Review: Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland

Friday, 23 September 2016

Our Chemical Hearts | Krystal Sutherland | Published October 4th, 2016
Rating:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads | Book Depository


The blurb’s comparison to Rainbow Rowell and John Green is spot on. Our Chemical Hearts helps to fill that hole but also has its own unique take on this type of contemporary YA.

The narrator, Henry, is definitely one of the strongest things about the book. He is equal parts hilarious and sweet and honestly it was nice to just have the perspective of a normal guy. He isn't a male “special snowflake”; he's just your everyday guy who isn't perfect but is great all the same. I also liked Henry’s parents and how Henry comes to the realisation that not every relationship is as perfect as it may seem through them.

Our Chemical Hearts focuses a lot on grief and whilst it has its sad moments it's also hopeful. It beautifully explores the experience of first love and how you can so easily find yourself falling for someone without necessarily being able to explain why. It captures that obsessive all-consuming feeling that can come with a new relationship in a way that is both funny and heart-warming. I did have moments of frustration with Henry and his obsessiveness with Grace as well as Grace and her treatment of Henry. Their relationship felt very toxic at times but I think that's part of the overall message. The flip between laugh-out-loud moments and deeper reflections on grief worked really well together to create a story that I couldn't help but fly through.

I also have to give kudos to the “dating powerpoint” which I just absolutely loved. You can get me every time with nerdy things like that! The Harry Potter discussion and subsequent outrage at someone not having read the books also had me laughing out loud. I've had many similar discussions myself and feel Henry’s pain!

Overall, I really enjoyed this debut by Krystal Sutherland. If you're looking for a touching story with a witty narrator then this is the book for you.


Follow me:

Thoughts on Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Empire of Storms | Sarah J. Maas | Published September 6th, 2016
Rating:
Goodreads | Book Depository


This review contains minor spoilers.

I really, really enjoyed this. I love going back into this world and Empire of Storms was no exception. One of the best things about this edition is getting to visit, or in some cases revisit, different places than we are used to. I really like discovering other parts to this world. I also really liked the character development and the increased focus on some characters. The only thing that lets it down for me is the absence of Chaol. He doesn't make a single appearance and is barely mentioned by anyone else. I've made no secret of the fact I don't really ship Aelin and Rowan and but it's not just about that - I've come to accept that it's not going to happen with Chaol - it just feels really odd that such a major character would be completely absent. I still expected his presence in the book even if he's not with the main group. I can only hope that something epic is planned for him in the final instalment to make up for it!

There is lots of other action happening throughout the book apart from Rowan and Aelin and I'm really excited about all of the new relationships. Some are unexpected, some have been hinted at before, and I am completely on board with them all. It's not all plain sailing but I guess I'm a glutton for punishment as I love a good complication!

Elide has become a character that I really like. We didn't really get to know her enough before but being on a tough journey this time around is perfect for letting her attributes shine through. I really admired her strength. Lorcan has fast become one of my favourite characters of the series; I found myself rooting for him more and more as the story progressed. Manon and Lysandra are still two badass females that are total #squadgoals. Manon in particular does something so amazing that will have you on the edge of your seat. Her chapters along with Elide and Lorcan’s were my favourite this time around. Dorian gets a bit more to do this time around and I'm just so happy he's out of that collar and starting to get his life back. It's intriguing to see him getting to grips with his magic. I think it's fair to say that I absolutely loved the development of all of the “side” characters and that the focus wasn't just on Aelin and Rowan and their relationship. (Although there is plenty of development there too for all you shippers). There is also a small revelation about Aedion which is casually mentioned and not treated like a big deal which I also really loved.

This latest installment has everything I've come to expect from Maas: plenty of action, twists, impressive plot and character development all woven together to create a completely unputdownable fantasy that I crave. The lack of Chaol is disappointing but the new couples to ship and a completely evil cliffhanger (what else would we get from Maas?!) guarantee I'm already itching for the next book.

Have you read this latest installment yet? What did you think?!

Follow me:
g

Review: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Three Dark Crowns | Kendare Blake | Published September 22nd, 2016
Rating:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Goodreads | Book Depository

I absolutely loved this book!

Three girls, triplets, are born to be queens and separated at a young age to be trained in their special abilities. Once they become of age, a battle will ensue until there is only one girl left standing: the new queen.

Katherine is The Poisoner. Arsinoe is The Naturalist. Mirabella is The Elemental. Two queens are yet to fully receive their gift and time is running out. The third is rumoured to be extremely powerful and has the support of her people as well as the temple: she is the favourite to be new queen. But all three queens have people in their corner and it is not going to be easy for either one of them.

I love the world that Kendare Blake has created. It's so dark and vivid and I feel like each queen's surroundings were well thought out and described. This can also be said for each of the abilities; they are so different and each intricately fleshed out. I also couldn't help but think about which ability I would choose if I was in this world and I think I would definitely be a naturalist. Eating poison or controlling the elements don't really speak to me but having an animal familiar by my side? YES PLEASE!

There is quite a big cast of characters in this world which always poses the risk of getting people mixed up but I didn't find that the case here. Whilst they aren't all given full backgrounds (there is time for others to be explored as the series continues) they were all still unique enough to be memorable. I have a particular fondness for Arsinoe's close friends Jules and Joseph as well as a lot of intrigue regarding Pietyr and Billy and the potential romances that are brewing.

