Book reviews, Uncategorized

Immortal City – Amy Kuivalainen (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Five ‘Living Language’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼🐼

My first five star review ever, brace yourselves for the glory that is this book. 

‘Immortal City’ is an adult contemporary fantasy novel by Amy Kuivalainen. It’s set in Venice and tells us about Atlantis – what a delightful combination. Never having been a fan of contemporary fantasy or Atlantis, I was so pleasantly surprised! 

The world is beautiful. It’s Venice but turned up to eleven. I have never been but I could vividly imagine the canals and the buildings described. The bits about Atlantis are also wonderful – full of colour and promise for next books. 

The plot and the pacing is well-done. The book follows the protagonist while she solves the ritualistic serial murders happening around Venice while discovering Atlantis and engaging in a steamy romance along the way. Once this books grips you, it doesn’t let go. The twists are predictable but still satisfying, and the whole books comes with a subtle global warming warning.

I loved the strong female protagonist. Exactly what an empowered woman should be, Penelope is brave but vulnerable, smart but capable of trust and care. She is easy to like without being on the nose and her genuine interest in her job was refreshing – so many protagonists forget about what drives them as the plot swipes them away to bigger and better things. 

The side characters are entertaining and there is a good mixture of banter and romance mixed with the action. Alexis is wonderful – protective but not overbearing, strong and suave but not an asshole. The book is a sterling example of finding the balance in all things to create likable characters in a colourful, realistic world.

The writing style is easy to read and polished. Ms Kuivalainen weaves Italian words well in the text to create a more authentic reading experience but I found myself reaching for Google a few times. I can’t speak Italian but I can now read it! (-ish)

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Dark Purpose – A B Endacott (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three and a half ‘Lifesong’ stars 🐼🐼🐼🐼

‘Dark Purpose’ is the sequel to ‘Dark Intent’, a story about a conflicted healer and her fate in a hostile environment which is not only scary but also surprisingly appreciative of her gifts. It explores the struggles one can face when there are no white and black choices, just shades of grey.

The world setting is the same city as in the previous novel but explored further, providing a suitable backdrop to the difficult movements of the Resistance cast who sneak about, navigating the streets full of non-friendly Guardians.

I liked the plot of this book better than the first one, it is well organised and has all the good points of a thought-out novel. Plotting an uprising is really hard in my opinion and this is where this book shines.

The pacing is great – Ms Endacott nailed the stakes and the beats. I read this book a lot faster than the first one, curious to find out how things were going to go wrong next and how the characters were going to react.

On this topic, main character Freya in this book has finally turned into an active protagonist. She thinks, feels and makes decisions. The start was a bit jarring as I hadn’t realised she had already made the big decision to join the Resistance but after that was cleared out it was way easier to follow her intentions. She also has one awesome power!!

Other than that, I didn’t like how Makkyd and Symon were developed – I had hoped for different characters. But life is not always how we want it! Both were really consistent and well-place though. I get it with my mind why they are what they are but my heart was fighting it!

The writing style is similar to the first book. There is a lot of show as opposed to tell but I didn’t mind that much because the pacing was good, pulling the rather lengthy sentences at times into a good, coherent story.

I look forward to the next book.  

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the author for a fair review. All views are my own. The book came out yesterday so please go check it out!

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Frost – Isabelle Adler (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three ‘Frosty’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

‘Frost’ is a novella by Isabelle Adler which follows Finn and Spencer, two boys who meet in the middle of a post-apocalyptic cold world.

The concept of the setting is interesting but under-developed. There is not much information provided about the surroundings of the characters, except the fact that it’s bad, cold and lonely. It’s also dangerous and for the purpose of the story, said danger finds our characters so the rest can save them.

The plot is linear and simply follows the two main characters as events happen to reinforce their budding romance. There are no subplots which means a lot of side questions I had remained unanswered. The pacing is good – the lack of side characters and issues helps with keeping the action tight.

The characters follow a similar linear pattern – their problems are predictable and while quite grave, did not manage to make me feel for them. They are likeable, especially Siobhan, but not engaging. They are forced to react to the world and what’s happening to them which makes them seem lacking initiative. It is clear from page one there will be a happily ever after for the two boys.

I was also quite sad to read that Siobhan will be the unfortunate third wheel forever. Give the girl a purpose! The instant love between Finn and Spencer at least did not feel too unnatural provided social constructs seem to not exist and there are hardly any other people to love around. You take what you get, and I liked that.

The writing style is quite basic but easy to read. The book feels like fan fiction, however, and I would have loved to read more about the world and its inhabitants, even more about the main characters. The story was heart-warming but lacked substance. It would have benefited from being a novel.

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

Dark Intent – A B Endacott (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Three ‘Healing’ stars 🐼🐼🐼

‘Dark Intent’ is a novel which features a piece of the fantasy world Godkissed Continent the author has set a few other books in.  It’s a story about a conflicted healer and her fate in a hostile environment which is not only scary but also surprisingly appreciative of her gifts.

I liked the setting. The idea with the takeover is very well done, and as someone of Bulgarian descent, it really hit home (Bulgaria was under Ottoman rule for over 5 centuries and many people were forced to abandon Christianity and become Muslim).

It is obvious Ms Endacott was very aware of the world and navigated the characters effortlessly in it. The world-building is well-scattered along the pages and I didn’t feel lost having not read the companion novels. The pacing however, is a bit off making the book easy to put down and difficult to pick up again.

The plot is overall okay, with the ending coming quite abruptly but realistically. ‘Dark Intent’ is primarily a character story, the action happening around the protagonist in order to prompt them to think or do something. I don’t usually mind this, as long as the characters are well-developed.

This is where I feel the book failed. The characters, despite Ms Endacott’s best efforts to provide them ample opportunities for growth, remained quite simple and one-dimensional. I wanted to know more about Symon for example – he had an interesting start then was completely overshadowed by the generic beefcake that was Ashtyn. I couldn’t engage with Freya as a lot of her actions had me internally screaming. Her character was inconsistent. I hope she grows more in future books.

The writing style is good. It’s easy to read. The ARC copy I got from NetGalley, however, was poorly formatted, making it very hard to read. There were some typos and repetitions which could have been cleaned in the proofreading stage.

Overall, it’s a good story which raises important questions about humanity and faith. I do not regret reading it as it made me think about my own history and experiences.

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An ARC of this book was kindly given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. All views are my own. The book comes out on 19 September 2019.

All of my reviews are available on my Goodreads profile.

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Book reviews, Uncategorized

The Wicked King – Holly Black (Book thoughts in 300 words and 3 gifs)

Four ‘Wicked’ stars 🐼🐼🐼 🐼

‘The Wicked King’ is the second novel of Holly’s Black’s ‘The Folk in the Air’ series about a world hidden from humans – a world of fairies and magic which is dangerous as much as it is beautiful.

I was interested to read more about the fairy world and liked the additional guest appearance of the underwater world – but my concern is still that nothing is explained in too much detail, making how the kingdoms work a mystery to me. Which is annoying at times when the main plot revolves around political intrigue.

The plot of this book is better than the first but I was still reading primarily because of the Jude/Cardan interactions. I couldn’t bring myself to care at all about Balekin or Madoc’s concerns over who and how would rule and Jude’s grasp on it made me feel like I was reliving every Monday morning at work (I know I have to do something but not sure what, because Friday was ages ago and I feel like an impostor because of it but I fake it till I make it as I have to).

The characters in this novel are becoming more and more and there are still just a few of them which appear to hold any real personality. Cardan is love. I could easily tell he was Ms Black’s favourite – and probably the one who first appeared in her head before she started writing. His character development is miles away from everyone else’s.

Main Jude pales in comparison. Vivi, Taryn, Locke and basically everyone else are still there, still boring. I guess it’s really realistic in a way. Not everyone has interesting roles in this life.

The writing style is consistently good as in the first book. It’s clean and easy to read. The dialogue is getting better, particularly where Jude and Cardan are concerned. The chemistry between them is written really well and I commend Ms Black on that – especially after what I consider to be a shakier start in the first book.

I can’t wait for November and ‘Queen of Nothing’ because this ending was both heart-breaking and so awesome!

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