Has Contemporary Beaten Fantasy As My Favourite Genre?? + Recent Favourites

I’ve been meaning to write this post for almost the entirety of 2018 but,, you know,,

  

And who knows if I’ll even finish writing it now and actually get it up sometime this week! Maybe I’ll continue to procrastinate until the end of 2018 *fingers crossed you’ll be reading this at the end of August and not December*

Throughout the year I started to realise more and more that maybe my favourite genre has changed. To be honest, I already noticed last year that most of my favourite reads were uhhh *whispers* not fantasy

me @ me

But this year? I’ve barely even read any fantasy books and the majority of them I didn’t even like.

So far I’ve read 89 books (of which 43 are comics/manga if I counted correctly) of which 8 are fantasy, which is not a lot considering this used to be my favourite genre. Now, not all of the others are contemporary; there are a few historical books and one sci-fi, but other than that… It’s mostly contemporary. So you might be wondering what happened.

It’s not just that I disliked or felt neutral towards most of the fantasy books I read, I barely picked them up in the first place. There are several reasons for that:

💛 Contemporary is simply more diverse than fantasy

Fantasy is getting there and catching up, but a lot of fantasy is just… not that diverse, nor does it cover any important topics. Of course it’s fantasy so the latter it doesn’t have to do but personally I’ve really become more interested in books that cover important topics, which often leads me to contemporary books. Plus I just want more diversity in my books, which is found more in contemporary than fantasy

💛 The blurbs of new fantasy books often don’t excite me

Obviously there are exceptions (and if there was more marketing for the diverse fantasy that ARE out there/being published I’m sure this would change) but often I read a blurb and I just go ‘eh’. I don’t think that my love for fantasy has faded, because I still absolutely love fantasy, but a lot of the times I just don’t find the blurbs that special? Either this is a marketing problem or a lot of YA fantasy books are too alike. Again, obviously there are exceptions and maybe I’m just not looking hard enough, because contemporary has kind of stolen my heart?

💛 They’re so much easier to get into?

This may also be because I’ve been reading so much contemporary. I’ve certainly gotten used to contemporary’s pace which can make it difficult to get back into fantasy. It took me ages getting into Ace of Shades despite loving it and being incredibly excited for it, but oh my goodness my brain was so used to the pace of contemporary books that it kept going ‘WHEN WILL THE STORY START ALREADY’

These are probably the biggest reasons why contemporary has kind of beaten fantasy as my favourite genre. I say probably because hey, maybe there are other reasons I’m unaware of. Contemporary was already my second favourite genre, though if I look back it was already competing with fantasy. It’s just that because as a kid I mostly read fantasy, I always looked at it as my favourite genre, but if I’m honest I think it hasn’t really been that for quite some time now.

This has also snuck into my own writing. I always wrote fantasy, but my current WIP (which is also the one I consider the most important one to be honest) is a contemporary, which I never saw myself writing a couple of years ago. That said, I’m still writing and planning on writing more fantasy.

So now let’s talk about some of my recent favourites! I would love to share ALL of my favourite contemporary books I read this year, but then this post would be way too long. Let’s start with fantasy because there are only two sdgknjh

Fantasy

Magnus Chase and the Ship of the Dead

This trilogy is one of my favourite series as it has so many of my favourite things:

💛 Norse mythology: as a kid I was obsessed and I really mean obsessed. I knew so much by heart and read everything I could get my hands on. I even held a presentation on it in sixth grade that lasted like an hour and a half adkgjshd (yeah I was that kid) So when Rick Riordan announced he was going to do a series on Norse mythology? Well, you can imagine my excitement

💛 Soft protagonist who’s not that good at fighting but is a healer instead and loves his friends with all his heart!!

💛 A pansexual protagonist, a brown genderfluid love interest who’s absolutely badass, a Muslim Valkyrie, a blind elf and a black dwarf (plus a bunch of other cool supporting characters)

💛 The cutest romance with great banter

💛 Fun adventures like only Rick Riordan can write them

💛 Friendship!!

Basically read it

Ace of Shades

As I said before, I struggled getting into this one but that was not its fault. I absolutely loved Ace of Shades. It’s being compared to Six of Crows, which makes sense because it definitely has the same vibes, but I would advice to not think about that/compare it to SoC when you pick this up because Six of Crows is very hyped and Ace of Shades might not live up to your expectations then. I loved the worldbuilding of this one: there’s a lot to explain, but I never felt lost and there were no info-dumps either. Both protagonists were amazing: a black bi boy who’s the leader of a gang but really isn’t that ruthless and a seemingly nice and naive girl who learns how to survive in a town riddled with crime. I really wouldn’t consider this your typical fantasy, as it’s a lot more unique than that. There are also great friendships (between boys, girls and boys and girls) and it’s just a lot of fun.

