The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag

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— SYNOPSIS —

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

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— MY REVIEW —

The Sisters Grimm centers around four girls: Goldie, Bea, Liyana and Scarlet. They all have the ability to travel to Everwhere, and each have distinct powers that coincides with elements— e.g. earth, air, fire and  water. But over time they forget ever having possession of these gifts and by the time they’re all thirteen, not only have they lost their abilities, they can no longer remember how to travel to the magical world either.

Whilst all the girls are now seemingly living mundane lives, there are boys who have been trained as soldiers all their lives. And they’re coming out of the woodwork with the aim of hunting down and killing these girls by their 18th birthdays.. unless the girls accept evil fates.

Each girl in this book has their own quirks, traits and attitudes. But right off the bat, Goldie was the character I was instantly drawn to since the first page she was introduced in. And the further her story developed the more I realised the reason why I was drawn to her was because we are similar in a lot ways— (in personality, mannerisms, and at times the life situations).

These girls all have haunting stories. Some I found disturbing to a point. They were put in situations that they were forced into, or didn’t have the means to get out of it themselves. It’s saddening, and there were moments whilst I was reading their stories unravel that I was surprisingly taken aback by what I was actually reading.

There are multiple POVs in this book. Whilst I usually love that type of format— I have to admit there was just too many in this one that I found it a little overwhelming at times. I initially had to jot down each characters name and a short description of them on a post-it just so I could keep track of whose POV I was reading at the time.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit it took a little while for me to sink into this fantasy. Whilst the world-building is exceptionally imaginative, detailed, and unique— I couldn’t get a grasp of it like I wanted to from the get-go because the beginning read as if it was already in the middle of the story. If that make sense. I was like Alice down the rabbit hole. The story also goes back and forth from past to present.

Alice_RabbitHoleIt’s almost as if I’m expected to have already known about Everwhere, and the key these young ladies play in it. It isn’t until you start getting further and further along into each of their lives does it start revealing what that world entails. There’s no doubt about it.. it’s complex.

One of the things I enjoyed and looked forward to throughout the book was Leo’s (one of the soldiers) POV because it was a refreshing break from the girls, and in my opinion a much needed contrast.

You just have to get past the initial hiccup at the beginning because the second half really gets action-packed once all is revealed and the girls come together. *Avengers Assemble!* 😛 But seriously.. It becomes fast-paced, effortless— and truly a fascinating read.   

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This story really highlights girl power, one’s fighting spirit, and sisterhood, wrapped up in a somewhat dark YA fantasy storyline.

RATING: ♥♥♥.5/ 5

Thank you to Menna van Praag, Transworld Publishers, Bantam Press, and Papercharm Book Marketing for the ARC in exchange for my honest review! 🙂

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TheSistersGrimm_Cover2If you like reading all things inspired by fairy tales and retellings, give this one a crack!

The Sisters Grimm releasing February 6, 2020

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Hope this was another helpful and interesting review for you. As always, catch you in my next one. Happy reading, guys! Xo

 

Infinity by Jus Accardo

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— BLURB —

Nobody said being the daughter of an army general was easy. But when her dad sends a teenage subordinate to babysit her while he’s away… That’s taking it a step too far.

Cade, as beautiful as he is deadly, watches Kori with more than just interest. He looks at her like he knows her very soul. And when he saves her from a seemingly random attack, well, that’s when things get weird.

Turns out, Kori’s dad isn’t just an army general—he’s the head of a secret government project that has invented a way to travel between parallel dimensions. Dimensions where there are infinite Koris, infinite Cades…and apparently, on every other Earth, they’re madly in love.

Falling for a soldier is the last thing on Kori’s mind. Especially when she finds herself in a deadly crossfire, and someone from another Earth is hell-bent on revenge…

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— MY REVIEW —

This was surprising an enjoyable read. I borrowed from my local library after having read the blurb and I’m really glad I did because now I can’t wait to read the rest of the books in the series! 🙂

My thoughts on the characters:

Let’s start with Kori. She was a treat! No sarcasm here — I mean that in a good way! I’ve ready so many books with female leads who are tough, who have attitude, but who almost always irritates me at some point with their cockiness because they know how to fight and can take care of themselves. I mean… it’s cool that they’re independent ass-kicking chicks but what gets me is when they’re smug about it. Kori isn’t like that. She’s a realistic character. She’s an army brat (her dad is a General) and although she’s not interested in ever joining the military, her dad made sure she can at least defend herself in case of emergency —

Quite early on in the story there’s a part where Kori gets chased, dragged into an alley and attacked by Dylan (the antagonist in the story). At the time she didn’t know who he was and although she was scared out of her mind of this random guy trying to kill her, she knew that if she didn’t try to escape she’d be done for. Reading this part, reading her desperation to survive by kicking, scratching, trying to call out for help, anything really — it’s part of the book that just seemed so real to me… (I mean it’s the type of crime you hear and see on the news more and more these days, am I right?) There was no magical powers or epic weapons to help her out; it was gritty, intense and had me really imagining the scene. This was the scene that had me rooting for Kori. It was from this point on that I knew that Infinity was something I would enjoy reading.

