Book Review · Books

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas [BOOK REVIEW]

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas [BOOK REVIEW]

It took me so long to start reading House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas and now that I’ve read it, I am so hyped for the next book. I wish I started it sooner, but I’m also glad I didn’t, because now I don’t have to wait too long for the second book in the Crescent City series.

About The Book:

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas [BOOK REVIEW]


Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Pages: 803

Format I read it in: hardcover

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

Synopsis:

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

My Thoughts:

Oh my goodness, what a turbulent masterpiece this was! I didn’t expect so many plot twists. And I didn’t expect to care about so many people in this book! My emotional tank can only take so much!

I was reading House of Earth and Blood for a whole month, and I realised that I read books longer when I’m really devouring them. This book was one of those. The beginning was slow, but I enjoyed diving into this new world Sarah J. Maas created. And then we had a big plot twist and I was both heartbroken and hooked.

I loved how slowly we get to know Bryce, and at the same time, she slowly gets to know herself better too. We start to understand why she is the way she is. The way she copes with grief and is unable to trust anyone was so relatable to be, and this is also the reason why I enjoyed the slow burn romance as well. It fit so well with Bryce’s character and with her story.

The world was confusing at times, but things began to clear up near the end. I am also sure that when the next book comes, it will clear more things up as well. My favourite bits were the Drop ritual and the concept of different houses. I am looking forward to see the rivalries and perhaps even a bit of history between them. That’s something I think I will really enjoy.

Aside from Bryce, we get to know Athalar Hunt as well, and I really loved his story too. His story is so sad, especially his enslavement. I also couldn’t help but admire his loyalty to Bryce, especially in the end. And his ability to speak up and act for what he truly believes in, and what he believes is right and fair. But aside from Hunt, this book features so many characters that deserve a mention. Danika, Lehabah, Ruhn, Jesiba are just a few, and they were all so vividly alive and full of spirit, unlike many side characters from other books that often get forgotten.

There is so much I love about this book!

The fantasy that is able to touch reality so well. A world full of magic and powers, but also the core human feelings too. Friendships, love, betrayal and death hits all the same. And even though living in a fantasy world, Bryce is sometimes more real and more human than most of us. Be ready to laugh, cry, fall in love (slowly) and dive into an adventure of good versus evil in another masterpiece created by Sarah J. Maas. Cannot wait for the second book in the Crescent City series!

Rating:

★★★★★

About The Author:

The fantasy writer Sarah J. Maas (USA), January 22, 2020. Photograph © Beowulf Sheehan

Sarah J. Maas is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Crescent City, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and the Throne of Glass series. Her books have sold more than twelve million copies and are published in thirty-seven languages. A New York native, Sarah lives in Philadelphia with her husband, son, and dog. 

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Book Review · Books

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

Oh my goodness, what a book! The Gilded Ones is the first book in the Deathless series, and it’s already much talked about! Get ready to dive into a YA Fantasy that will brutally show you what happens when society believes oppression is okay. And how one girl, who is deemed different and therefore, cast away from her village, will rise up and fight for her freedom!

I am so thankful to a few teams, for letting me be part of this experience and sending me a copy of this book. Thanks to LoveReading and LoveReading Kids, Usborne YA and Tandem Collective.

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Deka grew up and lives in Otera, a kingdom with patriarchal values. The Kingdom has the Ritual of Purity, where every girl’s worth is being determined by the colour of her blood. When a girl reaches a certain age, she needs to prove she’s “pure”. If she bleeds red, she is “pure” and is accepted as part of the village and required to wear a mask.

When the day comes for Deka to undergo the Ritual of Purity, she bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon. She faces a consequence worse than death, and is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature. Deka is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. And this woman offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with the other Alakis, or be destroyed…

“Giving us impossibilities and calling them choices.”

My Thoughts:

The Gilded Ones is everything I expected it to be and more. From the very first page, I cared so much for Deka. As the chapters went on, I couldn’t peel my eyes off the book. Firstly, the world building is spectacular. Namina Forna created this fictional world, and society so cruel that it made me hurt for Deka and the other Alakis.

These people don’t really appreciate and accept the worth of a woman, even when she is considered “pure”. The women in the village are only there to bear children and be housewifes. They are also required to wear a mask to cover their faces. Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with being a housewife and staying home. But it has to be the woman that makes that choice. And in this society, the woman has no voice, no space to make a choice, no other option. And these are the “pure” women we are talking about. What about those that are deemed “different”?

