Enchanting the Fey – Rebecca Bosevski

ENCHANTING THE FEY FRONT COVER.jpgAfter an attempt on her life, photographer Desmoree is taken to the world of the fey – a world that her mother spent her life hiding from her, and that she is destined to save. It’s a lot to take in and a lot of responsibility, but there is more to stay for than just destiny.

This is a nice story. Fairies and magic and monsters – all things I love. I also just have to say I love the cover, it’s really simple and elegant. Alongside the magic and fairies, there’s also a fun underlying focus on shoes (it’s not entirely integral to the story but a relatable touch). The romantic aspect happens quite abruptly, which isn’t ideal. There’s a lot of detail on the rest of the story (Des’ destiny, her family history, and her learning about her powers and the world her mother took her from) and the romance seemed to be left a bit behind, thrown in wherever it would fit. This wasn’t too much of a problem though, the story still moved well.

The second half contained an unexpected amount of action. At times the story felt rushed and I wondered if I’d missed a few pages (I hadn’t, I checked) but it was still exciting and intriguing. I did enjoy reading Enchanting the Fey, but it does have a few flaws in pace and plot.

I received an ARC of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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The Sun is also a Star – Nicola Yoon

Oh my lord.

28763485.jpgI loved it. I just loved it. I can’t even explain how good this book is. (And how evil Nicola Yoon is for toying with my emotions like that). I was so engrossed in the story I had two consecutive nights of very little sleep, because I couldn’t put it down.

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.
Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.
The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Natasha and Daniel are both completely likeable and, although it happens through a series of unlikely coincidences, their story is somehow believable. (Quick question though, why do all black girls in books have big afros? Diversity is great but is it really diversity if the characters are all stereotypes?) I loved how we got to hear the stories of the other people they interacted with, and the way the story unfolded. I can’t say too much without giving things away, but what I will say is that it was a rollercoaster of emotions. The Sun is also a Star has stolen the top-spot as my favourite book of the year.

Also, look at how amazing the cover art actually is!

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

Archangel’s Heart – Nalini Singh

cover99969-mediumI made a serious error here. It turns out that this is Book #9 of a series, which I didn’t realise and I haven’t read anything else from. OOPS. My bad. (Although, if Archangel’s Heart is anything to go by, I would never have made it as far as Book #9).

One of the world’s most vicious angels has vanished. Her lands are being taken over by a vampire uprising, so a mysterious angelic sect known as the Luminata call a meeting of all the archangels to decide what should be done. Raphael and his consort, Elena, travel to Morocco to meet with the rest of the archangels, but something does not feel right. The charismatic head of the Luminata is constantly watching Elena, and dark secrets begin to emerge from the cracks. Digging deep into the mystery, Elena discovers more than she bargained for, including brutal truths about what happened to her own family.

Although the story sounds exciting on the surface, it’s mainly about these angel couples (Raphael and Elena in particular). Literally everyone seems to be part of a pair. This really dampened the pace and excitement, because most of the book was just a whole load of relationship blah. The writing is actually very good, but there is far too much focus on emotion and description and one character admiring another. Like, that’s sweet but give me some story please! The plot beneath it all was really rather good, but it was so completely overshadowed by drivel that I almost didn’t notice when something interesting was going on. It just could have been so much better (and shorter). Really disappointed.

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

 

The Sunshine Blogger Award

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I was tagged for this award by the lovely Jess @ BeacoupBooks – Thank you!

The Rules:

1. Answer the 11 questions from the nominator.
2. Nominate 11 blogs.
3. Ask them 11 questions

Jess’ Questions:

1. Which book are you currently reading?

Right now I’m reading Archangel’s Heart by Nalini Singh.

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2. Favourite book cover?

Oh gosh. There are so many, how do I choose?!

3. What was the happiest moment of your life?

I can’t answer this without looking like a complete melt. Plus there are so many, I wouldn’t say there’s one single happiest moment.

4. What’s the last movie you watched? Did you like it?

I watched The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Lets Do The Time Warp Again (the 2016 remake) – I thought it was really good, but you can’t beat the original!

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5. Who’s your OTP? (if you have one)

Probably Jean-Luc and Vic from London Belongs to Us. They’re actually cousins but they come as a pair so I think it still counts as an OTP.

6. Favourite fictional villain?

Hades in Disney’s Hercules. He’s so sassy I LOVE him.

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7. What’s the longest book you’ve ever read?

Probably got to be one of the later Eragon books, by Christopher Paloini.

8. Something you hate that everyone else seems to love?

So so so many things. Bookwise, John Green. His books are just not for me.

9. What’s the last novel you gave your highest rating to?

London Belongs to Us by Sarra Manning. It was a fun, eventful story with fabulous characters and settings.

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10. Which fictional character do you relate to the most?

I don’t even know. It would have to be a side-character since I’m not really one for spontaneous adventures.

11. What’s a book you think everyone should read?

Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. Its my all time favourite book and I don’t see how anyone could possibly not love it.

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I tag:

Danielle @Books, Vertigo and Tea
Jasmine @How Useful It Is
Kee @Kee The Reader
E.C @YA Book Blog
Emma @What Emma’s Reading
Danielle @Books, Vertigo and Tea
Sue & Imogen @Doddy About Books

My questions are:

  1. Who is your all-time favourite author?
  2. Vampires or werewolves?
  3. What’s your favourite TV show right now?
  4. Where would your ultimate holiday be?
  5. How do you spend your time (when not reading or blogging, obviously)?
  6. What was/is your best subject at school?
  7. Would you rather live without books or without clothes?
  8. Favourite band or musician?
  9. What job would you really like to have?
  10. Who is the last person you spoke to on the phone?
  11. If you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

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Runaway Dragonette – Lynne Murray

32194436In this paranormal romance, dragon bachelorette Verity is searching for a mate via a reality TV show (think, The Bachelor). Unfortunately, all her potential suitors are possessive, aggressive dragons who she cannot trust. In an attempt to run away, Verity finds herself on Earth where she meets human Ryan, and instantly falls in love (and lust – yes, it’s one of those). Ryan goes back to the Dragon Planet with Verity to compete for her hand, but he’s up against some seriously competitive contenders.

Runaway Dragonette is a fun story. The whole dragon-shape shifter thing is a bit weird, but integral to the story so it kinda works. It’s fast paced and quite short, but still contains a decent story without feeling rushed. The characters are mostly likeable and the romance is sweet.

I was relieved to find there was only one sex scene (as I’ve mentioned before, I am not a fan of explicit sex in books) so I was able to breeze through that and not lose any of the story. Overall it’s a light and unusual romance read.

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

The Feast of All Souls – Simon Bestwick

29430530Alice is trying to start over. Having lost her daughter and husband, she has bought and new house and is trying to move on. However, it would appear that her new house stands on a sort of gateway between worlds, and things are trying to drag her to the other side. After some terrifying attacks by ghostly children and a horrible ogre, Alice enlists the help of her paranormal-investigator-ex-boyfriend, and together they uncover the secrets 378 Collarmill Road and it’s evil previous owner.

First things first, this is a paranormal horror story with genuine horror in it. The ghosts are scary, and some characters are truly evil. There are themes of murder, abuse, and the story behind the death of Alice’s child is tragic – if this sounds like too much for you then I recommend you steer clear of this book.

However, it is a very well-written and atmospheric story. There are a lot of different elements, which did sometimes get a bit muddled and confusing (the author was maybe a little overambitious) but it was otherwise a very smooth and interesting read. As is the case with most typical British horror, it is based on local legend and has a well thought-out background. The characters themselves have strong backstories, which makes them feel much more genuine than in a lot of horror I’ve read. I found parts of The Feast of All Souls appropriately spooky , and other parts plain disturbing – but after all, that’s what horror is meant to be.

My only criticism would be that there was too much going on. The paranormal elements could have been stripped back a tad. Two or three supernatural beings would have been enough.

I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Indiana Belle – John A. Heldt

29922773Another time-travel romance. When researching papers from the 1920s for his dissertation, Cameron comes across a photograph of a beautiful woman who was murdered in 1925 and diary entries about time-travel. Immediately intrigued, he contacts relatives of the woman, only to discover that time travel is indeed possible. Cameron manages to persuade time-travel professor Geoffrey Bell to let him travel to the twenties in search of love and answers, and maybe to save a life.

This isn’t Heldt’s best work, in my opinion. The whole thing felt a bit forced. Maybe I’m just cynical, but I don’t see how anyone could fall in love with a photograph, especially when it’s of someone who died 90 years ago who, in theory, there is no chance of ever meeting. This story felt a lot like time-travel just for the sake of it, without a strong premise to base it on. This would have worked much better as just a romance story, no time-travel necessary.

However, once Cameron had travelled to the past, it did get better. The story has some exciting threads, including Cameron’s attempt to prevent Candice’s murder, and an accidental trip to the year 2041. The characters are nice, and easy to understand, while the villains are suitably nasty. Indiana Belle is, overall, not a bad book, but I would recommend reading some of Heldt’s other stories before this one.

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

Caraval – Stephanie Garber

27883214Caraval is a legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participate, competing for a magical prize.

Scarlett and her sister, Tella, have never left their tiny island home, where they’ve spent their lives living in fear of their abusive father and dreaming of a chance to escape. So, when Scarlett receives invitations to that year’s Caraval performance, Tella enlists the help of a young sailor to whisk her and Scarlett to the show. Scarlett has always been told that Caraval is nothing more than an elaborate game, but when Tella disappears and Scarlett is left to find her, things start to seem like more than just a game. More sinister, and much more dangerous.

Caraval is pure fantastical perfection. The storyline is intense and thrilling, with constant twists and turns. It’s totally unpredictable, which aligns beautifully with the whole premise of the performance. The characters too, are wonderful (except Tella – her, I did not like). Scarlett is a brilliant heroine, Julian the perfect anti-hero and Legend is now one of my favourite book villains. (I didn’t like Tella, she was selfish and, in my opinion, just used Scarlett the whole way through, but she fit into the story well). And don’t even get me started on the setting. Everything was detailed and extravagant (as suited the story) but at no point did I feel like there was too much description, as so often happens in fantasy books. I really enjoyed the details given about Scarlett’s dresses, Dante’s tattoos, etc. My only real criticism is that the romance aspect left me feeling a bit hollow at the end (I can’t say why because spoilers), but it did still fit in to the story very well.

I haven’t read a story this detailed and twisty in a long time, and I loved it. It’s too easy to get muddled in such an eventful and colourful plot, but Stephanie Garber’s writing is so skilled; it’s easy to follow and doesn’t get bogged down in unnecessary information. This is the best YA/fantasy book I’ve read in a very long time (probably since The Hunger Games or Daughter of Smoke and Bone).

I definitely recommend Caraval to fans of fantasy and dark, intelligent storylines.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley – Thank you so much!