Honourable mention: Over Raging Tides, a fun story about female pirates! Read my review here. Also I do expect Children of Blood and Bone to join this small list once I read it

Contemporary

Sadie

My most recent read and oh my did this blow me away. It’s powerful, heartbreaking and very intense, but also very worth it. Sadie follows Sadie as she looks for her sister’s killer, but at the same time it also follows West McCray, a radio show host who’s doing a podcast on Sadie, as in the present time she has gone missing herself. Following both of them, we try to fill in the blanks ourselves to figure out what exactly happened to both Sadie and Mattie, and what lead up to those events. It’s incredibly well-written and hard to put down, even though at the same time it’s also hard to read, as it shows how ugly the world can be. You can read my review here.

The Brightsiders

Another masterpiece by Jen Wilde. I was a bit nervous starting this one as Queens of Geek means so much to me, and how would this be able to live up to that? Well, it had no problem living up to it. I honestly don’t know whether I love this one or Queens of Geek more, but who says I have to choose right? The Brightsiders deals with so many important topics, while still being so much fun to read. It’s super queer, it’s empowering and I’d recommend it within a heartbeat. Full review to come soon (I hope help me I have so many reviews to write)

Alex Approximately

I’ve already talked about this one in my mid-year book freak out tag as well, but hey it’s a recent favourite so let me shout about it again okay? When I started this I thought it’d be a cute story with the enemies to lovers and mistaken identities tropes, but it’s so much more than that. Both protagonists are dealing with their own trauma, which is not resolved by their romance. Instead they confide in each other and learn how to live with it. This made it a beautiful and meaningful story, whereas it was also really fun and cute. Read my review here.

I Was Born For This

My first Alice Oseman book and certainly not the last. I still haven’t reviewed this one because?? How?? I have no words. It’s very difficult to put how this book made me feel into words. I feel like everything I can say about it will feel so… superficial? Alice Oseman’s writing is profound and it wouldn’t surprise me if one day her work is studied in school (which it really should be). Maybe one day I’ll be able to actually review this, but in the meantime I’ll just shout at you: READ IT PLEASE

Anger is a Gift

If you thought I wasn’t going to shout about this book for the millionth time then THINK AGAIN. I don’t think I’ll ever stop shouting about Anger is a Gift, unless it suddenly gets the attention it deserves which so far it really doesn’t so… READ ANGER IS A GIFT. It’s an incredibly powerful story about police brutality, the corruption of the police and politicans, and racism. It’s also incredibly queer as the main character is gay and many of his friends are too. Do be careful though, as the violence is very graphic (more so than in The Hate U Give) and it only gets worse throughout the book, so stay safe.

I stuck to five favourites because I have way too many and this post was getting way too long, which again proves that contemporary has really become my favourite genre instead of fantasy. It feels strange to say contemporary is my favourite genre, as I’m used to saying it’s fantasy, but you won’t see me complaining.

Has your favourite genre(s) changed over the years? Do you prefer contemporary or fantasy? Which contemporary and fantasy books are your favourites? Let me know in the comments!

Fawkes // Bored and Confused??

Author: Nadine Brandes
Genre: Fantasy // Historical // Retelling //  YA
Goodreads rating: 3.84
My rating: ⭐

 

 

 

 

 

Thomas Fawkes is turning to stone, and the only cure to the Stone Plague is to join his father’s plot to assassinate the king of England.

Silent wars leave the most carnage. The wars that are never declared, but are carried out in dark alleys with masks and hidden knives. Wars where color power alters the natural rhythm of 17th century London. And when the king calls for peace, no one listens until he finally calls for death.

But what if death finds him first?

Keepers think the Igniters caused the plague. Igniters think the Keepers did. But all Thomas knows is that the Stone Plague infecting his eye is spreading. And if he doesn’t do something soon, he’ll be a lifeless statue. So when his Keeper father, Guy Fawkes, invites him to join the Gunpowder Plot—claiming it will put an end to the plague—Thomas is in.

The plan: use 36 barrels of gunpowder to blow up the Igniter King.

The problem: Doing so will destroy the family of the girl Thomas loves. But backing out of the plot will send his father and the other plotters to the gallows. To save one, Thomas will lose the other.

No matter Thomas’s choice, one thing is clear: once the decision is made and the color masks have been put on, there’s no turning back.

