abooknation

Book reviews, recommendations and more

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses. — February 6, 2018

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses.

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Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Length: 416

Source: Purchased.

I like that this book had a captivating beginning, there was something happening straight from page 1, and for me that’s what compels me to read the rest of the book! However I found that this book focused too much on romance, AGAIN. That was my main issue with Throne of Glass . I prefer to have some romance on the SIDE, but when it becomes the main focus of the story it tends to mean that the storyline/plot becomes so predictable and a little unrealistic just so that the main character and his/her love interest end up togetherrrr.

Enjoyed the world building, and some of the characters, however for the first half everything worked out too conveniently. Even towards the end there were many events the author could’ve made a lot more interesting by taking a different route. But SPOILER ALERT by the end of the book everything works out perfectly fine?? Which left me a little unsatisfied, especially because I know this is a series but I still can’t see where the story will go on from here.

My favourite part of the book were the trials, they were written soooo well! I literally couldn’t put the book down until all the trials were completed (basically I finished the book). So I was a little disappointed to find that actually the trials were where most of the action happens, otherwise this book is a little uneventful. There is some character development and world-building, but I just wish there were more action scenes weaved into the story.

I will say I did enjoy this wayyy more than Throne of Glass, there was some decent character development with Feyre and I could connect with her a LOT more. I don’t think this is a particularly bad book, it does stay SOMEWHAT true to a Beauty and the Beast retelling. However I wanted more fantasy, more action, and to be honest more of anything other than romance…

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Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children — January 30, 2018

Review: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

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Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children

Author: Ransom Riggs

Length: 352

Source: Purchased.

Anyone who remotely follows book releases, will have heard about the buzz this book caused during it’s release. It took me years to get there but I read it! Andddd I’m not sure how I agree with the hype:

This book gave off this creepy/horror vibe, but it left me feeling (REALLY) overwhelmed. This story was more focused on world-building which is perfectly fine… Except I didn’t find the world building compelling enough to keep me interested. The characters had nothing special or personable about them and they were a little two dimensional, and quite frankly boring.

Another reason why I wasn’t really into this book was because I couldn’t relate AT ALL to the main character. This might have been because Jacob  WAS SO DAMN FRUSTRATING. I couldn’t understand him and his the way he thought and to be honest  sometimes he sounded like an ungrateful little prick.

I don’t think any of the elements were developed enough, and so it left the reader feeling like something was missing while reading the entire book. It just felt more like a first draft than an actual published book. I think there was too much emphasis placed on the creepy factor, and the images included rather than the actual content, the plot, the story line etc.

Whilst writing this review I really tried to find something positive to say about this book, but I only carried on reading it because I wanted to see what all the hype was about.  But to be completely honest this was a story I didn’t really feel invested in, barely managed to finish, and once I did I didn’t feel anything at all.

In summary, the world building wasn’t that great and nothing of relevance or significance rarely happened, but because of the characters and their lack of development when it did I really couldn’t care less.

Also side note: If you still haven’t read the book SPOILER ALERT

Another thing I wasn’t exactly on board with was the fact that Emma, who was Jacob’s grandfather’s LOVER has now fallen in love with Jacob and is considered his love interest in this book?? I can’t be the only one that finds that hella weird??

Review: Tokyo Ghoul — August 27, 2017

Review: Tokyo Ghoul

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Title: Tokyo Ghoul, Vol.1

Author: Sui Ishida

Length: 224

Source: Purchased.

I love reading manga, but the only thing that irks me about them is how short they feel. Even if I buy a bind-up of three volumes I literally fly through them in an hour! Also I don’t know why this happens but I never end up buying the rest of the series, no matter how much I liked reading the first volume! It just never happens…

BUT Tokyo Ghoul might change that (okay no I still haven’t bought the second volume and I read the first months ago, but still…). The concept was just SOOOO good, although it was dark I didn’t feel like that slowed the pace at all.

Here’s the synopsis:

‘Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.’

