Archenemies was Unrivalled Entertainment!


archenemies

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!

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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 😉)

The Boy Who Steals Houses was *Just Right*

*Received from Netgalley in exchange for review- but the gushing you’re about to see is all me!*

the boy who steals housesIt wasn’t too big, or too small- it was *perfection*!! In case my title or terrible jokes aren’t enough of a clue, this is actually a modern Goldilocks retelling. I’ve got to say, I’ve never come across its like until now and this makes it practically a dream come true for a reviewer! It’s completely and utterly unique!

Before I picked this up, I was familiar with Cait’s awesome blog @Paper Fury (who isn’t?) had read A Thousand Perfect Notes and obviously *loved* the writing style- which is why I couldn’t wait to pick this up.

After that I knew I simply had to read it. And boy did it deliver the goods! With delightful attention to detail and impressive technique, Cait paints a picture of the perfect family colliding with an intruder. In her signature style, the images are acutely drawn and the characters are brought to life.

Before I get to anything else, I have to say I liked the “before” and “after” element (which, yes, I’ve stolen for my review 😉). I especially appreciated the way it addressed the darkness lurking in his past and how it was effectively built up over time. I thought the representation across the board was expertly handled and allowed this book to be incredibly hard hitting. It was so intense that I was holding my breath for pages at a time. And on top of that, it got better and better as the story progressed!

After I got into the narrative though, I realised it’s not a gloomy view of the world! There is plenty of light that shines through; there are quiet moments that make themselves heard. The story and romance melted my heart with its cuteness. It was funny and sweet and made me *feel all the feels* (I’m not crying, you are!) It’s safe to say, this book snatched up my heart and ran away with it. I can only give it all the bananas in the hopes I might trade it back:

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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But just in case it’s a *no deal*, I got all dressed up to even up my odds:

burglar orangutan stealing houses

So have you read this or Cait’s other book? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

Bless me: Holy Sister is *Glorious*!

Hallelujah! Holy Sister is here and damn it delivered. *Look upon it in wonder*

Thank you so much to the author who sent me a copy in exchange for review!

The prologue shines, from the pov of an empath, meaning you can feel the intensity from the get-go. And that, my friends, is nothing- because there is so much more emotion to come!

From there the plot goes at breakneck speed, never letting up, dropping bombshell after bombshell. Hell, Holy Sister is jam-packed with action!! Flashing back and forth, from past to present, layer upon layer of intrigue is added. The twists and turns keep coming, the story gains a breathless-pace, until all I had left to say was: wow. Lawrence certainly knows how to write explosive endings- cos this is certainly a fantastic series finale.

It certainly helped that Nona Grey’s characterisation was wicked strong here. I loved the idea that Nona felt the loss of her shadow- it showed the high cost of magic and also gave her something to strive for. What I especially liked was the theme of learning to be a little more human, rather than superhuman, and the journey of a hero to perhaps live beyond their saga. I also appreciated how this arc was presented in contrast to Zole- the characters being two sides of the same coin and yet Nona is learning to embrace her demons, to be imperfect and to rely on others.

Which was wonderful, because this has always been a series about the threads that bind us. Sisterhood and friendship are strong motifs- but sharp characters like Glass cannot be forgotten- pulling the strings from behind the scenes. In a cast of vivid characters, she still manages to shine.

Beyond this, I loved the descriptions and enjoyed the acute aphorisms like “We are never more vulnerable than when we are giving chase”. It was an effortlessly quotable read and the world building felt so real (even if it’s the kind of all-out fantasy you can revel in 😉). I was awed by how complex the magic system was and carried away by the powerful atmosphere. All in all, it can come as no surprise that I gave this:

5/5 bananas

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Oh and I also couldn’t resist getting all dressed up in celebration of this series- although I’m not going to claim my costume is book accurate, I reckon I make a pretty killer nun! 😉

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So what do you think? Have you read this? Do you plan to? Let me know in the comments!

The Princess and the Fangirl Switched Things Up!

*Received this book from Netgalley in exchange for review- though all the fangirling you’re about to see is all me*

Princess and the fangirlLast year, I read Geekerella, a *super fun* retelling of Cinderella- except transposed onto the fandom arena. Now, I’m happy to be back with a review for the sequel- a modern take on the Prince and the Pauper! And I am so excited to say that Poston didn’t rest on her laurels with this one- from the stellar opening, it was an entertaining journey of intergalactic proportions!

One of the things that stood out for me was the range of styles exhibited here. The dual perspectives works perfectly, as they’re easily distinguishable. Imogen is laugh out loud funny, while Jess is prone to out of this world descriptions and cosmic imagery. Both collide in this deftly handled narrative, successfully shifting tones and delivering a cohesive narrative. Even better, it feels like two stories for the price of one!

The characters shone through strongly. And I especially like that they reflected the idea: “She wasn’t perfect, but she didn’t try to be”- yes!! That’s the heroine we want… and the heroines we get from this book! Surprisingly, despite being a superstar, I ended up empathising with Jess more. Sure, Imogen/Monster was relatable, but I loved how this humanised a celebrity, whilst also being sweet and inspiring. It genuinely moved me to see how insecure they were- showing how they had a lot more in common than superficial things like their appearance. Personally, I thought this was one of the best parts of the book.

I also preferred Jess’ romance. While I enjoyed the hate-to-love aspect of Imogen’s relationship, Jess and Harper made my sappy heart melt. Maybe it was the incredible descriptions, maybe it was overcoming the obstacles to being together and maybe it was the genuine angst keeping them apart (I completely understood why Jess held back and kept secrets!). I simply adored the romance so much- I might have exploded with joy!

I *loved* the geeky references as well- they gave me such pleasure and made so much sense in this context. There was even a solid reference to the Yellow Wallpaper– so kudos for that! Once again, the slang was top notch. Man, I just wish this was a real show so we could all argue about it in real life 😉 (JK- seriously, please don’t @me!)

On that note, this book did open up some interesting discussions about the toxic side of fandoms… which I’ll admit I’m a little scared to venture into and demonstrates the problem (and the point the book didn’t mean to make, but kinda did: fandoms are a little intense guys). However, even if it was good that this book at least attempted to explore the issues of “us vs them” mentalities in fandoms, I did feel it fell to heavily on the “you’re either with us or against us” side, largely demonising critical voices as sexist pigs. I ultimately thought that the way it dealt with self-esteem was quite a bit better than its view of how to handle trolls (go under the bridge and hit them with a big stick… only joking- don’t do that!) Annnd now I feel like some people are gonna want to wage war on me in the comments…

So moving onto the more frothy side of fangirling, I did really like that this felt like an interconnected universe, bringing Elle’s blog back from the last book! Best. Crossover. Ever. Every appearance and mention of old characters lit me up!

In the end, if you liked how dorky the first one was (like I did), if you enjoyed it as a fresh look at a fairy tale (like I did) then you are bound to like this (like I did!).

Happily, I gave it:

4/5 bananas

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

Vindicated by Vengeful: A Victorious Sequel!

vengefulI know that some people aren’t crazy about Vengeful, the sequel to the vastly celebrated Vicious, but this is *exactly* the kind of Schwab fare I sign up for.

Yes, it was missing the simplicity of Vicious, yes, it took things further than its predecessor, HOWEVER it was that complexity which meant I ended up liking it even more. And I frickin loved Vicious. Not only did it have the stellar concept from the first book, but it raised the stakes, pushed the boundaries of sympathy and challenged the already established ideas. Schwab didn’t rest on her laurels with this book; she didn’t just reproduce the first book. She did something different and that’s why I think this has been somewhat of a divisive sequel.

For me, it ticked all the boxes. There were so many strokes of genius that I was blown away time and again. The plot was intense from start to finish; the twists and turns had me on the edge of my seat. I loved the layered element of flashbacks and timejumps- which served to make it ever more intricate. It was thought provoking and thrilling in equal measure. The intensity was such that I couldn’t stop reading. As it heated up towards the finale, I was on tenterhooks.

Naturally, this was in large part thanks to the fabulous voice employed throughout. The writing was as composed as an orchestra, each instrument, from word choice to pacing, was perfectly on beat. Its overall effect was exquisite. Needless to say, my kindle ended up as colourful as an impressionist painting 😉

What added to this masterpiece was the characters. The return of Victor Vale was, as expected, something to behold. It’s no secret I LOVE this character- a visionary villain who is almost a hero. It was fun to see the others return as well- even if I wasn’t crazy about all of them. And of course, it wouldn’t have been the same without the enigmatic Eli and his horrifyingly manipulative ways. I did like the main antagonist, Marcella, since she created a nice sense of drama too and added to the themes, however she wasn’t my favourite.

Evidently, I adored this book. The Villains series, for me, is the very best of Schwab. I can’t wait to see where it ends up!

Rating: 5/5 bananas

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

Thousand Perfect Notes Played Like a Dream

A thousand perfect notesI’m so excited to talk about this book today! Especially because it was written by a fellow blogger- the incredible Cait from Paper Fury. I actually bought this book the second it came out- however, it’s taken me so long to read it- partly thanks to, ya know, falling off the face of the earth for a few months last year, but also because it takes me a while to psyche myself up to reading books with extremely dark subject matter.

Cos, fair warning, this deals with domestic abuse and is not an easy read. Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I’m very picky when it comes to books on this topic, but I think Cait did an incredibly sympathetic job. It never shied away from the grim reality and exposed hard truths. There were points when there could have been more build-up and consequently the heightened drama occasionally hit a false note for me- yet anyone that knows music will also know that this makes not an iota of difference when the end result is raw, passionate and beautiful. Looking back on the piece in its entirety, this emotionally charged book reaches sublime heights, delivers a tremendous symphony of action, ultimately flowing to a harmonious conclusion. The whole experience was a spectacle, which explains why most of my notes are simply oohs and ahhs!

Without a doubt, the writing was excellent. I loved the writing style- it was very much in the unique vein of her blog and held so much personality. The language was gorgeous and measured. I really admired the use of fragmentation- it reminded me of Lockhart’s poetic We Were Liars. And most importantly, the descriptions of music were exquisite. Every bit of the sound imagery came together and contributed to the story- creating a resonant narrative about being made to hate the thing you love.

I really liked the characterisation as well- especially of August, whose presence brightened up the novel. I also appreciated the little details, like the Maestro’s nickname, which brought the story to life.

All in all, it was wunderbar (I only know compliments in German 😉 )

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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