Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here! To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and link up to the inlinkz below so that others can see what you picked.

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! We had a relatively long weekend here – and the weather was crazy hot!! If this is a sign of weather to come this summer, I am going to be melting! Anyway, this weeks pick for me is a book that I received from a monthly book date! I am part of a bookish group on facebook called Blind Date With a Book, in which there is a monthly theme and you can choose whether or not to participate in the month or not. We then get given a date and you have to send them a book! My date this month picked out a book for me that I have had on my TBR for ages now – and I am also in love with this cover and underneath the dust jacket!

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The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

Published: August 20th 2013 by Bloomsbury USA

The year is 2059. Nineteen-year-old Paige Mahoney is working in the criminal underworld of Scion London, based at Seven Dials, employed by a man named Jaxon Hall. Her job: to scout for information by breaking into people’s minds. For Paige is a dreamwalker, a clairvoyant and, in the world of Scion, she commits treason simply by breathing.

It is raining the day her life changes for ever. Attacked, drugged and kidnapped, Paige is transported to Oxford – a city kept secret for two hundred years, controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. Paige is assigned to Warden, a Rephaite with mysterious motives. He is her master. Her trainer. Her natural enemy. But if Paige wants to regain her freedom she must allow herself to be nurtured in this prison where she is meant to die.

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Published: May 16th 2017 by G. P. Putnam’s sons for Young Readers

The 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. 

I was a bit wary going into this book because I DNFed TWATD and I wasn’t sure if I just didn’t like the book or Renee Ahdieh’s writing in general. However, I absolutely adored this book! This was a fantastic retelling of Mulan and I am already so excited for the next book!

From the very beginning of the book, I was hooked! It was fast paced from the very beginning and I just absolutely had to know what was going to happen next! The beginning of the book set the pace for the rest of the book and I didn’t feel like it had pacing problems at all!

I think my favourite aspect of this book was the character development – whether it was Mariko or any member of the Black Clan. I loved watching them interacting and how the relationships grew and developed as they got to know each other better. I felt like I could feel the moments of indecision between them and I empathised with all of the characters. I will say that I wasn’t totally on board with the ship that was sailing because I felt like it did’t have enough time to develop considering she was pretending to be a boy… but I feel like it is a ship that I will definitely support by the end of the next book.

I also enjoyed the multiple POV’s within this book. Each and every character had their own voices and they didn’t blend into each other. It was easy to tell who we were reading when the POV just changed. It also helped to give the readers an insight into the other characters and what makes them tick and what makes them do the things they were doing.

The plot was so amazing! There was always something going on, whether in a big way or a little way and I always had the feeling of needing to know what was going to happen next! Whether or not she was going to get caught etc. Also, may I just mention THAT DANG ENDING!!!  *Ahem* So much happened, and I was left gobsmacked and I just need to second book already because I NEED to know what is going to happen next!

The world building in the book was beautiful. I was so detailed that I felt completely transported to the world that Ahdieh created. It was easy to get lost in this book and not want to come back!

I absolutely loved this book and I cannot even wait until the next instalment! I definitely need more! I loved each and ever character and the different aspects and back stories that they brought to the book and I cannot wait to revisit them in a re read and to meet them again in the next book! I gave this book 5/5 stars.

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and link up to the inlinkz below so that others can see what you picked! 

Hey guys! I hope you all had a great weekend! This weeks pick for me is actually a book that I have already read, but I never got around to reading the sequel, so I need to do a re read of it before getting there! I got these in last week and I am really excited about getting to them!

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Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Published: October 14th 2014 by Balzer + Bray

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Meraki Candles Unboxing

Hey guys! I come to you with a long awaited box!! I ordered the Far Away lands box (April box) from Meraki Candles and it got lost in the post!! This only happens to me… Either way, they sent a replacement box and it finally arrived today! 😀 So, here are the items that were in the April Far Away Lands box:

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The First Candle in this box is Rivendell! This smells like Wildflower and Cashmere Woods and you can smell it as soon as you take the lid off! Whilst you can smell it when you take the lid off, it isn’t an over powering smell and I absolutely love it. It is my favourite of the lot!

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The next candle in the box is Narnia! Now, I have never actually read the Narnia books… including the one pictured here – but I have seen the film and this candle reminds me of the snow and the lantern that they meet just outside of the wardrobe. This candle smells like Menthol, Lavender and Pine.

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The next candle in the box is Elendel – which is based on the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson. Again, I haven’t read this, but I do have it on my TBR! This smells like Jasmine, Amber and Musk! I absolutely love the colour of this candle, as well!

