The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

I saw a lot of hype on this book and my friend Den recommended it to me so I decided to pick it up. And I have seen a lot of discussion on the possibility of there being a slave/master relationship and it’s a very difficult concept in this book as there’s so much more to it than that, however if you are not a fan of a slave/master relationship be careful with this book, it isn’t exactly that type of thing but certain parts could trigger you.

Paige is a clairvoyant in London, 2059 where it is illegal to be a clairvoyant. She works for the criminal underworld as that’s all she can really do without risk of being caught, though it comes with it’s risks regardless. One day she’s unlucky enough to be on a train with a raid and gets caught. But instead of dying she is taken to Oxford, which has been the home of aliens called Rephaites for 200 years as they’ve been gradually taking more clairvoyants.

This book was super complicated, it felt like I was reading a high fantasy even though it was more sci-fi/dystopian/paranormal, but for all the different jargon and terms I had a hard time remembering what everything was. The world building is incredible an there’s so much in it that it really does feel like it’s own world and not a variance of our own world but it is a bit hard to wrap your head around at times. It did take me about half the book to figure out what the deal was, though I don’t know if that was because I was reading it in Asia or not.

Whilst I remembered the main characters easily enough there were a lot of side characters and I found it really hard to remember who each of them were. Especially once Paige had moved to Oxford.

Whilst there was no romantic relationship between Paige and her owner, Warden, in this novel I could see it being built up which kind of annoyed me because it’s not necessary to always have a relationship just because they’re the main 2 characters. Never mind the fact that their relationship is so complicated, him being her owner after all. But as you go through the novel you find out that things are even more complicated and Warden isn’t exactly like the rest of his kind. This obviously doesn’t nullify the problematicness (is that even a word?) of the relationship being in fiction with the past the world has had with slave and owner relationships. I think it’s up to you where you stand on the issue, I’ve had POC friends find it really offensive and some who have adored it.

I’m scared to jump into the next book because I’m currently not really in the mood to read it but I worry if I leave it too long I’ll forget everything that happened in this book.

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Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

I decided to pick this book up from the library because it’s the biggest series in terms of vampire romance. And let’s be honest, this is the trashiest of trash but when I read it I was just in the mood for it.

Wreath leads the Black Dagger Brotherhood, the oldest clan of vampires in New York, his second in command has just died after telling Wrath that he has a daughter. Now Wrath must look after this half-breed daughter as she is about to change into a vampire, but of course he bonds with her.

First of all there is violent scenes against both humans and animals so if that could trigger you be wary.

The biggest thing that jumped out to me with this book was how weird it was in terms of feminism. The writer clearly wanted to write something more forward thinking on the heterosexual relationship and gender roles front but this was written 12 years ago and you can clearly see when reading it that modern feminism has come leaps and bounds in just those 12 years. There were times I was reading this thinking “yes, right on” then a couple of sentences later there would be a thought from the MC that was degrading to other women. There was also a lot of male chauvanist scenes, which the writer would sometimes show in a bad light but then sometimes show in a good light and I found it a bit confusing. But that’s possibly just because I’ve grown so used to the way things are now and it’s weird to read something written not so long ago that is pretty different from the way things are now.

Ward has created her own niche language with this book which is fine but I did occasionally feel a bit odd about it. It’s clearly derived from some sort of Russian based language but it definitely felt off.

The most different thing for me when reading this book is that Wrath is a blind vampire. You don’t read about that often as vampires in most books are “perfect” and as soon as they are changed all disabilities become nulled. I’m not blind and J.R. Ward isn’t blind so I can’t speak for the representation of the lack of sight but it was interesting to read that’s for sure.

To be honest, with this book it was not the best writing, not the most original, the world building was just not great, and there was a lot of weird insta-love. The sex scenes felt cringey and I honestly was not attracted to Wrath at all, the way he was described had me conjuring an image of this huge mountain of flesh which some people might find attractive but I don’t. I think had my expectations been higher for this book I would’ve been thoroughly disappointed but because I knew what I was getting going into it I didn’t find it to be too terrible. I’m not interested in reading the rest of the series though as none of the side characters jumped out at me.

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Frostbite by Richelle Mead

I’ll be honest: in writing this post I can’t really remember what I thought of this book so I’ve had to look up other reviews to remind myself as I didn’t even take any notes.

So after what happened in the previous books all the Moroi are on edge as the Strigoi seem to ramping up their efforts to kill them. What else should they do but send all their heirs to a ski trip together, because that makes sense?

Rose and Dmitri’s tension only furthers in this novel as Rose tries to put her attention into another boy and Dmitri, of course, is conflicted about the whole situation. What I have to say is I’m just glad Dmitri was still trying to keep his distance, it shows that he’s aware that he has power over her due to their age gap. Rose generally annoyed me in this context as she really couldn’t wrap her head around Dmitri telling her he’s not comfortable with the age gap.

The ending was super rushed, there was so much waffle of them in the ski resort and then the ending was so sudden and it very much felt like “wait, what? Is that it?”

Lissa was also just super annoying in this book, but when is she not? She seems to only ever have eyes for her boyfriend and fails to notice that some really bad things are happening to Rose. And all the rest of the characters were quite irritating, but not inhuman. They definitely read like the teenagers they were.

All in all I’d say the character development was pretty good in this, and it felt nice to read something from this series that was new to me as the film whilst bad followed the plot pretty well of the first book so it did feel like I’d already read it. I’m actually quite intrigued to see what happens now as I feel like things are going to actually get interesting.

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The Secret of the Mantle by Harini Chakrapani

Thank you to Harini for contacting me about your book and sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review!

The world is falling apart and only one person can stop it from happening, The Enemy of the White Death. It is believed that Dr. Chary, a children’s book author, is that man, but Dr. Chary is dying, can he really be the saviour?

First off, this is kind of a chosen one story, but instead of it being a child coming into their powers, √† la Harry Potter, it’s an old man. I really liked that it was a different twist on a classic trope, whilst I still enjoy chosen one stories occasionally I really liked this different take on it.

I had some troubles with the pacing of this novel, mainly due to it being split into 3 parts each being from a different persons point of view. We start off with Dr Chary and learning about him as a person, this part was quite slow, though not painfully slow. Then after his part the next 2 are quite full of action and it was quite jarring going between these parts. I also would’ve liked to read more from Dr. Chary’s POV after he had been introduced to the fantastical world he previously hadn’t been aware of. We become used to Dr. Chary from the beginning and then he kind of takes a background seat and whilst he was a bit of a grumpy old man I quite enjoyed reading his POV.

This book is set in India and I haven’t read anything set in India before I don’t think. On top of that Dr. Chary has patches of skin dispigmentation which a fair amount of people have however I haven’t read about that in books and I enjoyed reading about his experiences through life with this personal feature.

The world building is really good, of course India is a real place so it isn’t entirely world building but I’ve never been to India and reading the descriptions really painted a picture in my mind of the places being mentioned.

I’ll happily read something else that Harini writes as I believe she can only get better and I love to read more diverse books and authors!

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Mini reviews #2

Origin by Jennifer L. Arementrout

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This is what I was longing for 3 books ago honestly.

Everything started kicking off in this which is desperately what I’d been wanting. All the boring same old stuff of the 2nd and 3rd books should’ve been condensed into half a book then put this in with it.

I really enjoyed all the different settings in this and learning the government’s perspective on things.

However I have really got to the point where I find the romance nauseating. They’re just so young and stupid and it really bores me reading their inner monologues about each other.

Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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This was basically a continuation of the 4th book and I feel like both books could have been condensed into one book. There was so many random scenes that were just completely unnecessary.

I had to put down this book so many times because as with the previous book there was so much nauseating romance.

The end of this was what I expected to happen and I was happy with it but of course it was incredibly cliche.

Sugar Bowl series by Sawyer Bennett

I started to read this series because Jill raved about it. The first book was really enjoyable and an incredibly fun read but as the series went on it just kept getting more and more ridiculous.

I liked that it was romance with a twist of intrigue, but it veered off into a weird place in the second book and I just felt really awkward reading it. The third book was just bizarre and not what I expected to get into after reading the first book.

All The King’s Men by Alex Powell¬†

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Thank you to netgalley and Less Than Three Press for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I just requested this on a whim because it sounded interesting, but then I found out later that Alex Powell is genderqueer and I’m all about diversity in my reading.

This was an interesting read and whilst it wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read it was a change of pace for me as I don’t often read sci fi. I found myself confused occasionally and the romance of it, whilst a kind of side story, felt awkward. I did really like the concept of the book though and I would happily read another book by Powell.

Christmas at the Little Wedding Shop by Jane Linfoot

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Thank you to netgalley and Harper for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was happy enough to return to this series and read about characters I knew but a different group of people at the forefront.

The plot was mostly predictable but still nice to read and of course it was a good read in the run up to Christmas. I liked reading about the relationship between Sera and her sister, not just the romance aspect, though her sister was an unlikeable nightmare, but thankfully she grows towards the end.

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Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

I still love to read vampire fiction, if I see a fic rec that has a vampire in it then I’m down. I don’t know why I love vampires so much but I do. So I thought it was about time I read this especially now all the vampire YA hype has died down.

Vampire Academy is about exactly what you think it’s about: a school for vampires. Rose and Lissa are living on the run from the Academy as Lissa believes them remaining at the Academy is keeping Rose in grave danger, but they get dragged back

Yes there is a bit of dodgy romance like you’d expect in a vampire book, but for the most part this book is about the friendship between two girls. I liked the romances in the book, Rose falls for the school’s “bad boy” and we discover he isn’t actually bad and there’s more than meets the eye. Whereas Lissa begins to be attracted to her tutor who is like 10 years older than her but he refuses to let anything happen because of that age gap which makes a nice change. Though I am expecting something to happen between them in further books but hopefully it’ll be when Lissa is older though I won’t hold my breath.

I loved Lissa as a character she was really loyal and wasn’t interested in the politics of her world, she just wants to protect Rose, even though Rose is a bit of a nightmare at times. I’ve seen the film before reading it and I really do not understand how they cast Dimitri because the way he’s described in the book is definitely not how the actor looks.

I found the political world building in this book really interesting, having “good” vampires and bad vampires and people to protect the good vampires because they’re not indestructible, like you find in most vampire novels.

Obviously having watched the film I knew what was going to happen in this book so once I’m finished my library books I’m interested to see what happens with the rest of this series now.

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As I Descended by Robin Talley

Thank you to netgalley and Harlequin UK for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

To put it simply this is a lesbian, YA MacBeth retelling. It’s set in a private school in the States and there’s ghosts and deaths and a lot of other weird, creepy shit.

I thought this would be a really good read for me as I am a huge fan of MacBeth and Shakespeare and studied it in school, but I think that actually made me less open to this book. I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and I don’t think that’s because the book is not god or the writing is bad or anything it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

I think part of my issue with this novel was that it is a YA novel so the characters are all kids, they don’t feel nearly as evil, horrible and driven as their counterparts in the original. I didn’t find Maria as convincing as MacBeth and I didn’t feel like her “reign” was much of a reign at all.

It was interesting to see how certain events of the play were interpreted for the new setting and environment, and certain things I had forgotten about had me quite shocked when they turned up in the novel. And God, I absolutely adored that Talley decided to make the MacBeth couple lesbians, however I didn’t find them a great couple and I was often left feeling like they weren’t an actual couple. There was a lot of diversity in the book, which is great, but I just wish I had enjoyed the book more.

The book is supposed to be spooky but I didn’t find it so, but I just don’t find many things spooky to be honest. I get more freaked out over strange coincidences than “ghosts” unless its real people with really weird ghost stories.

This is my first time reading Robin Talley, though I do have her debut novel on my ipad to read eventually. I found her writing style interesting enough to still want to read more of her novels despite this one not being a bit of a let down for me.

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Opal by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

This isn’t going to be a long review because I don’t feel like there’s much to say about this without sounding the exact same as my reviews for previous books because this is onestly getting a little stale for me. I’m going to finish the series because I feel connected to the characters but things are stagnating.

I didn’t have as much fun with this one, everything felt like lather, rinse, repeat. Katy would get mad because Daemon was trying to protect her, they fight, Katy does it anyway, something goes wrong, they make up, repeat. It just got really tiring honestly.

I liked that Dee was truly grieving after her loss in the previous book and things just didn’t instantly go back to normal. And Katy was understanding of the situation instead of trying to push Dee.

Things with the government group are getting even more sketchy in this book and I’m honestly really interested to see what happens in the next book after how this one ended.

I don’t know, this was my least favourite book of the series so far and I hope things pick up in Origin but I’m not holding my breath to be honest.

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The Haunted Pub by Melanie Tushmore

Thank you to Netgalley and Less Than Three Press for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

This was an incredibly weird, funny, over the top read for me. I felt like I should’ve hated it but I kind of loved it.

Fizz is kicked out of his home by his parents after they decided they’d had enough of his depressed self (fucking terrible parenting). So his brother gets him situated with their cousin in a pub in Brighton. Gradually with the help of the guys who all live in the pub and their friends Fizz begins to come out of his skin, until everything goes wrong.

I honestly don’t know what I was expecting with this book, it was hilarious until things went really strange and where it was supposed to be scary it was just really odd and confusing.

I found myself pulling for all the different couples. Though I do question the reality of there being 3 different same sex couples in the one work place, but it is Brighton so… I especially adored the relationship between Fizz and Ash because Ash never pushed Fizz despite him being so incredibly shy and awkward.

There’s a sex scene at about 90% of the book which I just found really out of the blue and jarring. There’s no other sexual stuff in the book like this and it kind of made me feel like “was that necessary”. I’m no stranger to literotica but it just felt kind of shoved in there (ha ha ha ha ha ha).

The “haunted” part of the book started off really funny, the poltergeist was messing with people in a way that I really enjoyed and I found really different. But then things go a lot more sinister with the ghost and like I said earlier I found it really weird. The way things were described by Tushmore was just a bit off. It seemed like she was trying to do something different with the whole poltergeist thing whilst trying to not go completely off base. I honestly just found it weird to read.

Overall this was a fun, fast read for me. Not the best thing I’ve ever read but I’d consider reading something else by this author.

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Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout

A lot of people I follow on youtube go on about this book, and I loved The Problem With Forever so I was keen to test this out. Whilst I found the writing and just general style of the book quite simple I also read through it so quickly and had a lot of fun reading it so sometimes simple isn’t always bad.

Katy has moved from Florida to West Virginia after her dad died and she discovers on her second day in her new tiny town that there is something kind of weird going on. Her neighbours are very strange and people refer to them as “them” as if they’re complete outsiders but she gets on incredibly well with the female twin and wants to find out why things seem so off.

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