Cade seems like a nice enough guy for the most part, I guess. To be honest when he wasn’t thinking about wanting to stop Dylan, he was pining for Kori (both of them).. but other than that I didn’t get much of a personality out of the guy. Maybe because they’re in a time sensitive mission I dunno… but it would’ve been nice to see more of what makes him tick. He always seemed like he was in soldier-mode. Kind of… umm… what’s the word?? Reserved..? *shrugs* 😅

And when he did show emotion, it was usually snippets of an angry temper! Talk about going from 0 to 100 in a split second.

Here’s the two personality traits Cade displayed:

Trait Number One ↓

  

and then there’s Trait Number Two ↓

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It’s obvious from the beginning that he’s not the antagonist in this story and his actions throughout have meaning behind it. I couldn’t help but sympathize but I also couldn’t help think that the few occasions where he did go ballistic, Kori never thought to back away. There were occasions where she felt intimidated and realized that Cade was more similar to Dylan than originally thought but still kept confronting him. I don’t know.. if that was me, I would’ve kept my mouth shut, walked out of the room calmly and given him some time to cool off. Like sheesh girl, you don’t poke an angry bear no matter what!

But… whenever he and Kori found themselves awkwardly alone I couldn’t help but grin. They would start talking about his relationship with ‘his’ Kori and eventually start secretly think about kissing each other — I know it’s weird and confusing but it’s young love. Still cute! 😁

Ahhh! Okay, Noah next! He’s probably my fave character from the bunch! The stocky-built guy who stayed tight-lipped for most of the book (unless something really ticked him off) and who was ALWAYS eating! Bonus!! Love him! He was an onion all throughout, with each layer something new was revealed about him.

He has a unusual relationship with Kori. In his world, he was Kori’s older brother and they had a pretty close relationship…but in this dimension, Noah was never born and therefore Kori never had a brother. After what happened to his sister in his world, he tries to keep his distance from this Kori, but at the same time she’s trying to figure him out. So it’s sort of a push and pull dynamic. I love the gradual growth of their relationship and how deeply he really does care for Kori (for all the Koris).

He is THE sweetest guy! He really is. When everything gets revealed about why he acts the way he does and the ending… where Kori kind of sacrifices herself and says goodbye to him and he’s left speechless and his expression is one of wishing they could have more time together. Ugh! The feeeeeels!

Now. After having read this one, I wanted to know more about the series so I checked Goodreads and discovered the second book revolves around Noah and his life. Eeeeep! I can’t wait to read it! 😁

Aaaaaaand… then there’s Dylan. *Sigh* He’s a hot mess. A broody one at that!

He’s driven to CRAZY by a tragic accident. It was hard to completely hate the dude.. but it was also hard not to think of him as a nutjob what with all the stuff he did to get revenge and to try and get the love of his life back. I read that the third and upcoming book in the series centers around Dylan. I’m really curious to read more about his past before all the running around and murder sprees occurred. The way Cade and Noah talked about him and how they grew up together, he seemed like a genuinely caring guy who was full of love.

If you’ve watched The Vampire Diaries, Dylan reminds me of Damon. The guy who hides his pain by acting out, getting revenge and going on killing sprees. But deep down he’s a tortured soul.

I’m eager to see how this all ends for Dylan. The way Infinity concluded, it seemed like there was still some spark of good in him left but I can’t imagine the ending going any other way besides finally turning himself in.. or dying tragically (I think it maybe the latter).

Either way, Dylan gave this story the drive that kept it interesting and unpredictable. You can thank Dylan for the rollercoaster ride. If he makes it out of this alive, I strongly suggest he goes to therapy and anger management classes! Hell.. send him to a one of those friggin retreats! What can I say? I’m a sucker for villains, anti-heroes and morally gray characters! 😜

My thoughts on the storyline:

This was a relatively short book (about 300+ pages). It goes straight into explaining multiple worlds, multiple versions of people and why Kori is in danger fairly quickly but it doesn’t feel rushed. The story wasn’t lacking and didn’t drag on. Kori, Cade and Noah were in a time pressured mission and you can really feel that throughout the book. There was just enough backstory of Cade, Noah, Dylan and their version of Kori to give you an idea of how they’re all connected to one another. I thought it had the right amount of sci-fi, suspense and romance to keep you intrigued.

I recommend trying this one if you’re tipping your toes into the YA sci-fi genre and not completely ready for the full-on science fiction mumbo-jumbo-techie-jargon. I know I’m not, and this was written so well that you can follow Kori’s personal story as well as the without any confusion. This is my first Jus Accardo book but I’m looking forward to reading more of her books in the near future.

Ooh, annnnd if you’re like me.. romance is always a bonus (no matter what genre) and this one was.. yes.. complicated (what with the multiple Earths and multiple Koris and Cades) but still a nice young love story *cue the swooning!* 😄

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5


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Happy reading guys! Wishing you all a great month and catch you in my next one! Xo

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition

OCTOBER 3, 2017 — The Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition was officially released!! Wooooooo!! 😀 😀

Prisoner of Azkaban Illustrated Edition

↑↑ Do you guys see this?! How friggin’ unbelievably stunning is this cover?! ♥ My all time fave book from the series! #themarauders #siriusblack

JOURNEY TO GETTING A COPY

I literally scrambled around my local shopping centre (or “mall” for you guys in the US) going from bookshop to bookshop trying to grab a copy during release day.

I’m usually the type who pre-orders months in advance, but I found that with the first two HP illustrated editions I had pre-ordered came almost 2 weeks later (due to overseas shipping) and to be honest they weren’t cheap. I may be a massive HP fan but with what seems like dozens of new HP-related books being released every other month I want books at the lowest possible price! (I’m a girl on a budget..but yet, I need them all! Haha!)

It doesn’t help that I live in Australia where hardcover editions are scarce, and when they ARE available they cost as much as they weigh! *le sigh*

Oops I’m getting sidetracked here, but anyways long story short — after an hour and having gone to 3 bookshops with no luck (like c’mon! How can they not stock the book?! It’s Harry Potter! Ugh!), the fourth and final bookshop was my last hope… I think you guys can pretty much guess how it turned out for me. Lol 😉

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Okay! Here’s my mini book review ↓ It’s more on the overall look and illustrations by Jim Kay. I’m sure many of you know the story by now. If not, then what are you waiting for? Read it!!

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↓ MY REVIEW ↓

First off — The cover is phenomenal. I’m loving all the purple.. and it stands out from the first two illustrated books that have “day” covers, whilst this one is clearly set at night.

The illustrations for the Marauders Map, Lupin as a werewolf and the Greenhouse are just some of my faves, but no joke every page is pure magic! The detail and the vibrant colours — Jim Kay is an illustrating genius! If you guys already have a copy, did you gasp at the illustration of Sirius Black, like I did?? At first glance I thought why is the Grudge here?! Bahaha! But after soaking it in, and realising it was him..I thought “Omigosh! Jim really made him look like a scary-as-hell-crim!” – It looks sickkkk! *thumbs up!*

These editions are perfect for HP fans who are also collectors and a nice version for young readers to delve into. It brings a whole new experience to Harry Potter 🙂

I’m also thankful to JK and to Bloomsbury for the planned yearly releases of each one. It gives me something to look forward to and keeps the wizarding world abuzz!

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

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No real rating needed. It’s Harry Potter! It’s amazing! Everyone needs these illustrated editions in their lives! 😀


Question(s): What do you want to see on the cover of the Goblet of Fire illustrated edition, and what colour do you want the book to be?

 

Wildfire by C.L. Aire

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— BLURB —

In the void between the worlds something is shifting. The balance between the Elements is slipping and the darkness is growing.

A girls nightmare speaks of things yet to come, a battle against beings filled with shadows. A young man watches death approach, cold as the blade it rides. A rose blooms in the pale moonlight, a gentle breeze stirs in the stillness and yellow eyes watch over the city.
And destiny has linked them all…
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The earth will dress in blood and pain
And seas will scream beneath the rain
The tortured air will twist and turn
And in the fire, darkness burns

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— MY REVIEW —

⚠ WARNING WARNING WARNING ⚠

Read at own risk!

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I think it’s obvious from my previous book reviews that 99% of the books I read are from the Fantasy fiction genre. So when Claire asked if I would be interested in reading her book, I didn’t hesitate in saying yes!

I will be honest in saying when I checked the synopsis of her book on Goodreads, I found it to be a little vague. I knew the protagonist was a young female who sees visions in her dreams of what will happen in the future, and one in particular of Immortals is what sets this story. But other than that I didn’t know what to expect.

So it was all the more curious in reading this book.

I’ll admit it was a slow start for me. It took a little while to get into the story but once Cassie, Kieran and Gemma reached Harbour town I was right there with them.

I’m a big fan of fantasy books where the characters journey to other lands, so I was naturally hooked on the whole “travelling” aspect of Cassie’s story. I would have loved if a map was included in this book just because the places Cassie and her friends travel to seem so different from one another it would have been nice to see a physical image of the different towns they encounter and how much they would have travelled from Ar-ken.

Quick Update: The author has recently shared news that a world map of Tarraneia has been created. No word yet if it will be included in future copies of Wildfire but in the meantime please check it out on her Instagram here: Map of Tarraneia

Getting back to my review. I’m going to be a bit nitpicky and let you guys know my pros and cons of the characters and certain parts of the book:

wildfireCassie is the main protagonist in this story and it was her dreams that led her and her friends to travel on this journey but I felt the first quarter of the book the lead was Gemma. I almost felt like this was Gemma’s story and her journey to stop the Immortals. I was very fascinated with her and her family’s culture/ lifestyle. They understood the world differently it almost seemed like there was something there that could be key in helping stop the destruction. I wouldn’t have minded if Gemma was the main protagonist just because I felt there was so much more to her, her brother and the mystery behind the Weeran people that I would have wanted to read more about.

Gemma might be my favourite from the three friends. She knows who she is and what she’s capable of. In my opinion the wisest of the friends.

Kieran on the other hand is the skeptic from the three. He doesn’t have dreams like Cassie and he’s not like Gemma who’s in touch with the lands so I felt like he was the most normal? and relatable character just because he was your everyday type of person.

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I can’t say I like Cassie all that much for most of the book. She doesn’t seem to be good friend and her decision-making sucks! I think a lot of things that happened throughout their journey could have been avoided if she was more willing to speak up with her friends.I was frustrated with her a lot of the time and couldn’t help but roll my eyes. All I can say is she’s damn lucky there’s so many people willing to help her. 😛

Cassie in my opinion is the one who’s the most unsure of herself and what she could be capable of. Which is not a bad thing. The way things were developing in the book and especially how things ended, Cassie’s character development is sure to grow and I for one can’t wait to see her at her full potential.

When it comes to the storyline. I wished I could have seen a deeper connection between Cassie, Kieran and Gemma. They’re suppose to be the closest of friends but it didn’t come across that way. I saw a deeper friendship between Cassie, Anna and Jhi to be honest. I almost didn’t believe that they grew up together. But maybe all in due time we’ll see their closeness..?

I also thought certain scenes seem to end abruptly where I think it could’ve been delved into in more detail. I felt like I couldn’t even grasp what had happened and the next thing you know something new has transpired. The transition from one scene to the next could have been smoother.

Ok. Let’s get onto my favourite parts of the book. 😄

The part where they meet Ardian. He was the first character I instantly liked. I don’t know what it is about sweet-pie men captaining a ship *cough cough* (Hook from Once Upon A Time or Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles) but they always get me. 😉 His budding romance with Gemma was adorable but short-lived. I wanted more!! I really wished it lasted a little longer. It also had me thinking is this all we’ll see of Ardian? I’m hoping not.

Cassie falling in the hands of Jhi and Anna was a breath of fresh air. I love Anna and Jhi! They added an oomph to the storyline and introducing the “Mouse Hole” and “The Rat” gave the storyline another level of excitement for me. The side story of Anna and Jhi’s relationship was a treat to read. I’m a sucker for a bit (or a lot) of romance in my fantasy books so this definitely curbed my craving.

But besides romance, I love a good book that can totally take me by surprise and does Wildfire do that?

Yes. Yes it did.

I did not see it coming what happened with two certain characters in the end (*hint hint* Kieran and Jhi). The ending leaves us just when the real story begins so I’m really curious to know what will happen next, especially with Jhi. Who knew he would have some sort of power in him? I was shocked when he got stabbed in the neck I really thought he was another beloved character I was disappointed to see go. (But seriously! That neck stab was the last thing I was picturing would happen to him!)

Keiran coming back from the dead was another thing I didn’t see coming. But thinking about it now I probably should have, considering Cassie is a bit stubborn and of course she wasn’t going to lose another friend.

All in all I really liked the story. It was an easy read with short chapters (which is always a plus in my books). There’s so much potential in it to becoming an unbelievable fantasy fiction series. It has magic, it has action, friendship and a touch of romance mixed in. Everything I think makes for an awesome YA fantasy fiction book! I can’t wait for the next installment.

RATING: ♥♥♥½

Thank you to C.L. Aire for the opportunity to read an advanced copy!


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Happy reading and catch you in my next one! Xo

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

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— BLURB —

Welcome to the world of the Grisha.

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives.

Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties.

A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world.

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— MY REVIEW —

I loved Six of Crows so the minute I finished it I went straight into Crooked Kingdom (which I highly recommend you do so you don’t torture yourself with a cliffhanger).

After Kaz and the crew survived the job at the Ice Court I was relieved! Everyone was alive and together and I was just one happy chappy.. but to find out the job was a scam?!?Ohh I knew Kaz would destroy Van Eck and anyone who was working with and I knew whatever his plan was it was going to be epic!

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And I was right! Just like Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom did not disappointed in the twists and turns and the unexpected.

If I thought I was on the edge of my seat reading Six of Crows, let’s just say I wasn’t even sitting down anymore for Crooked Kingdom. I was in panic-mode, anxious with sweaty palms reading this book. I was preparing myself for the worst. You guys know what. Death of a beloved character! Yup. It could happen at anytime and it certainly did here. I’m sad to say that I knew they wouldn’t all make it out alive but for one of them to die so suddenly by someone who wasn’t even one of the original bad guys in the book!?

⚠ WARNING WARNING WARNING ⚠

SPOILER ALERT!

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I cried. No wait. I bawled my eyes out when Matthias was shot and he struggles himself back to Nina just so he could see her one last time! Like what?!?!? Why !?!?! 😭😭😭

Why would Leigh Bardugo kill off a character in the way? Why would she kill her readers along with him!? My heart sank. For Mathias and especially for Nina. I felt like I was there with her. Crying and begging for Mathias to stay alive.

What made me cry even more was when she accidently brought him back with her power except it wasn’t really him anymore it was more like his body being commanded by her. It was just one HUGE sad part of the book! 💔

Sure, it was almost the end but still..

And speaking of the end of the book. It’s been 4 days since I finished it and I’m still reeling from the lack of ending. In my opinion anyways. I felt it was unfinished. So many things lingered and left open.

  1. Kaz and Inej were together – but not really. It wasn’t the result I was hoping for. It almost felt like the beginning of something between them rather than the big “fireworks” kiss that we’ve all been waiting for that should have after having gone through all of the things they went through. I don’t know. I just wished for more.
  2. Nina’s exit out of the storyline felt cut off. Yeah her plans were to go back to Fjerda to bury Matias and try and help as much Fjerdan soldiers as she could but I figured at the very end we would at least hear from her. See if she made it. Something? Anything? But there wasn’t, so I felt like if Leigh wanted to she could keep going and write another book in the fabulous story. (Here’s to wishing again!)
  3. Jesper: promising his father he would return to the farm once Wylan was settled back at his old home. But then they seem to be together too so how would that work? Was he just planning on visiting his dad or actually moving back? Because the way he said it to his dad it could be interpreted differently by each reader.
  4. Another thing with Kaz and Inej. Kaz has plans to rule Ketterdam, starting with The Barrel. Inej has big plans to command her own ship and crew and free slaves but yet she asked Kaz to help her. Once again, how will that work? Will he stay at Ketterdam whilst she sails around and they’ll just write to each other? And then there’s the question of her parents. Kaz (that sweety!) had gotten Nikolai (that’s right, he made an appearance!) to help find her parents. Will Inej go back with them first?
  5. The book ends with Pekka Rollins as the final chapter and point of view. This was the guy that Kaz wanted to destroy. I suppose when you look at it from a different perspective Kaz did finally destroy his life but the things he did to Kaz – that made him the way he is now you would think he would just kill Pekka in the end but he didn’t. It just makes you think, you know? Could Pekka return? Eventually?