The Alaki

Deka and the others like her bleed gold, and therefore, the society thinks they are evil. The society is afraid of anything that is different to them, and therefore rejects it. These girls are subject to terrible things, And through Deka and her friends’ experiences, we find out about the most gruesome and brutal things that can happen to women, in a society led by men and voiceless women. These girls now have to fight for the Emperor, having no other choice, and stay together. However, they have some unexpected powers, especially Deka, that with time, she will learn to use. Their training and battles will teach them things that will change them forever.

“The physical body – it heals. The scars fade. But the memories are for ever. Even when you forget, they remain inside, taunting you, resurfacing when you least expect.”

Remember your scars! Embrace them! Let them remind you where you came from, what you went through. Let them remind you how much you’ve achieved! Without those scars, you would never be the person you are today.

As a YA Fantasy, The Gilded Ones exceeds everything!

There is danger, adventure and magic. There is Deka’s main storyline, that drives the story forward as we learn more about her and her role in this world. But there are also the stories of her many Alaki friends she meets, all bearing their own weight, all powerful and emotional in their own way. I especially loved that we had a romance creeping into the book, but it so subtle and never took importance in the story. I loved how independent Deka was, and how well represented it was that love can exist in your world, and you can care about someone, but it doesn’t have to define you as a person, or affect your decisions. This is not the case with most of the YA Fantasy books, and I am so glad that this book focused on it.

Namika Forna wrote a masterpiece, and this book will go a long way! It’s all about that raw brutality and pure emotions dripping into every single page. My heart was breaking for Deka, Britta, Belcalis and the other girls! The Gilded Ones is a book that shows how to live past the stereotypes, and when oppressed, to fight for freedom! It shows in a brutal way what would happen if a certain behaviour becomes supported by the general public and becomes the new norm. It also shows that you can fight through it. And considering today’s world is not too far off from this fantasy, hopefully we’ll all learn a little bit more about important topics worth talking about!

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Book Review · Books

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare [BOOK REVIEW]

Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

I was reading Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare as part of the Tandem readalong on Instagram. I love Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter series, and it was such a unique experience to read Chain of Gold while chatting to people about it at the same time. Needless to say, I loved the book, and can’t wait for the second book, Chain of Iron, to come out. Huge thanks also to the team at Walker Books, for the copy of the book!

Synopsis:

Chain of Gold is the first book of the Last Hours series, and it’s set in Edwardian London. We meet shadowhunter Cordelia Carstairs, a warrior trained to battle demons. When her father is awaiting trial for a crime he may have committed, she and her brother travel to London in hope to prevent the family’s shame. Cordelia’s mother wants her to marry into a suitable house, but Cordelia is more determined to be a hero than a bride.

While in London, Cordelia meets her childhood friends, James and Lucie Herondale, and their world of ballrooms and picnics. Cordelia and Lucie are promised to be parabatais when they get older. And Cordelia also has to keep her love for James a secret, who is promised to marry someone else.

But a shocking series of attacks happen in London, and these monsters are nothing like the ones Shadowhunters have fought before. These demons can walk in daylight, damage Shadowhunters with poison and are impossible to kill. With London under quarantine, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.

My Thoughts:

I loved Chain of Gold so much! It was everything I expected it to be and more! The story line is a very exciting one and as soon as I got familiar with all the characters and plot, I couldn’t put it down. I have read The Mortal Instruments and The Dark Artifices series prior to reading this book, and the Shadowhunter world felt very familiar to me. I knew some of the names, but it didn’t make much of a difference.

If you have read the Infernal Devices series, many characters will be known to you. But at the same time, if this is your first Cassandra Clare book, you’ll still be able to enjoy it. The first few chapters explain the Shadowhunter world quite well, as well as the Downworlders. In fact, if this is the first book you pick up, it will probably make you want to read the other books as well.

The writing is a masterpiece.

Cassie Clare, as usual, doesn’t disappoint. As soon as I start reading any of her books, I am immediately transported into this fictional world. I also loved the group of friends. It reminded me of the group of friends in the Mortal Instruments series, because of how close they are, and how they are not afraid to sacrifice each other to save one another. They are so unique and different, but that makes them all click nicely together.

“It matters not how a man dies, but how he lives.”

Cordelia was one of my favorite characters. Her bravery and her strong will. I mean, not everyone can wield Cortana, and she managed to do that!

“Ah, the famous Cortana. A sword that bears no runes, yet can kill demons, they say.”

I also loved Lucie’s creative mind and ability to find good in everyone. Also, her amazing ability (not saying anything else). James and his ability to think fast, to lead the group and to be the first one to go into a battle. Anna’s ability to discard the rules and live life as she wants. Matthew and Thomas, as well as Alastair and Christopher, all with their own troubles, but always there for their friends, ready for anything. Jesse. Oh God, Jesse. That boy made me love him so much, especially during the last few chapters. And not to forget, the amazing Jem, also known as Brother Zachariah. He was a true gem in this book, and his advice was priceless to James many, many times.

