Month: February 2016

Rebel of the Sands

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

Where did I get it? I bought it

24934065Summary: She’s more gunpowder than girl—and the fate of the desert lies in her hands.

Mortals rule the desert nation of Miraji, but mystical beasts still roam the wild and barren wastes, and rumor has it that somewhere, djinni still practice their magic. But there’s nothing mystical or magical about Dustwalk, the dead-end town that Amani can’t wait to escape from. 

Destined to wind up “wed or dead,” Amani’s counting on her sharpshooting skills to get her out of Dustwalk. When she meets Jin, a mysterious and devastatingly handsome foreigner, in a shooting contest, she figures he’s the perfect escape route. But in all her years spent dreaming of leaving home, she never imagined she’d gallop away on a mythical horse, fleeing the murderous Sultan’s army, with a fugitive who’s wanted for treason. And she’d never have predicted she’d fall in love with him…or that he’d help her unlock the powerful truth of who she really is…

My Thoughts:

What a brilliant, brilliant debut! I immediately fell in love with the characters and the world-building was a masterpiece.

We followed the story of Amani a girl trapped in a sand-ridden land ruled by men. In this barren setting Amani knows she must seize any opportunity she can to escape. finally, when the chance to flee is presented, she takes it without hesitation and finds herself trekking across the desert with a foreign boy named Jin. As Amani slowly comes to terms with the world beyond her little town, she grows into a strong yet loyal and compassionate ally.

“I’m a girl who could’ve done just about anything if I’d been born a boy”

Of all the characters introduced however, the two that really caught my interest and kept it, were Ahmed (the rebel prince) and Shazad (the general’s daughter). I really wanted to learn more of their backstory and I can’t wait to see where the author takes them next. Shazad in particular was such complex character who showed the power females also held, and I hope that she and Amani become friends.

The whole premise of the story was fascinating, but I hope we get to learn more of the history of the Sultan’s empire as well as the Djinn and their children who inhabit it.

Rating: 5/5

 

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Similar Books Based on their Blurbs

I was looking over a few of my books the other day when I noticed that some of them shared a recurring theme. Of these 4 books I couldn’t help but compare them and see what I liked and disliked from each. Although these books were similar in summary once I had read them they were nothing alike.

My first two books were:

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The Wrath and The Dawn                and…                                                A Thousand Nights

 

Summary for The Wrath and The 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?

Summary for A Thousand Nights:

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to my village, looking for a wife.

When Lo-Melkhiin – a formidable king – arrives at her desert home, she knows that he will take her beautiful sister for a wife. Desperate to save her sister from certain death, she makes the ultimate sacrifice – leaving home and family behind to live with a fearful man. 

But it seems that a strange magic flows between her and Lo-Melkhiin, and night after night, she survives. Finding power in storytelling, the words she speaks are given strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. But she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king . . . if only she can stop her heart from falling for a monster.

Admittedly, these two novels are both retellings of the same Arabian tale, however only the initial outline of the plot was the same. While I absolutely adored The Wrath and The Dawn, I didn’t really enjoy A Thousand Nights. I couldn’t immerse myself in the latter book while for the former I couldn’t put the novel down. The main differences I noticed were that of both the murderous kings as well as our protagonists. The story between Shahrzad and Khalid was beautiful and full of sharp wit and whereas the relationship between Lo-Melkhiin and Scheherazade was  slow and slightly boring, to the point that I found it hard to want to read on.

The second two novels I found similar based on their blurbs were:

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Saint Anything                      and….                          My Life Next Door

Summary for Saint Anything:

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

 

Summary for My Life Next Door:

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, messy, affectionate. And every day from her rooftop perch, Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs up next to her and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely for each other, stumbling through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first love, Jase’s family embraces Samantha – even as she keeps him a secret from her own. Then something unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Both of these books feature female protagonists with unaffectionate parents. There were certain similarities I picked up from this book but there were major differences too, that made both stories different.

The similarities:

  • Both girls meet families that are loving and warm and that accept them openly
  • Within each family there is a love interest
  • They both learn to stand up for themselves
  • Both stories have a car accident in them

The differences:

  • The families are unique
  • The general direction of the plot is different
  • The side characters/ friends and their individual stories differ greatly
  • The family dynamic of our protagonists as well as their respective parent(s) are different

I preferred My Life Next Door to Saint Anything, however that may have been because it had a slightly more contemporary fell to it. Both novels were well written and I was involved in each plot.

Have you read any similar books? What are they? What were their differences/ similarities?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

Where did I get it? I bought it

61t67xhl2cl-_sx321_bo1204203200_Summary: Charlie is a freshman. And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his years yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it. Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But Charlie can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

 

 

My Thoughts:

I seriously can’t believe that I took so long to finally read this book. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is woven beautifully and the words just flow from one page to the next. Our protagonist, Charlie, is delicate and real and his thoughts were so profound I felt touched and saddened by his tale.

There were many poignant characters and I could sympathise with the confusion Charlie was feeling as he tried to ascertain his love for Sam and his friendship with Patrick and the others.

I haven’t really read many novels like this one though I did try Kate Sclesa’s “Fans of the Impossible Life” which I found not to my liking.  Saying this, I will defiantly be looking out for more books akin to The Perks of Being a Wallflower. There were many sensitive topics broached in this book and I felt all of them were handled with the utmost care.

I’m not sure if the film adaptation is any good, but I intend to find out as soon as I have some free time.

A must read for all!

