Review: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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Title: Crooked Kingdom

Author: Leigh Bardugo

My rating: 5/5

Goodreads rating: 4.62/5

Genre: YA Fantasy

Publisher:  Orion Children’s Books

Summary (Goodreads):

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.
Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.
A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.
 

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Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

 

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Title: All The Bright Places

Author: Jennifer Niven

My rating: 4.75

Goodreads rating: 4.21

Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Summary (Goodreads):

Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

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Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

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Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

My Rating: 3.5- 4.0

Goodreads Rating: 3.81

Summary (Goodreads): 

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of curious photographs.

A horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.


Cover: 4/5

The cover really has some big quirky factor and what initially drew me to this book at the book store.


Review:

This book was totally different from what I expected it to be. I guess that’s what the book should do- surprise you, but I don’t really know if I was feeling the surprise really.

I think I am recognising this feeling as disappointment again, but I don’t think this was a bad book at all, but I did certainly have some issues with this book. The start was so fantastic and then it turned into a muddy mess a a bit.

Plot:

There’s not much I can say without giving away the story, but really this story is about Jacob and discovering his grandfather’s past which turns out to be more dangerous and magical than Jacob could of ever realised. I feel like the summary of this book was a little misguiding in some aspects, so when I started reading this book and kind of got midway I just had to stop and think what the hell is this book about?

Jacob had one real solid goal and then after he reached that goal, it was like he was dilly dallying for a good number of pages. The big reveal about the Home was introduced to early I feel which kind of funked up the pacing which made it weird.

The plot was interesting and intriguing enough for me to be hooked but the later half of the book just seemed like another plot was thrown in there in a rushed way. This book could of easily been one nice book wrapped up with a nice ending, but the second element of the book just really disjointed the story altogether.

Writing:

The writing was very nice and smooth. The words flowed seamlessly most of the time and it was in a very sophisticated fashion (maybe a little too sophisticated for a seventeen year old from time to time). Also Riggs descriptions were very atmospheric as well, I could see all of the locations he described like a had a picture of all of these places.The more adventurous scenes at the end of the book were written with complete clarity, meaning that the scene didn’t read as rushed blur. Everything was in detail though you could sense the urgency and pressure of all things

One thing the writing did lack though was feeling. I felt kind of disconnected to the story, like I could see everything from a bird’s eye view but not right beside Jacob.

Characters:

I’m in two minds about Jacob. On one hand he is a witty, courageous and on the other he is annoying and some sort of naivety about him. In the first half the novel I really like his character and how he was written, but then slowly he got caught up by love (I’ll get to that later) and the excitement of the Perculiar children that his character almost seemed to dull a bit.

Now Emma. I strongly dislike the Jacob and Emma romance. It felt a little insta lovey for me and very predictable. It was not needed for the development of the story and it’s creepy on many levels. Emma on her own was a is rounded character I think and I look forward to reading more of her development in Hollow City.

The rest of the perculiar children in generally are likeable character and I like how they are mature, but have very childish tendencies. Hopefully we get to meet them more in depth in the next installment.

BONUS- Photos:

Now we all know this story is a bit different because it includes black and white pictures. I think I enjoyed this element in the story more than I disliked it. I liked it because we got to see some of the characters as what the authors sees and wants us to see them as and it added a sense of anticipation and creepiness to the book which it boosted from. Why I didn’t like it was because that we as the reader couldn’t really see the characters as WE want to see them. I have a set image of the characters in my head and then you turn the page and go oh that’s what they are suppose to look like. Secondly, sometimes I felt the photos were just written in their to show the picture not because it added any extra value to the plot.

What I liked:

  • The descriptive pieces of writing
  • The first half of the book
  • A handful of photos which helped the story in a unique way
  • Some of the plot twists got me gasping.