“We do not get to choose when in our lives we feel pain.” said Matthew, “It comes when it comes, and we try to remember, even though we cannot imagine a day when it will release its hold on us, that all pain fades. All misery passes. Humanity is drawn to light, not darkness.”

It’s always hard to write reviews without spoiling anything.

With Cassandra Clare’s books, it’s exceptionally hard! But I will say this – it’s another YA fantasy into the Shadowhunter universe, and it’s full with magic and intrigue. You’ll start caring about these people, and their lives will be in danger and each chapter will leave you wanting more. There are demons, ghosts, magic, warlocks, faes and vampires. And always shadowhunters, saving the day. I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the series, and I hope you’ll join me too!

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US

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Books · Monthly Tags

February TBR – The TBR Raffle

February TBR - The TBR Raffle

Hello, fellow readers!

Welcome to the February TBR! January felt like it lasted for a year, and I’m already enjoying February way more than I enjoyed January. It’s nice to have a short month once in a while, isn’t it?

January was a very hard month, and I read only 7 books, only one of which was a 5-star. You can see my January wrap up here.

You probably already know this, but just a reminder that I share my current reading updates on my Instagram posts and stories, so don’t forget to follow my Instagram to see what I am reading at any given time during this month. And this month, there will be a lot of surprises there as well, which you don’t want to miss.

And with that being said, let the February TBR raffle commence.

The February TBR Raffle

I am filming my TBRs on my Instagram Stories. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, and check out the “Monthly TBR” highlight at the beginning of each month!

My TBR Raffle game is simple: I have a number of prompts that I put in small papers, into a jar. I draw a prompt, and I fit in a book that matches my prompt. Here is a list of the current prompts I have. Feel free to leave any prompt suggestions in the comments. Once the paper is drawn, I put it back into the jar, so it has an equal chance to get drawn again. I draw a total of 6 prompts, which result in 6 books for the month. If I fail to read a book, it automatically goes into the next month.

My February TBR

✨ 1. Fantasy

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) by Sarah J. Maas is a book I have had on my TBR shelf since last April, but when fantasy came up, it felt like the perfect time to start it, and I can’t wait for it.

Synopsis:

Bound by blood.
Tempted by desire.
Unleashed by destiny.

Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.

Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.

As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

✨ 2. LoveReading

LoveReading is a website that I have been an ambassador for about 2 years now, and they send me amazing books before publication. That is why I have a special prompt made just for the books they’ve sent me. This time, I am choosing The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna. I know I will definitely enjoy this book, and I think it will one of the most popular YA fantasies this year!

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death. She is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others just like her, or be destroyed…

Purchase Links:
 | Amazon UK | Amazon US |

✨ 3. Instagram Pick

This month’s Instagram Pick was The Elephant in the Room by Holly Goldberg Sloan. I always love the Instagram polls that we do, and you seem to also enjoy it as well. It’s quite fun how we come up with a random title that most of you want me to read. I am in love with my copy of this book, and I know I will truly enjoy it!

Synopsis:

It’s been almost a year since Sila’s mother traveled halfway around the world to Turkey, hoping to secure the immigration paperwork that would allow her to return to her family in the United States.

The long separation is almost impossible for Sila to withstand. But things change when Sila accompanies her father (who is a mechanic) outside their Oregon town to fix a truck. There, behind an enormous stone wall, she meets a grandfatherly man who only months before won the state lottery. Their new alliance leads to the rescue of a circus elephant named Veda, and then to a friendship with an unusual boy named Mateo, proving that comfort and hope come in the most unlikely of places.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US

✨ 4. Highest Rated

The current highest rated book on my Goodreads TBR is Unspoken by Guvna B, and I am so excited to read about his book that speaks about toxic masculinity.

Synopsis:

Men are bold. Men are brave. And men are strong in the face of fear. But what happens when that strength crumbles?

Growing up on a council estate in East London, rapper Guvna B thought he knew everything he needed to know about what it means to be a man. But when a personal tragedy sent him reeling, he knew he had to face these assumptions head on if he was going to be able to overcome his grief.

In this intimate, honest and unflinching memoir, Guvna B draws on his personal experiences to explore how toxic masculinity affects young men today. Exploring ideas of male identity, UNSPOKEN is an inspirational account of Guvna’s journey.

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK |Amazon US |

✨ 5. TBR Jar

My TBR Jar picked The Summer Job by Lizzy Dent, and I couldn’t have asked for a better choice! It’s the perfect book to get me into a spring/summer mood, and it will be a light read to brighten up the gloomy rainy February days.

