Let’s Set the Record Straight on the Remnant Chronicles

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Well, this isn’t the first time I’ve been way, way, way behind the curve of popular YA books, is it? I’d say better late than never buuut while I kind of get the hype, I also felt a little underwhelmed by this series. I’ve decided the best ways to cover this is mini reviews. These won’t really be spoilery, but I will get into which ship sailed in the last review.

A Quick Peck From Kiss of Deception

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It’s safe to say the first book didn’t totally capture me. And, despite my picture of the series, for me this missed the magic I crave in fantasy. It did pick up at around the 60% mark and it was well written. I especially liked the execution of the different povs- using “the assassin” and “the prince” to obscure identities and keep the reader in suspense, so it was a real surprise when each one was revealed. In terms of characters, the protagonist was especially strong- not just cos she’s the spunky run away before an arranged marriage type, but because she generally relies on her rather sharp wits. For the record, this has a love triangle, which I can see becoming a problem (also for the record: I preferred Rafe by the end of this book- we’ll have to see where that goes…)

3/5 bananas

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Heart of Betrayal was a Little More Heartening

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Yup- still on #TeamRafe. I rarely change my ships though, so that’s par for the course. My main gripe so far is that I don’t care for the love triangle at all #sorrynotsorry. I did prefer the setting in this book though- it leant more atmosphere and mystery to the story. There seemed to be more magic lurking and the Song of Venda leant more intrigue to the tale. But generally speaking, the world building is like window dressing- not much to it beyond the surface. And that’s okay with me- but there’s not much to the story either- it’s simply like so many I’ve read before. The one saving grace for this series, I really liked Lia as the main character as well- she’s got far more personality than most YA mcs combined. She has a lot more agency and is the driving force behind the action. A pleasant enough way to pass the time, but nothing mind-blowing.

3½/5 bananas

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Beauty of Darkness was Less-Than Pleasing

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I baulked at the length of book 3. I just wasn’t loving the series enough for this much of a tome- and unfortunately I was right to be concerned. The action was decent- but it wasn’t enough to save the series- and I wasn’t that happy after all the build-up. Worst of all for me, the whispers of magic earlier in the series never really materialised. I think I was disappointed with that most of all. Thank goodness my ship sailed though or I might have sunk into a truly bad mood 😉 Sadly, I don’t think it was enough to keep the book or the series afloat for me.

2½/5 bananas 

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Overall, I did come away understanding why this series garnered a strong following and had a real respect for the author yet love triangles and the lack of magic left me less-than spellbound. I just wish they’d been as captivating as their titles and covers. Personally I could’ve done with a little more oomph from the setting as well- however I can see why this one would be a subjective read.

That doesn’t really leave me much to say other than- have you read this series? Did you enjoy it more than me? Let me know in the comments!

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Aurora Rising was an *ASTRONOMICAL SUCCESS*

*Received from netgalley in exchange for review- but any into-the-stratosphere gushing and (bad) space puns is all me*

aurora risingWOW. THIS. BOOK. Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are back with another space adventure and I am blown away by its sheer awesomeness. I don’t even know where to begin with this review to be honest. I thought I took tons of notes for this, but truth be told I had so much trouble putting the book down that all I really came up with was “oohs” and ahhs” (and the occasional “oh damnnnn”)… so I guess I’ll be doing most of this review on the fly 😉

Starting off with a hold-your-breath situation, this quickly escalates with heart-stopping intensity, until you’re taken through *every emotion under the sun*. See why I couldn’t stop reading? What’s incredible about this book is that it gets better and better, launching into clever storylines and introducing creepilicious villains. There’s edge-of-your-seat peril at all turns; there’s explosive twists and clever revelations.

I had such a blast with this book- not least because the concepts are amazing. At times it feels like sci fi, at times it has a fantasy feel and always it delivered on a sense of foreboding mystery. There’s an ever-present sense that the heroes have dug up a universe worth of problems- and that makes for some serious entertainment. Think how the authors created a sense of stakes and drama in Illuminae… then times it by a billion. I swear, this author duo got the formula exactly right for those books and then, dare I say it, took it lightyears beyond that.

Especially because the world building is so. darn. cool. Set in the future, with more aliens and more tech, you really get a more advanced civilisation feel. Aurora Rising certainly transported me *out of this world*. I also really appreciated how each element- including the dialogue- was designed to give a sense of the universe. The way each of the characters talk gives a sense of different peoples.

