Rating: 2.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Standalone/Series: Devil's Rock #5
How I got this book: Bought
Locked in with the town bad boy . . .
Most women would be scared, but Gabriella’s only worried about resisting Cruz Walsh, who’s even hotter than he was back in high school. Cruz was wrongly accused of the high-profile crime for which he was imprisoned; Gabriella’s desperate for the scoop that will get her career off the ground and get her out of Sweet Hill, where everyone still remembers her as “Flabby Gabby.” Being stuck in a supply closet with Cruz is the perfect opportunity to land an interview. What Bri doesn’t count on is Cruz taking “up-close and personal” to a whole new level.
If there’s a silver lining to the hell Cruz went through, it’s that losing his freedom put everything in perspective. Maybe starting over someplace new would be easier, but after years locked up, Cruz values his family—and his true friends—more than ever. So he’s back home, facing the gossip, dodging reporters . . . and face-to-face with Gabriella Rossi. They’ve both changed: Bri wants a story and Cruz just wants her. Another thing he’s learned? Don’t let a good thing slip away.
TW: sexual assault, body image issues and anxiety.
So, this is it, I'm finally at the end of my Devil's Rock series binge and I'm kinda disappointed with how it ended - I just can't help but feel a little let down with this book.
Maybe it was reading all the books in the series back to back but by this point I just feel bored (for want of a better word) with the same, repeating format. I swear there were even sections of text that were almost exactly the same in this story as in some of the previous ones.
There was just no spark, no emotional connection between me and the book (and between the two main characters). I could barely stand the female MC, I found Gabriella really annoying, whiny and hypercritical at times.
Cruz I did like, for the most part, but his character felt underdeveloped and just stuffed into the 'dark, brooding, misunderstood' type-cast mould that his character just felt really two dimensional.
For me, there just wasn't much of a story here. Just lots of nonsensical back and forth between the two characters, and supporting characters who were just annoying and distracting.
Overall, this book sadly just didn't do it for me but it doesn't mean that I love the other books in this series (or the author's other books) any less.
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Standalone/Series: Devil's Rock #4
How I got this book: Bought
From the wrong side of the tracks and with most of her family in jail or dead, Piper Walsh is used to everyone in town thinking the worst about her. It doesn’t seem to matter that she’s worked hard to build a good life for herself. So she isn’t surprised that when she comes into contact with Sweet Hill’s wildly irresistible, arrogant sheriff, Hale Walters, they’re instant adversaries. Piper has nothing in common with the town golden-boy-turned-lawman—and she refuses to be a notch on his bedpost.
Despite rumors, Hale avoids fooling around with the women of Sweet Hill, many of whom are hoping to get him to the altar. But staying out of Piper’s path is proving near impossible. The infuriating troublemaker clearly has no respect for his badge. As she continues to push his buttons, it becomes clear to Hale that he must either arrest Piper—or claim her as his own.
TW: Rape, Drugging, Abuse, Predators.
So, it seems that I subconsciously decided to binge read this entire series. I'm going to blame that decision on the crappy, cold British weather we're having right now and my longing for a bit of heat.
I wasn't disappointed. The fourth book in the Devil's Rock series focuses on Hale (Sweet Hill's Sheriff and all around golden boy) and Piper (the girl from the wrong side of the tracks with a dark secret) - tale as old as time, right?
Truthfully, I didn't expect too much from this book but it pleasantly surprised me. Aside from the dialogue which felt a little stiff and unrealistic in places, the chemistry between Hale and Piper was great, especially as Hale is revealed to be a little more of a 'bad boy' than he first appears.
Piper is funny, strong and confident and was the key to how invested I was in the outcome of this story.
This book is a romance, can be read as a stand-alone (although I recommend that you do check out the rest of the series) and features a sweet HEA. As with the other books in this series the author does deal with some pretty dark themes and there are references to rape, abuse, murder and predatory behaviour.
This is meant to be a dark and gritty romance series so bear that in mind if you do decide to give it a try.
I loved the tension that was built between the two characters in this book and I devoured the whole thing in a couple of hours.
If you're looking for a book to keep you warm on these cold autumn nights, the sizzling chemistry between Hale and Piper will certainly do the trick.
Lately, I don’t really feel as though I can still call myself a blogger since I’m barely doing it.
As I’ve said so many times before, I do want to but other things keep taking precedence, so I’m going to cut it with the excuses and just do my best.
So, without further ado, here’s my September Wrap Up!
