Review: Purple Hearts by Michael Grant

Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

FRONT LINES review | SILVER STARS review | Michael Grant Interview

I’ve been a huge fan of this series from day one, and Purple Hearts did not disappoint. In fact, it’s probably the best ending to a trilogy I’ve ever read. THE CLOSURE WAS REAL. We got to see what the characters got up to post-war AND their obituaries so we know what they did with their lives as a whole. Thank you, Michael Grant, I’ve never been more satisfied with an ending. Not to mention, we finally learn who’s been writing these stories! (And I guessed right!)

I feel like in each book, the girls have an identity breakthrough, and I’m glad that I’ve loved a different girl most strongly in each book. In Front Lines it was Frangie, in Silver Stars is was Rainy, and in this book, I’ve rolled round to loving Rio. She’s arguably been through the most, because her character is almost unrecognisable to the girl who stepped into training. In Purple Hearts, Rio got a particularly wonderful scene about femininity and I cheered her on the whole way through. I really love the hardened person she became. She might have lost her innocent view of the world, but in the end she’s better for it.

I also loved that in the book, more than ever, it felt like the girls were interconnected. We’d often see Frangie talking with Rainy or Rio, and I love it best when they’re all aware of each other because, well…it’s just nice, isn’t it? Their moments take you out of the action, (in welcome reprieve) even though there was more explosions and death than ever before! Purple Hearts is gritty and harrowing in all the right places, perfectly capturing the terrors of war. There was also a bigger discussion on deserters and loyalty, which I don’t think has been touched on, but I’m sure if you’d asked the girls in Front Lines what they thought of deserting they’d be giving very different answers to now!

Overall, Rainy’s in top from being a bad-ass spy character, Rio has more responsibility and she handles the weight on her shoulders admirably, and Frangie’s still following close behind, patching everyone up. They all make me so proud, and I’m so pleased I picked up Front Lines, and have followed these girls on this truly epic journey.

I can’t recommend this series more, it’s got sustained action, lush, well developed characters, and brilliant narrative architecture. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go pick up Front Lines again.

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Review: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

cover91844-mediumIron Cast by Destiny Soria
Genre: 
Paranormal
Published by: Amulet Books
Pages: 384
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★.5

Set in 1919, Iron Cast is about best friends, Corinne and Ada, who have magical powers linked to the arts. When Corinne recites poetry, she can conjure illusions. When Ada plays the violin, she can bend your will and change your memories. Their friends, Saint, can pull objects out of what he paints. They are all hemopaths. Together, the girls work in Cast Iron, a club that’s kind of like a speakeasy, but hemopathy is sought, rather than alcohol. Because of their powers, they’re hunted, and the group hunting them down is closing in. The explanation is all great, and the world sounds like an interesting place, but while reading, I struggled to be interested by what was going on, no matter how glorious the girls’ powers were.  Continue reading “Review: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria”

Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

28103790Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
Genre: 
Historical Fiction
Published by: Puffin
Pages: 400
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★.5

I received this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

I’m not normally a reader of historical fiction, but after our lovely friend Casey, from ABasketCaseyReads on BookTube did a non-spoiler review of the book, I was intrigued enough to want to read it. It’s set in World War II, and the UK GCSE curriculum just loves to teach teens about that, so I know quite a bit about it (not, unsurprisingly, much about the events that inspired this book, however.) It also has four different perspectives and really short chapters, which are normally things that make me love a book more.  Continue reading “Review: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys”

Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

25907472Wolf By Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Genre: Historical
Published by: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 390
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★★★

I received a copy of this book from the publishers in exchange for an honest review.

WOW. Like, seriously. Wow. Wolf By Wolf has to be one of the best books I read in January. I was hooked from the very beginning, and I have a feeling that Yael will quickly become one of my favourite heroines. Luckily for me, this is going to be a trilogy – even though I do have some concerns about where this could go – so we’ll be seeing more of Yael soon! If you haven’t heard of this book, it’s about Yael who is a skin-shifter, after being experimented on in a concentration-camp-like environment, and as part of the rebellion against the Nazi regime, she is going to adopt Adele Wolf motocross champion’s identity and try to win the race from Germany to Japan, because it will give her the perfect opportunity to kill Hitler. If you don’t think that sounds like a crazy wild time, definitely worth a read, then I don’t know does!

Continue reading “Review: Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin”

Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers

20522640Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
Genre: Historical, Romance
Published by: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 440
Format: e-book
Rating:
Series: Grave Mercy (#1) | Dark Triumph (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I have loved the rest of the His Fair Assassin trilogy and I absolutely could not wait to start reading Mortal Heart, where we’d finally hear Annith’s side of things! However, I hate to say it, but I was bitterly disappointed with this as a conclusion! I can’t believe I didn’t enjoy this after loving the first two so much. Maybe it was because of how long it took me to get round to reading it, but I think its problems lie somewhere in these three things:

Continue reading “Review: Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers”

Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

7171637Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Genre: Supernatural, Historical (*scoff*), Romance
Published by: Simon & Schuster
Pages: 479
Format: E-Book
Rating: ★★.5
Series: Clockwork Prince (#2) | Clockwork Princess (#3)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I already know I love the Shadowhunter world, and Cassandra Clare is great at writing diverse characters and making them mesh together. Henry and Charlotte are so far my favourite characters of the series. More of them please. And I could go on at great length about these things, but, chances are, you’ve already read this series anyway – I know I’m a little late to the game – so I’ll jump straight to my issues instead. Everyone likes a little controversy, right?

