3 Stars

YA Epic Reads Tour - Guest Review for Deviate by Tracy Clark


Today I am guest reviewing Deviate for the YA Epic Reads Tour hosted by YA Bookish News.

Publication Date: March 3rd 2015
Page Count: 356
Goodreads Synopsis:
Tormented after a daring escape, Cora Sandoval must find a way to stop the Arrazi from murdering innocent people and from violating, using, and killing the Scintilla for their powers. She must also accept one bitter betrayal: Finn Doyle—the Irish boy who has both a piece of Cora's heart and soul—is Arrazi...

On the verge of extinction and sought by those who would either consume or destroy them, Cora and the remaining Scintilla survivors must solve the mystery of The Light Key. If they fail, the truth will stay buried forever and mankind will pay the ultimate price.

No longer will she hide.

No longer will her loved ones be hunted.

And she will have her vengeance...even if she shatters her heart in the process.

My Rating:

My review:

I have really mixed opinions on this book. I think that this is a truly magic concept, with a writing style that it so vivid and beautiful; yet the pacing was killing me. I loved everything about the book apart from the pacing and the characters (although they did improve greatly, so much that I’ve grown to love some of them). The dual POV was a little confusing at times, but the main thing that I think needs improving is the pacing. Apart from that I really enjoyed the book.

My favourite aspect of the book was the writing style. I feel like I can’t justify my love for the way Tracy Clark writes - she is so talented, and even though I didn’t give this book a very high rating, I know I will be picking up other things she writes because I just love her style. The concept was also very unique and original. I have never read anything like it - these days, many authors make it seem difficult to come up with original concepts (we’ve all read hundreds of books where the protagonist can do magic, or where the world is split into 2), but Tracy Clark makes me realise that YA fantasy/paranormal is not dry, and I definitely commend her on that.

My main problem with this book was the pacing. It started off strong, with new things happening and a few new characters being introduced, but it was just a downward slide from there. In the middle of the book, nothing was happening - there was no goal that was going to be achieved / have progress made towards in the foreseeable future, and nothing was happening. At times, there was a massive info-dump, which made it just boring. At least in the end something interesting was happening, but for me, it was too little too late.

Another thing that I really enjoyed was the characters. Cora was still a little irritating, but she changed into a much stronger person over the course of the book. She developed into a much more determined person, and although she moped around a bit at the beginning, this soon changed and she rarely complained towards the end.

Also, Cora didn’t just abandon her best friends (which happens a lot!). They had a big part in the book which I really enjoyed because it added a new layer to her character. Mari and Dun (Cora’s best friends) were some of my favourite characters so I was really pleased when they featured in the majority of the book.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t much romance in this book. I was really pleased because I found the romance in the previous book, Scintillate, a bit cringey. As you will know from the last book, Cora and Finn weren’t together (which I was super happy about because I hate them together), so Cora had the chance to rely on herself and be much more independent. I enjoyed the mystery aspects more than the coming-of-age parts too because it was much more exciting.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, but found it to drag incredibly. The concept of the book was fantastic, but the pacing killed me so I can’t give it a very high rating. The world-building was done in too much info-dumps, and there was no climax. While reading it, I could really tell that it was the 2nd book in the series, and suffered from second-book-syndrome. I think I will pick up the next book, just because I like the writing style so much. Hopefully the pacing will be better!

About the author:
Tracy Clark is a young-adult writer because she believes teens deserve to know how much they matter and that regardless of what they’re going through: they aren’t alone. In other words, she writes books for her teen self.
She grew up a “Valley Girl” in Southern California but now lives in her home state of Nevada, in a small town at the base of the Sierra Foothills. Her two children teach her the art of distraction and are a continuous source of great dialogue. She’s an unapologetic dog person who is currently owned by a cat.
Tracy was the recipient of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Work in Progress Grant. A two-time participant in the prestigious Nevada SCBWI Mentor Program where she was lucky enough to be mentored by bestselling author, Ellen Hopkins, who taught her so much about the art of writing and cured her of her ellipsis addiction.
Her debut novel was inspired by her enchantment with metaphysics as a teen, seeing it as the real magic in life. Tracy is a part-time college student, a private pilot, and an irredeemable dreamer

Asking for It

Top Five Friday #11: Yet to be Released Books I'm Most Excited For


Top Five Friday is a meme hosted at Katieemay which lists our top 5 choices based on a bookish theme of my choice.