Synopsis:

Have you ever imagined running away from your life?

Well Birdy Finch didn’t just imagine it. She did it. Which might’ve been an error. And the life she’s run into? Her best friend, Heather’s.

The only problem is, she hasn’t told Heather. Actually there are a few other problems…

Can Birdy carry off a summer at a luxury Scottish hotel pretending to be her best friend (who incidentally is a world-class wine expert)?

And can she stop herself from falling for the first man she’s ever actually liked (but who thinks she’s someone else)?

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

✨ 6. Sent By Publisher

The Man I Didn’t Marry by Anna Bell was kindly sent to me by the team at HQ Stories, and this book is coming out this month, which is why I chose to read it. The synopsis is intriguing, and I have heard amazing things about Anna Bell’s writing, so can’t wait to dive into it!

Synopsis:

What happens when the man she married can’t remember her?

Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship.

Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find herMax again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?

As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?

Purchase Links:
 Amazon UK | Amazon US

There are also a few extra books I am planning on reading this month, as well as the ones from last month that I didn’t get to yet, but I won’t reveal these titles to you yet, as I have some special TBR mystery surprises ready. Make sure to follow me on Instagram, so you can stay up to date with my current updates during the month.

And that’s (part of) my February TBR. Wish me luck, because this month, I’ll need it! <3
What is on your February TBR? Let me know in the comments!

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Book Review · Books

Pleasant Grove by Jason Price [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

Thank you to the author, Jason Price, for sending me a copy of his book, Pleasant Grove, in exchange for my honest review. Pleasant Grove was a very interesting, fast and pleasurable read.

Synopsis:

Welcome to Pleasant Grove, a quiet small town where neighbor helps neighbor and doors are left unlocked at night-an unspoiled paradise with one peculiar feature: It’s enclosed by a glass dome.

No one can leave and no one can enter.
No one can survive beyond the dome.

But then, a visitor arrives from the outside.

When 12-year-old Agnes Goodwin discovers a strange boy with no memory, she teams up with her best friends to unravel the mystery. Their extraordinary adventure will threaten everything they know…and everyone they love.

My Thoughts:

From the moment I read the synopsis, Pleasant Grove reminded me of the Simpsons movie, when they have a dome put in Springfield. No one can come in. No one can come out.

And honestly, with a synopsis like that, curiosity got the better of me, and I wanted to know everything! Why is the dome there? Why are the parents not saying anything? Who is this boy and how did he come in? And most importantly, what is outside the dome?

Pleasant Grove is aimed for middle-grade, YA audience, and it won’t disappoint. The writing is very vivid, and every chapter leaves you wanting to know more. From the very first moments, I was hooked with the description of the town. The people leave idyllic lives, everyone is minding their own business, and all seems to be perfect. During lockdown, I could actually understand being in this dome in a while new level. The whole reading experience felt a bit surreal as well, and I enjoyed it! But 12-year-old Agnes can feel something is wrong, despite her family denying it. When one day she sees a boy that she knows does not belong to this town, she knows something’s up. And if no one can give her the answers, she’ll have no choice but to find the answers for herself.

Agnes perfectly portrays the curiosity I feel in the book.

She is looking for answers, and she is determined and not afraid to look for more clues and ask questions. I also loved her determination to help this boy that she doesn’t know.

“Agnes liked asking questions, and had always assumed answers would lead to understanding. But sometimes, she now realised, answers only led to more questions.”

Alongside her, there are her friends and her brother, that are helping her on this adventure and the chemistry of this group is amazing! I loved their chats and when they were making plans, I loved their bickering, but most of all, their ability to keep encouraging each other and stay together. It was also interesting to see how each of the friends had a small story, or a small challenge they were dealing with at the moment – it added a bit of refreshing diversity from the actual plot and its intensity.

I even enjoyed the scenes when the bully Ruth was involved with her friends. It was interesting to see the fear she awoke in many people, and their personal growth when they would slowly start overcoming this fear. There were a few things left unsaid I felt like, especially in the end and regarding Ruth, that I wish were explained more. I have my theories for now though.

The reveal in the end was very pleasurable to read about.

For me, the ending was somewhat predictable because of books I have read before and movies I’ve seen, but there were still a lot of unexpected elements in it that I really enjoyed. I feel like we got all the answers that we were looking for. The last part felt a bit slow, but it left some space for another book I think, which may have been the reason why it was slower. If you are a fan of YA fantasy, with sci-fi elements, this is definitely the perfect book for you!

Purchase Links:
Amazon UK | Amazon US

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