It’s Monday! What are you reading?

Hello bookworms, and happy Monday! What is everyone currently reading? Is some magical fantasy story stealing your soul away for an adventure, or is a mystery perplexing your brain? Perhaps some realistic fiction for you to make new friends, or even some non-fiction? Whatever it is, I hope you’re loving it! I finally finished Book Two of the Conqueror’s Saga Now I Rise… only took me a year or so to pick it back up again. I’ll be giving it, Legendary, and Strange the Dreamer (which I’m currently re-reading readying myself for Muse of Nightmares) a quick review below:

line_breakI feel likNow I riseAnd I Darken, and Now I rise are the two books that have been needed for a long time by a lot of people. Kiersten White not only writes good plots and has great ideas, but her characters are so in depth and amazing. Not only does she include some of the strongest female leads I’ve ever read, but the complexity of each of them… Every single character is different, and while they feed off of each other, they each have their own ideas about the world, and I think that is what makes this book so diverse. I loved And I Darken, I think I read it within a week. Now I Rise was a different story. It took me over a year. But thinking back on it now, I don’t think it was the book’s fault. I love it too much for that. It could’ve been school was occupying my mind, or maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. But I definitely recommend this series to everybody. Every single person. Even if you get nothing of the actual story, you will learn about the diverse feelings of different types of people, how other’s actions can largely affect your own way of thinking, and how one must stay true to one’s own feelings and desires.

(I’m also in love with the third book’s cover – google Bright We Burn)


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Okay so I liked Caraval, but Legendary was so much better! In every aspect, the characters, the setting, the relationships, both the funny and deep dialogue… It filled the first book’s boots and so much more. When I finished Caraval, I’d thought of it as a pretty standard YA ‘Next Chapter’ book – the focus wasn’t so much on storyline, but on keeping readers listening and to finish the book. And this sacrificed some essential features that ultimately let Caraval down. Legendary however… Ah everything was lifted to the next level! I went from adoring Scarlett (Crimson) and Julian, finding Tella just slightly annoying, and hating Dante, to quite the opposite. Legendary brings out another side int he characters we didn’t hear so much about in the first book, and also leads more into the background of the game and Legend’s identity… yes, you will know who the infamous Master Caraval is by the end of the book.

I also really would very much like the next book to come out. Stephanie Garber really has a knack for ending her books on cliffhanger-ish letters that offer just under the satisfactory amount of conclusion.


new-release-date-2Now, I believe I have already reviewed this book (here), so I won’t go into too much detail. My first read of Strange the Dreamer ended with me in tears and awarding it 5 stars to go onto my favourites shelf… It was really good. And from the first 100 pages that I have already re-read, it’s going to be just as good the second time around. It’s one of the books that you don’t simply sink into and enjoy, but instead are totally enraptured by its energy and spirit that you don’t want to put it down. It’s one of the books where you appreciate the language used just as much as the story being told. For me, it’s also one of the books that makes me want to get up and write my own story, but I can’t because I can’t get the intricacy of its own plot out of my head.

I am so ready for Muse of Nightmares (Book 2) and am really hoping it doesn’t end badly, because I need all the characters to survive. I love them all.

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Has anyone else read either of these two books? Tell me in the comments what you thought 🙂

Happy Reading

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Quadruple Review!!

Hello bookworms!! It’s been a while, I know, but time for some quick reviews. I’ve been reading pretty consistently over the past weeks, before bed, in the mornings, around school time and homework – and have managed to hit the 20 mark in the reading challenge. I was hoping to read many more this year, but Grade 12 has slowed me down much more significantly than I first thought. But anyway, I thought I’d combine the most recent reads into a quadruple post, with mini reviews of each.

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Turtles all the way Down (John Green)

Image result for turtles all the way downLet’s make something clear – I love John Green books. The Fault in our Stars made me cry, Paper Towns was lovely, Looking for Alaska was AMAZING, and even An Abundance of Katherines was good. Which meant that the latest book had some pretty big boots to fill. But, even though it took me a very long time to get my hands on Turtles, it did not disappoint. It was absolutely beautiful, and took me only a day to read. I just couldn’t seem to put it down. It had this odd feel of a ‘light read’, and felt really easy to just sink into and continue, even though the content was not light and happy for most of the book.