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

I’ve started to make aesthetics for my reviews but I had no clue what to include for this one? Masks? London? I don’t know because barely anything happened.

I really don’t have that much to say about this book. I was honestly very bored and started to skimread early on, because I just wanted it to be over with. Just being bored with it just didn’t feel like a good reason to DNF it, considering it’s an ARC but oh my god if it hadn’t been.

I wasn’t impressed with the writing style at all, or with Thomas, as he’s very dull and whiny. There are quite a few characters in this book, but barely any of them stood out. By the end of it I had no idea who was who, nor did I care what happened to them. I was just very disattached from everything that was happening.

Also I have NO clue how the ‘magic’ works. They can control colours?? But I have no idea what that means or how it works? Nor do I know much about the world? It did help knowing a lil bit of the actual history, as the entire book is basically a religious allegory. Basically this war is between Catholics and Protestants, but in the world of Fawkes it’s not very clear WHY there’s a war. Just basing this on real history isn’t enough, I mean I had no clue who Guy Fawkes was so I had to look that up. Your readers shouldn’t do your work for you.

And uggggh you’d think a plot to kill the king would be exciting to read about, but they mostly just talked and talked and talked and

Basically I was bored and confused throughout most of this book. The only interesting character was the girl Thomas is in love with. I forgot her name. Does make you wonder how interesting she really was dsfjb No she really was, but since it’s told from Thomas’ pov and the writing was just so dull it made her less interesting as well. What I’m saying is, she had potential and I much rather would’ve read from her pov. Being black and a girl, she has to hide her skin colour because of the abusive family that has taken her in, but she’s determined to make a life for herself as an artist and fights back against racism. MUCH more interesting than whiny Thomas.

Fawkes is out today! Don’t let my negative review stop you from picking this up if it sounds like your cup of tea. This one just wasn’t for me, but maybe you’ll fall in love with it!

Have you read Fawkes? Or are you planning on it? What’s the last retelling you read? Let me know in the comments!

The Wren Hunt Review // WHERE IS THE HUNT

Author: Mary Watson
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Goodreads rating: 3.95
My rating: 2.5 stars

 

 

 

Every Christmas, Wren is chased through the woods near her isolated village by her family’s enemies—the Judges—and there’s nothing that she can do to stop it. Once her people, the Augurs, controlled a powerful magic. But now that power lies with the Judges, who are set on destroying her kind for good.

In a desperate bid to save her family, Wren takes a dangerous undercover assignment—as an intern to an influential Judge named Cassa Harkness. Cassa has spent her life researching a transformative spell, which could bring the war between the factions to its absolute end. Caught in a web of deceit, Wren must decide whether or not to gamble on the spell and seal the Augurs’ fate.Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by Netgalley and the publisher (thank you!) in return for an honest review

I was really excited to see that I was approved for The Wren Hunt, as the premise (the summary on Netgalley was different than the one on Goodreads btw) really intrigued me. I thought The Wren Hunt, where Wren is chased through the woods, would play a bigger part than it did and that there would be a lot more tension, deceit, suspense, plot twists and just… overal a feeling of ‘hey we’re at the edge of a war things are really bad right now!’ but instead… I didn’t get any of that.

The Wren Hunt has a lot of potential: the worldbuilding, the mythology behind it and the magic system is all really interesting, but it kind of felt like all of that was in the background and not fully explored. The Augurs all have a specific talent, but I don’t really know how it works? I do assume that the magic of the Judges will be explored more in the sequel* as we’re not supposed to know that much about them, but… I just don’t really have a sense of what it means to be an Augur.

* I can’t find anything about a sequel but if this is supposed to be a standalone than I should really lower my rating because it read like a first book in a series and there’s so much that still needs to be explored, and that’s fine to do so in sequels, but if this is a standalone??

Also there’s a group of Judges called ‘Gardeners’ and they’re all boys??

It was also kinda easy for me to forget what certain terms meant and I had to go look them up again. There are plot twists that could’ve been interesting, but I already saw them coming and honestly, they’re even giving some of the stuff away in the new summary now?

Another thing I’m not impressed with is the romance. It was completely unnecessary, forced and just,, such forced heterosexuality? It just screamed ‘she’s a girl, he’s a boy, so they must kiss’ at me. It’s kinda insta-lovey and we don’t really see the romance build up. And of course we get a cliche ‘wow we’ve only known each other for two months!! how!!’ yeah how!!