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The final candle in this box was Essos, which is based on Game of Thrones! GoT is one of my absolutely favourite series, so I am so stoked to have this candle! This smells of Lemon, Orange and Aromatic Woods.

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The next item in the box was a Lord of the Rings inspired tote bag, designed by Bookworm Boutique. This is one of my favourite quotes and I definitely feel like it describes us bookworms as a whole – so I am absolutely in love with this!

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We also received a bookmark designed by Till & Dill! I absolutely love the grey colour schemes going on and I almost feel like I want to frame it, rather than use it! We also got a camp Half-blood pin!

All in all, this was a great box and I am so glad that it finally made its way to my house!!

Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

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Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge

Published: September 27th 2016 by Balzer+Bray

When the mysterious fog of the Ruining crept over the world, the living died and the dead rose. Only the walled city of Viyara was left untouched.

The heirs of the city’s most powerful—and warring—families, Mahyanai Romeo and Juliet Catresou share a love deeper than duty, honor, even life itself. But the magic laid on Juliet at birth compels her to punish the enemies of her clan—and Romeo has just killed her cousin Tybalt. Which means he must die.

Paris Catresou has always wanted to serve his family by guarding Juliet. But when his ward tries to escape her fate, magic goes terribly wrong—killing her and leaving Paris bound to Romeo. If he wants to discover the truth of what happened, Paris must delve deep into the city, ally with his worst enemy . . . and perhaps turn against his own clan.

Mahyanai Runajo just wants to protect her city—but she’s the only one who believes it’s in peril. In her desperate hunt for information, she accidentally pulls Juliet from the mouth of death—and finds herself bound to the bitter, angry girl. Runajo quickly discovers Juliet might be the one person who can help her recover the secret to saving Viyara.

Both pairs will find friendship where they least expect it. Both will find that Viyara holds more secrets and dangers than anyone ever expected. And outside the walls, death is waiting. . . 

I was really looking forward to going into this book. I absolutely love the story of Romeo and Juliet and I was excited about this retelling. However, I was left pretty disappointed and DNFed this at just over 100 pages.

My biggest issue with this book was the fact that I genuinely had no clue what the heck was going on! I didn’t understand why they wore masks, or what the Juliet actually was, the guardian, the sisters… pretty much everything. Nothing was explained in detail or very well within the first 100 or so pages and I felt more like I was blundering through with the hope that it was going to get better/I was going to find out what was going on exactly and why. I didn’t enjoy the feeling of being lost throughout and I started putting down the book in order to do something else.

I also feel like the plot was affected by the fact that I didn’t certain aspects of the society and why some things happened. Without a certain understanding of some of the things the characters were doing, the world building etc. the plot was confusing – even more so because it kept switching between the sisters and Paris and Romeo.

My other issue with this book was the characters. I struggled to empathise with them and I didn’t feel like the characters each had their own individual voice despite the book being multiple pov. I struggled to differentiate between the pov’s and only managed to based off of the chapter titles. I felt like they were all too similar and none of the personalities stood out particularly.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this book, considering that I was extremely looking forward to this retelling! I gave this book 1/5 stars.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Published: February 7th 2017 by Thomas Dunne Books

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

I just want to start off by saying that I absolutely LOVE this cover! It is so amazingly pretty! Ok, now that’s out of my system, there were a lot of mixed review going around for this book. A lot of people were disappointed with this book because it wasn’t what they thought it was going to be etc. However, I am not one of these people! I actually really really enjoyed this book and I am really looking forward to the next instalment!

I think my favourite aspect of this book was the mystery behind the Goblin King (which, by the way, was repeated WAY too many times in this book! I thought I would just throw that out there). I found myself wanting to get to know him and what made him tick and how he became Der Erlkönig! I loved getting to know him as Elisabeth got to know him – especially because it was done in detail. I liked him from the very beginning, even though he was shown to be the Lord of Mischief, there was always that draw toward him and, as I got to know him better as a character, I began to empathise with him a lot more. I loved watching his vulnerable side come out and the way that the mystery of who he was slowly being shown to us. I would love to get to know more about him and I cannot wait to see more from him in the next instalment!

I also really liked Elisabeth. I did struggle with her right at the beginning because I felt like she whined and moaned a lot and I really just wanted to slap her really really hard. However, as her memories began to come back to her of her childhood and what was done to her and the way she was treated, it was easy to see why she had become the way that she was and how she became to be the protector of her siblings. I felt really sorry for her and I really enjoyed watching her grow as a character, alongside the Goblin King. I felt like they grew as characters together and they began to learn together, which made this story extra special for me.

Whilst I don’t feel like there was much going on plot wise, I never felt like the book got slow in any way. There was a form of plot there in the sense of why she went to the Goblin King etc, but it wasn’t particularly well developed because it focused a lot more on character development, rather than what was going on. In its own way, the character development actually gave hand to the plot because it helped to shape the plot and what was going on in both the world underground and the normal world that we live in.

I would have loved to have a double POV between Käthe and Elisabeth because I think showing what was going on both underground and in the world would have given an extra something something to the story and maybe the plot itself. I think a second POV would have been a good counterpart to know how the events of the book were affecting various characters.

I would have also loved to have seen more of Josef! After the crazy revelation about him, I wished that we could have seen more from his perspective and how he would’ve reacted if he had ever found out what he was!

All in all, I really loved this story and I absolutely cannot wit for the next instalment. I found the book intriguing and I was always looking forward to picking the book back up after putting it down again. I gave this book 4/5 stars.

Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme hosted here. To participate, choose a random book from your TBR and show it off! Don’t forget to link back here and link up to the inlinkz below so that others can see what you picked! 

Hey guys! Hope you all had a great weekend! Happy belated mothers day to every mother out there! The weather here was absolutely beautiful – which meant that we weren’t at home all weekend! Anyway, this pick for me is a book that I picked up over the weekend – which doesn’t actually release until tomorrow! I managed to find an early copy and it is so beautiful!

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Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

Published: May 16th 2017 by G. P. Putnam’s Son Books for Young Readers

The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor’s favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family’s standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and track 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.

Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

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Violet Grenade by Victoria Scott

Published: May 16th 2017 by Entangled Teen

DOMINO: A girl with blue hair and a demon in her mind.

CAIN: A stone giant on the brink of exploding.

MADAM KARINA: A woman who demands obedience.

WILSON: The one who will destroy them all.

When Madam Karina discovers Domino in an alleyway, she offers her a position inside her home for entertainers in secluded West Texas. Left with few alternatives and an agenda of her own, Domino accepts. It isn’t long before she is fighting her way up the ranks to gain the madam’s approval. But after suffering weeks of bullying and unearthing the madam’s secrets, Domino decides to leave. It’ll be harder than she thinks, though, because the madam doesn’t like to lose inventory. But then, Madam Karina doesn’t know about the person living inside Domino’s mind. Madam Karina doesn’t know about Wilson.

Note: I received an ARC copy of this via Netgalley in return for an honest review. This in no way influences my opinion.

I had really high hopes for this book. I absolutely LOVE the cover and the blurb was really interesting. However, this book fell short for me to the point that I actually DNFed it. I think this book just wasn’t my kind of thing – and you guys should definitely still pick up this book if it is on your TBR because you might still like it!

I found the book, what I read of it, relatively slow. I never really got into the story and the little hints of mystery behind Wilson and her parents etc. was not really enough for me to continue reading. I struggled to pick the book back up after putting it down and I often put it down in order to do something else. I wasn’t particularly compelled by the plot, despite it being a relatively unique concept for a YA book (I don’t want to give too much away).

I also struggled to empathise with the characters. I am not sure what it was, but I didn’t feel that bond as a reader to these characters, which meant that I didn’t really care whether Dizzy stayed where he was or what happened to Domino. I didn’t want to know because I wasn’t invested. I often found it difficult to tell the voices apart because the characters were similar and it kind of confused me when I eventually picked the book back up because I couldn’t remember where I was or what the characters themselves were doing.

I also feel like the house itself held too much mystery. I didn’t feel like, after the way Domino is portrayed, that she would actually take the offer that she was given – which meant that, for me, the story didn’t flow because I didn’t feel like it made sense. I didn’t feel like the characters would do the things they were doing because the were portrayed to be something different.

All in all, this book just wasn’t my kind of thing. I really wanted to love this book, but I just didn’t I gave this 1/5 stars.

Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser

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Wish You Were Dead by Todd Strasser

Published: September 22nd 2009 by Egmont USA

Str-S-d:
I’ll begin with Lucy. She is definitely first on the list. You can’t believe how it feels to be in the cafeteria and turn around and there she is staring at me like I’m some disgusting bug or vermin. Does she really think I WANT to be this way? I hate you, Lucy. I really hate you. You are my #1 pick. I wish you were dead.

The day after anonymous blogger Str-S-d wishes the popular girl would die, Lucy vanishes. The students of Soundview High are scared and worried. Especially frightened and wracked with guilt is Madison Archer, Lucy’s friend and the last person to see her the night she disappeared.
As days pass with no sign of the missing girl, even the attention of Tyler, an attractive new student, is not enough to distract Madison from her growing sense of foreboding. When two more popular students disappear after their names are mentioned on Str-S-d’s blog, the residents of Soundview panic.
Meanwhile, Madison receives anonymous notes warning that she could be next. Desperate to solve the mystery before anyone else disappears, Madison turns to Tyler, but can she trust him when it becomes clear that he knows more than he’s sharing?
The clock is ticking. Madison must uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearances . . . before her name appears in Str-S-d’s blog.

This book was a complete spontaneous buy! I saw it in the bookshop and, whilst I had never heard of it, I liked the synopsis. Whilst I enjoyed myself reading this book, it was relatively predictable and I had already known who had done what. There was one twist that I wasn’t expecting, but that was about it.

I think my favourite part about this book was the mix between the blog posts with the comments posted below, the short snippets of what the missing people were going through (which didn’t go into much detail) and the normal story that accompanied it. The anonymity of the blog posts and the commenters as well as the lack of detail in the snippets of the missing people helped keep this book a page turner. I had already figured out who was who (blog, commenters etc.) based on the comments and the actions of the characters in the usual story layout.

Whilst I didn’t mind the MC, I definitely lacked a certain empathy for her. I didn’t feel the connection that I would want to feel in a book like this – I didn’t feel the connection between any of the characters and I often felt like the interactions were almost superficial. I didn’t feel the guilt or remorse or any of the other feelings that anybody would be feeling under the situation that she was stuck in – it wasn’t convincing enough.

The plot was definitely a quirky one, despite the lack of originality. It was fun and I enjoyed myself reading it. Despite the fact that I had already guessed what was going to happen, I really wanted to know for sure, and that definitely kept me reading it. Having said that, I did have some questions left at the end of the book, which I know will not be answered because each book in this thrillogy is a standalone – which means that, whilst it belongs in the same series, they don’t have any connection to each other.

All in all, whilst I enjoyed this read, I thought it was relatively predictable and I am hoping that the other two books in this series will be less so. I gave this book 2.5/5 stars.

Hunted by Meagan Spooner

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Hunted by Meagan Spooner

Published: March 14th 2017 by HarperTeen

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva’s father’s misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he’d been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance.

Deaf to her sisters’ protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva’s only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

This book was one of my most anticipated releases of 2017 – and when I FINALLY managed to get my hands on a copy… I ended up DNFing it. I am so upset that I ended up DNFing this book because I usually adore Beauty and the Beast retellings and I was just so excited for this! I had quite a few issues with this book, but the cover is definitely not one of them – because this is cover love right here!

My first issue with this book is that I felt like the characters were mostly flat. I didn’t feel like there was an overriding difference between any of the characters and I often felt like they ended up blurring together. I didn’t feel any connection with the characters on a reader/character basis, which is an absolutely must for me if I am going to get along with the book. I feel like they were completely underdeveloped and really could have used lifting up. Yeva really bugged me. At lot of things that she did really grated on my skin, but I think the worst thing would be the fact that she fell in love with someone whilst blindfolded (she never even saw the guy!!) telling him stories because she thought he was her ally/friend. Despite the fact that he doesn’t try and help her escape or anything… some ally. I hated the fact that she was so fickle and that there was absolute no real connection before she started falling in love with him… until she obviously found out what he was.

I was also disappointed that we didn’t get to know our secondary characters. They were there, I knew they were there… I knew basic facts about them – one of her sisters is engaged, the other has a disability – but I didn’t really get to KNOW them. They were there, but they weren’t. I didn’t feel that bond that would have driven the sisters to take care of each other, or the bond between Beauty and her father that would have driven her to go out and look for him. It was completely missing and it was almost like reading a bunch of strangers, rather than a close knit family.

I also really struggled with the plot. A lot of the time, it is snow and trees and trees and snow with some superficial hunting stuck in the middle of it. The fact that she goes hunting for half of what I read because she wants to be on her own (surrounded by snow and trees… and more snow and more trees) was boring after a while. I struggled to get through the bit of the book that I read because it was repetitive. The plot also didn’t seem to develop after beauty met the beast. She told stories for ages and then did some more hunting.

All in all, I was pretty disappointed with this story. I found the plot to be extremely repetitive and the characters underdeveloped. I gave this book 1/5 stars.