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Personally, the main character was very easy to relate to, even though she was a little insane (maybe that says something about me…), and even though the events in her life were not similar to mine, her way of explaining things was so different than any other character I’ve ever read. It was incredible.

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There was also (of course) the classic John Green moments, with the hilarious banter between friends, and random quotes that seem to have no place in a book like this, but make it that much better. Overall, it’s a moving story, featuring some amazing characters and beautiful language that I absolutely adored and would recommend to anybody. By far, my favourite John Green book, and probably my fav book of the year so far.


Defy and Worlds (Claudia Gray)

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Another golden find: Claudia Gray’s Constellation series. When Defy the Stars came outlast year, I picked it up only because it looked pretty (shh I judge books by their cover), but soon fell in love with the book itself. Picking up from the annoying ending of the first book, Defy the Worlds is action, action, and more action. There are twists and turns, added characters, new villains, and the same good old partnership of Noemi and Abel. While reading, I enjoyed it just as much as the first book, however looking back on it, it does feel like something was missing. I’m not sure whether it’s because this was the second book, and it didn’t have the same element of pleasant surprise that the first book had, or that it was just missing something that was in that Defy the Worlds… It was still a very good book, and I would recommend to any fans of YA, sci-fi, or fantasy genres.


Truthwitch (Susan Dennard)Image result for truthwitch book

Truthwitch is a book that I’ve seen on the shelves of Dymocks or other bookstores for a long time, and been interested, but not enough to buy it. Luckily, I spied it in my school’s library just before holidays began, so I borrowed it out and have since read and finished it. Truthwitch was a pleasant surprise – it was good, enjoyable, easy and quick to read, with some interesting characters. The two main girls, Safi and Iseult were lovely, I loved their conversations and friendship (I really am a sucker for good funny friendships – think Six of Crows style). Before starting it, I had read some reviews that had held high expectations for the book, but then been underwhelmed, but I thought it was rather nice. There’s never really a dull moment, and even a few twists as well. I need to get my hands on the next book.


The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)Image result for the great gatsby book

Now, I won’t say The Great Gatsby is a favourite of mine, but compared to other classics, it was one of the more enjoyable. I’ve read other old-ish books where it took me a while to get into the story and understand what was going on. I’d forget who characters were, and not really be interested. They also took me a looooong time to read. Luckily, The Great Gatsby is very short, so when I saw it, I believed I could push through it, even if it wasn’t my favourite. However, it was more enjoyable, and easier to read than I thought it would be. I was pulled straight into the storyline, was keeping up with most characters, and the events that occurred interested me. The only thing that means it’s only a good book instead of great, is that I didn’t really see the point. I mean, I enjoyed the story and all, but there didn’t really seem to be a point, or a moral to the story. It simply told its tale, and was finished. So, all in all, The Great Gatsby was more enjoyable than other classics, and is a good story to read, but it’s over and done with once you’ve finished it… That’s my point of view anyway. 🙂

Book Releases

IMG_9541Hello again!!

Long time no see guys! Or in this case, long time no hear! We’re well and truly into 2018 now, and I think it’s time to look at the releases coming this year.


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Children of Blood and Bone

Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi

I’d never even heard of Children of Blood and Bone before just now, but from reading the blurb it sounds pretty awesome. It’s the first installation in a new series (Legacy of Orïsha), and sounds a bit Throne of Glass-ish… but then again, that’s just from the blurb. I shall have to find this book somewhere and read it. (Also, the cover’s pretty awesome)

 

Defy the worldsDefy the Worlds – Claudia Gray

Yayyyyy, this book is finally out. After waiting just about a year to hear from Noemi and Abel, they’re back! I’m not entirely sure what to expect in this book, but I’ve heard lots of good reviews, and apparently there’s lots of action 🙂 . Anyone looking for a fast-paced story with robots and space travel, this is your series.

 

Batman; Nightwalker

Batman: Nightwalker  – Marie Lu

I believe Batman: Nightwalker is the second of the DC icons series, after Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman. I never actually got around to finishing WW, so maybe I’ll have to put it on my list so I can read this one.