Don’t forget to let me know what books you read last month in the comments or on Twitter.
You click on the title to see the full review, if there is one, or to visit GoodReads:
Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff - Godsgrave was fantastic and a wonderful sequel to Nevernight. I absolutely adore the new characters introduced in this book and following the next leg in Mia's journey of revenge and blood was just as thrilling as book one. I can't wait to see how it all ends in Darkdawn!
Happy for You by Anyta Sunday - I love this series and was lucky enough to receive a free ARC copy from the author. It's a great continuation to a series I can't get enough of and whilst this book was a little problematic for me, I still love Anyta's ability to write adorable characters and sweet, excruciating slow-burn romance.
Adulting 101 by Lisa Henry - This book was lots of fun. The MC is a little ridiculous and hopeless but in the best way and with a real heart of gold. He's eighteen-years-old trying to find himself, struggling against the path set out for him by his parents and rebelling, without really meaning to. His life takes an unexpected turn when he gets tangled up with twenty-five-year-old Jai and things get even more hilarious. If you're looking for a low-angst, fun and easy read, you can't go wrong with Adulting 101.
All Chained Up & Hell Breaks Loose by Sophie Jordan - I found myself in the mood for easy-to-read romance this week and dove back into some old favourites. I've read these two books a couple of times in the past and they were just as enjoyable the third time around. These books have strong heroines, sexy hero's and plenty of action and drama.
I’ve also started (but not yet finished):
Bear, Otter and the Kid by T.J. Klune - I started listening to this on Audible the other week when I was sick. I love the narration and the characters, especially the kid who makes me laugh so much. I’m still listening to this one and am around 50% of the way through it. I love the way TJ writes, I haven’t been disappointed yet, and this book is shaping up to be another amazing read.
Vengeful by V.E. Schwab – I started this but had to give up because I honestly couldn’t remember enough of Vicious and I just found myself feeling lost and confused. I guess I’m going to have to re-read Vicious before tackling Vengeful again.
Fury on Fire by Sophie Jordan – Continuing with last month’s Devil’s Rock series by Sophie Jordan, I’ve started to read North’s story for the second time. Truthfully, it’s because I picked up book 4 for £2.50 and just got an itch to re-read the series. They’re quick, fun and packed full of heat.
Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff – My partner has FINALLY finished reading this after stealing it from me a few weeks ago, so now it’s my turn to delve in and discover the end to Mia’s story. I’m only just about to start chapter two but it’s started thick in the middle of all the action at the end of Godsgrave and I am ready for answers!
Frostheart by Jamie Littler - I spotted this on my last book shopping trip to Waterstones and thought it looked perfect to read to my 5-year-old. She loves books but still prefers lots of pictures and since this book is packed full of amazing illustrations, I figured it's the perfect segway towards the more traditional novel, and we're both having so much fun reading it!
And that’s a wrap!
Let me know your recommendations in the comments below and feel free to chat about any of the books above too!
Until next time, happy reading! x
Thanks so much for joining me on my stop of the Realm of Knights book tour! Huge thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate and for forgiving my lack of review! ?
As you'll find out when you read the synopsis below, this book sounds freaking amazing! It's giving me major Mulan vibes - I love that right from the get go we're presented with such a strong female character and I was so looking forward to reading it.
Sadly, homeschooling, running a business and generally being a bit run down got in the way of me getting started and so, instead of my review, today I'm hosting an excerpt of the book and your chance to win a $100 Amazon Giftcard (open INTL).
Admittedly, I haven't even managed to read the excerpt myself yet but check it out and let me know what you think in the comments!
You can also click on the banner above to check out the rest of the tour!
Reid has spent her whole life pretending to be a man so she can inherit her father’s estate, but when a chance encounter threatens to expose her lie, she is forced to risk everything.
In the kingdom of Marsden, women are subservient to men and land can only pass from father to son. So when Reid Ellington is born, the fifth daughter to one of the wealthiest landholders in the kingdom, it’s announced that Reid is a boy.
Eighteen years later, Reid struggles to conceal the fact she’s actually a young woman. Every day, her secret becomes harder to keep. When one of Marsden’s princes sees her sparring with a sword, she is forced to accept his offer and lead her father’s soldiers to the border.
Along the way, she discovers a covert organization within the army known as the Knights of the Realm. If Reid wants to save her family from being arrested for treason and robbed of their inheritance, she will have to join the Knights and become a weapon for the crown.
To protect her family, Reid must fight like a man. To do that, she’ll need the courage of a woman.
As always, you can add the book to your Goodreads TBR by clicking on the book cover above and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below!
Now, enter here for your chance to win a $100 Amazon gift card. This competition is open internationally! Good luck!
Calling all fans of Anyta Sunday, friends to lovers, M/M romance and second chance romance!
If any of the above applies to you, I have a special treat lined up for you today!
I was feeling a bit crappy on Thursday night last week when I reached for my ARC of Happy for You by Anyta Sunday and it turned my mood right around, my grin growing with every page I turned.
Today, I'm taking part in the Release Day Blitz for Happy For You (book 3 in the Love & Family series). You can check out my reviews for Book 1: Taboo For You and Book 2: Made For You on Goodreads because I just found out that apparently I never added them to the blog ?
I've loved every book in this series so far, as with most of Anyta Sunday's books I have a habit of devouring them in one sitting and laughing my head off at characters antics. Keep reading to see what I thought of Book 3. Plus, read an exclusive excerpt, a Q&A with the author herself and an international giveaway!
STARS: 4 STARS!
Genre: MM Romance/LGBT
Series/Standalone: Love and Family #3
How I got this book: ARC from A Novel Take Promotions
Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .
Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .
Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past--
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.
TW: Depression and generalized anxiety (of a side character)
Unlike the other two books in this series, this one took me a little longer to get into. I was a little confused at the beginning, as though there was a little information missing and so parts of the relationship felt a little rushed almost.
But the characters quickly got under my skin with their flirty, clueless ways. Anyta writes the most adorable, bashful characters and the slow-burn just sizzles.
This book did sadly have a bit of an uncomfortable (for me at least) twist to it that I didn't really like and that to be honest almost made me lower the star rating, but the cute, likeable characters won me over.
Anyta does deal with some difficult topics in this book including depression, grief and sexual anxiety through the side characters in a way that gives more depth to the story but doesn't detract from the mushy, slow-burn romance.
I can't say that this is my favourite book in the series, as that's probably reserved for Taboo For You, which I adored. Made For You also came in a close second with Happy For You falling into third place, just because of that one, uncomfortable twist (I don't want to give too much away but it's relating to Mort's relationship with Felix's older brother as hinted on in the synopsis).
If you love clueless, romantics with big families and light-hearted drama, Happy For You is a book not to be missed.
Now, keep reading to check out an excerpt, Q&A with Anyta Sunday and your chance to win!
Q&A With Anyta Sunday
What is the significance of the title “Happy For You”?
AS: This book’s all about happiness – where to find it for ourselves, how to make others happy, and how to live with the fact that we can’t make everyone around us happy. Mort and Felix have to learn it the hard way: if they’re both only trying to make others happy, they’ll lose sight of themselves. They have to find their own happiness first to finally be happy together.
What were the key challenges you faced when writing this book?
AS: While every book has its own challenges, this one was special because it features a large family that wanted to have ample space on the page. To give all of them their rightful place was not easy, but they all demanded to be heard ☺ This spring and summer, when I worked on “Happy For You”, was also a time of transitions for my family – from my son changing schools to me transitioning to a new diet, so finding time for the book wasn’t always easy.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
AS: I am always working :D At the moment, I’m diving back into astrology and star signs, and tackling book 5 in the “Signs of Love” series. A Cancer and an Aquarius are the lucky couple in this one, and I’m already having so much fun with them. It’s quite emotional, but just like all the other SoL books, also full of banter and romantic comedy!
Where do you draw inspiration from?
AS: Inspiration is all around – walking the streets, seeing a couple interact at the café, getting a lovely message from my husband. So many things can spark an idea, like a smell that brings back a memory or a piece of music that becomes alive in my head. I try to soak it all in and scribble it down as soon as possible.
Do you have any new series planned?
AS: There are a few ideas currently swirling in my head, and I never know how they’ll finally arrive on the page. One series idea I just cannot stop thinking about is what I call the “Love Shack” in my head. A beachside house that brings different roommates together, always sparking new misadventures and love stories! Another idea is a cozy, super sweet and romantic mystery. But whatever series comes next, you can be sure it’ll be full of slow burn romance!
About Anyta Sunday:
I'm a big, BIG fan of slow-burn romances. I love to read and write stories with characters who slowly fall in love. Some of my favorite tropes to read and write are: Enemies to Lovers, Friends to Lovers, Clueless Guys, Bisexual, Pansexual, Demisexual, Oblivious MCs, Everyone (Else) Can See It, Slow Burn, Love Has No Boundaries. I write a variety of stories, Contemporary MM Romances with a good dollop of angst, Contemporary lighthearted MM Romances, and even a splash of Fantasy. My books have been translated into German, Italian, French, Spanish, and Thai.
