Saturday, 13 July 2019

Thoughts: Mahimata by Rati Mehrotra

Summary: A young female assassin must confront the man who slaughtered her family, risk her heart, and come to terms with her identity as a warrior and as a woman in this thrilling fantasy from the author of Markswoman.

Kyra has returned to the caves of Kali, but her homecoming is bittersweet. Her beloved teacher is dead and her best friend Nineth is missing. And gone, too, is Rustan, the Marksman who helped her train for the duel with Tamsyn--and became far more than a teacher and friend.

Shaken by his feelings for Kyra and the truth about his parentage, Rustan has set off on a quest for answers. His odyssey leads him to the descendants of an ancient sect tied to the alien Ones--and the realization that the answers he seeks come with a price.

Yet fate has plans to bring Kyra and Rustan together again. Kai Tau, the man who slaughtered Kyra’s family, wages war on the Orders of Asiana. Hungering for justice, Kyra readies herself for battle, aided by her new companions: the wyr-wolves, who are so much more than what they seem. And determined to keep the woman he loves safe, Rustan joins the fight to ride by her side.

But will this final confrontation ultimately cost them their love...and their lives?

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Mahimata is the sequel to Markswoman, my review of book one can be found here. I feel like the Asiana duology is a under-rated gem of a series that needs more attention. The world building was explored more in Mahimata and we are given an extensive look at Asiana. The plot was action packed and the relationship between Kyra and Rustan was brilliantly done. I'm going to be honest and say that the ending was slightly confusing, but satisfying never the less. Overall, I would recommend this duology to adult and YA high fantasy lovers alike!


Sunday, 27 January 2019

Review: Evermore by Sara Holland

Summary: Jules Ember was raised hearing legends of the ancient magic of the wicked Alchemist and the good Sorceress. But she has just learned the truth: not only are the stories true, but she herself is the Alchemist, and Caro—a woman who single-handedly murdered the Queen and Jules’s first love, Roan, in cold blood—is the Sorceress.

The whole kingdom believes that Jules is responsible for the murders, and a hefty bounty has been placed on her head. And Caro is intent on destroying Jules, who stole her heart twelve lifetimes ago. Jules must delve into the stories that she now recognizes are accounts of her own past. For it is only by piecing together the mysteries of her lives that Jules will be able to save the person who has captured her own heart in this one.

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Unfortunately, the conclusion to the Everless duology was disappointing. 

I think my main issue with Evermore was that it was missing the element that made book one so interesting, i.e. the time is currency aspect. 

Evermore is basically focused on Jules running away from Caro, while at the same time trying to find a way to destroy her. There were a lot of flashbacks to their shared past together, and these flashbacks were used as a way to reveal answers which I thought was a bit of a cop out. The plot felt dragged out and the constant repetition didn't help matters. I never really felt any sense of excitement when I came back to the book after putting it down, I just wanted it to end, which is never a good sign.

The romance was kind of just there for me, it was nothing to write home about. I feel like there was potential, but it was lacking chemistry. 

The ending wrapped things up, however, Holland left it so that there could potentially be room for another book. Suffice to say I won't be reading it if there is, as at this point I'm no longer interested. 


Sunday, 6 January 2019

Review: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Summary: High in a snowy mountain range, a monastery that holds more than just faith clings to the side of a cliff. Below, thwarted by a lake, a bloodthirsty horde of raiders await the coming of winter and the frozen path to destroy the sanctuary and its secrets.

The Bloodwitch Aeduan has teamed up with the Threadwitch Iseult and the magical girl Owl to stop the destruction. But to do so, he must confront his own father, and his past.

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Publication date: 12/02/2019

The Witchlands series is probably one of my favourite on-going series'. I've been impatiently waiting for the release of book three, and the fact that it's Aeduan's story had me even more excited.

As with the previous books, Bloodwitch, switches perspectives, with Aeduan's being the central point of view. I have shipped Aeduan and Iseult since the first time they crossed paths in Truthwitch. So, it's no surprise then that my favourite parts of Bloodwitch where when they were together - like I tried to slow down and savour those moments when I got to them, yet at the same time  I couldn't read fast enough. Dennard has done such a good job with creating tension between these two - they are the definition of slow burn.

If you're looking for a YA fantasy which features complex and multi-layered female characters this is the one. I love how Dennard has created female characters that are strong, but in different ways. She shows that the term "strong female character" doesn't just mean being able to fight and not liking feminine things - which I really appreciated as this is something that frustrates me.

A character who I absolutely fell in love with in Bloodwitch was Leopold. I really enjoyed his interactions with Iseult, but he's still a bit of a mystery, so I'm hoping we get to learn more about him in the next book.

The overall plot was amazing, and I liked all the interconnecting story-lines. All in all, Bloodwitch was a fantastic addition to the Witchlands series!


Sunday, 17 June 2018

Ships from books I've read so far this year

Hey, guys! Today I'm sharing my ships from some books I've read so far this year.

