Book Review 49: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

Pages: 448 Pages
Publication Date: August 9th, 2016
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.
Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

My Thoughts:

I want to start this review by saying that I asked the publisher Thomas Dunne for an Advanced Copy and they were nice enough to send it my way! 

This was just <i>amazing!</i>

So this book is written by an unknown narrator who is telling us the story of a girl named Mia and her journey through assassin school, where she wants to learn so she can avenge the death of her family.

The writing in this book is by far the best part. The first 11 or so pages were done in such a beautiful way that I was instantly hooked to this book. And the writing just continuously gets better. There are footnotes in this book and honestly at first I found them completely jarring. I would get so engrossed in the story but then I would have to jump to a footnote. But the thing I loved was that the footnotes involved little snippets about Mia's character or world building that I absolutely adored. It helped make the story a lot easier to read, but it didn't clog it down with info dumping.

The characters are fantastic as well. Mia is a character that I related to so well. She is easily relatable and has many qualities that people will see in themselves. Her wit, sarcasm, and humour were easy to read and made her a more enjoyable character to read about and her journey and character building was fantastic. 
As for the side characters, I loved them all. Tric was easily my favourite character but I loved everyone, even the villains. They are all such believable characters and seem very realistic to what you imagine real assassins to be like. 

And the plot. Wow the plot was good. I really loved the whole idea of a school for assassins and the way the school operated and just the entire aspect of the world building. I will admit, there is a section midway through the book that I found a bit slower to read, just because it was like daily life and wasn't always super engrossing, but it was still interesting to read and absolutely key to the story.
The ending of the book though, that's where things went from really good to amazing. I did NOT expect anything that happened and I, on three separate occasions, actually yelled out "WHAT" when I was reading. There were 2 instances at the end of the book that will make the wait for book 2 so unbearable. 

Overall, just an amazing fantasy story that has a great plot, great character, and amazing writing. I recommend to all the lovers of fantasy because what's not to love. And really though, it's assassin's.. what could go wrong?!

Book Review 48: That Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel

Pages: 320 Pages
Publication Date: July 26th 2016
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Fielding Bliss has never forgotten the summer of 1984: the year a heat wave scorched Breathed, Ohio. The year he became friends with the devil. 
Sal seems to appear out of nowhere - a bruised and tattered thirteen-year-old boy claiming to be the devil himself answering an invitation. Fielding Bliss, the son of a local prosecutor, brings him home where he's welcomed into the Bliss family, assuming he's a runaway from a nearby farm town. 
When word spreads that the devil has come to Breathed, not everyone is happy to welcome this self-proclaimed fallen angel. Murmurs follow him and tensions rise, along with the temperatures as an unbearable heat wave rolls into town right along with him. As strange accidents start to occur, riled by the feverish heat, some in the town start to believe that Sal is exactly who he claims to be. While the Bliss family wrestles with their own personal demons, a fanatic drives the town to the brink of a catastrophe that will change this sleepy Ohio backwater forever.

My Thoughts:

GUYS. This book was amazing.

It's kind of funny because when I read the blurb for this book, all I read was that the Devil comes to this Southern USA town and I knew I wanted to read it. I don't read blurbs often so I didn't read the rest, but just that one or two sentences was enough for me.
But the book is about so much more than that. It's about a loss of innocence. It's about families and communities and friendship and sibling relationships and romantic relationships. It covers race issues and LGBT issues and even different than usual psychological issues. And the book does them all WELL. It does not overload you with content, it has a really nice balance.

The characters in this book are absolutely so well written. Many times throughout the novel I found it impossible to believe that she was a debut author because this was so well written. Sal, Fielding, Grand, his parents, Elohim, all of them were just so fleshed out. They were complex and complicated, filled with so many feelings and backstories and conflict, and yet they were simple. Prone to human desires and human feelings that everyone feels. Throughout the novel it was hard to see who the villain was. There were obvious villains, but there were moments where I questioned who was bad and who was good. But then I realized that that was the brilliance of the way the author wrote these characters, they were human, they were flawed and could be both bad and good.

I loved the setting of the story. I loved this small southern town where it was incredibly hot all summer. There were times when just the descriptions of the heat made me feel like I was experiencing it with them. I could picture this town and all its inhabitants perfectly because it was a simple, yet elaborate, setting.

Overall, there's just not enough praise I could give this book. I may have had problems with the book, if I did I honestly don't remember them as by the end I completely had forgotten them. If I had issues, they clearly weren't important. This book broke my heart. It made me feel angry, upset, and even, although rarely, happy. I feel like I lived through this book with the characters and that's not a small thing for me to say. As a debut novel this is amazing, as a novel in general this is still amazing. Tiffany McDaniel definitely has a reader in me for life because I just loved everything about this book so much.

Book Review 47: You Know Me Well by Nina Lacour + David Levithan

Pages: 248 pages
Publication Date: June 7th, 2016
Publisher: St. Martins Press

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.
That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.
When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other--and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.

My Thoughts:

I just want to thank St. Martin's Press for sending me a finished copy of this book to read and review! I absolutely LOVED this book so I am SO happy to have a copy I can display on my shelves!
It also gave me an excuse to pick this up right away when I might have put it off for a while.

It is not every day that a contemporary YA gets put into my favourites shelf. It is actually my least read genre and now all I can wonder is why? Why don't I read more YA contemporary? Why don't I read more LGBTQ+ fiction? Why have I yet to read more David Levithan before now since I loved Every Day so much? And lastly, why have I not picked up anything by Nina Lacour? I don't know the answer to any of these questions, but I am going to be remedying this very quickly and going to look into this genre a lot more.

This book follows Mark and Kate and the way their life changes during Pride Week. They meet one night and find they both have things in common and they help each other deal with the things they need to deal with in their life.
I thought this book was going to be a love story/romance story. It started out to be that way. But this is not a love story. This is about coming to terms with the person you are, with the things you cannot change, with the feelings you have, or don't have, and it's about learning to be the person that you are. This is also not a story about being gay. It's not a story about coming out, or accepting your sexuality, or being uncomfortable in your skin. This is just a story about 2 LGBTQ+ characters who are dealing with the real world. And it's amazing. The messages in this story were amazing. I have never related to a book so much in my life. Both Kate and Mark are dealing with things that I am dealing with in my life right now, but especially Kate, and it was like I was getting a speech from a friend helping me through things I need to deal with.

I just loved this story. The characters were so well written. The writing was so poetic.
It was also really refreshing. The concepts and plots in this story were not new. I have seen unrequited love, stress about graduation, etc., before, but it was all done in this really amazing setting of pride week that made everything so unique. 
Unlike most books, there is nothing in this book I didn't like. There is one small aspect with the way things turned out for Mark that made me really sad, but I think it was a really fitting ending for his story. 
I just loved this and I can't wait to come back to this story one day in the future because my heart is full of happiness (and a little bit of sadness at that one thing but I'll move on). 

Just a little end note: I read this book 3 days ago and I have finished 2 novels since then and I am still thinking about this book because I loved it so much. I absolutely recommend reading this as soon as possible. ESPECIALLY since it's pride month and a perfect time and excuse to get to this sooner rather than later. 

Book Review 46 - Killing Adonis by JM Donnellan

Pages: 448 Pages
Publication Date: October 1st, 2014
Publisher: Pantera Press
After seeing a curious flyer, Freya takes a job caring for Elijah, the comatose son of the eccentric Vincetti family. She soon discovers that the Vincetti’s labyrinthine mansion hides a wealth of secrets, their corporate rivals have a nasty habit of being extravagantly executed, and Elijah is not the saint they portray him to be.
As well, Marilyn Monroe keeps showing up, unaware she’s very much deceased. And there’s something very strange about the story that Elijah’s brother Jack is writing …
Get A copy of the book: This book is not really widely available outside of Australia yet, but you can access it on NetGalley! If you search for Pantera Press in the publisher section, you can get immediate access to the novel!

As well for any Australian people you can purchase a physical copy on the publisher website at this page:

My Thoughts:
*I was provided this book by the publisher Pantera Press but all the thoughts in this review are my own.

I really enjoyed this book! I had some minor issues, but they didn't impact my reading experience!

To start, this book deserves props because this was one of the only books with a mystery aspect I've ever read that I didn't guess the ending. I mean I guessed SOME of it, but not all of it.

To start, this book follows a girl, Freya, who gets a job working for a very wealthy family as the live in nurse for their son in a coma. She ends up finding out a lot of dark secrets about their family. They are a very powerful family and the things she learns has the potential to change many things about her world.

I really liked the concept of this book. I liked the family dynamic, the mystery, the plot, the setting and the characters. It was really well done. I enjoyed how it was told and the pacing that the author set for all the various reveals in the book. Where I found this book a little bit lacking was that it seemed confused at times in some of the specific details.
For example, I personally did not understand the inclusion of Marilyn Monroe/that entire storyline. As well, Freya has a medical anomaly that was also something I was confused about. I understood the medical anomaly storyline a bit because it helped her connect to Jack, but otherwise it was a little bit confusing to me as to the reasoning for the inclusion. It by no means took away from the story though as they were minor points in the plot.

I liked the characters honestly which surprised me since I didn't at first. Freya was a weird eccentric type who I just ending up loving. I liked Jack and all his angst and brooding. I just liked how each of them were developed. My one issue with the characters, particularly Freya, was that Freya at times did not act like she was in the mid 20s. I often times had to remind myself that she wasn't 17. She was just more immature than I thought she would be. I also had this issue with Jack but less so.
The romance was also a bit weird to me. Don't get me wrong, I liked them definitely, but I didn't feel the chemistry, and I don't feel like they had any progression to their relationship as we only saw a few scenes. But again, I do think this was almost intentional.

I initially was quite bittersweet on the ending. It made me sad a little bit but I understood it. But now that I've had more time to think about what happened, I think it was a really fitting and well decided ending. It really made the novel come full circle.
As well, The reveal for everything made sense, I felt like there were no plot holes and the mystery part was by far the best aspect of this book for me. I kept reading and tearing through this book trying to figure out what was going on (but again I managed not to figure it out which still surprises me).

Overall, a good entertaining read! I would recommend it to people who want a light easy mystery! 

Book Review 45 - Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Pages: 412 Pages
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: January 5th, 2016
In a continent on the edge of war, two witches hold its fate in their hands.
Young witches Safiya and Iseult have a habit of finding trouble. After clashing with a powerful Guildmaster and his ruthless Bloodwitch bodyguard, the friends are forced to flee their home.
Safi must avoid capture at all costs as she's a rare Truthwitch, able to discern truth from lies. Many would kill for her magic, so Safi must keep it hidden - lest she be used in the struggle between empires. And Iseult's true powers are hidden even from herself.
In a chance encounter at Court, Safi meets Prince Merik and makes him a reluctant ally. However, his help may not slow down the Bloodwitch now hot on the girls' heels. All Safi and Iseult want is their freedom, but danger lies ahead. With war coming, treaties breaking and a magical contagion sweeping the land, the friends will have to fight emperors and mercenaries alike. For some will stop at nothing to get their hands on a Truthwitch.

My Thoughts: 

4.25 stars 

This honestly is more of a 5 star book for me! I really enjoyed it, the story is great, I LOVE the friendships, especially of the female friendships and the complicated family relationships, and I just feel like this story was a breath of fresh air. 


I cannot give this book 5 stars because there are some S E R I O U S issues with this book.
There is ZERO world building in this novel. And I mean 0. You are thrust into a world and expected to know everything and it's really not enjoyable in that sense.
I wrote a list of questions that I had just in the first 50 pages (I wrote after if the question was answered):

What is/are the Cahr Awen and why are they important? Wasn't answered, except we do know who they are and what they can do but not why or their purpose or why they didnt exist etc etc.
Where do people get their magic? Not even close to an answer.
Does society accept the magic? Is it common knowledge that it exists? Nope. We know that they have tattoos now but nothing.
Who has magic, why do THEY have magic? Does everyone have magic? How do they get it? No answer.
What are the threads for that Iseult sees? What makes them happen? Do they do something? nah.
What is cleaving and why does it happen? Are threadwitches the only ones who can see? Nope. This made the end super confusing.
What kind of witches are there? We know of some but I would imagine not all.
What are the different kingdoms? What is Merik prince of exactly? Nope. We know WHERE he's prince of but telling me a city doesn't help when all I know is a city.
What is the 20 year truce stopping? What were the terms? What did it protect? What???? And no, once again, no idea.
What makes Iseult different? Why so much racism? What does she look like in comparison to the rest of the people? We got "her dark skin" as an explanation so there's that. But based on what kind of life she comes from, I get the sense she's a Gypsy(Roma/Sinti) type of race.

I had another book I read recently with a sever world building issue and he said "sometimes the world building isn't important to the story" and while sure, I can maybe get that idea, that's never true. I cannot support Merik's decisions in the book regarding the trade he made because I DONT KNOW WHAT THE TRUCE IS. I don't know the history of their world, I don't know the extent to their suffering, so I cannot sympathize. 
I really enjoyed this book at face value, but I cannot get immersed in this world, I cannot fully love and care for any character because I cannot connect to this story. So while it is a GREAT book, the lack of world building just ruins so much of the story.

But clearly Dennard was going for a character driven story, rather than a plot/world driven story and it shows. Her characters are really well rounded. I love Safi dearly, I love Iseult less but I care for her more. Merik annoyed me but was really well written and I loved his adorable bromance with Kullen. Really just well rounded characters with some fantastic side characters. And while race is not something mentioned in this book (I mean it is, but not really) I do get a huge sense this is a diverse group of characters.

So yeah. 4.25 because I truly enjoyed the book and I cannot wait to continue, but I can't give it more because of the really terrible world building done. 

Book Review 44 - An Amber in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

Pages: 464 
Publisher: Razorbill
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.
Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My Thoughts:

Before I start, I need to state that my enjoyment of this book was more than 3 stars. At least in the beginning. I liked the concept, I liked the world, I liked the story. Despite some flaws in world building and some dislikable characters, the book was pretty good.

My issues that caused me to lose interest and stop reading are two separate problems that sort of link together. There may be spoilers to specifics scenes so if you want to read the book really don't read this.

The first reason: The author's lack of commitment. She introduced many many situations where the plot was going to GREAT situations, the climax was at a peak, and then she just let go. One prime example, and kind of the one that got me to stop reading in the end, was the third trial. Elias and Helene were to fight to the death, the winner moves on in the trials to the last one. After the disappointment I had been faced, I was excited. Something FINALLY would happen. Elias would have to kill Helene. But no, the moment it is about to happen, Helene conveniently happens to be wearing armour illegal in this trial. It was so disappointing. I didn't want Helene to die, not at all in fact since she is the only character left that I like, but I wanted the author to commit to something. Commit to a scene, commit to something she introduced. Helene could have still lived wearing the armour fighting Marcus, that would have been fine. But have Elias fight and kill Zak. Have something happen. You can't have a fight to the death and then let the other person live. It's a cop out. And it brings me to my second problem.....

Which was the fact that I can see the outline of the book. This is hard to explain so it will take time. Brace yourselves. Often times when I read a book, I see something happen and I'm like WOW. Or I see something coming and I am like "yeah I knew that would happen." This book isn't predictable but it's not plot twisty either. My problem is that I can SEE why the author wrote the book the way she did. I can SEE why she included the fight to the death, she wanted Helene and Elias to fight and to show that Elias was a tough character not willing to back down, but she didn't actually want Helene to die because it didn't fit the plot, so she included the armour. I DO NOT like to be able to see why the author wrote scenes the way she did. 
Another example of this is the scene when Laia almost gets raped by Marcus (again, I didn't want Laia or ANYONE to get raped, but if you're going to include things you have to go all the way with them). I could see why it happened where it happened. It happened near the secret entrance so that someone would realize she saw it and close it up, therefore ruining her plans. It happened in the middle of Helene and Elias' fight/kiss so the tension could build and so Elias could go and "rescue" her and be the knight in shining armour, it happened so it would give Elias and Helene another reason to fight, therefore spurring on the fight to the death. I just read the scene and instantly knew every reason the author chose to include the scene and I do not like this experience and this is the first time it's ever happened to me. I normally can predict things and maybe see them coming, but I do not like to know this basic foundation of the plot. I feel like I'm cheating and I know things I don't know. 

So there you have it, in the grand scheme I DO like this book. It's interesting, I want to know how it finishes and all that and even maybe read the sequel, but because of those 2 previous things, my actual reading experience has been really dampened and I am not enjoying myself.


Here's a list of all the popular book releases (and re-releases) of January 2016 incase you missed any! Click on the titles to be brought to the Goodreads page!

January 5th

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Curio by Evangeline Denmark

Firsts by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

This is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

January 11th
The Score by Elle Kennedy

January 19th
Never Never Part 3 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Feverborn by Karen Marie Moning

Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira

January 26th
The Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman

The Siren by Kiera Cass (Re-release)

Night Study by Maria V. Snyder

The Prophecy of Shadows by Michelle Madow

January 31st
Beautiful Burn by Jamie Mcguire


Here's a list of popular books coming out in February 2016!! Click on the book titles to be brought to the Goodreads page for each book.

February 2nd: 
Starflight by Melissa Landers

February 9th:
Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

These Vicious Masks by Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

Morning Star by Pierce Brown

February 16th
Riders by Veronica Rossi

The Shadow Queen by C.J Redwine

The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

February 23rd
A Gathering of Shadows by V.E Schwab

The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

The Power by Jennifer L Armentrout