 

 

 


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Kingdom of Ash – Sarah J. Maas (October 23)

Now this book should need no introduction. Finally the end is in sight. Right from the first moment I saw Throne of Glass sitting on a shelf in Dymocks, I have been slightly obsessed with this series. And now, seven books later, the last one is here!! Sadly, no cover picture yet, but I’m hoping it will be released soon, because this series has the best covers. Who else is excited??

war stormWar Storm – Victoria Aveyard (15th May)

This one’s the 4th book in the Red Queen series, and while I read the first two books, I didn’t really like them very much. But that doesn’t mean I can’t include it in my list, so any fans of Red Queen? Wait until 15th of May, and you’ll have your 4th book.

 

 

Queen of Air and DarknessQueen of Air and Darkness – Cassandra Clare (December 4)

And yes it’s ANOTHER Cassandra Clare book everyone. She’s gone from The Mortal Instruments, to The Infernal devices (prequel), and now The Dark Artifices (Sequel). It’s starting to look like Star Wars here. But anyway I really really like some of her books, and  from what I’ve read of the Dark Artifices, I’m excited for this one. (also just LOOK at that cover)

Catwoman; SoulstealerCatwoman: Soulstealer – Sarah J. Maas (August 7)

Anything written by Maas should be pretty amazing, so this 3rd book in the DC icons might be one to add to your TBR pile. From Wonder Woman, to Batman, we now have Catwoman: Soulstealer… sounds interesting.

 

 

A Court of Frost and StarlightA Court of Frost and Starlight – Sarah J. Maas (May 1)

If you’ve been keeping up with popular YA books, you would have heard of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I was looking forward to this one, thinking it was going to be book no. 4, and it was a little disappointing to hear that this is an ‘inbetweener’, and will only be no. 3.1. I shouldn’t complain though. If anybody is looking for a fantasy/fae series, and hasn’t read ACOTAR, I’d definitely recommend.

LegendaryLegendary – Stephanie Garber (May 29)

Legendary is the sequel to Garber’s first book Caraval, which was a very cool story with a magical setting in an awesome carnival, and I really really enjoyed reading it.  The only thing I didn’t really like was how confusing it was. The character’s roles and positions in the storyline seemed to change all the time and by the end I was very confused. But, in saying that, I am still looking forward to Legendary quite a bit.

Two Dark ReignsTwo Dark Reigns – Kendare Blake (September 4)

This book is the 3rd instalment in the Three Dark Crowns series, which I recently started. My school library had the first book, and while it took me a while to read, it was actually really good. Interesting, but good. All the different names and characters and families were hard to keep track of in the first one, but I learnt them by the end, so I’m looking forward to book 2 and 3 now.

Inferno (Talon)Inferno – Julie Kagawa (April 24)

Here’s another final book in the series – It feels like Julie Kagawa has been writing the Talon series for almost forever, but no, the end is in sight. April 24 will be the final showdown for Ember, Garret, Riley, and Dante

 

 

Muse of NightmaresMuse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor (October 2)

Aaaaand, yet another next-book-in-the-series that I’ve been desperately waiting for. Unfortunately, we still have to wait until October for this one, but oh it’ll be worth it. I absolutely loved Strange the Dreamer, and absolutely can’t wait for this book to come out. I’m sure a lot of other people are with me on that one.

 


And there we go! My list is complete! I’m sure there are many, many others that I’m forgetting, but these are the big ones that I know of (so the young adult, fiction, fantasy, contemporary novels). If one of your favourite authors has a book release this year, tell me about it in the comments 🙂

 

 

Yearly wrap up

Bookish Resolutions


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Hello! Good morning/afternoon/evening to you, you wonderful bookworms! How is everyone? I hope you’re all having a glorious holiday, celebrating a happy Christmas, or looking forward to the new year. I certainly am. I’m going into Grade 12 this year, so it’s the final run home of this era of my life. Hopefully I can squeeze some reading in there too (who am I kidding, of course I can) 🙂

The end of 2017 was a bit of a flop for me in terms of books and reading. Did you know that my last post on here was my September Wrap Up? Yup, that’s right, September. All the way back there. And I’m a bit ashamed to say that I didn’t read much after that either. I tried, trust me, but I just couldn’t get into anything, and at one point I believe I was reading 6 books at once.

