release Date: March 5th 2020
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review.
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

The deadliest weapon is a girl with nothing to lose…

Sarah is used to spying in the champagne-fuelled parties of Nazi Berlin. But her new mission is infinitely more deadly – tracking a lethal disease across bullet-torn Africa, to uncover the monster who would use it to create fifty million corpses. Her enemies think she is a terrified little girl. But she is a warrior set to burn them all.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-03-06T062905.186I absolutely adored Orphan Monster Spy when it was released in 2018. It was the perfect YA thriller and I’ve been so excited about the release of sequel Devil Darling Spy. The story follows Sarah on a new mission, this time in West Africa, where she must help uncover a rogue doctor who has created a kind of germ warfare to wipe out millions of people. This time the stakes are even higher and Sarah will need every ounce of courage to face this new enemy.

This is a dark tale that focuses on a variety of heavy themes, particularly focusing on the idea of good versus evil. The story is well paced with plenty of action to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Killeen deftly weaves a complex tale of espionage that will leave you hungry for more.

Sarah is a really brilliant protagonist and I’ve really enjoyed watching her grow as a character, particularly how she has changed from her beginnings in Orphan Monster Spy to her new mission. Devil Darling Spy could probably be read as a standalone adventure, but I would definitely recommend picking up book one in the series first to give yourself the opportunity to meet the wonderful cast of characters Killeen has created.

Devil Darling Spy is a gripping tale filled to the brim with action and adventure. If you’re looking for a YA thriller packed with suspense this is definitely the series you’ve been looking for. 

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: Spellhacker – M. K. England

Book Review: Spellhacker – M. K. England

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-01-22T205853.639
Release Date:
January 21st 2020
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Synopsis

From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.

In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.

Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.

But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.

Review

Copy of book cover (95)When I read the synopsis for Spellhacker I thought it sounded like a wonderful blend of science fiction and fantasy and I’d been keen to read M. K. England’s other novel The Disasters so I was excited to give this a whirl. I ended up being completely obsessed with this crazy adventure of a heist gone wrong and a group of friends trying to save the day.

The story follows Diz, a teenager orphaned as a result of the infamous spellplague that killed thousands of people. Years later Diz lives in an apartment with best friends Jaesin and Remi and along with techwitch Ania they run a business siphoning maz from the corporation that controls all magic in the city. When their last job ever goes wrong they find themselves on the run for their lives, but is there something more going on than they know?

Spellhacker is a fast paced tale that hooks you in from the very first page and does not let you go till the very end. There’s constant action and adventure as the friends battle to uncover the truth and save their lives. The world building is fantastic and I loved the fresh concept of magic being controlled by a corporation, and citizens have to buy maz in order to make magic. The story is a really fascinating blend of science fiction and fantasy, and honestly I loved every second of it.

One of the things I loved most about this story are the characters. Diz is a wonderful protagonist. She’s brave and stubborn, but she’s also deeply flawed and struggling to cope with the horrors of her past. Mixing her in with Remi, the crazy talented spellcaster who has also contracted the spell plague, and ‘parents’ of the group Jaesin and Ania. They make for a really interesting group and I found it really interesting seeing the group dynamics change as they travel to Jattapore and Diz begins to feel like the outsider. It really added another layer to the story and made the characters feel more realistic.

If you’re looking for a wild ride of a story, with plenty of adventure as well as wonderful characters and diverse representation, this is absolutely a must read. I can’t recommend this highly enough and I’m definitely going to be picking up The Disasters in the near future! 
5 stars

Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

Book Review: The Unadjusteds – Marisa Noelle

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-01-14T223658.642
Release Date:
November 1st 2019
Publisher: Write Plan
Pages: 314
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository.  Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Sixteen-year-old Silver Melody lives in a world where 80% of the population has modified their DNA. Known as the altereds, those people now possess enhancements like wings, tails, and increased strength or intelligence. Although Silver’s parents created the nanite pill used to deliver these genetic modifications, Silver is proud of her unadjusted state.

However, when the president declares all unadjusteds must take a nanite, Silver has no choice but to flee the city with her father and some friends to prevent the extinction of the unadjusteds.

With Silver’s mother in prison for treason, Silver’s father is the unadjusteds’ only hope at finding a cure. But time is running out as Silver’s father is captured by the president’s almost immortal army. Vicious hellhounds are on Silver’s trail, and her only chance to recover her father involves teaming up with a new group of unlikely friends before all humanity is lost.

Review

Copy of book cover - 2020-01-14T223454.977As soon as I read the synopsis for this book I was dying to know more. The concept really intrigued me – a world where the majority of the population have altered their DNA? It was such a fascinating idea. When I picked up the book I completely fell in love with this world and these characters, a unique and engaging tale, one that is perfect for fans of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games and Emily Suvada’s This Mortal Coil.

The story follows Silver Melody, a young girl living in a dystopian future where the majority of people have taken nanite pills to alter their DNA. Silver’s parents are the inventors of these pills and after some people die from taking them Silver’s mother refuses to make them and is taken as a political prisoner. When President Bear announces that all unadjusteds are now required to take nanite pills, Silver knows she has to flee, but with a price on her head and hellhounds closing in on her – will she survive?

The Unadjusteds throws you in right in the middle of the action and doesn’t stop till the very end of the book. It’s a fast paced read and as the tension mounted I found myself turning the pages quicker and quicker to find out what was going to happen next. The ending was a bit of a surprise but the cliffhanger has definitely made me hopeful that their might be a sequel in the works.

The world is really fascinating in The Unadjusteds and I loved seeing all the genetic modifications. Fairy wings, impenetrable skin, invisibility and everything in between. I also really liked the mix of politics and action, it added another layer to this cleverly executed story. It also really delves into the themes of technology and greed – with nanite pills curing so many known diseases, humanity takes it one step further by beginning to alter their DNA – but at what cost?

Silver is a really interesting main character, she’s strong willed, determined to succeed and sticks by her beliefs to remain unadjusted. I really liked her as a protagonist and I enjoyed seeing her character develop as she tries to survive. There is also quite an interesting love triangle in the story, it’s a nice addition to the story without taking away from the main plot. It was fascinating to watch Silver attempt to understand her feelings on top of everything else that’s going on. She’s certainly a powerful main character, and one I was rooting for the whole way.

If you’re looking for a fast paced, fresh take on the dystopian novel, The Unadjusteds should definitely be your next read. A compulsively readable book that will definitely leave you wanting more from this world.
4 stars

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book Review: The Deathless Girls – Kiran Millwood Hargrave

BOOK REVIEW - 2020-01-11T144551.170
Release Date:
September 19th 2019
Publisher: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 304
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I picked up a copy of this book in Waterstones
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

They say the thirst of blood is like a madness – they must sate it. Even with their own kin.

On the eve of her divining, the day she’ll discover her fate, seventeen-year-old Lil and her twin sister Kizzy are captured and enslaved by the cruel Boyar Valcar, taken far away from their beloved traveller community.

Forced to work in the harsh and unwelcoming castle kitchens, Lil is comforted when she meets Mira, a fellow slave who she feels drawn to in a way she doesn’t understand. But she also learns about the Dragon, a mysterious and terrifying figure of myth and legend who takes girls as gifts.

They may not have had their divining day, but the girls will still discover their fate…

Review

book cover - 2019-05-01T094307.932When I first heard that Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s YA debut would be based on the Brides of Dracula I was desperate to get my hands on a copy of this book. I love Dracula and all things related, and his brides are characters are definitely characters I would love to see more of. The story follows twin sisters Lil and Kizzy as their lives are ripped away from them and they become slaves of the vicious Boyar Valcar. As the harsh reality of their new life sets in they hear about the infamous Dragon, a bloodthirsty ruler who takes girls as gifts. When Kizzy is taken to the Dragon, Lil along with the help of her new friend Mira, must fight to save her sister.

The Deathless Girls is a really beautiful and engaging take on the Brides of Dracula. It’s a compelling tale and I found it so easy to fall into this story of evil rulers and bloodthirsty monsters. I had sort of expected this story to be about the lives of the vampires, but instead it is focused on the story that leads to them becoming the deathless girls. It wasn’t quite what I had thought it was going to be, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Hargrave’s writing is incredibly beautiful and I’ve really enjoyed every book of hers I’ve read previously – The Deathless Girls is no exception. It’s a cleverly plotted tale and I really liked going on this adventure with the characters. I similarly thought the characters were really interesting and complex – Kizzy is the beautiful one is often in the limelight, with Lil being in her shadow. I liked seeing the dynamics between the two sisters and watching them grow as characters as they race to the Dragon’s castle.

I’m not particularly a big romance person but I really enjoyed the romance in this story. I thought it was really well executed – the tentative, nervous beginning of the relationship to something much stronger. The Deathless Girls has some dark themes and also explores quite a wide range of topics. It’s a clever and intense story, one I think a lot of readers will really fall in love with. If you’ve read Hargrave’s other works too I think you’re definitely going to want to pick this one up.
4 stars