This is largely thanks to it being ridiculously well written. I mean, on the one hand it has beauty in the hypnotic stargazing way and then on the other it’s hilariously witty and intelligently plotted. Like the Illuminae Files, this has a lot of inserts and multiple voices- except that in this case it’s a lot less fragmentary and easier to get into. Not only did I like how the tidbits between chapters built on the story and world, I also *loved* how differing writing styles were used to characterise all the povs. From Kal’s more flowery voice to Cat’s sharp humour to Auri’s charm, the entire cast shines and you really get the chance to know everyone. Achieving this shows off both author’s skills and I was rooting for all my heroes by the end!

I could easily wax lyrical about the characters as well. Some were down to earth relatable, while other’s made me starry eyed. I particularly loved Auri- I mean she curses in baked goods- how cute is that?! I also really liked Kal and Magallen- but yeah, Auri is where it was at for me. And if that wasn’t enough, the romance also put me into orbit! Even in space, they can hear me squealing! (yes, I know, I defy the laws of physics!)

Sorry for the gush… except I’m not really sorry at all 😉 It’s pretty much impossible not to be enthusiastic about a book like this. Kristoff and Kaufman took their winning style and stepped up their game. As I suspected before going in, if you already love the way these authors work together, then you’re pretty much guaranteed to have an amazing time with this. And if you haven’t checked them out yet- what are you waiting for?

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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We have lift off! Until next time…

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So have you read this? Or the author’s previous books? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – May

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I swear, every month feels like three at the moment. There has been so much *hecticness* I’ve been neglecting a lot of bloghopping/comments lately, so I’m sorry about that! Other than work (which I’ve is BUSY right now) family stuff took over a lot of April for me. Mostly cos my family celebrate Passover- to save you the spiel about that, I’ll just put a visual here…

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Also, for anyone that celebrated Easter…

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Passing over all that, let’s get to what we’re all here for: the books!

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Blood of the Fold– annnd we’re starting with one that was a tad disappointing. While I enjoyed the first two enough to want to continue the series, I was far less interested in this one. A lot of that had to do with Brogan- who was alright as a villain but didn’t measure up to Darken Rahl’s menace or the Keeper’s threat. I’m afraid I’m giving a very lacklustre review, but that’s cos the book didn’t inspire me to write too much down. Then again, sometimes it’s better to have less to say about a book…

Rating: 2/5 bananas

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bridget jones's diary

Bridget Jones’s Diary- I unfortunately have plenty to say about this one- none of it good. I’d say I was disappointed, but I expected nothing from this. Less than nothing. Especially after the films. Hated the writing style. Brings me onto: why’s my review written like this? Cos the whole damn book is written like this (no, you haven’t stumbled on my unfinished notes). And the funny thing is, I don’t think I’m even fragmenting as much. Though technically speaking it’s not fragmentation- it’s just incomplete sentences (mostly missing pronouns, which I’m struggling to mimic, cos my brain objects to this *argh-gravating* sentence structure). So, so very annoying. This is why I said there’s a serious reason not to go overboard in the style piece I did last month. It is also why people don’t go round reading other people’s diaries- it’s not to respect people’s privacy, it’s cos it’d probably be awful and barely literate. Moral of the story: don’t write. A whole. Book. Like this. (Also I know people will ask why read this if you had even an inkling it would be bad? Good question! It’s cos I saw it on one of those “100 books to read before you die” lists and then saw it on overdrive soon after- it seemed like destiny… sadly it was more like fate was conspiring against me). Ah well- at least I got a good idea of the character from this style: barely literate, self-obsessed and boring.

Rating: 1/5 bananas

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goose girl

The Goose Girl– ahh what a relief this book was. The writing was controlled, while faintly mythical; th story was sweet, but not too saccharine; the overarching plot emotional and yet delivers a happily ever after. That ending was particularly rewarding. I think this was technically a reread, though I don’t remember anything about reading it the first time, other than it happened some time in primary school and that I loved reading it back then too. This is a great middle grade and a must-read if you’re interested in the genre/have children in this age-range.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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immortal reign

Immortal Reign– alas- this was underwhelming too! To be fair, my biggest issue with this book was that I stopped caring about the series a couple of books back. It didn’t help that this finale was totally predictable and nothing special. It started off okay for me, but quickly descended into a great big bowl of MEH. Some of the characters I still like (Magnus); others I still dislike (Lucia). Some issues were resolved wayyy too easily. I’ll be honest, I just felt a little flat after. There were a couple of things that irked me and I’m gonna get into minor spoilers about it, so if you do want to read the Falling Kingdoms series now’s your chance to look away. The main issue I had with this book is really similar to my problem in the last book- and that’s the treatment of Gaius as a villain. I know that they went the route of having him semi-redeemed cos he was under a spell (ugh at that again, but whatever) BUT I don’t see how his kids and everyone that knew him would suddenly be cool with him/mourning his death when they only ever knew him as a bad guy!!! I found the *happy reunion* way too out there. Thank goodness someone came along and shot an arrow in his chest and put a stop to that ridiculousness. On the note of significant deaths though, I feel there was definitely room to kill off at least one central character (which would’ve especially helped it feel like there were some real stakes). Somehow though everyone, including the shitty characters, get to ride off into the sunset (metaphorically speaking- though in some cases sorta literally). *Sigh*- at least I got to finish the series I guess.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

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So have you read any of these? Did you like them? Let me know in the comments!

One Word Kill *SLAYED ME*

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for review, but the limitless gushing is all me*

Me a month ago: “wow, the book of the ancestor was probably Lawrence’s best series.”

Mark Lawrence: HOLD MY BEER!

one word killThis is one of those pieces you just have to stand back and marvel at. All the exquisite intricacies, the intriguing ideas and the time-bending concepts come into view. And even with the full picture you are blown away.

Let’s back up a minute. This is a book where dungeons and dragons playing teens get embroiled in mystery and high stakes drama. It’s a book so deliciously dorky and endlessly entertaining- plus it made me want to plan more D&D 😉 I enjoyed every second, from beginning to end- not least the heartstoppingly cute last line!

But, if you think it’s just fun and games, don’t be fooled! This is Lawrence’s most sophisticated work. Something about this book switched the lights on in my brain and wouldn’t let me switch them off again. For all its seeming simplicity, there are resonant messages beneath the surface and an abundance of genius to keep a reader preoccupied. Forgive me, I am lost for words: this book was simply brilliant, beautiful and meaningful.

And that’s to say nothing of the writing. It was sharper than ever and witty to boot. The descriptions were incredible and the thoughts insightful. It was so gorgeous that I highlighted way too much and consequently had a difficult time going through my notes 😉

While there is a sense of pervasive sadness to the mood, given that the main character is deathly ill, I was amazed at how often there is light to offset the darkness. The atmosphere is ever-present and yet not overwhelming. Thanks to the distinctive voice, the reader can see both the beauty and the humour, even when all seems lost.

Personally, it was this main character that drew me into the story. Unlike so many figures in fiction, he has a toughness that is all the more admirable, because it doesn’t form in his fists. Not that I don’t appreciate that- but is characterisation hit me hard, because it rests on mind over matter. This protagonist, together with an incredible cast, makes it impossible to not to get heavily invested.

Ultimately, if I could give more than 5 bananas I would… *hang on a minute*… Let me work some magic…

dungeons and dragons orangutanOk I called over some more monkey mes from a parallel universe so we could pool our resources- this should do the trick…

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So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments! 

Crown of Feathers was *On Fire*

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for review- but I got fired up all on my own 😉*

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Look how pretty that cover is; look at that magnificent creature! I’ll confess, I’m a little giddy looking at it, cos it’s smokin’ hot! Okay, I’ll stop with the awful puns… for now 😉 Thing is, it’s no secret I love mythical creatures. So, when a YA book about phoenix riders was announced, I just knew I had to grab hold and take it for a spin!

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And this most definitely delivered on every level. Preto has written a complex, intricate narrative- replete with self-referential myths and tying itself to fantastical legends. Hatched from the very idea of a phoenix, this story embraces both its fiery persona and its promise of resurrection. Going through the blaze of war, we are given a narrative as complicated as real-world history and as tough to pin down. Some of the revelations are guessable, a lot of them are not. These reveals are rained down on you with such intensity, that even if the book was a little on the long side, you will find the stakes take you higher and higher.

And with this we also have some brilliant characters. Both sisters, Veronyka and Val, shine through the narrative, even as one seems to represent the shadows and the other the flame. This dichotomy makes for a pronounced reflection on good vs evil- whilst not entirely falling into a simplistic view. What I especially liked was how believable Veronyka seemed, even if she was largely depicted as good, since she is not without flaws. Rather, she struggles to control her emotions and this causes actual problems. Plus, it’s frequently criticised by Val, making her seem both sympathetic and not too goody-goody. In short, she was very likeable, while Val often felt perfectly hateable (but in the ahh-I-totally-get-where-she’s-coming-from antagonist-ish kind of way!) They were my two favourite characters, though I certainly wouldn’t knock Sev and Tristan. For me, they not only mirrored each other, but the very image of the proud and mystical phoenix.

For this magical bird is embedded in the story. From the world to the writing, there are phoenixes at every turn. The imagery adds to the story and the story adds to the world. With every epigraph, the world is built up and the fantasy is developed. That’s what stands out: the author clearly wanted to convey her love for this underappreciated and underexplored mythical creature- and that’s exactly what she did here! Phoenixes are fully realised in Crown of Feathers in a way I haven’t seen in any other book. This is a radiant start to a series and I’m so happy I read it. Far from going down in a blaze of glory, I predict a lot of exciting things to come.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Archenemies was Unrivalled Entertainment!


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Hello, hello! I am incredibly psyched to be back talking about Marissa Meyer’s take on superheroes again– so much so, I’ve got back into costume. Introducing the Marvellous Monkey! Up, up and away!

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I’ll admit, this did have a slower start than Renegades, BUT it picked up pretty quickly and leapt back into the action. Pacing ended up being one of the book’s strong suits- taking the tension to new heights and frequently leaving me breathless.

I also enjoyed the return of all those philosophical debates (Moral Philosophy Man to the rescue! 😉). Personally, I felt it dealt with the issue of power in an intelligent and nuanced way. The lines between good and evil seem so blurry in this story that I often can’t decide which person to support!

I genuinely felt for the characters- they have become so real to me that I became completely lost in the world of the book. Yes, it still reminds me of X Men, but no, that’s still not a bad thing. I am simply thoroughly enjoying this take on the post-apocalyptic superhero story, which focuses more on the question of who even is the bad guy anyway?!

The romance was super well developed too- with added tension of Nova and Adrian both going behind each other’s backs and arghhh I really want them to work it out (but have no idea how it’s going to resolve itself!!) That’s why I’ve invited the Magnificent Monkey Baby to give us her thoughts on where it’s going:

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ARCHENEMIES AHHHHH SHMUSH CENTRAL PARADISE!!!! With so many emotional twists and turns!! And okay Adrian has the best power of all time! If you weren’t convinced it was the best, well now there is no way anyone has a biscuit of doubt about it now. I mean he literally is a power genius. He can literally create life!! Wait is he G-d or something cuckoo?? Are we in for an insane shock? Or is this literally just the coolest person to exist! Anyshmudgens, it’s a wonderful fun butterfly ride and I can’t wait for the next book 🙂

Monkey baby rating:

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(And you guys thought I was hyperactive 😉 ) Thank you so much for that Monkey Baby!

My rating: 4/5 bananas

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So what do you think of the books in this series? Do you plan to read it? Let me know in the comments!

No Word of a Lie: Why I Not-So-Secretly Loved Truly Devious!

I’m honestly so excited to do this review today- but first I have to say a MASSIVE THANK YOU again to the lovely Jill Jemmett, who ever very kindly hosted a giveaway for getting 1000 followers! She’s an amazing book blogger with a whole host bookish content, from lists to book reviews, and I highly recommend checking her out!

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Now let’s crack this case (*ahem* book) wide open! Set in a boarding school, this is the story of Stevie Bell trying to uncover a cold case murder mystery. With this intriguing location, an entertaining plot and a colourful cast of characters, Maureen Johnson enters into a thrilling start to a series.

Though I was initially disappointed with Dotty in the opening, I was soon gripped by Stevie’s more compelling voice. Full of charm and humour this true crime YA story more than gets under your skin. When (as the blurb suggests) the murderer re-enters the crime scene decades later, the *creep factor* intensifies.

I really liked the intersection of these two mysteries. Plus, not only was there good anxiety rep here, but it also added to the story, amping up the tension significantly. Because of Stevie’s anxiety, the reader is left wondering who-what-where-when-why and scrambling for answers in the dark. Time and again, the narrative sends you of in (mis)direction, only to about turn and take you down another path. It made for an on-the-edge-of-your-seat experience!

There was an absolute addictive quality to Truly Devious for sure. Just so you know, though, *there is a massive cliffhanger*. Personally, since I knew this was a series going in, I figured as much before I started and didn’t expect to get many/all of the answers- but I will admit I STILL WANT MORE!!!! I think for that reason I’m gonna hold off getting the sequel until it’s closer to the third book’s release date- cos I’m already dying from the wait!

Other than that, the only downside of this book was the cartoonish politics (and you know my feelings about politics shoehorned into fiction anyway). Besides that, everything from the romance to the mini-mystery of this book to the leads for the sequel were killer!

4½/5 bananas

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Very excited to see where this goes, in the meantime, I’ll be hunting for clues…

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So have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments! (also *lalalala* not listening if you want to talk about the second one 😉)