I was so mad at the blurb for giving away that he became half ghoul, because I thought that would be the highest point of this manga. But actually that happened within the first 40 or so pages of the first volume, the real story is what followed. Ken had no idea at the time of the surgery that he would be receiving a ghouls organ, so it was interesting to read how he discovers that he’s transformed and also what the defining characteristics of a ghoul. I was completely immersed into Kaneki’s story, his journey from rejecting his  ghoulish side to eventually coming to terms with it and discovering just how intergrated ghouls are into society.

We follow this character as he tries to find a balance between his two sides, no longer fitting in with the humans but also rejected by ghouls and also how he practically tortures himself by refusing to eat human meat! This manga had intriguing characters, a unique concept and captivating fight scenes. It’s definitely a series I hope to continue, and I’ve seen the first season of the anime which was just as good!

 

 

 

REVIEW: Rebel of the Sands — August 24, 2017

REVIEW: Rebel of the Sands

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Title: Rebel of the Sands

Author: Alwyn Hamilton

Length: 314

Source: Received a review copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Everyone who follows book releases or is even remotely in touch with the online book community will have heard of Rebel of the Sands. I mean this was released the beginning of last year and there’s STILL talk about it. With the sequel just recently released (okay maybe not recently, but March is recent enough for me!) Rebel of the Sands was available to request on Netgalley and I just couldn’t help it!

I’ll just start by saying it’s probably not my favourite YA release and I’m deffo not reading the sequel. To keep my frustrated thoughts as coherent as possible I’ll just bullet point why:

  • I tried to go into this story knowing as least as possible, all I knew was that it had a middle-eastern setting (the cover kind of hints at that!) and there was magic involved. SO I wasn’t really prepared for the western concept, and I don’t think I could’ve. I don’t personally think the Western thing worked, being Moroccan means I am VERY familiar with middle-eastern culture and a lot of the aspects for me, just clashed. I tried to read it objectively, but the saloon style setting and the first scene including a shoot out , it just didn’t feel right to me.

Actually, now thinking about it, that was my main problem with this book. Everything else was just a vague blur, the main character didn’t really stand out to me, neither did the world building. It was all just a bit bland.

This is exactly why I steer away from hyped YA books. Obviously not all of them disappoint but it’s becoming hard to manage expectations when reading them. I just didn’t think that this book stood out, it went for typical YA tropes and just didn’t give me enough to have me interested in the sequel.

REVIEW: The Crown’s Game — August 22, 2017

REVIEW: The Crown’s Game

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Title: The Crown’s Game

Author: Evelyn Skye

Length: 399

Source: Received a review copy from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.

 

This book was probably the first hyped YA fantasy book I had read in a WHILE, it was published I around May last year and I avoided it for the longest time. I’ve had some experience being disappointed with over-hyped YA fantasy books, so I tend to come back to them when they’re almost forgotten about.

The synopsis included magic, historical fiction set in Russia and a duel to find the Russia’s next Imperial Enchanter so… I’m in!  So basically there are two competitors Vika and Nikolai (hint: some obvious YA romance transpires between these two) who have been training their whole lives to become the Imperial Enchanter and work alongside the Tsar. They each get a turn to pretty much woo the Tsar with their magic, the winner becomes a valued adviser to him, the loser is sentenced to death.

Being completely honest I wish there was a little more focus on the magical aspect of this story. As mentioned before there’s romance involved between the two competitors, and for the most part that’s what I felt like the focus was on. It was also another case of instalove, and the relationship development between these two characters was not the best, so I couldn’t even follow that aspect. BUT the writing style is something that stood out to me, the writer set a tone from the beginning that was consistent throughout. The story is set in Russia and to celebrate the Prince’s birthday  the two enchanters perform tricks that transform the city, and the imagery really helped to make all the scenes so clear and vivid. And I don’t have the most creative imagination so she’s THAT good.

I was a little disappointed with this book, especially because I didn’t see how the magic performed by the two enchanters would be useful to the Tsar in the future. So I didn’t really see the practical side of this whole competition. At the same time, I’m invested enough to read the sequel and I want to see where the story goes from here, because the ending was a little… interesting.

REVIEW: Glitter — August 2, 2017

REVIEW: Glitter

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Title: Glitter

Author: Aprilynne Pike

Length: 384

Source: Received a review copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

In all honesty this was a book that I requested 90% because of the cover… but the synopsis was not bad either. Basically this was set in France, where Versailles still lived in the 18th century whereas everywhere else was modern day. The problem with this society was that once you were a part of it, it became very difficult to escape. ESPECIALLY if you were to wed the king of this castle. So our main protagonist comes up with this ingenious plan to sell cosmetics, that had drugs incorporated in them, in the castle, to raise enough funds to aid her escape.

At this point in time I was really looking for a book that wasn’t too dense but also was interesting enough for me to immerse myself. This was a perfect LIGHT read, I read it in about a day or two (which is fast for me!) aspects like the world building were actually really good, considering the setting I didn’t really have high expectations! The characters were well developed, the main character wasn’t the most complex, but also wasn’t the most typical YA female protagonist.

Just reading the synopsis you could tell this wasn’t going to be the most complex story you’ll read but I also found that it tried to do too many genres and so couldn’t actually fulfill even one of them . Although it had aspects that could’ve been developed into much more it limited itself to being a simple story. That’s why I would recommend this as a light read, something to read if you’re probably in a reading slump and looking for a way out!

Review: Stealing Snow — July 24, 2017

Review: Stealing Snow

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Title: Stealing Snow

Author: Danielle Paige

Length: 375

Source: Received a review copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

This was a book that I couldn’t miss during it’s release, there was soooo much hype built around it. I haven’t read the Dorothy Must Die series, but I heard amazing things about that series so when I found this on Netgalley I couldn’t help but request it. I think this is a retelling but honestly I’m not sure whether this really was supposed to be a retelling of Snow White or The Snow Queen. The only Snow White element it had was that whilst Snow was in the mental facility she called the seven pills she had to take dwarves, other than that it leaned MUCH more towards TSQ.

I had two issues with this, the abundance of YA tropes and how distant the world and characters felt. It followed the story of a girl who everyone thinks is crazy, but is just misunderstood and actually destined to rule a kingdom. WHICH I guess would’ve been FINE, if the characters and the world were complex and developed. But this story lacked both of these things. For the most part I felt like even the main character couldn’t care less about what happened to her in this story. Even the ending, had I been more invested I MIGHT’VE felt something for Snow, but even she felt like an outsider in her own story so it left me feeling a bit…meh. The aspect that got me through this book was the writing style, it made going through this book a little easier (it took me around a month to finish this book :/)

I feel like this was a book I could’ve done without, it didn’t really leave me feeling any type of way at all. I just felt so indifferent the entire time I was reading, which is probably why it took me so long to get through it!

MG Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold. — April 30, 2017

MG Review: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold.

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Title: Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold.

Author: Terry Maggert

Length: 238

Source: Received a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

I have always enjoyed reading middle grade novels, even if I may not necessarily fall in the age group they’re aimed at! I feel like they don’t tend to contain as many cliché’s as young-adult novels tend to.  After reading the synopsis I thought this was definitely something worth checking out! I’m going to try and review it from the perspective of the target audience.

This story took a little too long to get ‘started’. Had I read this when I 12, I don’t think I would’ve made it past around 40% of the book. I understand the importance of world-building and developing the characters, but at the same time it felt like the beginning dragged on a little too much. That was one of the reasons it took me so long to get through this book despite it being 248 pages long.

The character was your average middle grade protagonist, but nonetheless fun to read about. She had a goal throughout this story, and also acted FAIRLY realistically for the most part of this story. However, for some situations she was put in, I really struggled to believe that a 16/17 year old would react in the way she did.

I’m honestly struggling to write a review for this book, not because I disliked it, but because after I finished reading it nothing really stood out to me. Maybe because I’m comparing my experience of reading this middle grade book to previous one’s I had enjoyed but I just found it a little anticlimactic.

If you’re interested in reading about a book set in Alaska, and have an interest in humpback whales you might want to give this a try. Also if you’re looking for a middle grade book that is a more focused on world-building, I would recommend reading this.

Discussion post: Bad Reviews. — March 26, 2017

Discussion post: Bad Reviews.

This is a sensitive topic amongst the book blogging community, but it’s something most bloggers have to go through when writing a bad review. UNLESS they are lucky enough to never read a book they dislike!

At some point in time we come across a book we didn’t enjoy, I feel like it’s easier to review it when you paid for the book yourself rather than received it for review! Writing these reviews are never enjoyable, but at the same time I feel like as a book blogger it is my duty to inform readers of my opinion. Sometimes people read my reviews, go on to read the book and find they have a completely different experience, which is absolutely normal! We all have different preferences, something I enjoy is not going to necessarily mean the next person would have enjoyed it just as much.

However I do take extra care when writing bad reviews, and I’ve noticed that when I approach it from an objective viewpoint, as someone just critiquing the story it’s much easier. I think it’s because it makes it less personal and a little more technical.

I’ve been on Goodreads and come across a few reviews that look something like this:

OH WOW this book was a disaster, it made me want to RIP MY EYES out!

Here’s the thing, I enjoy reading entertaining reviews just as much as anyone else, but sometimes I feel like people do toooooo much. Of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I’m not saying my way is the right way to review. But I particularly find reviews like this unhelpful and frankly a little rude. The worst thing about it is some people won’t even say what particular aspect or what it was about the book they didn’t really enjoy. Someone slaved away for months, even years to produce something they were genuinely proud of. The least I can as a reviewer, is point out perhaps what concepts/characters I thought weren’t written well. Or provide constructive criticism, so that the author can perhaps pick up on this and might even agree!

Let me know what you guys think down in the comments! What is your approach to writing reviews for books you didn’t like? By the way I wanted to make some posts that are not book related, e.g. study tips or favourite movies would y’all still be interested in reading these kind of posts?

REVIEW: The Crystal Crux by A.M. Werner — March 19, 2017

REVIEW: The Crystal Crux by A.M. Werner

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Title: The Crystal Crux

Author: A.M Werner

Published: January 11th 2016

Length: 352

Source: I got this copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.

I haven’t read a high fantasy in a fairly long time so I was really excited to accept this for review! Here’s the synopsis: (taken from Goodreads)

‘Once you get past the Greek warrior Bellerophon and his esoteric-laced crystals, past the menacing black dragon Ophis, past the sinister giant Sinibaldus, past the black-heart Castellan, Rugerius, past the enchanted creatures haunting Eagles Pass and the treacherous Fabbro family ruling Parthenope, you’ll discover that “The Crystal Crux – Betrayal” is a love story, a tale of light and faith in a land of darkness, war and hopelessness.
Pero de Alava has sinned against the powers-that-be. His elevated paranoia has made him indecisive and given life to frequent hallucinations and troubling visions. The supernatural is colliding with reality and the caballero fears he is losing his mind. His plans to wed Anthea Manikos unravel quickly. His best friend, Francis Whitehall, the Griffin, can’t reach him. He accepts no advice from anyone. He curses God because he has seen the prosperity of the wicked and envied them. Will his quest into hell help him right his mind again or will his jealousy drive him to be as unjust as those he despises?
Emperor Henry VI has died. He can no longer protect his pawns. Brother betrays brother, friend betrays friend. As Zor always says, “Bravest blood flows first.” The heart has been struck. It is only DAY ONE and the leaves are falling, snapping off at the stems, missed opportunities drifting away, swirling in the breeze towards the coldness of the grave. So many regrets.
“Every malevolent act you henceforth commit in the name of justice, will only disconnect you from the greater good you are swearing to perform. You will be broken and become the evil thing you loathe.”‘

I think I should preface this review by saying this. If you’re someone who enjoys heavy-world building and historical fiction you will love this book! The majority of it is world building, which was absolutely amazing, because it made me think about how much research went into actually writing about this time so accurately!

This story had characters from a wide range of backgrounds, all battling their own demons and all developing through this story. But it also had some interesting relationships and in my opinion had the perfect amount of romance for a fantasy/historical fiction. I prefer having a relationship that feels more realistic, rather than having love triangles and clichèd romantic scenarios. The relationship between Anthea and Pero De Alva is one I loved reading about and I think it gives this story a sort of relief from all the darkness surrounding these characters.

This was a great fantasy/historical fiction but in all honesty it took me a while to get through, simply because of the intense world building! However the way A.M. Werner developed this complex world and made it feel familiar to the reader is one of the reasons I had to keep reading!