Me every time books reveal that the main characters who have declared their undying love for each other have only known each other for a few weeks:

Also at the start we’re told Wren has to find something to help in the fight against the Judges, but when she does find it, it’s incredibly anti-climatic? It’s not like it’s the end of the book, so I get that there’s more to come, but it was so easy. Which it really shouldn’t be. She’s in enemies territory, but she just opens a box and

As I’m writing this review, I realise a lot actually went pretty smoothily for Wren. Sure, sometimes things went wrong but,, it was way too easy which is just unrealistic and boring

It was not all bad though. There’s definitely potential: the book caught my attention in the beginning and Mary Watson can write, despite sometimes phrasing sentences like this:

David immobile at the garden door, uncertain. Trapped

This may be a case of taste, but I really couldn’t stand sentences like this. Then again, I read an ARC, so maybe these have been edited. Sometimes there were also strange transitions which I really hope were also edited, as they really confused me, like a person showing up out of nowhere without any indication:

He returned the paper to the stack, and we walked out of the shop. A dark mood had settled on him.
‘Gallagher,’ said a voice from beneath the awning.
‘What the hell happened last night, Canty?’ Tarc’s fury was unexpected.

That’s what I’d like to know Tarc

But apart from these instances (which, again, may have been edited for the final copy!) Watson has a nice writing style to read. The plot has potential to be something really interesting, just needs more developing and either the romance needs to be developed more, or taken out completely (honestly I’m in favour of the latter as I didn’t find it interesting at all and just,, so typical). While I felt it was predictable, I did want to keep reading most of the time, I just wish things had felt more urgent and tense. Most of the time it didn’t really feel like she was in enemy territory

So to sum it up: potential is there, just needs to be developed more as that was my biggest problem. I don’t think I’d be on board with the romance if it were developed more, but at least it would be more realistic and nicer to read. The problem is that by the end it does feel like it was all more about the romance than anything else, which just feels so weird when it’s barely developed.

The Wren Hunt is published on the 8th of February! Don’t let my review stop you from picking it up, as things might have changed in the final copy and it’s also possible that this is just a case of ‘it’s not you, it’s me’.

Have you read The Wren Hunt? Are you going to pick it up? Any good YA that incorporates Irish mythology that I should read? Let me know in the comments!

Mini Reviews // How Much Do I Remember About Flame in the Mist and Marked?

Lately I’ve been able to review books quite quickly after I finish them, but there are some books that I just… forgot about. Thus why I decided to put them together in a post with mini reviews, because I don’t remember enough for full reviews. This shall be fun*

* Haha not help me please

Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: Fantasy | Retelling | YA
Series: Flame in the Mist #1
Goodreads rating: 3.97
My rating:  ★★★

 

 

 

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.I have a lot of mixed feelings about this one. I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t really enjoy it either. The writing didn’t really pull me in and made me feel quite detached from the characters. I didn’t care about any of them which made the action scenes feel lacking. I was also really bored and had to force myself to finish it, because despite being bored I did want to know how it would end.

The worldbuilding didn’t feel that developed to me. I didn’t really have a sense of the world that it was set in and I’m really confused about the magic system. I wished that had been explored and explained more.

And don’t get me started on the romance. I found it incredibly forced and it came out of nowhere. I also loathed the love interest so that didn’t help.

I absolutely love the concept – we need more Mulan retellings guys – but the execution not so much.

Author: Kim Richardson
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Series: Soul Guardians #1
Goodreads rating: 3.7
My rating: ★

 

 

 

 

Sixteen-year-old Kara Nightingale is unpopular, awkward and positively ordinary—that is until one day she is struck by a bus and dies…Within moments her life changes from ordinary to extraordinary as she wakes up in a mysterious world with a new career—as a rookie for the Guardian Angel Legion. Kara is pulled into the supernatural where monkeys drive the elevators, oracles scurry above giant crystal balls and where demons feed on the souls of mortals.

When an Elemental child is kidnapped, Kara is sent on a danger-filled quest and plunges into a situation more dangerous and deadly than anything she could ever imagine.Marked was not what I expected at all. There was a lot more focus on unnecessary relationship drama than on what it means to be a Guardian Angel, their world, the Elemental child and Kara coming to terms with being dead.

I have no idea why Kara was chosen to become a Guardian Angel, as we don’t know anything about her and the moment we’re introduced to her is the moment right before she dies. Then she even gets a ‘life-quest’, which is a special assignment and if you succeed you get your life back. But Kara is still a rookie, and not a succesful one. So why does she get it? Aren’t there Guardian Angels who would deserve it more? I found this really ridiculous, especially when it’s explained that ‘each guardian was chosen for their specific skills’ okay but what skills does Kara have.