But the end of 2017 and start of 2018 will hopefully change all that. Last year my reading challenge was 50 books, and I surpassed this goal with a mighty 54! Woohoo! I was hoping to get to 60 by the end of the year, but as I said, my reading habits went down the drain in the last few months. But let’s see what some of my favourites are (I’m going to be harsh):

  • A court of Wings and Ruin
  • A Darker Shade of Magic
  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone
  • Strange the Dreamer
  • Defy the Stars
  • Six of Crows
  • The Night Circus

And I don’t know whether this is an absolute favourite, but I really really loved A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness.

There were many more that I enjoyed thoroughly, and sadly a few that I didn’t. And that reminds me, I need to set up my TBR for this new year. Does anyone have any recommendations that I can add straight away? I would like to get a list going in my bullet journal (extra question: who else uses a bullet journal?)

My new reading challenge, that I literally just set actually, is 60 books. I think I can make that goal, but that means I’m going to have to start reading now… shouldn’t be a problem for me 🙂

And, as I say every year, I need to be more active on this blog. This year’s going to be full on, so I will try my very hardest, but when a reading slump happens, what can you do? I’m going to make a list of what to read, and stick to that list… hopefully


Also heads up for my fellow Brisbane-ers, Lifeline Bookfest is coming up!! If you can make it, I definitely recommend cause it’s a-MAAAAZZ-ing! See the link for more information:

https://www.bookfest.org.au/brisbane/


Hope all you lovely people had a merry Christmas, have a very happy new year, and of course, keep on reading!

September Wrap Up

Aaaaaaand it’s another month up. September already finished, that’s crazy, where did it go? And,… is that… Christmas up ahead? I can hear bells jingling already.

Back to books though, and September wasn’t too bad. I read a total of six books, so not too bad at all. Let’s get started shall we:

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Frogkisser – Garth Nix (3 stars)

I didn’t enjoy this one too much, but in saying that it wasn’t a bad book. I feel like it was just a bit slow, and too young for me to enjoy. It definitely a funny one for younger readers though, and quite easy to read.

 


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A Darker Shade of Magic – V.E. Schwab (4 1/2 stars)

Now. This one was very good. I loooooved this series, in particular this book. I found this one much more enjoyable than the next two, and it is so close to being 5 stars. I actually don’t know why I’m not giving it 5 stars, there was just this one thing that I can’t put my finger on. I’m not sure, but I most definitely recommend this book, most definitely.


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A Gathering of Shadows – V.E. Schwab (4 stars)

Second book in the series, and the only reasons why this one is more than 3 stars, are the characters. Kell and Lila and Rhy and Alucard were the ones who brought this up. Other than that A Gathering of Shadows wasn’t nearly as good as ADSOM.

 


ACOL.jpgA Conjuring of Light – V.E. Schwab (4 1/2 stars)

And final book in the series, A Conjuring of Light is back up to the 4 1/2 stars!! I felt this was a good finish, including a lovely and very enjoyable magical battle at the end. Also lots of CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, holy moly it was crazy. Again, a definite recommend, if you haven’t already read this trilogy.

 


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A Court of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J Maas (4 1/2 stars)

Well. Wasn’t this book a roller coaster? In fact, this whole series is a roller coaster!! There were so many things happening, and plot twist after plot twist, and just aaarrrrgghh! If you’ve read this, I think you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t, then this is another one of those series that I recommend all the time, especially if you’re a fan of the whole epic fantasy, young adult, fae/faerie thing.


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Tower of Dawn – Sarah J Maas (4 1/2 stars)

Lots of 4 1/2 stars going on in September, and they’re all so close to 5 stars too. I’m finding that lots of the young adult books these days are just becoming the same-old, same-old, BUT, I still loved this book. Just wow. Seriously, for those who were thinking about just skipping this one, who aren’t the biggest fans of Chaol (which was me), you still NEED to read it!!! Biggest plot twist people, and vital information!!! It’s a must read. And, I need the next book NOW!!


There we go, my six reads of September. I also finished my reading goal of 50 books!!! Finished it early as well, so let’s see if I can get to 60 before the end of the year. Hope you enjoyed my wrap-up! What are you reading at the moment?

Exciting news in the Grishaverse!!

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Guys. Hey guys. GUYS. Guess what!!? …Leigh Bardugo’s writing a new series!!!! I repeat, a new series, duology to be exact! And guess what about…?