Connect with Anyta:
Author newsletter signup: http://www.anytasunday.com/newsletter-free-e-book/
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win one complete paperback set of the Love & Family series: Taboo for You, Made for You, and Happy for You, or, one of three e-books of Happy for You. Prizes are open internationally. Must be 18 to enter and win.
Now, excuse me while I enter the competition myself!
Rating: 4.5 STARS!
Genre: Adult Fantasy/LGBT
Series/Standalone: The Nevernight Chronicle #2
How I got this book: Bought
Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.
When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.
If you're looking for a bloody spectacle of a book with more 'boobs and blood' (Jay Kristoff's words, not mine) than its prequel, you'll love Godsgrave.
At the beginning of this book, we rejoin our heroin but not where I expected to. The first half of the book jumps between the present day and four mounts prior and leaves you doing a lot of guesswork as to what's going on and why.
Mia is still on her quest for vengeance and blood and it leads her in new directions and to new, shocking revelations.
What I love most about Mia is her 'couldn't care less' attitude and I think, in particular, the way that Jay Kristoff writes her sexuality (and her self-discovery) is really beautiful (not a word often used to describe this series) but the fact that when Mia recognises her sexuality and just accepts it, without a thought of what anyone will think, it's just perfect and personally, I want more bisexual heroines like this.
I'd waited a while since finishing Nevernight to read Godsgrave (I wanted to read it closer to the Darkdawn release - more on that later) and I was so excited to get back to the characters that I'd grown to love in book one, but what I hadn't expected was so many amazing new characters that really made this book something special.
I'm going to start with my absolute favourite new character Sidonius who is an absolute legend. I love him and his crass, no filtered mouth and personally, after reading this book I just want someone to be proud enough to call me a 'magnificent little bitch!'
The author introduces several other characters; Maggot, Bryn and Byern, Wavewalker, Bladesinger, Furian, Arkades and Dona Leona - all fantastic (and terrible) in their own ways and fantastic additions to the cast.
I loved each and every moment with these characters including the unexpected surprises they delivered at the end.
Now, I have rated Godsgrave at 4.5 stars instead of 5 and that's simply because I enjoyed Nevernight more. Nevernight blew me away, I'd never really read anything like it and it both shocked and thrilled me.
With Godsgrave there were certain parts, and please don't hate me for saying this, that felt a tad predictable and a few revelations that I'd already guessed back in book one and so, whilst the characters themselves deserve the full 5 stars, for me at least, the book itself didn't grab me quite as much as Nevernight but it was still an immersive, thrilling second book of the trilogy and I'm both excited and terrified of what's yet to come.
A Conversation with Jay Kristoff in Manchester
Last night was the Manchester stop on Jay Kristoff's Darkdawn book tour and I was lucky enough to grab two tickets for my partner (also a huge Jay Kristoff fan) and I.
Let me just say that the 1.5 hour drive to Manchester was not enjoyable in the slightest, neither is driving in central Manchester - why do pedestrians just walk in the middle of the road and where the hell are the road markings???
Anyway, after holding our breaths as we dodged pedestrians, trams and other vehicles, we finally made it to Deansgate Waterstones in time for the event.
Listening to Jay Kristoff was a slightly surreal experience. I've read a few of his books (admittedly not that many); Nevernight, Godsgrave (which I finished at 1:30am the day of the event) and Illuminae (which is incredible) and I was almost nervous to meet him if that makes sense; you know what they say about meeting your heroes.
But Jay was fantastic, he was incredibly funny, intelligent, kind and witty and hearing about his methodology (writing Godsgrave in Venice), his inspirations (Roman history/politics and Ludovico Einaudi) his funny anecdotes (like the time he almost died in Venice, and getting his wife to proofread his sex scenes) and gaining a little insight into the mind behind these incredible books was a fantastic experience and well-worth the wait, even if we sadly couldn't get any of our books signed due to the massive wait time (5 year old girls will wait for no one, even someone as talented as Jay Kristoff).
Now I'm off to try and pry Darkdawn from the hands of my partner who stole it while I wasn't looking!
Welcome to my stop on the All Boy blog tour.
Since reading The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick last year, I've been looking forward to reading her next release and I'm so excited to be sharing this review with you!