There’s just so many unanswered questions and things left open. I want to know! It felt like an open ending which is worse than a cliffhanger because at least with cliffhangers there’s another book to read. Crooked Kingdom, as far as I know is IT! The book that was suppose to wrap the story up but I have more questions now than when the story initially began. Frustrating stuff right here! Haha. Or maybe I’m just overthinking everything. But these are questions that popped into my head the second I read the last page!

I love the bits of romance here and there whether between Nina and Mathias, Jesper and Wylan and yes of course between Kaz and Inej. I took whatever I could from those two but I was hungry for more. Lol!

There was the perfect amount of emotional heartfelt scenes, flashbacks and action that I was always hooked.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥½

This was such an easy read. Beautifully written story that draws you in instantly from start to finish. I’m still surprised how much I ended up loving these books considering The Grisha Trilogy was just average for me. If you haven’t fallen in love with each of the characters yet during Six of Crows then you would definitely be changing your mind after reading more about them in this one.

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I wish I could give this one full rating like Six of Crows then it would really be a fist-pumping series. But all the questions rattling around in my head really took points of my rating. But I still think this is an unbelievable book. The entire duology has become one of my all time faves now. It’s caused me to have book hangover (not as massive as Maas’ books) but nevertheless I’m having withdrawals.

No Mourners. No Funerals.


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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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— BLURB —

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager

A runaway with a privileged past

A spy known as the Wraith

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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— MY REVIEW —

If you read my review on The Grisha Trilogy, you would know that I did not love at as much as the majority of readers did. But my friends insisted I read the trilogy first before I read Six of Crows to get a feel for the world and apparently some characters from those books were making cameos in this one so that’s what I did.

I’ll tell you now though. I don’t think it’s necessary for you to read the trilogy first before Six of Crows because it doesn’t affect the storyline or characters in any way. But in saying that, I started reading Six of Crows with a familiarity to the world already and how tough it is so..it’s up to you whether or not you want to start with The Grisha Trilogy first 🙂

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WARNING WARNING WARNING

Caution_Spoilers

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Now, onto my review.

This is probably the only place I can let out my opinions and rants in full so if you read ahead, be prepared for spoilers. Giving you a heads up now!

What can I say about Six of Crows? Well.. It was unbelievably phenomenal! There’s only a handful of books/ book series I can say are my total favourites and Six of Crows has been added to that list.

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I knew everyone who ha read it raved on about it but I didn’t want that affecting me because before I read The Grisha Trilogy, everyone was telling me it was that good and that I was going to love it as well…and well I didn’t. So I went into Six of Crows with no expectations except that it was in the same fictional world and that the characters would be similar in a way?

But I have to say it completely blew the trilogy out of the water for me. The characters in Six of Crows were a bunch of misfits that just meshed well together. They are an ultimate crew. The differences in each character, their personalities and the way they interact with one another is what sold this book for me.

The book is written in a point of view format. So each chapter is a character from their point of view. At first I thought it might be a little difficult to follow as there are six main characters here and all with a story to tell but it was very well written. It was easy to follow and it just flowed. I couldn’t read it fast enough and I couldn’t put it down.

You get to know each character, their past and how they came to be where they are now. I fell in love with all the characters. They’re the characters that have gone through the worst of the worst and are trying to get out it.

You have Kaz Brekker. The leader of this crew. The guy who has a plan within plan within a plan and so forth. He is the most complicated guy from them all (and quite possibly from any fictional character I’ve encountered). He’s the most intriguing. He doesn’t open up and when he does it almost seems like it was by accident. That alone kept me turning pages. He’s unemotional, very calculating and gives off that vibe of “this is all business” but the deeper you read the more you realise everything is not what it seems with the guy and you get hooked. I don’t know anyone who’s read this book and did not come away from it not falling in love with him. I know I did!! (Inej is one lucky chick!)

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There’s Inej (Aka Spider. Aka The Wraith). Quite possibly my favourite from them all if I had to choose 😉 She, I can’t help feel for the most. I know they’ve all gone through hell but if I went through what Inej had I would have been dead long ago. She has a strength in her that I gravitated towards from the get go. The thing she has going with Kaz doesn’t hurt the book either. Lol. I only wished there was more of it! Leigh Bardugo really knows how to torture her readers with little crumbs of romance. Haha.. oh sigh.

Then there’s Nina. Who I would say is the closest connection you would have to The Grisha Trilogy because she is a Grisha (or was training to become one) who is just trying to get back to her life but can’t until the mess she got herself into gets fixed. I love Nina. She’s spunky, funny, kicks ass, loves food. She’s very relatable. She’s so sassy. I loved reading her point of view. I love her backstory and the reason as to why she’s with Kaz and the crew.