There always seem to be so many books that aren’t released yet that I’m super excited for, so this topic just makes me even more excited for these books! My most anticipated are always in my calendar, so I’ll have to flick through that and see which ones I’m super hyped for!

1. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell

Expected Publication Date: October 6th 2015
I think I’m with most people reading this post: Fangirl was amazing! Obviously I’m super excited for the spin-off book. I also love Rainbow Rowell’s writing, so I practically know that I’m going to adore this book when it comes out!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.

2. Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Expected Publication Date: March 8th 2016
I am a massive fan of all Cassandra Clare’s books, so when I heard that she’d be releasing another Shadowhunter series, I could not contain my excitement! This is going to be pre-ordered as soon as I can - this is going to be another amazing series by her. Why did it have to be moved to 2016?!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.

Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.

The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.

3. Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

Expected Publication Date: November 10th 2015
All of Becca Fitzpatrick’s books are such guilty pleasures for me... I know I really shouldn’t like them, but I end up loving all of them. I definitely will be buying this book as soon as possible, because although the plots always seem a bit on the iffy-anti-feminist side, I always end up really enjoying Fitzpatrick’s work.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Stella Gordon is not her real name. Thunder Basin, Nebraska, is not her real home. This is not her real life.

After witnessing a lethal crime, Stella Gordon is sent to the middle of nowhere for her own safety before she testifies against the man she saw kill her mother’s drug dealer.

But Stella was about to start her senior year with the boyfriend she loves. How can she be pulled away from the only life she knows and expected to start a new one in Nebraska? Stella chafes at her protection and is rude to everyone she meets. She’s not planning on staying long, so why be friendly? Then she meets Chet Falconer and it becomes harder to keep her guard up, even as her guilt about having to lie to him grows.

As Stella starts to feel safer, the real threat to her life increases—because her enemies are actually closer than she thinks…

4. Asking for It by Louise O'Neill

Expected Publication Date: September 3rd 2015
I really loved Louise O'Neill’s other book Only Ever Yours, so I’m anticipating loving this one just as much. Again, it’s on a really hard-hitting and important topic, so obviously I’m going to read it. A feminist book by one of my new favourite authors? Yes please!

Goodreads Synopsis:
It's the beginning of the summer in a small town in Ireland. Emma O'Donovan is eighteen years old, beautiful, happy, confident. One night, there's a party. Everyone is there. All eyes are on Emma. The next morning, she wakes on the front porch of her house. She can't remember what happened, she doesn't know how she got there. She doesn't know why she's in pain. But everyone else does. Photographs taken at the party show, in explicit detail, what happened to Emma that night. But sometimes people don't want to believe what is right in front of them, especially when the truth concerns the town's heroes...

5. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

Expected Publication Date: September 1st 2015
It wouldn’t be a real most-anticipated list without Queen of Shadows. Ever since I finished Heir of Fire at the start of March, I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book. I adore Sarah J. Maas’s writing style, and I’m in love with the Throne of Glass series, so I just know that I’m going to love this book.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Everyone Celaena Sardothien loves has been taken from her. But she's at last returned to the empire—for vengeance, to rescue her once-glorious kingdom, and to confront the shadows of her past . . .

She will fight for her cousin, a warrior prepared to die just to see her again. She will fight for her friend, a young man trapped in an unspeakable prison. And she will fight for her people, enslaved to a brutal king and awaiting their lost queen's triumphant return.

Celaena’s epic journey has captured the hearts and imaginations of millions across the globe. This fourth volume will hold readers rapt as Celaena’s story builds to a passionate, agonizing crescendo that might just shatter her world.

What are the books that are yet to be released that you are most excited for? Let me know below!

3.5 stars

Review: The Raven Boys


The Raven Boys
By Maggie Stiefvater

Source: Personal purchase, paperback
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal,

Goodreads Synopsis:
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.
His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.
But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.
For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

I have really mixed opinions on this book. For the first half, I didn’t care about anything and found it really slow moving; yet for the last, I found it really engaging and loved the characters. One thing that I adored for the whole book was the plot. It was a really original idea, and one that I think many will enjoy.

My favourite aspect of the book was the characters. They were all instantly loveable as they all had such unique personalities. I cared about all of them from the very beginning of the book. One of the reasons I liked them so much was because we got to see the story through everyone’s eyes. The story was told in 3rd person, but it alternated POVs often. This was interesting and not confusing at all.

I think that the start could have been quicker. Because there was a lot of world building and info-dumping, I got a bit bored and had to struggle through it. Not much happened which also made me lose interest. I wasn’t invested in the story.

One of the things that surprised me when going into this book was the fact that there was barely any romance. Although this didn’t bother me at all, I found it odd because the tagline on my cover is “If you kiss your true love, he will die”, suggesting that it’s going to be all about this forbidden love. There was practically no forbidden love. Also, the 4th most popular genre for this book on Goodreads was Romance (usually these are correct), which puzzled me because it had much more of other genres.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book by the end even though I didn’t enjoy it at the start. I really liked the relationships between the characters, and would recommend this to fans of paranormal fantasy. I don’t recommend this book to you if you’re looking for a forbidden romance, because this book barely has any romance.

Me at the start of this book VS. me at the end:

My rating:

Bookish Things I'm Dying to Own

Top Five Friday #10: Bookish Things (Not Books) That I'm Dying to Own


Top Five Friday is a meme hosted at Katieemay which lists our top 5 choices based on a bookish theme


This is going to be such a fun topic! There are so many bookish things that I’m dying to own. Scrolling down Tumblr makes me feel so jealous because everyone has such wonderful bookish things, so here goes!

1. Parabatai Rune Tattoo

My best friend and I are extremely close (and we are both obsessed with the Shadowhunter Chronicles), so why didn’t we become parabatai? Someday, we will get matching parabatai rune tattoos. It will be awesome and way cooler than a friendship loom band.

2. Floating Shelves

These look so cool! It’s so space efficient, and seriously - who wouldn’t want to take shelfies ‘lifting’ the shelves? Sadly, my house is Victorian, so the walls are really weak. The weight would just crumble them and the shelves would fall off (and my books might get damaged!), so it’s just a bad idea.

3. A MyBookmark Handmade Bookmark

I love these bookmarks - they’re super cute! My favourite ones are the animal paws because I’m a big animal lover, and seeing these poke out a book would be the icing on the cake. Though I definitely wouldn’t take this to school: I wouldn’t want anyone snapping them off!

4. 'I Like Big Books and I Cannot Lie' Tote

I would love to take this to school! I feel like I would be the only one laughing at my own humour, but at least I would go to school smiling for one *happy dance!*. Also, I am practically in love with tote bags - they’re so handy because they fold up so small, yet you can fit lots of things in.

5. Shatter Me T-shirt

The Shatter Me Series (Shatter Me, Unravel Me, Ignite Me) is one of my favourites, so owning this t-shirt would be so amazing. The quote practically describes my life right now, so wearing it would not only define myself to mundanes as a book lover, I would be able to be in the Shatter Me fandom too.

Which bookish things are you dying to own? Let me know below!

4.5 stars

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses


A Court of Thorns and Roses
By Sarah J. Maas

Source: Gift, e-book
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Retellings

Goodreads Synopsis:
When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.
As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she's been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it . . . or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever. 

When I found out that Sarah J. Maas was writing a new book, I knew I had to buy it instantly. This book has only made me even surer that I will read anything she ever writes. She’s so talented - I am always so involved in all her plots, all the characters have so much depth, and are so unique. I enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses immensely, and am now waiting patiently (ha!) for the next book in the series.

This book had everything I look for and enjoy in a book. There was vivid world building that wasn’t boring at all; a deadly disease; a badass heroine, and some slow burning romance. Although I would have preferred it to be darker and more gritty (like Maas said it would be), I still think that this book barely had anything to improve on.

Feyre was one of my favourite aspects. She was really strong-minded and brave, and didn’t make any stupid decisions. She definitely made the story stand out from all the other fantasy retellings, because without her I wouldn’t have enjoyed the book as much. There were no slow parts like in Throne of Glass, and I was really hooked for the whole book.

The other characters were truly wonderful too because they had such original backstories and depth. There was many elements from Beauty and the Beast so it was a loyal retelling, yet it was completely different at the same time. At points I could see the similarities, yet at others the story had so many twists and I had no idea what was happening next.

Another thing that I liked was the ending. It was a sensible place to stop - most things had been resolved in their own time, so it didn’t feel rushed. It wasn’t a massive cliff-hanger, but I was still left wanting more, so I will definitely be pre-ordering the sequel. There is massive potential for the series to go anywhere, making me wonder even more where it will go.

Overall, this was a really great book. I was expecting it to be darker, and have more high-fantasy elements, but I still really enjoyed it. I recommend this book to any fans of fantasy because it has has everything I like in a fantasy.

Me while reading this book:

My rating: