Friday, 24 March 2017

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern


Life is not meant to be flawless

As I really enjoyed Flawed by Cecelia Ahern I was thrilled when I was given the opportunity to read the sequel before its publication. I tried my luck requesting it on NetGalley and was thrilled when they said yes. For those of you who aren’t aware Cecelia Ahern has decided to venture out of her adult fiction world and try her writing skills at Young Adult dystopian. The first in this attempt was Flawed which was a fast paced and enjoyable read and I was hoping that Perfect would live up to my expectations.

As I enjoy Ahern’s writing style and I knew I would enjoy Perfect. It has the same pacey style to the writing that makes this a one sitting kind of read. Celestine North has been branded flawed, not only this but she has received the most brands in all history. All she did was use her compassion and logic to help an old Flawed man on a bus. Yet in Celestine’s corrupted society, this is illegal and this one act has transformed her life. Now on the run from the revenge possessed, Judge Creven Celestine must figure out who she is and what defines her, the brands or her choices. 
I really like Celestine, in the first book her logical way of looking at things was surprisingly helpful. She was as I put in my first review always slightly too trusting and I was pleased she seemed to be working on this in this concluding book. Due to the first person narrative, it moved along at a fast reading pace and you do just want to keep turning the pages. Unfortunately using the first person narrative when your heroine is on the run makes some of the other characters lose their identify, I would have loved a bit more character development especially on Celestine’s family and Carrick with his. The other downside of the first person narrative is that it feels like Celestine has all the light bulb moments. Yes, we know she is logical but sometimes it borders on psychic with the way she figures things out. 

Despite these issues, I was hooked. I love the way Ahern writes and she has managed to move seamlessly into a young adult style of writing. Many scenes are just as brutal as the first book. Reliving the branding scene from Flawed was just as difficult and rage inducing to go through again. Like before I stayed up way to late and I devoured the book desperately; the tension although sometimes a bit stuttering stayed high enough that I needed to know where she was taking the story. Ahern had me second-guessing myself most of the first half and my heart was in my mouth on several occasions. Naturally a strong moral runs through the story about loving people despite their flaws, learning from your mistakes and importantly loving yourself regardless of how the world defines you. Ahern really knows how to make me sob with shock and sadness as of yet I haven’t made it through one of her books without crying. 

For those who love The Declaration and Matched. 

Released on 7th April 2017! 

Friday, 3 March 2017

February Wrap Up

I always seem to set myself quite ambitious TBR lists. I think I generally do this so that I have plenty of options to choose from of what to read. I went for 7 books in February and managed 6 of my aimed for list. I was waylaid at the end by my head not being in the right place to read a Brandon Sanderson epic.

What I read and what I thought:

Replica by Lauren Oliver

I wish I could have got on better with the books arrangement. From advice on Instagram I read the two sides in tandem and I am so glad I did as I think I would have struggled to read one after the other as some parts spoil others. Personally start with chapter one of Gemma and then chapter one of Lyra and the story flows better.

As I Descended by Robin Talley

Now I'd be telling a massive lie if I said I picked up straight away that this was a retelling of Macbeth. It was not until chatting to my husband about the story once I had finished that I twigged. Truthfully I am not one for ghosts and occult stories so although a thoroughly engaging read it just made me a bit scared! (wuss I know)

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

I put a larger review this one on the blog. I loved the premise behind the story and I really enjoyed it and think I will get a hold of the next two.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

This got off to such a slow start for me and although Mia was engaging and clever I wanted more about her powers then we got. The first half was a tough read for me and it only really hooked me half way through. I would read the second as Kristoff definitely peaked my interest. The footnotes were a real distraction for me.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab

Now if you have read my full review you know I will wax lyrical about this story. Schwab just had me in the palm of her hands. I loved it and have already got the next two on my list to read next.

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Hmph. I didn't get it. I am a huge fan of Dracula and the sordid and gruesome character of Vlad the Impaler that inspired his fictional creation. Unfortunately Lada didn't feel the same. I wasn't convinced of her portrayal as Vlad it was not as macabre as I was expecting or as fantastical. I can confidently say I would be unlikely to read the next one as I just don't care for the characters at all.

I started to read The Way of the Kings for like the a millionth time. I just found that I wasn't in the frame of mind for Sanderson's sudden way of throwing you in at the deep in end with the world he has created. I know I will finish it eventually and no doubt be in awe of the whole world by the end but it did not manage to feature in my finished books of February!

I've been even more ambitious for March. This might be a tad foolish as we go away to Disneyland so might not have as much time as I expect to read. But all of them look to tantalizing to not feature on the list! If I actually manage to read 8 books in one month I'll be thrilled.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E.Schwab


Hype is not always a good thing. Sometimes it means you completely build up a book and it crushes you with not being what you thought it would be.

A Darker Shade of Magic was a book I had heard a great deal about. I have read a few of Victoria Schwab’s young adult books but was yet to venture into her adult fiction. Having got the first two in the series for Christmas I was excited and a tad nervous to read them. I so wanted to love them. I personally would say they could have been marketed as YA without to much of a problem just based on the first book.
Having just finished the first in the series, I can say confidently that I adored the first one. A Darker Shade of Magic engulfed me and I was completely enraptured. I had to keep slowing myself down as I did not want the story to end by devouring it one go. I was not worried about the writing, as both The Archived and This Savage Song have proved to me that Schwab is an exceptionally talented writer. I was just nervous that I was not going to get as gripped by this story as I had been led to believe.

Yet Kell and Lila had me hooked. They had me at the turning of a coat. The story is a wild ride of adventure, unique magic and four interconnected but distinctly different London’s. We journey with Kell as he toes a line between good dutiful prince and traitor to the throne. Unfortunately, his hobby catches up with him and his smuggling ways lead to an unravelling of the thin threads that keep these four London’s at bay. Both Kell and Lila are written in ways that made them fiery and interesting. They avoided that line where confidence boarders on selfish arrogance and both came across as decent and good (despite their criminal behaviours) at their core.  For me it quickened the pace of the story, as I liked both of them and wanted to see their fates. The unique brand of magic created in this series is evocative. It has a life of its own in a way that is dark and unnerving and one that I can imagine will be expanded on in the next instalments.

I am looking forward to more development of the other characters as we really only got to know Kell and Lila. I am desperate to know more of Kell’s mysterious history and see how the royal family are involved in this. Needless to say I am a fan and would recommend this to any fantasy enthusiast. A page-turner in the truest sense. My only criticism is that considering this is a trilogy I was surprised with how tied up everything seems at the end. I feel like I am being lulled into a false sense of security and that makes me all the more nervous to see what Schwab does in the next book.