As for the ending? I let out an audible gasp. I should have seen it coming and I can't believe I missed the signs that are definitely there. Blake definitely got me! Things have been set up nicely for book two and I absolutely can't wait to find out what happens next!


Follow me:
g

Reviewed: I'll Be Home For Christmas

Thursday, 25 August 2016

I'll Be Home for Christmas | Various Authors | Published September 22nd, 2016
Rating:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Goodreads | Book Depository


I'll Be Home for Christmas is a collection of stories by top YA authors each exploring the theme of "home" at Christmas and what that means for different people. For some people it's being with family at a special time of year but many others aren't as lucky as to have that stability and feeling of comfort. This is particularly the case for those who are homeless and Stripes have teamed up with the charity Crisis in this collaboration to raise awareness of the hardships young people are facing.

I thought this was a really strong collection of stories and I thoroughly enjoyed the different representations of "home". I like that each author has interpreted the theme in a different way resulting in a really varied and diverse set of stories and characters.

The exploration of the different kinds of family from divorced parents to being in foster care, relationships and "coming out", being a refugee in a new country, friendships and homelessness were all treated with equal care and sensitivity by the authors. There are some lighter moments among the darker ones and a range of genres which really help make this a wonderful mix of stories with something for everyone.

I'll Be Home For Christmas boasts a top list of authors with some truly stand-out stories, and for a lovely festive feel alongside helping a great cause, I highly recommend adding this to your Christmas reading list. I can't wait to buy my own physical copy (it has red sprayed edges, people!)

£1 from the sale of every book will be donated to Crisis. For more information on Crisis visit www.crisis.org.uk



Follow me:
g

4 Reasons I Loved A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Monday, 22 August 2016

 
A Torch Against the Night | Sabaa Tahir | Published August 30, 2016
Rating:
I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Goodreads | Book Depository

This was so good! I loved An Ember in the Ashes and was hoping for so much from this sequel and it didn't disappoint. A Torch Against the Night is a dark and intense rollercoaster with a lot of twists and turns to keep you guessing throughout. I found the pace to be even better than its predecessor and I couldn't get through the chapters quick enough.

4 main reasons I loved this sequel:

Elias
Oh how I love Elias. I love his desire to fight for his freedom and how unwavering he is in that. He knows that there is a better life for him away from the brutality of the empire and he's determined to get there. He and Laia are finally on their journey to rescue Laia's brother from Kauf Prison and it's not an easy ride for Elias. Things happen that make this a complicated and really difficult journey for him in particular but he doesn't give up and does his best not to break his promise to Laia. It was interesting to see their relationship grow with all of the hardships that they are facing and I think there's still a lot more to develop there too. Elias has an admirable strength and I think his development in this book is very much in character with what we saw of him in the first book. I admire his strength when put in impossible situations and I think he might just be one of my favourite male characters.

Helene
Helene's point of view is added into the mix this time which I was really thrilled about. I thought she was an intriguing character in Ember and seeing things from her point of view this time around was really great. Whilst Laia and Elias are on the run, Helene's view gives us an insight into what is happening in the empire through her new role as Blood Shrike. She's having to battle her new role and getting the men to respect her with the sickening Marcus watching her every move, whilst trying to fight her feelings for Elias who she has been ordered to hunt down. We also see more of her family and what her role as Blood Shrike means for them. Whilst Helene might not be the "main girl" of the story, she's by far my favourite. There's nothing particularly unlikable about Laia but she's very "clean" whilst Helene has an edge that I love to read in female characters. She has to make decisions that result in bad consequences for the people she cares for whatever way she chooses and I found her complexity much more interesting to read about.

Expansion of the world
Elias and Laia's journey allows for more of the world to be explored. One of the most fascinating aspects of this was learning more of the tribes where Elias grew up. I really enjoyed learning about their culture and way of life. The supernatural side of the world is also expanded on a lot. We find out more about the Nightbringer and his motivations as well as wraiths and jinn. The Soul-Catcher also plays a large role in this book. I'll admit the supernatural side isn't my favourite compared to the brutality of the empire but the characters interacting with this supernatural side was intriguing. The further exploration of the gens through Helene's point of view and the intricacies of how they operate was also compelling.

Villains and their complexity
One of the best things about this series, for me, is the complexity of the villains. Not only do we not know who we can trust (and so new villains can present themselves at any time) but they are all developed in a way that gives them a story. They are not bland or cut-out caricatures of what a villain is but each have a complexity that just makes them all that more evil. Marcus and the Commandant in particular reach new levels of brutality and violence and it makes for real intense reading. I love villains that aren't afraid to carry out their threats and that is very much the case here. If there's one thing you shouldn't do it's underestimate just how vile and harsh these villains can be.

I loved the continuation of the dark brutality coupled with the great plot and character development. The romance isn't as much of a focus this time around; there is still a love triangle and some poor choices that had me internally screaming at a certain character but I like where it is at now. There are still some questions and possibilities (including potential new romances) to be explored so it'll be interesting to see where that leads next.

The ending is satisfying although there are still some questions and plenty of areas left to explore. With the news that there are going to be two more books in the series, I can't wait to revisit this world and get some answers to my burning questions.



Follow me:
 
FREE BLOGGER TEMPLATE BY DESIGNER BLOGS