Continue reading “Review: Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare”

Review: Emerald Green by Kerstin Geir

14759651Emerald Green by Kerstin Geir
Genre: Historical fiction, Romance
Published by: Sqaure Fish
Format: Paperback
Pages: 447
Series: Ruby Red | Sapphire Blue
Rating: ★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Emerald Green is the final book in the Girl About Time / Ruby Red trilogy, and that means my expectations were quite high! Although I enjoyed Ruby Red , I thought the sequel was better, and on this projection I was hoping Emerald Green was going to be even better! I wouldn’t say I was disappointed with the ending, because there was plenty of plot twists, but at over 400 pages this book is significantly longer than the others, which made it very slow paced. Therefore, it read as less action packed than it actually was.

Continue reading “Review: Emerald Green by Kerstin Geir”

Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

6050678Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
Genre: Steampunk, Historical Fiction, Action/Adventure
Published by: Simon & Schuster Children’s
Pages: 434
Format:
Paperback
Rating: ★★
Where to Find:
Goodreads | Amazon

Leviathan
is an interesting blend of contextually accurate historical details and fabricated alternate histories. What if the Archduke Franz Ferdinand had a son? What if Darwin had developed his Theory of Evolution even further? If you are unsure on the contexts of these ideas, then conveniently Westerfeld has explained them in the back of the book!

Continue reading “Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld”

Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

the winner's crimeThe Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
Genre: Fantasy, Historical, Romance
Published by: Bloomsbury
Pages: 359
Format: E-Book
Rating: ★★★★
Series:
The Winner’s Crime (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

First of all, the cover is beautiful. Whoever designed it deserves a medal. This book has been sat on my Kindle bookshelf for a while, and since it’s 2015, I thought I’d clear out my shelves and start reading books I bought six months ago. When I clicked on to ‘The Winner’s Curse’, I had no idea what to expect. What I got was an odd mixture of fantasy and historical fiction.

Continue reading “Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski”

Review: Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers

Dark9943270 Triumph by Robin LaFevers
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
Published by: Houghton Mifflin
Pages: 385
Format: ebook
Rating: ★★★★
Series: Grave Mercy (#1)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Dark Triumph is significantly shorter than Grave Mercy, exactly what I wanted! AND we got a new character perspective! I liked Dark Triumph a lot more than the first book in the series. I was so much more engaged in the story, and enjoyed the romance immensely, it didn’t seem forced or coincidental.

The pattern of the story was very similar to that of Grave Mercy, the only real difference being that in Sybella’s story her backstory is a slow reveal, which I loved. Much like Ismae’s story we’re thrown right into the action and there is little to no set up, but we know we’re with Sybella and that’s pretty much it. Sybella was briefly mentioned in Grave Mercy, but she certainly wasn’t a main character, and, of course, it took a little while to settle into her voice. She was in a similar court position as Ismae was in, but luckily Sybella’s personality was distinguishably different. Whereas I thought Ismae lacked a strong personality, Sybella had an engaging voice, that was only enhanced by the intriguing and haunting allusions to her past. Although Ismae and Dival did play a small part in the story, and it was nice to revisit them, Dark Triumph is very much about Sybella and Beast.

The beginning of the novel was relatively slow paced, but it build up Sybella’s lifestyle and her situation, which aided my understanding, as I still hadn’t quite gotten over the fact that we were just leaving the Duchess in Ismae’s hands, capable they may be, but I’ve learnt not to trust any one in the Breton nobility. After we were made to feel so strongly for the Duchess it did seem rather strange to suddenly be transported somewhere else, but what do you know! We were given two more sisters, one of them ill, to worry about! Yay! for His Fair Assassin tropes!

There was a lot more emphasis on the relationship side of things this time round, which compensated for the otherwise slow plot development. By far by favourite parts of the novel were Beast and Sybella’s exchanges, particularly when they visited the grave of Beast’s sister. Their relationship was bittersweet and, much like the plot, it was slow building. However, after reading plenty of instant romances this was a fresh perspective and I felt both deserved their happy ending – or was it happy? Was it even an ending, on that note? What was going on there? Am I the only one confused? Let’s hope things are explained in Mortal Heart, which I can’t wait to get my hands on!

Everything in this story was so well crafted, I don’t think I’ve ever felt so intrigued and repulsed at the same time! I never saw any of the plot twists coming, and was shocked by every single one of them – but that’s what I loved about this book, it had you guessing, it kept you on tender hooks. If I’d been looking hard enough, and thinking about it more than perhaps I was, then maybe I could have come to my own conclusions, but it was so lovely to be completely swept away by the story, as opposed to being too focused on conspiracy theories.

Overall, I would give Dark Triumph four stars – partly because I’m hoping to give that elusive five star to the final book in the series, just to prove that it gets better and better. I enjoyed the characters and the plot and cannot wait to see what happens next now that I have no idea who our villain could be!