Review: Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

After hearing so much hype about Renee Ahdieh’s The Wrath & The Dawn duology on booktube (plus, I’m obsessed with the new UK covers!) I decided it was about time that I read something by her! Flame in the Mist is her latest release which Goodreads calls ‘Mulan meets Throne of Glass.’ I’ve also heard a few people say that it’s a mash-up retelling of Mulan and 47 Ronin, and on both occasions, ‘Mulan’ is the only thing I’m interested in, so I was looking forward to some cross-dressing shenanigans. However, as you’ll already noticed by my star-rating, I found myself a little disappointed. I think this was mostly because I’d read another ‘Mulan’ mash-up retelling recently – though this time it’s ‘Mulan meets Pitch Perfect’ – in Riley Redgate’s Noteworthywhich was A++

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Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

30964236Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 416
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★★.5
Note: We received this book from he publishers in exchange for an honest review. 

So today I have the pleasure of reviewing one of my most anticipated releases of the year: CARAVAL!  I knew this was going to excellent as it was being advertised as The Night Circus meets Laini Taylor…I mean? YES PLEASE! Caraval is a truly magical story full of twists and turns that will make you question whether it is all a game or if hearts and lives are really at stake. And the best bit is (drum roll please) at the centre of the story is THE LOVE OF SISTERS. That’s right, I’m going to go ahead and add Frozen to the pitch too. This is the story of one sister doing absolutely all she can to save her sister from herself.

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Review: Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin

31116030Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin
Genre: Historical, Action
Published by: Orion Children’s Books
Pages: 496
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★
Series: Wolf By Wolf (#1)
Note: We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

So, what I didn’t realise was that Blood For Blood is the last in this series. It was only a DUOLOGY! I was a little suspicious when it felt like things were wrapping up and I was like ‘wait!’ While I am extremely excited that it meant I could unexpectedly finish another series before the end of the year, I’m really sad that I won’t be off with Yael on another action-packed adventure!

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Review: The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

28588345The Midnight Star by Marie Lu
Genre: Fantasy
Published by: Penguin Books
Pages: 313
Format: ebook
Rating: ★★★
Series: The Young Elites (#1) | The Rose Society (#2)

I honestly don’t think I was ready for this series to end. It was one of my most anticipated releases for this half of the year! The Young Elites was one of the first books that I read this year, and I was immediately drawn in by the delicious cast of characters. I’m pretty sure everyone knows by now that one of this series’ USPs is that Adelina is a bit of a villainous protagonist, but not in a fantastical super villain way, more in a ‘this girl’s had a hard life that has forced her to make tricky decisions in sticky situations’. Some people will probably say that’s mellow, but I’ve always loved Adelina, and the bond she has with her sister. And, for me, book two was even better, so I was going in with HIGH expectations, let me tell you.

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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?

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Mosquitoland by David Arnold

18718848Mosquito land by David Arnold
Genre: Contemporary, Coming-Of-Age(?)
Published by: headline
Pages: 336
Format: E-Book
Rating: ★★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Okay, this book was insanely quotable, and I don’t find myself highlighting passages very often, but for some reason I was highlighter-happy (electronically, guys, I’m not about to deface a beautiful book with the wet ink of a highlighter)! I was scrolling through the reviews of this book on Goodreads though, and this review is pretty much going to be the consensus opinion: amazing beginning, what was that middle?, okay, so how-am-I-supposed-to-feel-about-this-now-ending. But the writing though. My goodness. (It would be summed up with this emoji: 👌) Let’s pros and cons this.

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Review: Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall

25326323Black Cairn Point by Claire McFall
Genre: Gothic, Paranormal, Contemporary
Published by: Hot Key Books
Pages: 258
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

This book was so addicting and there was no way I could put it down when it really got going. Five kids on a camping trip to an ancient burial ground? Sign me up! I’d describe this book as soft core paranormal, where the majority of the story is contemporary with a hint of mystery.

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Review: Champion by Marie Lu

14290364Champion by Marie Lu
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-Fi, Romance
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 400
Format: e-book
Series: Legend (#1) | Prodigy (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I have started and completed this series in the space of four days, and now that it’s over I can feel the post-series depression settling in. Legend was my first 5 star review of the year, and now when anybody asks me what my favourite books are this series will definitely be in the roll-call. Champion was a bittersweet ending to this incredible series. It was fast paced and the plot was just as intricately woven as it’s predecessors. Marie Lu really had written something special.  Continue reading “Review: Champion by Marie Lu”

Review: Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

22053410Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Genre: Fantasty, Dystopia, Romance
Published by: Harper Voyager
Pages: 365
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★.5
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

The blurb of Perfect Ruin is quite misleading: ‘The loss of her older brother taught Morgan a lesson: he jumped and fell…Morgan resumes as normal a life as possible as she struggles to accept her brother’s decision.’ Morgan’s brother is not dead, as this suggests. Morgan didn’t lose her brother, her brother lost his eyesight. Also Morgan doesn’t struggle to accept his decision, because she too is curious about what life is like outside of Internment, the isolated world in the clouds where thinking about what else could be out there is frowned upon.

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Review: Just In Case by Meg Rosoff

Just in Case bjust_in_case_pby Meg Rosoff
Genre: Contemporary
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 256
Rating: ★★.5
Where to Find: 
Goodreads | Amazon

Maddie and I read this book as part of our school’s book club and whereas Maddie has had some experience with Rosoff’s writing style – she reviewed How I Live Now – I have not.

I wouldn’t say that I enjoyed the story, but I didn’t particularly dislike it either. The recommender of this book said that it would ‘make you think’ but at the end, I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be thinning about. Fate, maybe? The premise is that David Case has a bad run in with fate, so decided to hide for it. He changes his name to Justin (Just in Case, geddit?) from then on he meets Agnes and she helps him change his look. The book is narrated in third person, with some first person chucked in there to represent fate chasing Justin down. Reminiscent of The Book Thief’s death as a narrator.

It’s quite a strange story as all that really happens is Justin’s slow decline into depression and other illnesses. The majority of the themes in the novel came down to two things: sex and religion. Sex was one of the main things Justin thought about, and it was interesting to see how his perception of love and physicality changed his life. The religion side of things comes from Boy, the dog. The invisible dog. I’m pretty sure he was supposed to be a metaphor for God, but I could be mistaken. My evidence for this is when Peter says, “Take Boy. Does he exist or doesn’t he? You see him, I see him. Is that enough to vouch for his existence?” When Boy isn’t in Justin’s life he seems worse off and unsure of himself, which could suggest that the dog is symbolic of faith in something, perhaps not a deity, but just something.

Just In Case focussed a lot on character relationships. Agnes and Justin’s relationship was dangerous because it was one sided. Justin and Peter’s friendship was mutual and co-dependent. Justin’s relationship with his brother was endearing and relied on a mutual understanding, which is hard to achieve when you’re brother is only one. The sections with Charlie, the brother, were my favourite parts, because I liked ‘looking’ into a child’s mind. Rosoff’s presentation of a child’s cognitive ability versus their ability to produce language was something I appreciated, probably because I’m currently studying Child Language Acquisition in my English Language lessons.

I was disappointed with the ending, because I thought it would surmount to more. We left Justin in a rather precarious position and, apart from the afterword from death, everyone’s endings are pretty ambiguous. After the book group’s discussion of Just In Case I may well add to this review, but for now I’ll give it 2.5 stars, we’ll see how my opinion changes with further discussion.