Mathias. Oh man this guy. This guy is pure soldier. Until you get to read more of him. He may just be the tough yet sweet guy you’d be looking for in this book. The struggle he goes through with what’s right and wrong puts you on edge. I found myself literally talking to “him” whilst I was reading it. I was like “dude, c’mon!” Do you guys argue with fictional characters too? 😜

Jesper is the Sharpshooter and a hoot! He cracks me up with his flirty ways and untimely jokes and comments. I’m giggling just thinking about him now. He’s definitely the comedic relief in certain parts of the story where things are getting a little heated or problematic. He’s just a one of those guys who could cheer you up and he does. His friendship with Inej throughout this book had me smiling,his brotherly-like relationship with Kaz had my heart and his budding relationship with Wylan was one I did not see coming until later but I’m rooting for them!

Wylan is the kid in the group. Well they’re all pretty young in age but I see him as the baby of the group. Just because he seems like the naive, innocent, lost one from the crew. You almost think he’s a bit useless at the beginning (especially since he doesn’t know how to fight) but doesn’t mean he is. He is a Brainiac. I would keep an eye on him. He may just be the slyest of them all. 😉

I was surprised to read that the characters were only 16-18 years old which isn’t young (considering it’s a YA book) but when you read it you would never have guessed. I pictured them more to be in their early 20’s at the most but it doesn’t affect the experience one bit once you get your head around it.

The storyline is clever. So many twists and turns. I felt like I couldn’t pinpoint where the story was heading at all. Nothing was predictable. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time.

RATING: ♥♥♥♥♥/5

I wish it was longer than a Duology. This is a YA Fantasy fiction reader’s dream book!! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND SIX OF CROWS!! I will shove people into bookstores, get them to buy it online, whatever! This is a must read! Full rating and more from me!!

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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

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— BLURB —

• Shadow and Bone •

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

• Siege and Storm •

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her—or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

• Ruin and Rising •

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

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— MY REVIEW —

I thought I would review all three books in the series into one review. I read them a few months back but with life getting in the way this review is tad late but better late than never! This is going to be a an extra long one so I applaud you if you get through to the end 😀

Shadow and Bone (Book One): 

shadow_and_boneI had high hopes for this series and could not wait to get started. Everyone was raving on about The Darkling and to be honest it was the main reason as to why I wanted to read it. I was hooked from the first chapter. I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I instantly fell in love with Mal but I was still very much curious about The Darkling and why he was everyone’s “favourite villain”.

Let’s just say when he finally came onto the scene I could see what people saw in him. He was the strong, powerful, dark, mysterious character. But there wasn’t enough there for me to say “yeah I love the guy”, you know? He seem like a misunderstood character at the beginning until he finally showed his colours and by then I was yelling at my book thinking “people like this guy??”. I thought he was villain. A typical, evil, cruel villain. Plain and simple. If anything I wanted him destroyed. I wanted Alina to wake up and smell the coffee. I wanted Mal to finish him off. But considering this was the first book in the trilogy, I knew that wouldn’t be the case (a girl could dream, right? hehe)

I found this book to be any easy read. It was probably the book I finished the fastest from all three just because I was already loving the fictional world and of course Mal 😉 But I have to say the halfway through the book it took a turn for me. It went from a really addictive read that I couldn’t put down to a slower pace during the second half. I also started finding Alina to be a little annoying just because she was indecisive until it was too late. There was just so much frustration reading this on and I disappointed at how quickly I went from loving this book to just liking it.

RATING: ♥♥♥½

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Siege and Storm (Book Two): 

siege_and_stormAlthough this book introduces Nikolai who’s become one of my favourite characters, he wasn’t enough for me to give it a full rating. From all three books this one took the longest for me to finish just because I felt it dragged on. The pace was really slow and I have to admit the entire book was one big “plan” to go into war with the Darkling. I needed more action in the storyline. There was a lot of planning and taking the steps to make sure they were prepared (which they still weren’t) but there was no real battle. I was actually expecting this to be the book that had the big major war (or at least the beginning of it) but there was nothing like that. It was every underwhelming. 😞

I will say that the introduction of Nikolai in this book saved it for me. He was the sexy, flirty, funny privateer (almost like Captain Jack Sparrow or Carswell Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles)..you know the type. The little triangle between Alina, Mal and himself had me smirking all throughout. I wish I could explain in words why I found the storyline lacklustre. It just wasn’t what I was expecting. Usually people say the second book almost always tops the first but in this case (in opinion), Shadow and Bone was a lot more appealing.

RATING: ♥♥♥

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Ruin and Rising (Book Three): 

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The 3rd and final book in the series. I had high hopes this book would turns things around and finish with a bang!

So, did it?

Sigh.

Nope.

I figured the big battle between Alina and The Darkling that I thought would come in Siege and Storm would of course be in this book but I guess I blinked and missed it because one minute I was reading beasts flying around attacking people and darkness everywhere then the next The Darkling was stabbed and Alina holding onto him and comforting him in a way. It was all anti-climatic for me. It was one giant sigh but the end of that scene. I was seriously questioning if that was it?? By the end of it I realized this entire series was all about the Grisha themselves and what they could do and what they were capable of doing with their powers if there were no rules – not necessarily about The Darkling or Alina being their savior. This was just a starting off point for this world.

For those who don’t know Leigh Bardugo wrote Six of Crows which takes place in the same fictional world and I can’t help but think this trilogy has almost become a prequel? or a backstory of the world. It gives the readers an insight to it and to the people that live there. Well, that’s how I am seeing it now that I’ve read Six of Crows too.

It’s nice that the trilogy did finish off the story completely by telling us what happened to Alina and Mal and to Nikolai and what was left of the Grisha army. I love that it was all wrapped up and no questions needed to be answered. I don’t necessarily like the fact that Mal and Alina moved away from it all and decided to live a quiet life. It literally sounds nice after what they’ve gone through to finally be together but I just couldn’t picture them (especially) Alina walking away when she could’ve helped rebuild Ravka.

But hey… I’m just happy Mal lived on. Hehe.

RATING: ♥♥♥½

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It’s a nice series overall. I would still recommend it to YA fantasy fiction fans. I know a ton of readers who loved this series so it’s really all about preference. You’ll never know if you don’t give it a read 😊 I do love the world. It’s definitely different from any other fantasy fictional worlds I’ve read about.

OVERALL TRILOGY RATING: ♥♥♥½

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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

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— BLURB —

Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles.

She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life.

When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own. As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.

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— MY REVIEW —

⚠ WARNING WARNING WARNING ⚠

Spoilers ahead. Read at own risk!

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LOVED IT! I think I read this book at the perfect time. I was on the verge of another mini reading slump and when I started Scarlet (not even 1 chapter in) I knew the slump wasn’t going to hit me. I love Scarlet as much as I loved Cinder. Although their stories are different, they both had the same feel that made me fall in love with both character’s stories.

Another reason I love both books is because Cinder has Kai… and Scarlet has Wolf! Eeeeeeep! 😄😄

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I knew after reading Cinder that it wasn’t going to be the typical Cinderella story that we all know of. So I was going into Scarlet knowing that it wouldn’t be typical either, which I’m kind of glad because when Wolf first comes into the scene, I just knew… I had a strong gut feeling that he wasn’t the “big bad wolf” that little red riding hood would have been afraid of. Don’t get me wrong… he’s still a bad boy but the good kind of bad, if you get what I mean… 😉😉

I don’t know how Marissa Meyer was able to take our childhood fairy tales and retell it in a way that still has the core storyline but also make it into something new and different. It’s quickly become one of my fave fantasy series ever!

I got to be honest though, Little Red Riding Hood wasn’t my fave tale growing up. But Scarlet totally changed that…especially since this one has a hunky, somewhat dangerous Wolf in it! *drools* 🤤

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Since I’m drooling already, let’s move on from one hunk to another. Carswell Thorne. He made me crack up from the moment he opened his mouth. I love a guy that can make me laugh and with Thorne around, there was no shortage of it! LOL! I love that he was cheeky and a bit vain but it all adds to his charm, I say! 😉 It’s clear when you’re reading this book that the main characters are Scarlet and Wolf but with Cinder (and Kai) still included, you can see that Cinder’s story from the first book ties in well with what’s happening now. I love that the brooding war with Queen Levana is what ties all the characters and their stories together. It was very well written!

I will say this though, I did find Scarlet at times to be bit irritating. Her focus was always on finding her grandma. Yeah, yeah I get that that’s her only family and I wouldn’t want anyone hurting anyone from my family either but I wish she wouldn’t act like she doesn’t care about anything or anyone else besides her grandma. I hate that Scarlet doesn’t even think about the consequences until it’s too late and by then you’re already yelling at the page saying “I knew it!” Lol.

Scarlet (in my opinion) yelled a lot throughout the book. She did a lot of overreacting and finger pointing and blaming of others. Which in some parts was justified but in others it was just too damn rude and I’m just going to say it… I would’ve punched her for it! #sorrynotsorry

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I think Scarlet needs to realize there’s a bigger picture than just saving her grandma no matter what. I wanted to shake her and tell her to shut up for a second and listen lol. Did anyone else feel that way too? (Or was it just me? Haha)

But other than that, I love her with Wolf. I think they are perfect for each other. I love Wolf’s (for lack of a better word) ignorance.. Of course he’s from Luna and is unfamiliar with human-related things but I think that’s why I liked him as a character. It makes him all the more cuter because he’s different and doesn’t know any better.

Oh before I wrap up this already long review up, who else thought that Wolf wasn’t going to make it out? Who thought he was going to be left behind whilst the rest fly off? For a second there I thought so. I was ready to cry out it anger and slam the book shut 😛 Let’s just say it was a close call.

But I do like how the book concluded. Yeah sure, a lot of things finally came out in the end and more problems have popped up because of it but the way it ended makes me excited to read the next book. 😊

RATING: ♥♥♥♥/5

Highly recommend read! I found this book to be an easy read just like Cinder. The pace was great and had a nice flow from Scarlet story to Cinder’s and then back again – I never had a dull moment reading this book.


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Hope you’re all well. Happy reading, and as always, catch you in my next one! Xo

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The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh

Totally should’ve done a review on this days ago but when you’re laptop is down and in need of repairs, what can you do? Better late than never, right?

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— BLURB —

The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.

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— MY REVIEW —

I’m just going to go straight into it and say I was a little underwhelmed and disappointed with this book. I found it to be such a slow read, the story wasn’t moving as fast I hoped it would. 😞

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I’ll come out and say it..some of the characters straight out annoyed the heck out me. If I could enter a book and become one of the characters for a day, I would be Shazi and I wouldn’t waste time telling Tariq and her family to leave me (aka Shazi) alone! They are such nosey life-ruiners… (lol I’m sorry but they are).

I think being annoyed with some of the characters is one of the reasons why I wasn’t loving reading this book. I found myself not reading no more that 1-2 chapters at a time because I felt the story was at a stop. Nothing was happening except for the fact the Shazi was stuck at some crappy ‘camp’ with a bunch of strangers who hate her and Khalid and want nothing more than to kill him. Her father was useless, her sister was always trying to make her feel bad for keeping secrets from her, but if Shazi was to tell her the truth, she went running off to tell Rahim! Grrr! And finally, there was Tariq who can’t seem to grasp the fact that Shazi didn’t choose him. Like c’mon man, get a clue… she doesn’t want you!

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I know this review is sounding more like a rant, but I gotta let out what I think, and this is what I think. The book was a little over 400 pages but the story didn’t pick up until halfway through (which in my opinion is wayyyyy too late and if it was any other book I probably wouldn’t have bothered finishing it but I liked TWATD and needed to know how the story ended).

The second half of the book saved it for me and the reason why I ended up rating the book 3/5. It’s definitely more action-packed and the story was finally moving along. Shazi finally got some answers, had a plan to fix everything and a way to save Khalid from the curse. I felt the story didn’t start until this point. I won’t spoil it but I liked the ending. I’m glad the story came back around and ended this duology on a thumbs up!

It’s a still a nice read, I prefer the first book (TWATD) in this duology. I might reread this one later in the year to see if my opinion is still as strong. To be honest, I read this book after having a major book hangover from another book and I think it affected my having a connection with this one.

I know TWATD is a popular read and there’s a lot of positive reviews on it and I’ve read a lot of positive reviews on this one too so I hope my review doesn’t put anyone off from reading it. 😉

RATING: ♥♥♥/5


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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next time! Xo

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The Wrath & The Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

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— BLURB —

One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she’d imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It’s an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid’s life as retribution for the many lives he’s stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?

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— MY REVIEW —

I have mixed feelings on this one. I know tons of readers loved it and it’s got so much positive reviews on Goodreads and yes, I liked it too but I can’t say it was a book I loved.

I’m going to try and keep this review short because I’m currently reading the sequel (The Rose and the Dagger) and feel like once I finish reading that one I can really do a full review on the whole story.

The Wrath and the Dawn ends mid story. It’s actually one of the worst cliffhangers I’ve ever encountered in a storyline. Quick tip: Since this is duology, I suggest reading them both one after the other because if you’re like me; you’ll hate waiting and wondering what happens next.

Okay, to try and keep this review as brief as possible, I’m going to do a typical pros and cons list 😉

PROS:

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  • I started getting into the story once Shahrzad makes it through the first night and Khalid (the boy-king) is instantly intrigued by her. I immediately wanted to know the reason behind why Khalid killed so many innocent girls for no apparent reason.
  • The feelings Shahrzad starts having on Khalid is what got me hooked throughout the book. You can see the struggle she goes through in her head about her initial thoughts of Khalid and her plans for vengeance to then slowly getting to know him and having genuine feelings for the guy.
  • When I read Khalid’s thoughts (POV) in this book, it cemented my views on him. Even though I initially knew what the story was about (based on the description provided in Goodreads) – I knew Khalid was never the villain. I liked him and never hated him just because of what Shahrzad, her family and friends thought about him at the beginning of the book that makes you automatically assume he’s the bad guy.
  • The overall book is an easy read with short chapters, which I always prefer because I think it keeps the story from dragging on for too long.

CONS:

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  • I found myself a little disinterested in some parts of the book (in particular, any parts involving Tariq and his quest to get Shahrzad back) I mean, I get that she’s his first love and that he needs to save her from the “murderous” boy-king…but c’mon… there’s only so much I can take about his need to get her back no matter what anyone says or how Shahrzad feels. I was just not having it after the first few chapters. He irritates me lol.
  • As much as I like to see Shahrzad and Khalid end up together; I did find her feelings turn quite quickly from hate to love. I get that the longer she stayed alive and at the palace that she got to see an insight to him more and more but I don’t know.. I was just maybe hoping for her to fight off her feelings a little bit longer? It made the death of her best friend seem insignificant? (Just my opinion).
  • With the whole curse that got Khalid and Shahrzad and all the girls into this deathly mess.. what happened to it? He has all these girls killed in hopes of breaking the curse and the minute he cares for Shahrzad, he completely stops trying to break it!? I hated that the previous girls’ deaths were in vain. Pointless. This story really had me torn. I couldn’t decide if I was happy for them or angry that all those deaths were meaningless. *sigh*
  • Throughout the book, you get unfamiliar words (shown in italics) that’s from another language. This is not really a con but I didn’t realize there was a glossary at the back with the meanings of each word and when I was reading it, I was curious to know what they meant. So keep in mind when you’re reading it to check the back. 😛
  • As I mentioned earlier, this book ends abruptly – like right smack in the middle of the story, so if you don’t have the sequel yet to read after this one, I recommend you hold off unless you’re big on cliffhangers. 😉

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It’s a great read and I recommend it to YA readers and those who like book retellings or books inspired by other stories.

RATING: ♥♥♥½

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📚 Read my review for the second book in the duology!

The Rose & The Dagger by Renee Ahdieh


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Happy reading, guys! Catch you in my next one! Xo

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