What I disliked:

  • The second half of the book was pretty meh
  • The romance definitely!
  • Some random unnecessary photos
  • The sometimes disjointed plot

Verdict: Though this book had a really great idea in it’s hands, the execution went a little askew in the end. The writing was a joy yo read and even though I disliked the romance it wasn’t a big part in the book and when the plot wasn’t disjointed it was a pleasure to read. A recommend if you like plot twisty books and black and white pictures with your book and tea 🙂

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Review- The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

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Title: The Rest Of Us Just Live Here

Author: Patrick Ness

My Rating: 4.0

Goodreads Rating: 3.95

Summary (Goodreads): 

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.


Cover: 4/5 

I really like the cover for this book, it’s simple but really beautiful. And the bright bold yellow makes it 100x better!




Review:

Hmm…is this is what it feels like to be disappointed because it feels weird. Normally I keep my expectations in check when I hear a good book. I don’t watch any reviews on booktube, I skim through book reviews just encase I find out that a jerk character turns out to be good. I want to find out everything via the book. But I don’t know why but, I felt really excited for the book. Really excited and that was just the summary that got me hyped up! But sadly, even though I enjoyed the story it still felt a little hollow.

Plot:

The number one issue I had with this book- the plot, or lack of a plot really. The plot was not even a existent for the best part of the book. It just followed Mikey’s life with odd bursts of action. I have to say that page 200 mark it picked up considerably.The book was, I was reading it, screaming CONTEMPORARY but it had this flimsy fantasy case which made the plot feel really odd. It didn’t know where it was going or who it was taking with.

But even after saying that, I loved how Ness wove mental illness into his story. It was really refreshing his take on it and it made me build a connection with the characters. I liked how it wasn’t said as well in the plot as well just ‘boom mental illness deal with it’.

The more fantastical parts of the plot were not to my taste really. I mean the world building was really weak anyway, I felt really lost in the world, and it almost felt like it was thrown in there because there need to be more action. What this story would of really benefited from was dual perspectives. One POV Mikey, the other POV a chosen one. This would of really balanced out the contemporary and fantasy genres.

The ending was a little bit too neat for my longing and failed to make a lasting impression on me.

Writing:

When I opened this book and started reading all I kept on thinking was simple, simple SIMPLE! The random short sentences didn’t do enough to break the barrage of simple sentences for me and though I can admire Ness for his wonderful talent on writing teenagers, this side of the writing was limp.

As the story got on I got used to his writing style and the simplicity of the writing did make my fly through  the pages and kept the story light and airy.

One chapter that literally helped bumped this book up half a star was Chapter Sixteen and I won’t say anything else, but that chapter was written really really awesomely.

Characters:

Oh now the reason why this book was more than a 3.5 stars.

I love Mikey. He is such a blast of fresh angsty air. Myself being a teenager means  most of the books I read have teen characters in them. Even though many of the characters have many relatable teenager-y mannerisms and thoughts, Mikey is a living breathing teenager. Down to his understandable mood swings to his feelings on acceptance among his group of friends. This character really carried the book along I feel.

On the other hand, I didn’t feel connected to to Henna at all. I thought she was playing with people’s feelings in the first half of the novel. Also by the end, her character was not really fleshed out a lot and her story was tied up a bit to cleanly.

I liked Mel and Jared. They were likable enough and I enjoyed finding out the little pieces of information about them during the book.

Overall, I feel like the characters in the book were incredibly realistic- well as realistic you can get with kids being murdered around ya.

What I liked:

  • The main protagonist (along with most of his friends) were real and a joy to read
  • Surprisingly fast paced
  • Story line nice and light
  • Wonderfully woven mental health sub plots within the context

What I disliked:

  • Non existent world building
  • Unbalanced genre elements
  • Too simplistic writing

Verdict: This book was not what I expected. There I said it. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy Mikey’s story as it was engaging to read and the characters were whole and greatly realistic. Though the over arching plot was lacking and this book didn’t know it wanted to be a solid contemporary half the time, Mickey really brought this book home with his teenage awkwardness making me recommend this to people looking for a nice contemporary.

I’ll write soon!

-Astra

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October Wrap Up + November TBR!

Happy 1st November! I think we can officially start counting down until Christmas! I hope your reading month was brilliant and enriching, please link below your Wrap Ups and TBRs so that I have something to read while doing NaNoWriMo!


Here is my October Wrap Up first!

It felt like a lifetime ago since I read the Miniaturist by Jessie Burton, but I did and my review is here!


After that I completed Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell which I loved reading! The review is also here.


The Book Thief by Markus Zusak was next and this book smashed my feels pieces them back together and then smashed them again. Meaning, this book was brilliant! Review here.

Town of evening calm, Country of cherry blossoms was a lovely read and first graphical novel I read in a long time! If you want to check out the review click here!

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I read Carry On by Rainbow Rowell guys. And I liked, not loved it, but still thoroughly enjoyed it I believe. You know the drill, the review is here.

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And then guess what? I read Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and it was kiss ass awesome! I LOVED IT SO MUCH THE SEQUEL NEEDS TO BE IN MY HANDS NOW! If you want more coherent thoughts the review is right here.

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Though Shadow and Bone wasn’t as polished and clean as Six Of Crows it was still awesome and I can’t wait to read the next book in the trilogy. Review.

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I made quick with Spinner by Tabi Card which was a e-copy of a book sent to me for review! A lovely fast paced read! Review.

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The final book I read for October was the Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness. A review to come soon but it was a really solid book in my opinion.


November TBR time!

And my pile is going to be extremely short, but don’t worry it’s just because of NaNoWriMo. I’m going to try to write loads at the start so that I’m not panicking at the end, but hopefully I get to read throughout the month anyway.

So, I need to finish off Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.


Also today I started reading Maus by Art Spigelman and I am loving it! It should be finished soon, so there’s another review for all of you!


And hopefully I will get to More Than This by Patrick Ness which people have been telling me is great.


And that’s all because I don’t want to promise anything that I can’t deliver.

So to summarise I have had a great month with reading for October, but it will be on the back burner while in November.

Remeber to link all your TBRs and Wrap Ups below and I’ll write soon!

-Astra

NaNoWriMo

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Review: Spinner By Tabi Card


Title: Spinner

Author: Tabi Card

My Rating: 3.75

Goodreads Rating: 4.01

Summary: 

“Tomorrow morning I am going to die. My limbs are straight, my hair a dull, flaxseed brown – magic’s curse doesn’t touch me. I can’t spin straw into gold any more than a magic user can escape deformity.” 

Greta is trapped by a lie. When the king hears her father’s deceitful claim of her spinning magic, he takes her and promises to end her life if she cannot spin a room of straw into gold by morning. 


But then the mysterious, magical spinner comes. His nightly appearance saves her life…and further tangles the web of lies she has woven for her survival. 

As Greta finds her heart slipping towards a love both dangerous and impossible, a question haunts her: how long will the charade last? 


Cover: 3/5

I really like this cover- it intrigued me into the story and I will say it now and say it again, covers are really important! Even though we all say don’t judge a book from it’s cover, we do and on this particular occasion it paid off!

Review:

I received a e-copy of this novella from the writer for reviewing purposes. All opinions and thoughts are mine purely.

First of all I want to say that the author, Tabi Card, is a really sweet person and it is always nice to speak to a kind, hardworking author from time to time.

Secondly, I enjoyed reading this retelling of Rumpelstiltskin. It put a YA twist on the old take which I would of loved to read as a full length novel.

Plot:

The plot for the story  was rather simple, because this is a novella, but executed rather nicely. The story follows a girl, Greta, who is practically sold off to the King after her father boasts of her nonexistent  powers of turning straw to gold. Greta gets locked up every night so that she can change a whole room full of straw into gold, but a mysterious boy slips into the room every night and saves her from inevitable death that would be greeting her if her lies came to the surface.

It was a super fast read and the story always kept me wanting more at the end of a chapter.

One thing I have to say though is that there could of been more suspense. Not just the same I hope she doesn’t die thought at the end of the chapter. Another dynamic would of brought my life into the story I feel which would of made me feel more connected to the whole story overall.

Also more backstory! More backstory for the story, I really love immersing myself into a fantasy world and sadly the world building was running a little too thin for my liking.

Writing:

Card’s writing was smooth and easy to read. I didn’t have any major issues with it but I crave description which is probably why I loved the Night Circus so much. That was what the novel was lacking in which is a shame because I can categorically say that if that writing was more descriptive it would of been a more engaging read.

Characters:

Greta was an overall nice character. I felt really sympathetic towards her  situation, but again I wish I could of known more about her to build more of an attachment towards her.

I liked how The Spinner’s character was shrouded with mystery (I think I’m just drawn to mysterious characters anyway cough cough Kaz Brekker cough the Darkling cough) and his sinister act at the end of the Novella was very appreciated! I actually think his character was well written though a more in depth encounters with him would help develop his character more.

And now to the King. I really wish that his character was just something more than I got. Okay his a greedy King, but what else? At the end of the story it was a little frustrating and I was almost confused with his character.

What I liked:

  • The plot was an interesting take on Rumpelstiltskin
  • The writing was light and easy to read.
  • Fast, page turning read

What I didn’t like:

  • Writing sometimes too simplistic
  • The character of the King want developed
  • Not enough description/backstory

Verdict: Even though I feel like I was a little harsh in this review, I did enjoy this book and I feel like you would too if you are into fairy tale retelling, mysterious love interests or just fun reads which don’t just leave you hollow, but with a warm feeling.

You can purchase Spinner now on Amazon for 99p or $1.50 for Kindle.( I really hope a paperback addition comes soon!)

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

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WWW Wednesday!

Hey!

It’s Wednesday. And this is a book blog. So you know it’s WWW Wednesday! Now because I am the biggest scardy cat in the who world, I couldn’t do Top 5 Spooky Recommends for Top 5 Wednesday. How’s you Wednesday been anyway? I got some serious backstory done for one of my antagonists for NaNoWriMo which is really great! I also made an instagram for books and everything bookish because I think it would be fun to share everything bookish about me in a different format. Here it is if you want to check it out!

Anyway onto WWW Wednesday!


What are you currently reading?

I am currently- well about to be starting- Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and I cannot wait! It’s a book everyone recommends to me to read and I finally am! I really hope this book is amazing because I have high expectations.


What have you read previously?

I finished The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness yesterday night and it is a really solid book in my opinion. A review to come soon! Also I read Shadow and Bone and Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo which are brilliant brilliant books! Six Of Crows is one of the best books I’ve read all year and Shadow and Bone was very gripping as well!



What books you are planning to read?

Well I don’t plan on reading many books because NaNoWriMo, but if I do have a scrap of time it will be dedicated to reading More Than This by Patrick Ness and finishing The 9th Girl my Tami Hoag.

 


WWW Wednesday done! Feel free to link your WWW Wednesday posts and Top 5 Wednesday posts- who says you can only read scary books in Halloween!-  down in the comments because I’ll be very interested in reading them!

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

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October Book Haul!

Hey everyone! How’s everyone’s Monday’s been? My Monday’s been great because I got booooooks! Ah, I love books so much and I always have this epiphany when I buy another book. But not just one book I bought, no no no, but EIGHT BOOKS! Can you tell I’m a bit hyper? Because of NaNoWriMo, I won’t be able to read all of these books even before the middle of November probably, but HEY books are books. Lets get haulin’ then!   

 
Firstly, I finally have the personal copy of the Hunger Games Trilogy! Don’t worry, I have read the Hunger Games and Catching Fire and Mockingjay, but I just got them all from the library, so it feels good to have all of them to own!

  

The next two books I got was The Rest Of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness and Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo! I was basically hugging these books all day. Two of the most anticipated books of the year…in my hands! I just cannot wait to read these two!

 

Even though people say that the other cover glows, this cover is just perfect!


The next batch of books was Snow Like Fire by Sara Raasch and More Than This by Patrick Ness. Snow Like Fire was going to be one of those books that I say I really want to read, but not pick up because of new releases or exisisting books I have read. But I saw this in the bookstore and just thought this is the day. And the bookstore assistant person said it was on her Christmas list. Then while I was paying for those books, the person said More than this made her cry hard and it was a special book. Hopefully I can read these books during NaNoWriMo.

 
Lastly, I have Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs. This is going to be my ONLY spooky read this month and I am pretty unashamed to say that! This books seems so cool and mean the pictures. THE PICTURES! I cannot wait to dive into this book. I am waiting until it is a couple of days before Halloween because I am weird and then I’m going to read it.

  
  

And that was my October haul! Obviously, you guys know that I bought Carry On and Ninth Girl but the ones I shown were the more recent books I got. 

I hope you enjoyed this haul because I really enjoyed getting all of these books- though my purse would say otherwise.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Ten popular books/series that I haven’t read yet

Happy Sunday guys! How’s your day going? Well I should really be doing some French revision because I seriously failed my listening and reading exams, but I had this great idea for a post so I am throwing caution to the wind! 

So this list isn’t really in any particular order and some of these books/series are on my TBR list and some I just don’t have any interest in reading or I tried and failed in reading the series. Let’s get to this list then!

10. The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer

  

I just thought I should get this one out the way. I don’t have any interest in reading this series because I’m not keen on werewolves and vampires. Also I don’t think Bella is my kind of female protagonist.

9.The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

  

I really want to try and read this series, so I can contently read the Clockwork series as well. I at least have to read City Of Bones.

8. Aristotle and Dante discover the secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sánez

  

First of all the cover is amazing. Second of all I have read such good things about this book! I like how the two main characters are not your typical white, heterosexuals. I little diversity never hurt nobody.

7. The Lunar Chronicals by Marissa Meyer

  

I have heard SO much about this series it’s unbelievable. It’s a miracle that I haven’t been spoiled yet! I am planning to get the first book this month to read for November. I am a totally fan of fairytale retelligs and I can’t wait to read this one!

7. The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

  

Yes I have only read the first book and I rated it a 3 out of 5 stars. I was not a fan of Tris or the writing to be honest, so I won’t be finishing off the trilogy…probably.

6. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  

Yeah this just sounds like a lovey dovey contemporary that I just do not feel like getting into. If you have read this series please comment below and tell me if you liked it or not. From the people I’ve talked to they say that it is a very romancey novel.

5. Wonder by R.J Palacio, Raquel Jaramillo

  

This book sounds like a book everyone should read. I don’t know if I’m going to get to read it before the end of the year, but I do definitely want to read it.

4. The Remnant Chronicals by Mary E. Pearson

  

This cover slays! I am usually not a fan of books with a person on the front but this cover actually intrigues me so much! It’s one if those books that are just always there on your TBR pile wanting to be read. It needs to be a mission of mine to get this book before Christmas before it gets shoved down to the bottom on my pile.

3. The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy by J.R.R Tolkien

  

I enjoyed reading the Hobbit (even though it took me about a month to read) but the LOTR trilogy is on a completely other level. You have to be really committed to read those books because the books are so dense! I don’t know if I could ever concentrate that hard on just one trilogy and I feel like even if I did o wouldn’t be enjoying the experience.

2. The Maze Runner Trilogy by James Dashner

  

I got 60-100 pages in and could not finish The Maze Runner. The writing was just not for me at all. I’m going to try again to read it again (probably next year or later this year if I have nothing to read), but I will definitely be wary before reading another one of Dashner’s books.

1.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

  
I found it so hard to get into this book last summer that I did not try to read it again this year. It was so disappointing for me as well not to get into this book because I thought I was okay with reading Classics. I am not giving up with Austen though, I just have to be in the mood for her.

And there are ten books/series I haven’t read before. What popular books have you not read? Drop a comment down below so I can see how bad I’m doing! 

I’ll write soon.

-Astra