Nikolai! Nikolai Lantsov is getting his very own two books, and I’m soooo excited. Seriously, I want these books now, just… please… write quickly!

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Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.

Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36307634-king-of-scars

Ahhhh, it sounds so good. And, if you aren’t a fan of blurbs (like me), see the book trailer here: http://ew.com/books/2017/09/26/leigh-bardugo-king-of-scars-nikolai-lantsov/

The trailer does a much better job I think. It’s just… argh I can’t wait already. Only bad news is… it’s not out until 2019. 2019!!! I can’t wait that long!!

Alright. Calm down Isis. There are other books to read in the meantime, including Bardugo’s newest release, The Language of Thorns. It has six new short stories, that will hopefully transport us to both old and new tales and places.

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I was first introduced to the Grishaverse through reading Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom, not realising that the Grisha Trilogy came before them. So, after becoming obsessed with every single one of the characters in Soc, I moved onto Shadow and Bone. Now, don’t get me wrong, I still enjoyed this series, but it was not nearly as good as Six of Crows. It was The Darkling, and of course good old Nikolai Lantsov that kept me going. Therefore, I am quite obviously excited for King of Scars, because I get to see him again. Just… please not any of the other annoying characters, not naming any names *cough* Mal *cough*.

And now, Language of Thorns has come out, just in time to keep us going until King of Scars arrives in another… two years. Yeah I’m going to have to find lots of other things to read before that one. Luuuuuuckily, I’ve got a huge to-read pile at the moment, including Wonder Woman: Warbringer. Hopefully, this other Bardugo book is as good as the rest of her books, and as good as the Wonder Woman movie, because geeeez that was good. Again, told you, I have too many books to read.

Well, that’s my post done. I was struggling to write anything earlier this month, besides reviews of course, but this was a good enough topic to write about. If you’re new to the fandom, I definitely recommend reading every single one of Leigh Bardugo’s books, they’re all amazing. (Especially Six of Crows, EVERYONE needs to read it 🙂 )

Nineteen years later…

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Time to do a little Harry Potter appreciation post. Because of course it doesn’t get enough of that already… Oh well, after yesterday, I simply had to write something about it. Who else caught the date?? I’ll give you a hint… the 1st September 2017…

…is nineteen years later exactly, from the end of the Harry Potter books!! At 11 o’clock, Albus Severus, along with the Potter and Granger-Weasley families, would be on Platform 9 3/4, awaiting the Hogwarts Express. Isn’t that crazy? This is it! The last ever reference from the initial HP books…ever! I feel like the world is now moving on from this giant, magical era.

What made these books so amazing??

I’ve thought about this many times before, and have actually reached the conclusion that it’s not because of the writing. Before you get mad at me for accusing J.K. Rowling of a bad author, let me clarify: Harry Potter isn’t badly written, in fact it’s fantastic, especially for younger readers. But, in saying that, I’ve read a lot of other things that have much better language and writing, and haven’t got half as much popularity as HP.

I think that the allure of Harry Potter comes from the sheer magical imagination that Rowling had. The enchanting Diagon Alley, with it’s magical moving-brick doorway. Intelligent owls swooping into the Great Hall, dropping mail onto the laps of wizards and witches. Flying cars, flying broomsticks, flying snitches, it was all so amazing. To watch it of course made everything more real, but the first read of it was a truly fascinating experience. I think it’s due time I re-read them all actually…

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It was also that it was so big. The first book set everything up – setting, plot, characters, got everything started. And then, book after book, they just kept coming, with a new story in each one, adding characters, adding experiences, right up until Deathly Hallows, and it all comes together. So much planning would have had to gone into this series, to make sure everything played out in the end.

I think that’s what made it so impressive. Also that there really wasn’t anything like it at the time. Nowadays, all the magic type stories are said to be based on Harry Potter (which I don’t really agree with), but when HP was first released, it would have been so original. At least, I don’t really know of any other magic schools for witchcraft and wizardry from before it’s time. a4e103f38784490e2e41930f1043bca1

And to think, when I first began this series, I didn’t like it. Who knew that I would become just slightly-obsessed with its story. For me, it’s quite hard to believe what the world would be like without it. Luckily, we also have movies, and plays, and more movies to continue its legacy. While the world is moving on, continuing the story with characters such as Albus Severus, and Newt Scamander (Don’t get me wrong, I love Fantastic Beasts), I will never forget the wonder, and lure, and magic of Harry Potter. I hope you don’t either.

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I’m back everyone!!

Okay. First of all, hello again!!! I haven’t posted for such a long time now, so let’s start with a big “HI!” I am super duper behind on my reviews, and I actually forgot about the July Wrap-up last month, so this post is going to have a bit of everything.

In the past two months, quite a few things have happened. Let’s see…

  • I returned from my school ski trip
  • Loooots of assignments
  • Quite a few exams
  • My birthday!!!!
  • Recieved lots of books
  • Read lots of books

As you can see, I’ve been busy. Let me know what books you’ve been reading, I’d like to know any new ones that are out. And hopefully, I’ll get stuck into some reviews later on, so I can share mine with you.


Okie dokie, let’s see what I’ve been reading. This is my ‘wrap-up’ for July and August:

  • Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh   (4 stars)

Am I the only one who didn’t realise that this was part of a series?? Because I didn’t know. And then when I got to the end of the book, and it didn’t finish, I was veeerrry confused. Anyway, regardless, I quite enjoyed it, if a bit slow to start.

  •  Rogue by Julie Kagawa   (4 stars)

This one was actually a re-read, so I was up to date with the series. When Legion was released (maybe 2 months ago now??) I bought it straight away, ready to re-read the series, and finish it off… and I still haven’t read it. Oh well, I’ll get there soon. I really really like this series, and definitely recommend to YA fans.

  • This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab   (4 stars)

This was my first of Victoria Schwab’s books, and I have to say, it wasn’t as amazing as I thought. I mean, still 4 stars, but from the hullabaloo everyone made over this series, it didn’t live up to its name. What do you think?

  • Rebel of the Sands and Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton   (4 stars)

It seems this was the 4 stars month. Basically all of them I rated 4 stars, I’m only just realising. I’d been meaning to read these books for so long now, and was not disappointed. Rebel wasn’t far off getting 5 stars, but they were both really good. The second one took a little longer to get into for me, but other than that, I loved them.

  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller

Don’t you just love school reading?? First Dracula and now The Crucible. I think next year we get to read Hamlet, which I’m quite excited for. This one wasn’t the most enjoyable, and being a play took quite a while to get started, but it was very interesting. (I could go on about it for a while, seeing as I had to write a speech and an essay about it)

  • Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy by Laini Taylor

Let’s start off by saying I LOVE LAINI TAYLOR!! She’s so amazing at writing, first it was Strange the Dreamer, and now I’ve read this series as well, I’m just in love with her books. Everyone must read them!!!


And that’s it! Nine books in all, over the two months, and most of them amazing!! I was also very lucky last Wednesday, with all the books I received. Has anyone heard of The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly?? I’ve never seen it before but it looks very interesting. And on top of this, I got two trilogies that I have been dying to read; A Darker Shade of Magic, and ACOTAR!! All three books each!! Crazy times, and now I can finally read them. They’ll probably be some of the first reviews I post.

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Book Review – The Night Circus

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Author: Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Fantasy, fiction, romance, magic

Pages: 512

First Published: September 2011

Series: standalone

Rating:  star_rating_4_of_5

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The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway: a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them both, this is a game in which only one can be left standing. Despite the high stakes, Celia and Marco soon tumble headfirst into love, setting off a domino effect of dangerous consequences, and leaving the lives of everyone, from the performers to the patrons, hanging in the balance.

line_breakMy Review:

Another really, awesome book!! At the moment, I’m just reading good book after good book, so there’s not going to be any bad reviews for a while. Which is good! Who doesn’t love a great read? Let’s get on with why The Night Circus is a great book…

The best thing about The Night Circus is the incredible world the author has created – as well as the characters she’s added into it. There is SO MUCH world building that has gone into creating it, and because of it, it makes the whole story feel less cheap, and more real, or 3D. And it’s not just the setting either! The plot line, atmosphere, and down to the smallest events that occur, are all sorted perfectly to create the book. That’s what makes the complication, and then resolution, so perfect. It’s like Morgenstern has the whole thing mapped out in her head, so when she needs to chop and change between past, present and future, it’s all already there.