A very big thank you to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to review the book and participate in the tour.
Keep reading to check out the synopsis, my review and for your chance to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card (open internationally!)
Rating: 4 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Seventeen-year-old Callie Canter knows all about screwing up—and being screwed over. After her so-called boyfriend publicly humiliated her senior year, taking a fifth year of high school at Beaufort Hills Academy is her second chance to leave behind a painful past. But her need for social acceptance follows, and going along with the in-crowd is the difference between survival and becoming a target. Staying off the radar is top priority. So, falling for an outsider is the last thing on Callie’s “to-do” list. Too bad her heart didn’t get the memo.
With his strict, religious upbringing and former identity far away in Florida, Jayden Morrissey can finally be true to himself at Beaufort Hills Academy. But life as a trans man means keeping secrets, and keeping secrets means not getting too close to anyone. If he can just get through his fifth year unnoticed, maybe a future living as the person he was born to be is possible. Yet love is love, and when you fall hard enough, intentions crumble, plans detour, and secrets are revealed.
From multi-award-winning author Mia Kerick, comes a powerful, timely, and life-changing novel, which follows two teenagers nursing broken hearts and seeking acceptance, and who together realize running away isn’t always the answer.
TW: Transphobia, sexual abuse, humiliation, mental health, bullying
I have to start by saying that (as you can see from the trigger warnings above) Mia Kerick has written a book that is full of pain and that was very difficult to read - but that's by no means a bad thing. Now, I'm not the best person to say whether this book dealt with the subject matter in the ‘right’ way necessarily but it was a powerful and enlightening read.
One of the reasons I read so many different genres is to find as many different stories and voices as possible and All Boy does not disappoint.
I'd braced myself somewhat for this book after reading The Princess of Baker Street earlier this year but it's still not easy to digest what the characters have to face and overcome.
For the most part, I found Callie’s character really difficult to bear, I almost hated her at times and some of that was due to seeing parts of myself reflected in her (self-hatred is anything but a breeze) but also at her ignorance and self-destructive nature but (without giving too much away) her development arc is something to be admired.
Jayden is a stunning character with so much strength and heart and I would have preferred to read more chapters from his POV. It's Jayden who broke my heart in this book, the truth and reality of his story and his pain bleeding from the pages was almost unbearable at times and my heart ached for him.
Callie and Jayden’s stories, both together and as individuals, are very compelling to read, everything they have to face and overcome and the story as a whole gives a very powerful insight into life as a trans man.
At times I felt that some of the dialogue was a bit too scripted, too formal and not realistic for the age group but the pacing of the story was good and the themes tackled well, at least in my opinion.
One of the shining characters for me in this book was Lauren who's almost the personification of acceptance. She delivers some beautiful truths to Callie and is a great friend and ally.
Overall, this was a really powerful and painful read that deals with sensitive topics and delivers important messages of self-acceptance, doing what's right and above all, that love is love.
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a $15 Amazon Gift Card! The giveaway is open internationally so everyone can enter and it's hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.
Don't forget to click the banner at the top to follow the rest of the tour and feel free to leave your comments below :)
And finally, for something a little different, why not check out the book trailer below:
Welcome to my stop on the Within Ash and Stardust book tour. This is the third book in the Xenith Trilogy by Chani Lynn Feener.
Huge thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for the review copy and for including My Endless Shelf in the blog tour!
Before I get into the full review, if you want to avoid spoilers and haven't read the first two books in the series, feel free to check those out at the following links - Book 1: Amid Stars and Darkness and Book 2: Between Frost and Fury.
Rating: 4 STARS
Series/Standalone: The Xenith Trilogy #3
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Having gone from kidnapped faux princess to the legitimate heir to an intergalactic throne, an impulsive, sarcastic teen must take charge of her own destiny in this epic YA novel.
On Earth, Delaney is a normal teenager who recently graduated high school with a fantastic best friend and a loving boyfriend.
But Delaney isn’t on Earth. She’s on Xenith, a war-torn planet half a galaxy away. Originally mistaken for an alien princess, Delaney has gone from kidnapped imposter to the recognized heir to an alien throne. Oh, and she’s engaged to the prince of an enemy nation whose ruthless father is on the warpath.
Torn between two planets, two fates, and two loves, Delaney is finally ready to choose her own destiny in Within Ash and Stardust, the stunning conclusion to Chani Lynn Feener’s Xenith Trilogy.
I can't believe it's finally here! The last instalment of a series that I fell in love with back in 2017 and have been desperately waiting for since the cliffhanger that left me absolutely reeling at the end of book two - honestly it was one of the most heart-wrenching cliffhangers ever and gave me ALL THE FEELS!!
I love this author's writing style, I've read a lot of her other books and her writing style is so easy to fall into, her characters are relatable and likeable and her world building is fantastic. She does seem to enjoy writing love triangles and for the most part, I do enjoy the complicated relationships.
I've been following the journey of Delaney from out-of-place Earth girl to the heir of an alien planet with rapture. Delaney is completely relatable, in book one she was frightened, in book two she was angry and in book three she's determined to make her own choices and forge her own path.
Some parts of the plot in this book did give me moments of deja-vu, especially in terms of Delaney being put into corners she can't get out of but there were plenty of new elements too with new character revelations, plot twists and more alien culture.
I did have a pretty big problem with Ruckus in this book. If you've read my other reviews, you'll know that I've been Team Trystan from book 1, so it's no shock that Ruckus isn't my favourite character. Trystan is a big, sullen sweetheart with a cheeky side that's just irresistible. Ruckus was a solid character for me in book 1, who I did like, but who, in book 2, was so clearly not the one for Delaney. Whilst reading Within Ash and Stardust I felt as though Ruckus's character just disappeared in terms of depth, he was pretty pathetic, trailing after Delaney like a puppy dog and with seemingly no personality at all. I mean, at one point the book reads:
"He didn't want to be an Ander anymore, he realised with a start. He just wanted to be Ruckus Wux. Boyfriend of Delaney Grace."
Which is pretty pathetic really, especially for someone who in the first book was portrayed as a tough-as-nails soldier.
The romance in this book is also a little off compared to the last book, where things between Trystan and Delaney had started to heat up despite the frigid ending. In this book, Delaney is all over the place trying to choose between Ruckus and Trystan (when the choice was clear from the start!) and it felt a little awkward, with the ending seeming a little too clean-cut. It had lost some of the sizzle that I'd enjoyed in Between Frost and Fury.
However, there is plenty of action in this book and the pace is great, I didn't want to put the book down at all. There's also more culture and world-building, especially in terms of the Dust Market which is both strange and wonderful.
I like that Delaney finally manages to break free of her chains in this book, to some extent, and can make her own choices and do what she believes is right instead of what's already been decided for her.
Overall, this was a nice end to what I feel is a very underrated YA series and one that opened the gates to sci-fi for me, but with the romance toned down, it felt as though it was suddenly aimed at a slightly younger audience.
My favourite book of the series has to be Between Frost and Fury, with Amid Stars and Darkness coming in at a close second.
I've truly enjoyed following Delaney's journey, exploring these new worlds, meeting interesting new characters and falling in love with Trystan's sweet, cinnamon centre along the way.
I can't wait to see what this author does next!
As always, you can add the book to your Goodreads TBR by clicking on the book cover above and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments below!
To win a print copy of Within Ash and Stardust enter the giveaway below (US/CAN only).
Rating: 5 STARS!!
Genre: LGBT/YA/Graphic Novel
Series/Standalone: Heartstopper #2
How I got this book: Bought
Boy meets boy. Boys become friends. Boys fall in love. An LGBTQ+ graphic novel about life, love, and everything that happens in between: this is the second volume of HEARTSTOPPER, for fans of The Art of Being Normal, Holly Bourne and Love, Simon.
Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie's gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn't.
But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family ... and himself.
Heartstopper is about friendship, loyalty and mental illness. It encompasses all the small stories of Nick and Charlie's lives that together make up something larger, which speaks to all of us.
This is the second volume of Heartstopper, with more to come.
If you haven't read Heartstopper Volume One yet, you can catch my review here.
This is going to be one of those short and sweet reviews because, besides saying how much I truly love this graphic novel, I'm not sure how else to convince you all to read it!
I thought that Heartstopper Volume One was good, but this is even better. So many more cute, mushy feelings. As always Alice Oseman's illustrations are beautiful, the story is so sweet and Charlie and Nick are both likeable and compelling.
Alice also does a fantastic job of making you care about the supporting characters and their stories and we're treated to a fantastic snippet from another story at the end of this book.
The storytelling and voices are relatable and current, making the whole thing speed by far too quickly! I can't wait until I have every volume and can read through from start to finish!
If you're looking for queer, YA romance with tons of inclusivity and rep that'll make you feel warm and gooey on the inside, you need Heartstopper in your life.
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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