SPOILER: It’s a really dangerous mission and out of all the Guardians chosen to try and succeed, all of them very skilled and with a lot of experience, she’s the only survivor lmao like sure that’s realistic

The characters were incredibly flat and the love interest downright annoying. I barely ever use the word ‘douchebag’ but this is the right word to describe him. His ego is not charming and funny, just rude. The romance came out of nowhere and we’re supposed to believe ‘they’re in love’

The Elemental child the summary mentions just felt like an afterthought and the entire book just read like a first draft. I have another book by this author on my Kindle app and I’m willing to give her another chance, but considering how much I hated the main characters of Guardian Angels I’m done with that series.

So I guess the common factor between these books is forced romance? I hadn’t even realised when I decided to review these together haha. I’m quite pleased with myself at how much I remembered* – I thought this would’ve been a disaster and I might end up deleting this post

* That’s half a lie – I didn’t remember anything about Marked but thankfully I had made notes in the ebookHave you read these? What did you think? How do you feel about forced romance? Do you know any good Mulan retellings? Let me know in the comments!

Karina’s Silver Shoes // Much Confusion Such What’s Going On

Author: Denise Marques Leitao
Genre: Fantasy| YA
Goodreads rating: 3.65
My rating:  ★

 

 

 

 

She’s got the fate of a kingdom in her hands—or rather, in her shoes.
14-year old Karina is not sure what she wants, but she knows what she’s found: fascinating silver shoes. Fascinating, dangerous, and potentially evil. On the upside, they do bring cool visitors.

When two princesses ask her to go to Whyland, a kingdom in a parallel dimension, to destroy the shoes, of course Karina accepts. Who would refuse a free trip to an alternate world?

Advised by a wise master and threatened by a beautiful stepmother, Karina goes on a journey with a princess to defeat a powerful witch. But Whyland is nothing like she expected. Karina finds herself stuck in a kingdom she doesn’t understand, with no clue on who to trust. Before saving anyone, she’d better save herself—if she figures out how.Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

As I started to format this review I realised this is a YA book. I thought it was middle grade? Not when I requested it, but I had forgotten about that. It read like a middle grade book to be honest.

As the title of this post already suggests: I’M VERY CONFUSED ABOUT THIS BOOK.

Me trying to understand this book so I can write a proper review

Barely anything was explained, and if they did explain things, I was still left confused. I don’t get what the point of the silver shoes was, because apparently what we’re first told about the shoes wasn’t true? But now I don’t know what the shoes do? And what the point of them was?

Also there was some kind of revolution/coup sub plot going on, which kind of came out of nowhere and didn’t feel built up at all to me. We’re told that the king is apparently a tyrant, but we’re only briefly told this and never really shown. It was barely even touched upon. That’s another big problem of this book: lot’s of telling instead of showing.

But let’s get back to the fact that this book is incredibly confusing. The entire book felt incredibly rushed to me, so that didn’t help me understand what was going on either. I also didn’t understand who was on which side. The fact that they all seemed to constantly switch sides and pretend to be on one side but actually be on the other didn’t help. Especially one character constantly switched: first they’re good, then they’re evil, then good again, then evil, then good – AND THEY NEVER EXPLAIN THINGS.

Towards the end of the book we find out the king has locked someone up for years, but either I missed it because I was so bored or it was never explained why? I did consider that maybe the king was afraid that this person was going to try and overthrow him, as he fears his daughters would in the present, but if I was supposed to make that out myself… Then that’s really bad writing. In this case we should’ve been told, not very very subtly shown.

All the characters were really flat. They could’ve easily been replaced by each other. Karina could’ve been an interesting, complex character, as she wants to wish for world peace and is upset at the idea that people wouldn’t know that she was responsible for it:

”because she would like to have statues made for her and win prizes.”

This would’ve made a more unique, interesting kind of hero, since a lot of the time in YA and middle grade we see heroes who are heroes because they want to do the right thing. Unfortunately this is never really touched upon. Karina was too two-dimensional to even stand out.

Apart from the characters, I also didn’t have a clue about the world this was set in. It’s set in an alternative fantasy world, but I don’t know anything about it, nor really what it looks like.

Basically this book kind of read like a first draft. There’s too much missing, there are plot holes and it was incredibly confusing. I really wanted to like this one, but alas.Have you read Karina’s Silver Shoes? Have you read a book that confused you a lot recently? Any fairytale inspired books you’d recommend? Let me know in the comments!

Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith | It Actually IS Like Harry Potter

Author: Shaun Hume
Genre: Fantasy | Middle grade
Series: Ewan Pendle #1
Goodreads rating: 4.16
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

Ewan Pendle was weird. Really weird. At least, that’s what everyone told him. Then again, being able to see monsters that no one else could wasn’t exactly normal …

Thinking he has been moved off to live with his eleventh foster family, Ewan is instead told he is a Lenitnes, one of an ancient race of peoples who can alone see the real ‘Creatures’ which inhabit the earth. He is taken in by Enola, the mysterious sword carrying Grand Master of Firedrake Lyceum, a labyrinth of halls and rooms in the middle of London where other children, just like Ewan, go to learn the ways of the Creatures (Goodreads).

DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of the book by the author in exchange for an honest review

Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith was honestly a joy to read. I’m always a bit skeptical when a book is compared to Harry Potter, but Ewan Pendle definitely had the Harry Potter vibes I loved yet isn’t too similar too Harry Potter.

While there are definitely similarities (Ewan and Harry both being orphans, not growing up in a loving home, finding out they’re actually part of a magical world, going to a school in that world and discovering a bigger mystery that they’re trying to solve), Ewan Pendle is definitely not a blatant Harry Potter rip-off. Ewan’s world and story are definitely original (and fun!)

Being a Lenitnes, Ewan doesn’t just need to know magic, he also needs to know how to handle a sword, martial arts, stealth, and a bunch of other really cool subjects. Though he doesn’t need to excel at everything: after their first year they’re sorted into ‘cliques’ based on what subject they’re best at. I thought this was really cool, because when you’re taught how to battle dangerous magical creatures being able to handle your own without magic and being stealthy are really handy.

My favourite subject to read about was probably Pyro. It reminded me a bit of potions, but the ‘potions’ are inside Pyro Eggs, which I found really cool.

The Legerdemain Concoction (Black). When broken onto stone, will create the illusion of three large and heavyset cloaked figures deserting the area the Egg Shell is broken onto.

The Verglas Concoction (White). When broken onto a wet surface, creates a hard and slippery layer of ice, spreading out to over forty square feet and lasting up to an hour.

There are also Egg Shells that need to be broken into fire or grass, and I’m sure there are many more. I really loved all the worldbuilding in this book, but the Pyro Eggs really stood out to me.

I also really loved the writing style. The descriptions were so vivid I could easily imagine everything. You know how when a book is really good you forget you’re actually reading something, and you’re not actually there? That was me with Ewan Pendle and the White Wraith. The entire book just felt magical and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. It took me a while to actually finish this, but that’s definitely not the book’s fault. I wanted to read it whenever I could.

Whispers in the night, the White Wraith will call,
Slicing through the air, they will come for us all,
Turbulent in mind, it claws at your soul,
Spirits taken away, bodies left to fall

I also of course really loved the characters. There were lots of unique characters that all stood out. I do have to admit that sometimes I wasn’t sure which teacher was who, but the important ones were easy to keep track of. But the ones that captured my heart were Ewan and his two best friends: Mathilde and Enid. I loved their little trio, how supportive of each other they were, accepted each other and their flaws, had each other backs and tried to solve the mystery together. Ewan is a little cinnamon roll who had no problem standing up to older tough-looking kids who were bullying Enid (at this point he didn’t know her yet), even though Enid didn’t need the help at all (she’s such a bad-ass I love her. She’s also a pirate!!). Mathilde is just such a joy and such a good friend and together they all balance each other out.

Also! There were multiple characters that aren’t white, including both Mathilde and Enid

This book filled me with a lot of joy and warm and fuzzy feelings. I first rated this four stars, but writing this review made me wonder why I had given it four and not five? So I changed my rating, because I absolutely loved it.

If you loved Harry Potter, I think you’ll definitely enjoy this one

Have you read Ewan White and the White Wraith yet? Do you want to? Any other books that you think are worthy of being compared to Harry Potter (without being a rip-off)? Let me know in the comments!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone // More Like of Insta-Love and Bore

Author: Laini Taylor
Genre: Fantasy | YA
Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1
Goodreads rating: 4.04
My rating: ⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Daughter of Smoke and Bone had been on my tbr for years, and I’m not even sure why. I think because it’s a fantasy and it was really popular at the time, but I didn’t even know what it was about when I went in. I’m really grateful that iBooks offered it for free (for a limited time I think? I don’t know if it’s still up for free) because I’m saving money and I would’ve been bummed if I had wasted money on this. That sounds really harsh, I know, but this is the third book in a row that I read (while I’m writing this) that disappointed me (thankfully one of the other two was free as well) so I’m just glad it only wasted my time and not my money as well.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone started out strong and interesting. As someone who loves art, I always have a soft spot for characters who do as well, and are artists on top of that. So Karou being an artist and going to art school? Yes please. Having a great, supportive, fun friend in Zuzanna? Hell yeah. Then it turns out that the sketches in her sketch book aren’t just figments of her imagination, but real. Karou being raised by a family of ‘monsters’ was really interesting, especially when she goes around the world on errands for the father figure in her life, Brimstone. I also liked the worldbuilding: it was cool to see a fantasy story set in Prague, and the descriptions were vivid and it was easy to picture it all. 