The Night Circus does include many POVs, some in the same time period, while others are flashbacks, or are in the future. Now this feature could have made the book really messy, and hard to follow, but because it was so well planned out, it actually made sense. (There were parts that were a little unclear, but they soon made sense if you kept reading) The further into the book I went, more bits kept jumping out at me, and then clicked into place, until right at the end with the climax, and it all came together.

Okay, okay, I need to stop talking about planning. What about the characters? Celia and Marco were perfect I think, and each of the background characters had their perks. I think the only let-down would be too many. Between having plot-lines in the past, present and future, there were quite a number of people involved in this story. This is what made it a bit hard to follow at times.

Another perk; strong female characters! Yay! I love books that include them, and The Night Circus doesn’t just have one main, but also all the female side characters are strong and can make their own decisions. I really just love reading from their point of view, or about them.

“Most maidens are perfectly capable of rescuing themselves in my experience, at least the ones worth something, in any case.”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

Okay, to sum up. The story takes a while to get into the ‘real’ plot-line, but once it does, it is impossible to put down. As I was reading it, I kept noticing the symmetry between it, and The Prestige movie. Both have two magicians, duelling over many, many years, while still trying to live their lives as normal as possible. (And, at the back of my copy of The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern actually says one of her inspirations for the book was The Prestige, so there you go.) I found the story really interesting, and fun to read about. Similar setting to Caraval if you liked that.

 “We lead strange lives, chasing our dreams around from place to place.”
― Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus

Book Review – Flame in the Mist

Title:  Flame in the Mist23308087.jpg

Author: Renee Ahdieh

Genre: Fantasy, YA, romance, historical, retelling, fiction

Pages: 393

First Published: May 2017

Series: Flame in the Mist #1

Rating: star_rating_4_of_5

line_break.pngThe only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

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My Review:

I was pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t no Strange the Dreamer or The Book Thief  but, it was good. Very good. I enjoyed reading it immensely, and think most people would as well.

For me, I wasn’t into it in the beginning. I was actually almost about to put it down and just give up, when something finally happened, and I was drawn back in. So, after my initial doubts, I kept getting surprised, and found myself running back to it, and staying up to finish ‘one more chapter’. These are usually the signs of a good book for me, and so while I wasn’t sure at first, I think I’ve got to give it 4 stars.

Somehow, after reading reviews and the blurb, I still didn’t realise it was a Mulan retelling, set in the wonderful world of feudal Japan. (In case you didn’t know either, there you go 🙂 ) And it was wonderful. I didn’t realise how much I enjoy books set in foreign countries. Usually its the US, England, or home-sweet-home Australia, and I really liked the change of scenery. It was just different. So many little references that add to the story-building, and atmosphere, that I usually miss because they’re common place in English-speaking countries. So that was one reason.

Also because it’s got action, fighting, magic, badass females, multiple storylines and a 3D plot. You know, all of those reasons. It just had everything. (Well. Mostly. I’ll talk about that later) What lifted it up from average to better, is definitely its many parts. If it was contained to just the one plot line, with the one main group of characters, then I really could only have given it 3 stars. But, it featured the main group, it had two families connected to that, the royals, and then people related to the Royals, and they all interrelated! That is what made it so much better. There were so many little links and possibilities spiralling off in my head while I was reading, and at the end, most of them came together, leaving me wanting the next book immediately. It was written really well.

Saying all this, you might be wondering how it’s not 5 stars. It’s actually kind of confusing me as well. But most of this review applies only for most of the book. The first couple of chapters, where I was a bit iffy, was not written well. It annoyed me, almost to the point of putting down the book, (lucky I kept going, because it got a lot better), because there was nothing interesting happening. Yes, there was an execution. Who was everyone? I had no connection with any of the characters, so it didn’t do anything for me. Next thing: change in character. She gets ambushed and is the only survivor, what a surprise. (don’t worry it’s not a spoiler, I wouldn’t do that to you. It says it on the blurb) She continues into a dark, mysterious forest, and thinks someone’s following her. It’s just all so ordinary. Only when she meets the next group of characters, there’s a spark, and it gets better from there.

So, aside from boring, heard-it-all-before beginning, great book! Would definitely recommend, and my advice: Don’t give up on it!!

Happy Reading!