Laia and Elias from A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir

Catherine and Tzsayn from The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

Rielle and Audric from Furyborn by Claire Legrand 

Theo and Soren from Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian 

Noemi and Abel from Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray

Who are you shipping from the books you've read so far this year?  😃

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Review: Defy the Worlds by Claudia Gray

Summary: Noemi Vidal has returned to her planet, Genesis, as an outsider - ostracised for refusing to end the Liberty War by sacrificing Abel, the most advanced mechanical man ever made. She dreams of travelling through the stars again, and when a deadly plague arrives on Genesis, Noemi gets her chance. The only soldier to have ever left her planet, it will be up to her to save its people. If only she wasn't flying right into a trap.

Abel, now fully aware of his soul and captaining his own Vagabond ship, never dreamed he'd see Noemi again, not when the entire universe stands between them. But when his creator Burton Mansfield delivers news of Noemi's entrapment, Abel knows he must save her, even if it means risking his own life.

Danger lurks in the dark corners of the galaxy, and Abel and Noemi will discover a secret that could save Genesis and Earth... or destroy them all. 

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I feel like the first book in this planned trilogy, Defy the Stars, is so under-rated. If you didn't like Gray's Evernight series don't let that put you off these books. They are diverse, action packed reads with root worthy characters.

I'm going to be honest and admit that it took me a second to get back into the world. The reason why is because I wasn't expecting the two main characters, Abel and Noemi, to be spending the first half of the book apart. What made book one so interesting was Noemi and Abel's adventure together. However, I was determined not to DNF it because I loved book one so much, and in the end I'm so glad I did. My initial struggle to get back into the world didn't last too long, after about 5% Noemi and Abel's separate story arcs took off. I got sucked right back in, and was eagerly waiting for them to reunite. As with the first book there's diversity, religion, and philosophical pondering which I enjoyed.

The relationship between Abel and Noemi is literally the definition of a slow burn romance.  There's no rush to say the L world, instead Gray's takes time exploring their feelings for one another. I always prefer when there's a build up of tension, and hints of thing to come in book one of a series. Then in book two you see it come to fruition like yesss!

The ending was shocking! I didn't see it coming and it makes me wonder what direction the conclusion will take.


Friday, 30 March 2018

Review: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Summary: The queen you were meant to be
The land you were meant to save
The throne you were meant to claim

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed Ash Princess. 

When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can't ignore her feelings and memories any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser's warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn't expect to develop feelings for the Prinz. 

Forced to make impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she's willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she's willing to sacrifice to become Queen.

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Publication date: 24/06/18 (UK)

Ash Princess was an addictive page-turner that held my attention from start to finish. Whenever I had to put it down I was always eager to return. I even took to reading it on the Kindle app on my phone when I was out, which is something I never do, because I can't stand reading on anything but my Kindle. 

A warning to readers who are not a fan of books featuring violence and dark subject matters, Ash Princess doesn't shy away from either. The plot sounds like a typical YA fantasy what with the conquered land, a princess out for revenge, and the "love triangle" with her rebel ally and enemy Prinz. However, despite the tropes I found the world Sebastian has created interesting and not at all cliche. Theo's inner struggle and character development was really well done. She was forced to make some hard decisions, and I was fully rooting for her throughout.

In regards to the "love triangle" (and I say love triangle loosely) I honestly didn't mind it. I can't believe I'm saying that, but it's true. It's quite possibly the only love triangle I've read that hasn't made me mad and want to DNF the book. I think it's largely due to the fact that it's not your typical love triangle. Theo isn't constantly mooning over the two love interests. She has fleeting thoughts here and there, but it doesn't overtake her main concern: overthrowing the enemy and reclaiming her land. Also, to me at least, it's obvious where her heart truly lies. 

Overall, a very compelling read. I can't wait for the sequel!  


Sunday, 18 March 2018

Review: The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

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The Queen's Rising was on my list of most anticipated 2018 releases, but it didn't turn out to be quite what I was expecting. A large part of the story is based in Magnalia House, the place where Brienna attempts to learn how to master her passion. The pacing of this part of the book was very slow, and I found the time spent at the house to be over-drawn and boring. When Brienna does finally leave the house there is some action, however, by this point I didn't care anymore. Personally, I need to be hooked from the beginning to be able to get fully immersed into a story.

An aspect of the book I did like was the female friendships. The relationship between Brienna and the other girls in the house was sweet and lacked the usual mean girls pitied against one another vibe. It was up lifting and refreshing.

I can't say I really disliked any of the characters, it was more that I felt disconnected from them. They were all very bland, Brienna included. Which leads me to the romance - although it was a slow burn I found it lacking. I didn't care enough for the characters to be able to ship them, and there was none of the usual tension and swoon that goes along with a good slow burn. 

The Queen's Rising wasn't my cup of tea, unfortunately.

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