We don’t know much about Karou’s past (nor does she) or the monsters that raised her, which really intrigued me. But then Akiva, an angel and Karou’s love interest, showed up and it already gave me a bad feeling. His POV wasn’t that interesting (throughout the entire book whenever it was his POV I just internally sighed ‘not him again’) and it gave me the feeling the book would soon focus on romance. A lot. 

And it did. Karou and Akiva’s first meeting doesn’t go so well. They’re enemies, so Akiva tries to kill her. Except he doesn’t. Why? I dunno, ’cause neither does he. Some kind of connection?? A ‘pull’?? It’s very vague. I love the enemies to lover trope, but I would’ve prefered if Karou and Akiva got to see each other’s side of the conflict that seperates them, understand that it’s not black and white, start to trust each other, bond, become friends and then fall in love. But deciding not to kill someone because of some kind of ‘pull’?? And then stalking her, watching her sleep? Might I direct you to Twilight, sir, I think you’d feel quite at home there.

Karou too immediately falls in love with him and I just

And why? I don’t know!! Oh wait I do, but it’s a spoiler so spoiler in white:

Because they were lovers in Karou’s past live but even then it was insta-love asjfbhdf And Karou ‘fell in love’ before she had her memories back? 

The book shifted a lot from an interesting fantasy novel with a kick-ass protagonist, a great female friendship, a mystery, the threat of a war, a family of monsters to… a lacklustre romance that felt incredibly forced and just too dramatic for my taste. 

The beginning of this book was interesting and I really thought I’d end up loving this, or at least liking it. It had a lot of potential and it’s the reason why I ended up giving this 2 stars, even though by the end I absolutely loathed it. I was bored and just

This implies that I DNF’ed this book. I did not. Because apparently I’m a masochist

Have you read Daughter of Smoke and Bone? How did you feel about it? What was your latest disappointment? Let me know in the comments!

A Riordan Book with Second Book Syndrome? It’s More Likely Than You Think

Genre: YA // Fantasy
Series: The Trials of Apollo #2
Goodreads rating: 4.32
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers?

After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he’s gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . (Goodreads)

As I was writing down my thoughts in list format so that I wouldn’t forget them, I realised… I quite liked my list. Therefore I decided that it’s time for another list review

💛 Not as good as the first one

💛 Not much happened??

💛 Second book syndrome?? A Rick Riordan book?? It’s more likely than you think

💛 That’s really how it felt though, not much happened, by the end of the book I didn’t feel like the story had progressed that much. So all in all, it did feel like second book syndrome

💛 Still love Apollo though

💛 His past relationship with a man is a huge part of the plot!!!

💛 Can people stop being so mean to him pls give my boy a break

💛 His friendship with Meg!! I died and cried just aaah

💛 It’s just so beautiful?? They love each other so much and they keep on going for each other????

💛 Like these two will go to the end of the world for each other??

💛 Like Apollo who used to only care about himself would willingly sacrifice himsef to save her?? My heart?? Can’t handle it??

💛 The haikus are still enjoyable

💛 Leo and Calypso!! And becoming friends with Apollo!!

💛 Though I do wish we could’ve gotten the story from their POV as well, as now it didn’t feel like they played a big part

💛 Apollo and Calypso being clueless ex-immortals together (though Calypso more so since Apollo kept up with pop culture)

💛 Lesbians who played a big role and were important to the plot!! Spoiler (but a good one): they have a happy ending!!!

💛 More Roman history and myths!! While you’d think it could get a bit difficult keeping up with all these characters, creatures and myths, Rick Riordan never info dumps and makes it feel like your head will explode

💛 Cameos!! From old favourites!! Whether they actually appear or are mentioned

💛 I loved a lot about it, it’s just that it dragged a bit and it didn’t feel like much happened?

💛 All in all it was enjoyable, but I had high expectations since I adored the first one

Have you read The Dark Prophecy yet? What did you think? Oh and did you know that apparently it’s going to be five books?? I thought it was a trilogy! Did it change or was it always meant to be five books and did I get confused because Magnus Chase is a trilogy haha

BewarenBewaren

BewarenBewaren

Let’s Track Some Unicorns and Fall in Love With Girls In Unicorn Tracks

Before I start this review: yes it is I, Michelle, having returned from the pit of darkness that is a blogging slump for… well at least for this post lmao. I have finished everything on my to do list and now have to wait for a friend to finish her to do list before we can work on our assignment, and I realised I could actually blog? And I wanted to? I was shook (still am). Anyway, let’s finally review this book that I’ve been meaning to review for weeks.

Genre: YA // Fantasy // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 3.84
My rating: ⭐⭐⭐

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of the book by the author. This doesn’t affect my review

(honestly when the author reached out she had me at YA fantasy with a lesbian romance)

THIS BOOK WAS SO CUTE. Though I do feel that the relationship was a bit insta-lovey, it was adorable and I loved these two girls kicking ass together and falling in love while doing it. They’re both such cool ladies. I loved how while Mnemba often runs into dangerous creatures, she still has her moments where’s she’s scared, making her very human. Though I did like Kara, she did feel a little underdeveloped.

I also loved the worldbuilding of this book. It took place in a fictional country ( inspired from southern African countries), so going in you don’t know anything about the country, its culture, customs etc. Going out? I could’ve written an essay on it, it was so well done (and no info dumps!). And the way all the mythical creatures are described? You’d think the author had seen them for herself. Though I do wish it had been a little bit clearer when the story took place. It definitely distracted me since a lot of the times I was trying to figure that out. But still, amazing world building (and in such a short book?? Some authors can definitely learn from Julia Ember).

OH AND UNICORNS! The book is about UNICORNS. Do you know how excited that made me? I mean, unicorns are well known creatures, but I feel like they’re actually hardly ever in any fantasy books? Same with fantasy tv shows and movies. For such well known creatures they’re actually quite underrated (of course I might have just been reading and watching the wrong stuff).

I did feel like the conflict didn’t take up enough pages, and that it felt resolved a bit too easily. All in all I’d definitely recommend this book!

TRIGGER WARNINGS 
Mnemba is raped before the story starts 
Kara is almost raped during the story
Animal cruelty 

Have you read Unicorn Tracks yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!

We Awaken: Cute, Dreams, Ballet and Asexual Rep

Genre: YA // Fantasy // LGBTQIAP+
Goodreads rating: 3.36
My rating:  ⭐⭐⭐.5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Dinham doesn’t have much left to look forward to. Since her father died in a car accident, she lives only to fulfill her dream of being accepted into the Manhattan Dance Conservatory. But soon she finds another reason to look forward to dreams when she encounters an otherworldly girl named Ashlinn, who bears a message from Victoria’s comatose brother. Ashlinn is tasked with conjuring pleasant dreams for humans, and through the course of their nightly meetings in Victoria’s mind, the two become close. Ashlinn also helps Victoria understand asexuality and realize that she, too, is asexual.

But then Victoria needs Ashlinn’s aid outside the realm of dreams, and Ashlinn assumes human form to help Victoria make it to her dance audition. They take the opportunity to explore New York City, their feelings for each other, and the nature of their shared asexuality. But like any dream, it’s too good to last. Ashlinn must shrug off her human guise and resume her duties creating pleasant nighttime visions—or all of humanity will pay the price.

DISCLAIMER: I was given a copy of the book by the author. This doesn’t affect my review

One word to describe We Awaken is: cute. When I finished it I was filled with warm, fuzzy feelings. I loved the relationship between Victoria and Ashlinn. They had their problems, misunderstandings and fights, but they talked it out and it was a healthy relationship. They made sure that the other was comfortable and happy. They loved each other so much. It was so frickin pure and made me so happy. And the fact that they were both asexual and that the book explored this? Yes please? I’m not an expert on asexuality, but  from what I’ve read about asexuality it felt like good representation. It also fought stereotypes head one (like the plant one)

The beginning was a bit slow, but once the pace picked up I couldn’t stop reading. I felt like the writing became better throughout the book as well (not that it was bad in the beginning or anything). I wasn’t sure where the plot was going, thus why I gave it 3.5 stars and not higher. I definitely love the book though, and I think everyone should read it.

The way Victoria dealt with her grief was also very relatable and it was definitely an emotional book at times, even though a lot of it was very fluffy and cute too.

Oh and the fact that Ashlinn was basically the sandman was really cool too, though I wish that had been explored a bit more.

Moral of this review: READ IT.

Have you read We Awaken yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments!