Blue Lily, Lily Blue

Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3)
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Year: 2014
Genre: Fantasy | YA | Romance
Rating: 4.5

Ronan kept going, his voice louder. “No. Do you hear me, Cabeswater? You promised to keep me safe. Who are we to you? Nothing? If you let him die, that is not keeping me safe. Do you understand? If they die, I die, too.”

The Raven Boys (The Raven Cycle #1)
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle #2)

THIS BOOK WAS STILL AMAZING. I have no idea how Maggie Stiefvater is doing this. Usually series drop of after a while, or not every book is that great but so far this series has been A+ through every book. I cannot put these down. I cannot tear my eyes away from the page and at 2am when I finished a chapter and complained to Paige that I had work in the morning, I still found myself turning the page and continuing. I just had to find out what happened!

That was probably the worst idea to be honest because this book took such a dark turn, I thought, and I dread to think what the last one will be like (but I’m still definitely going to be reading it).I thought that the Night Terror was scary, but everything takes on an even creepier level of frightening in this one and I wasn’t prepared. But it was still so so good! After the reveal of Ronan’s abilities in the first novel and then the development in the second novel, reading about his magic in this one is beyond amazing. Learning about him honing them in the second book was so interesting but seeing his ease at which he controls his dream world now is unbelievable.

Again I felt like this book dragged a little bit and the introduction of enemies at the start of a book and then vanquishing them or turning at the end is feeling much to comic book for me. But other than that I had nothing bad to say about this novel.

In fact I have a lot of good to say, such as the character development is unreal! I thought that we had discovered all that could be discovered in the last one, but then Stiefvater threw a whole lot more mystery and surprises at me and I was floored by it. It’s all starting to add up though and I’m so terribly excited for the last book! There were times when I was reading and things would click into the first place and I would wonder how on Earth I had been so oblivious to these developments in the first place. Surely it was obvious that that would happen and why didn’t I realise that that happened so that they could do that? IT WAS SO GOOD.

Then there’s the relationships, the relationships! Because Pynch is so close that I can almost reach out and touch them but they’re just not there and it’s like hell waiting for them to finally click. But it’s so good at the same time because it’s slow and building and we get to see them watching at each other and testing the waters and watch it all building. And the dam is so close to breaking! Not to mention Blue and Gansey who are still not my favourite but are growing on me with their late night phone calls about birds and the devil’s number and it’s terrible and brilliant at the same time. One relationship I didn’t expect to like was Piper and Colin because they were so evil but they were just so terribly perfect for each other. They were both so bad that they worked and some of their conversations were hilarious.

Part of me also feels like I should mention the psychics because there were a lot of developments for them in this one and gosh I never expected some of the things that happened to happened. There were a lot of surprises in this one, don’t get me wrong, but that one just- I had to stop and put the book down for a moment. I couldn’t believe it.

There’s so much I want to say about this novel but so much that I could give away by accident. If you haven’t read this series yet, please please please start it. Then come and fangirl about Pynch with me.

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Tiger Lily

Title: Tiger Lily
Author: Jodi Lynn Anderson
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publication Year: 2012
Genre: Fantasy | YA | Romance
Rating: 4.5

You think you know that someone sees you one way, and barely at all, and then you realise that they see you in another .That was the night I realised that Tiger Lily had seen – really seen – me all along.

Sometimes I read books slowly. I plod happily through them and I’m happy to enjoy them that way. But with Tiger Lily I couldn’t read it slowly. I couldn’t even attempt to read it slowly because I started this book and I got so caught up in it. I couldn’t put it down! It was addictive to me. It was mesmerising and exciting and heart-breaking and there are few books that I have enjoyed as much as this one.

One of the most brilliant things about Tiger Lily is that it’s told by a mute character. I thought that it would be annoying, reading the story of a character that couldn’t say a word. Originally I had soppy, YA melodrama writing on my mind, but this was nothing like that. Tinkerbell isn’t one of the most obvious narrators when I think about the original Peter Pan novel, but reading this I can’t see a more obvious choice. I thought that it was so different from any of the other things that I’ve read and it was so magical to see the relationship between Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell that I have never experienced before. Reading about Tinkerbell’s choices and everything that she does for Tiger Lily and then in turn reading about Tiger Lily’s choices and feeling my frustration. But I also got to see them reflected in the way Tinkerbell reacted and it was SO GOOD.

This book also showed a whole other side to Tiger Lily and a much deeper plot line for her that I’ve never heard about before. We found out about her friends and her family and about her childhood and her father figure. We learnt about her loneliness and the curse that has been haunting her until birth and she was nothing like I had expected either. In the film she’s made out to be innocent and gentle but this Tiger Lily was fast, strong and courageous! She was just as good as any of the Lost Boys and the relationship that she has with Peter because of this is dazzling. Together they were wild. Their relationship was beautiful and it was so touching reading about the two of them growing together. And don’t get me started on Peter!

This book was nothing like what I was expecting going into it. But it was such a good read. Wendy was so dramatically different from every other interpretation of her that I’ve seen before and I found it so interesting reading the way that all of the other characters developed to the ones that we know!

I would seriously recommend this one because it’s one that I want to read over and over again.

Blood of the Rose

Title: Blood of the Rose
Author: Kevin Murray
Publisher: Urbane Publications
Publication Year: 2016
Genre: Mystery | Historical Fiction (sorta)
Rating: 4.5

Still she worshipped the roses. She told me each one had meaning. She told me to remember her for the roses. She told me always to remember the roses, and that I was the blood of the Rose.

 

Yes it’s yet another detective story! I’m sorry guys! I just can’t get another of these mystery wonders and this one was definitely something special! It was the title that snatched my attention first (come on, who can’t get enraptured by a title like that) and the cover! Gosh it looks so intriguing and slightly creepy if I’m being truthful but that only succeeds in making this even more interesting. Then I read the blurb and I just knew that I had to request this one because it’s right up my street.

It’s not often that I read books set in the past; I’m more of a futuristic, alternative universe sort of girl. But historical fiction is the sort of thing that Paige adores so I decided to give this one a shot and it was not a let down! I honestly had no idea how much technology has developed over the years and seeing the way that it affected the case in this novel was actually really interesting. They had to use telephone tables and it’s based when DNA testing was first being used (so, naturally, not many people could use it). This meant they had to solve crimes the old-fashioned way – the Sherlock way – and I really enjoyed it!

One of my favourite things about this book were the glimpses that we got into our murderer’s past. Rather than just showing the investigation like  most crime novels do, Murray shows up why the murderer became a murderer and what’s to blame for the way he turned out. We also get many glimpses into the murderer’s head and the complexity of his mind is astounding. It reminded me a lot of Are You Still There and the way that Scheerger structured her novel.

Another great thing is that the murderer is so hard to figure out. I’m an avid crime reader and watcher and listener and because of that I usually find it fairly easy to decipher who the culprit is going to be. But this book? I had no clue. I had my suspicions, don’t get me wrong, and they carried me far, but when it came to choosing between the last few suspects I couldn’t guess one from another until everything came to bloom. It was a spectacular ending and the reveal was brilliant. I would love to read this again with a fresh mind.

My only complaint is that I wasn’t too big of a fan of the style of writing to begin with. But it grew on me quickly and before long I could barely notice it at all. There’s also a fair few gruesome scenes that readers may find uncomfortable so go into this with warning.

I’d like to thank Urbane Publications and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book to review. This has not affected my review in any way.

Lady Midnight

Title: Lady Midnight  (The Dark Artifices #1)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK
Publication Year: 2016
Genre: YA | Fantasy | Romance
Rating: 4.5

“I always wanted a parabati,” she said a little wistfully. “Someone who is sworn to protect you and to watch your back. A best friend forever, for your whole life.”

When I read Clockwork Angel, I believed that I’d found the best Cassandra Clare book. I didn’t think that she could ever one up that story. But then Lady Midnight came along and just completely destroyed that thought. Lady Midnight wasn’t just about the war between good and evil, as is usually the case, but it contained a great murder mystery (and I adore murder mysteries) and one of the most perfectly written families that I have ever come across. I thought that the Weasley’s were good but the way that Clare wrote the Blackthorns just impressed me beyond belief .They weren’t just words on a page but it was possible to see real people and real relationships in all of them. THEY’RE SO PRECIOUS. Each of them are so special and I found myself getting so attached to all of them that I was unable to put down the book towards the end because of the danger that arose! OH OH OH! And Clare managed mental illnesses as well. She just keeps surprising me by writing about topics that most don’t tend to go near and she deal with it so well. It makes me so proud to see how far she’s come from the first mortal instrument novel.

Not to mention Julian is amazing. For all of you people that complained that Julian was just going to be another sarcastic asshole that the poor MC is going to fall for will find yourself brutally debunked. Julian is smart and quiet most of the time and so incredibly loyal to both his family and his parabati! The things he goes through to ensure that everyone is as happy as they can be is beyond amazing. He will do literally anything to look after the people that he cares about and it’s so admirable. But don’t be deceived, he can still hold his own in a battle when he has to; he’s not Emma’s parabati for nothing!  As for all the people who complained that Emma would be another boring MC, who doesn’t know she has powers will also be in for a rude awakening. Emma has powers and is well aware of them because she is so EXTRAORDINARILY KICKASS. Emma is so stubborn and wild and somehow that makes her ultimately better. She doesn’t follow the rules and is likely to bend them to get her own way and her drive – to find out what happened to her parents – is obvious throughout the entire novel.

And don’t even get me started on the romance. It was hinted at throughout the novel and when it came to a climax it was great. My only complaint was that the ending was the worst idea! I’m not giving spoilers but I hate books that follow that path. If you cut out the last chapters then this would have been brilliant!

BUT THE PLOT TWISTS WERE SO GOOD. I had my suspicions as the book went on but when it actually happened I was more surprised than anything! I would really recommend snatching this up just because of how good the murder mystery was. And the twist with the Herondales was so surprising and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The best thing about Clare is that she also has little candid appearances from her other characters and it’s so refreshing to see them all still a part of the story and to see where their lives have taken them now that their series are over.

If you can’t tell from my LOUD GUSHING, I adored this novel. It was everything that I wanted from Clare’s new series and more. Honestly I finished the book, started rereading it and I need the next one now. Like right now.

The Girl On The Train

Title: The Girl On The Train
Author: Paula Hawkins
Publisher: Double Day
Publication Year: 2015
Genre: Thriller | Mystery
Rating: 4.5

“One for sorrow, two for joy, three for a girl. Three for a girl. I’m stuck on three, I just can’t get any further. My head is thick with sounds, my mouth thick with blood. Three for a girl. I can hear the magpies, they’re laughing, mocking me, a raucous cackling.  A tiding. Bad tidings. I can see them now, black against the sun.  Not the birds, something else. Someone’s coming. Someone is speaking to me. Now look. Now look what you made me do.

I don’t even know where to start. I mean, when I read the first two pages of this book they were so haunting it sent a chill right down to my spine. The extract above was in the book twice – the first time was as a sort of teaser on one of the first pages that I mentioned sending a shiver down my spine.

So many people had told me how good this book was, which obviously gave me some unrealistic expectations but the book did just about live up to them. It took me a little while to get into it, but only because of the teaser on the first two pages. It was written beautifully, and I was desperate to find out more. Though we didn’t actually get to main plot/story until about 40 pages in, which isn’t that long thinking about it now but when I was reading it originally it felt like ages!

It took me longer to read the book because I had to keep starting and then stopping, but for everyone else I’d imagine it wouldn’t take long to read it as the book is written sort of like diary entries. There are multiple point of views which was slightly confusing to begin with, mainly because the dates changed with each point of view but other than it was quite easy to follow.

There were one or two characters who were quite similar, but it was purposely done so that didn’t bother me that much. In my opinion though, the characters made the book. Don’t get me wrong, the plot and the twist was good but it was better because of the characters. I really like the way everything was distorted, and we had to try and piece things together and it took a while for the twist to come which meant I didn’t see it coming – which is actually quite weird because I’m used to guessing it quite early.

I would love to continue talking about the book, but I fear there isn’t much more I could say without spoiling it for all you potential readers, so I will end it here and just suggest all you mystery and thriller lovers check this book out because you wont regret it!

See How They Run

Title: See How They Run
Author: Ally Carter
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication Year: 2016
Genre: YA | Mystery | Contemporary
Rating: 4.5

“’I don’t need any help,’ I say, because it’s instinct now. Automatic. It was my reply when I was twelve years old and following the boys over the wall. And it is my answer now. It will be the answer until I die. In fact, it is probably the answer that will kill me.”

 

Why do I keep putting myself through the torture of reading Ally Carter books? I mean, you think I’d know by now that it’s a really bad idea when there’s a whole series of books (that haven’t yet come out) to follow. They’re just so good but the cliffhangers! They kill me every time and I keep forgetting how painful it is to turn those last pages and realise- No! I have to wait for the next one to find out what’s going to happen.

I really do love Ally Carter’s books. I first discovered her through Heist Society; then I proceeded to dabble into Gallagher Girls and now Embassy Road is my latest obsession. And all of them have been great, but these series really take the cake. The first book (All Fall Down) was incredible. I remember reading it all in one day because I wanted to! I couldn’t put it down and had to find out this one. This one much the same way, with only a few breaks for university lectures. Although Carter seemed intent on making me want to skip them.

The thing about this book is that it continues after the tremendous cliffhanger of the last and it does it so well. It takes the story that Carter left behind it ties everything up so so smoothly. It’s almost like I was never away from this world. Within the first few chapters, everything was pouring back and I was in love of the characters again. Grace has always a favourite of mine (although she’ll never compare to Kat, who has a special place in my heart) but in this one she truly broke my heart. Everything just went wrong for her and after the climax of the last book, I had thought she needed a little bit of good in her life.

I guess that Carter thought otherwise.

She turned this book into a kaleidoscope of plots, all intersecting in various places when you least expect them. And I barely expected any of them, which is rare. The Spencer plot line completely surprised me, as did the final twist at the end, and they were both executed perfectly. I also have a strong liking for secret societies and Carter should definitely write them again because she does them so well. The one in this book is flawless and I love how she built the history behind it. The history behind everything in fact! It was so beautifully-crafted, right down to the festivities and the island’s background. I loved every detail and I could almost imagine reading about it on the internet, as a real place.

A special mention should also go to the secondary characters as well. No love is spared, dealt out entirely to Noah, Megan, Alexei (swoon), Jamie and Rosie. Even Lila got a little love in this one, although you’ll have to read it to find out why. One of my favourite things about Carter’s writing is that none of her characters sound the same, and they all have faults as well talents. I like how the stereotypes are limited (I’ll look over the hot Russian stereotype) and how she has POC characters. I was a bit disheartened that the amazing foursome from the first novel didn’t play as much of a role in this book, but that was the only real complaint that I could find with this!

This book was everything that I wanted it to be and more: action-packed, filled with adventure and the perfect sequel to All Fall Down. My mind is already swirling after these first two books and I can’t possibly imagine what Carter could bring with the third and final instalment. But I know it’ll be a blast. It’s definitely going to be on my to be read list anyway, and it should definitely be on yours as well.

I’d like to thank Orchard Books and Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book to review. This has not affected my review in any way.

The Awawkened

Title: The Awakened
Author: Sara Elizabeth Santana
Publisher: Oftomes Publishing
Publication Year: 2015
Genre: Science Fiction | YA
Rating: 4.5

I guess it was hard to pinpoint the moment that the virus hit us, because we were so unaware of it.

If there’s one genre (if you can call it that) that I always end up buying, it’s zombie novels. I am a sucker for everything that resolves around and apocalyptic, the world is going to end, story and I love them! All of them! So when I saw that OfTomes was releasing this gem I was instantly excited and that excitement only increased when I saw the cover. Have you seen it? It’s beautiful and it looks so interesting!

The best thing about this novel, as far as I was concerned, was that the plot managed to be similar to the usual zombie novels, as well as being utterly different at the same time. At the start when the innocence of the characters was most obvious, it was so familiar. They were all blind to the truth and they were attempting to work out how to avoid the rapidly spreading illness. It was something that I’d read in every zombie fic so far and I was prepared for the usual tale that would follow – the escape, the running and the constant camping. However after the truth is revealed there is a huge twist. Humongous. And I had not expected it but it made this novel amazing for me. It was so unexpected and such a nice change from the usual zombie stories. It makes it so much more exciting as well! The danger increases and tensions rise and there’s so many more emotions, I felt. I think if the secondary characters were developed a little more, it would have been even worse.

The main characters on the other hand, are so well-written. Zoey is your typical teenage girl and she’s so relatable! With her unaccepted feelings for her next door neighbour and the stress of trying to impress her parents and maintain the social life of an everyday teenager, she became so believable. I docked a star for her relationship with Ash though. It felt too forced to me, at least at first. Ash was constantly there and badgering her and admittedly it got a bit annoying but as the book developed, I warmed to the relationship between them. However the relationships between her family and her, as well as her dog, Bandit, were definitely emotional.

One final thing to mention, I think, is Sara’s writing. It’s so brilliant. It works so well and sounds amazing and there were no long words that had me stopping to think. The entire book just flowed and it was so good to read all of the descriptions and read about Zoey’s emotions and feelings. It was definitely enjoyable and there was never a time when I became lost or confused over the plot.

For anyone looking for a good zombie book to read, I’d definitely recommend this. I also just found out that Sara has been working on the sequel in her nanowrimo and I can’t even describe how excited I am for this given the ending that we were left on!!