Rating: 5/5

The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

Where did I get it? The school library

18712886Summary: Young Kelsea Raleigh was raised in hiding after the death of her mother, Queen Elyssa, far from the intrigues of the royal Keep and in the care of two devoted servants who pledged their lives to protect her. Growing up in a cottage deep in the woods, Kelsea knows little of her kingdom’s haunted past . . . or that its fate will soon rest in her hands.

Long ago, Kelsea’s forefathers sailed away from a decaying world to establish a new land free of modern technology. Three hundred years later, this feudal society has divided into three fearful nations who pay duties to a fourth: the powerful Mortmesne, ruled by the cunning Red Queen. Now, on Kelsea’s nineteenth birthday, the tattered remnants of the Queen’s Guard—loyal soldiers who protect the throne—have appeared to escort the princess on a perilous journey to the capital to ascend to her rightful place as the new Queen of the Tearling.

Though born of royal blood and in possession of the Tear sapphire, a jewel of immense power and magic, Kelsea has never felt more uncertain of her ability to rule. But the shocking evil she discovers in the heart of her realm will precipitate an act of immense daring, throwing the entire kingdom into turmoil—and unleashing the Red Queen’s vengeance. A cabal of enemies with an array of deadly weapons, from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic, plots to destroy her. But Kelsea is growing in strength and stealth, her steely resolve earning her loyal allies, including the Queen’s Guard, led by the enigmatic Lazarus, and the intriguing outlaw known simply as “the Fetch.”

Kelsea’s quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun. Riddled with mysteries, betrayals, and treacherous battles, Kelsea’s journey is a trial by fire that will either forge a legend . . . or destroy her.

My Thoughts:

Erika Johansen’s debut novel is passionate, dangerous and packed to the brim with careful detailing. The start had me hooked and although I was a little bored during the space of the first journey, the pace soon picked up.

Kelsea was an engaging narrator and I found myself rooting for her to win over her guards and subject as she took the throne. Kelsea was by no means perfect but she was sincere and genuinely wanted to be a good queen for her people. I couldn’t help but admire her and all she stood for, especially when there were so many odds against her.

The world building was well written and I could clearly see the scenes being described in my head. The only issue I had with this book was the time era that it was set in. From what I gathered, Queen of the Tearling, was based in the future but it appeared that humans had taken a step back in terms of development. Many important discoveries like medicine and technology as well as books had been lost during ‘The Crossing’ and humans had not worked to reclaim them, which was rather sad.

My favourite character was definitely the Mace and I hope that we learn more about him and his reasons for being like he is (you’ll see what I mean if you read this book) as the series progresses.

This novel ends nicely on a sort of cliff hangar and I will surely be reading the sequel to see how Kelsea steps into her role as Queen and to find the answers to all the questions this book has left me with.

Rating: 4/5

 

January Book Haul

IMG_23432016 is a new year and already it is looking sure to be filled with so many amazing and original novels.

I seem to have picked up a few books already, so without further ado-

 

Queen Of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

I have read all of the books in the Throne of Glass series and they have not disappointed. I can’t wait to see how Celaena’s story continues.

Inferno by Catherine Doyle

Technically I read this book in the last few days of December but it officialy came out in Jan. This book put me on the edge of my seat and kept me there and if you haven’t read the Blood for Blood series you are seriously missing out. You can see my review for Inferno and Vendetta here and here

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

The summary of this book sounds very interesting and I am glad I received this book as a gift. I can’t wait to check it out. 

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

I am a fan of contemporary novels and I have heard so many great things about this author that I had to pick up this book. Review shortly to come. 

Dangerous Lies by Becca Fitzpatrick

I have enjoyed other works by this author and so I was so excited when I got it. Fingers crossed it will be as good as her previous books.

What Lies Within by James Morris

I received this book in exchange for an honest review and I am so happy I did. What Lies Within was a fast paced novel that I couldn’t put down. My review is here

This is my Book Haul for January. Did you get any good books? Please tell me in the comments 🙂

Novels of 2016 (part 2)

There were so many books I look forward to reading this year that I couldn’t limit them to only one list. Hence…Part 2:

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

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The Rose and Dagger by Renée Ahdieh

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

22537367Summer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

518bmsazbzl-_ac_ul320_sr214320_Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia

Release Date: August 2nd 2016

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Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy

Release Date: July 5th 2016

 

Which novels are you looking forward to reading?

 

Hell Bent

Hell Bent by Karen Crompton

Where did I get it? Thank you to Netgalley and Silky Oak Press

41obbakkqhl-_sx334_bo1204203200_Summary: South Shore’s bad boy surfer Beau Huntington has a solid plan to get through life: one night stands, copious amounts of alcohol, and walls so high no one can ever get in – it’s all about numbing the pain. And his plan’s working fine – until he meets Corrie Johnson. That’s when things begin to unravel. Because falling in love was never part of the plan. Angry, bitter and confused, Beau’s violent temper lands him in trouble more often than not – but he’s about to learn that the fight of his life doesn’t involve his fists.

 

My Thoughts:

One of the aspects of this book that I loved were the platonic relationships between Beau and Rake and Corrie and Alana.

The plot flowed along naturally and I was glad to see Beau reign in his temper towards the end of the novel. I would have however, liked to know more about Kane and his life. I think forgiveness played a big part in this novel and I was happy to see Beau forgive Kane for what he did.

At points though, I felt I was just re-reading another version of a scene I had already seen. I wasn’t completely sold on Corrie and Beau’s relationship either and considering that it played such a big part in the novel I found it hard to want to read on.

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy the whole bad-boy-falls-for-good-girl-with-issues-of-her-own kind of books.

Rating: 3/5