Rating: 3 Stars
Genre: Historical Fiction/ Fantasy
How I got this book: Audible Purchase
In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.
Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.
Review by Sophie.
TW: Racism, discrimination, animal abuse, institutionalisation.
OK, so here it is…The Ten Thousand Doors of January, by Alix E Harrow. One of the most highly rated and anticipated books that I’ve seen this year, and one that I was extremely hyped to read myself...
“It is at the moments when the doors open, when things flow between the worlds, that stories happen.”
…and I can honestly say that I did NOT enjoy it.
(And yes, I feel like I can actually hear everyone’s sharp intake of breath right now).
Alright, let's start at the beginning – it's not all bad. So, let just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful the front cover is, I mean its so pretty! And truthfully, I think the front cover reflects on the writing style quite a lot, and that is something I did like about this book. The writing was flowery and intricate, and really is a work of art.
"Words and their meanings have weight in the world of matter, shaping and reshaping realities through a most ancient alchemy."
But I can’t help but feel like the story got mixed up in all of that. The opening chapter was intriguing and filled with mystery and questions, and I’d already got such high expectations for the book, so I couldn’t wait to get started.
Unfortunately, after the first couple of chapters, I found that the introduction of new characters made the whole thing messy and confusing. I really wasn’t keen to pick it back up and carry on reading and struggled the rest of the way through.
At around the halfway mark I felt like I was starting to break through, the plot was making more sense and things seemed to be going places. For me though, this just wasn’t enough and truth be told the characters actually ruined this for me. I just couldn’t connect with any of them. The only character I cared about was the dog ‘Bad’ and was genuinely traumatised by what happened to him, which kind of left me on edge for the rest of the book.
Abuse and discrimination have a very strong role in the book, January is raised by a racist man, and the book is written in a place and time where discrimination is very real, institutional behaviour is recognised throughout, not only by January's guardian but also physiatrists, which I wish I’d known before I started reading the book.
I can understand why so many people love the story and I'm happy that they found the magic within, and I’d never want a review to tarnish or put someone off reading it just because of my opinion, so I would still urge anyone to read it, but all in all, it just wasn’t for me.
Rating: 3 Stars
Series/Standalone: VRC: Vampire Related Crimes #1
How I got this book: Kindle Unlimited
Getting into the vampire-only detective unit was the easy part; what’s going to be more difficult is dealing with my new partner, an ancient vampire who keeps threatening to eat me. The unit has never had a human in it, and Marcus—or as I like to call him, Fangy McFangface—would really prefer to keep it that way. He’s grumpy, short-tempered, and broody, but I have a way with words and I know he’s starting to like me, even if he swears he’s not. But what he doesn’t know is that I didn’t join the unit because I was tired of being a homicide detective, I joined because there is someone after me. They’ve already taken enough from me and I’m afraid they’re going to take all of me if I don’t find someone to help. That’s all Marcus was supposed to be, but now, he’s so much more and I can’t imagine my life without him.
The moment the pesky human walked through that door, I knew I had to get rid of him. He’s charming and almost everyone else instantly loves him, but he doesn’t understand how risky it is being part of this unit as a human. But as I get to know the stubborn man, I learn that perhaps he’s not as naive as I once thought. And maybe he’s what I needed to realize there is more to life than just work and my dog. A group arises who is threatening to disrupt the alliance between the humans and the vampires, but Finn is the one who shows me how strong that alliance can be and reminds me why it’s worth protecting. When threats hit closer to home, I realize I would do anything for Finn because he’s brought so much joy to my life—and because he’s mine.
TW: Trauma, physical and mental abuse, stalking, addiction
Ahhhh! This started so well...WTF happened?!?
Let me start from the beginning. I picked this book up on a whim when it came up on my Kindle Unlimited recommendations because the synopsis sounded interesting and had an enemies-to-lovers vibe to it.
It started off really well because of Finn. He's fantastic, he's sassy, cheeky and strong, but wears his heart on his sleeve, and reminded me so much of Sam from The Lightning Struck Heart by TJ Klune, who's one of my absolute favourite characters.
Finn is disabled, and I can't tell you how refreshing it was to have a disabled character as the hero, especially when paired with an old and powerful vampire. Finn holds his own throughout the entire book and, despite dealing with his own trauma, he's just as powerful and capable as any of the other characters.
Finn is full of awful jokes but he's lovable and gets everyone to like him, even grumpy, distant Marcus who becomes his friend without really knowing why or consciously agreeing to it.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I say as I draw the curtain over the window so I don’t have to look into Marcus’s eyes as I steal his dog.
Also, I should mention Artie at this point, an Irish wolfhound who is a gentle sweetheart...and a bit of a creep at times.
Marcus is the typical brooding vampire, but his character shines when Finn finally breaks down some of his walls, allowing his caring, protective side to come through.
The chemistry between Finn and Marcus worked well and built, as did the constant banter between the two.
“I will try… this,” Marcus says as he waves between us. “But I’m promising nothing. And if I eat you, it’s one hundred percent your fault.”
The plot and pacing also started off strong and intriguing until at some point the story just meandered off and completely forgot about the plot.
There were a few scenes that felt completely irrelevant to the story and it appeared, for a lot of the book, that the author misplaced the big bad villain, only to bring him out when things got a bit dull.
Then there's the snark and humour, which started off as one of Finn's best qualities, but which grew into something quite annoying and distracting as pages and pages were full of
random back and forth.
"Did… Did you just ask me out and tell me you might eat me in the same breath? That’s so romantic.”
After all of this, the big build-up, the back and forth, the ominous figure in the darkness and the promises from Marcus to take care of it, we're met with a goddamn cliffhanger that really pi**ed me off.
I'm now at the point where I'm really bloody struggling to understand how the author is going to fill an entire second book finishing this plot when it could have easily fit into this novel, but, a part of me still wants to find out what happens next, as I want to see Finn get the resolution and the closure from his trauma that he desperately deserves.
Overall, the book started off really well, it's fast-paced and full of humour that's interwoven with darkness and tons of emotion. I liked the characters, particularly Finn, but would have liked more clarity from the plot.
Rating: 3 STARS
Series/Standalone: Folk of the Air #3
How I got this book: Bought
He will be destruction of the crown and the ruination of the throne.
Power is much easier to acquire than it is to hold onto. Jude learned this lesson when she released her control over the wicked king, Cardan, in exchange for immeasurable power.
Now as the exiled mortal Queen of Faerie, Jude is powerless and left reeling from Cardan’s betrayal. She bides her time determined to reclaim everything he took from her. Opportunity arrives in the form of her deceptive twin sister, Taryn, whose mortal life is in peril.
Jude must risk venturing back into the treacherous Faerie Court, and confront her lingering feelings for Cardan, if she wishes to save her sister. But Elfhame is not as she left it. War is brewing. As Jude slips deep within enemy lines she becomes ensnared in the conflict’s bloody politics.
And, when a dormant yet powerful curse is unleashed, panic spreads throughout the land, forcing her to choose between her ambition and her humanity…
Why are endings so often disappointing?
Maybe it's the fact that, as readers, we just don't want to say goodbye to characters that we've grown to love (or love to hate) or that we'll miss those worlds we lose ourselves in too much or that we just wanted MORE!
Sadly, none of those things is true for how I feel about the end of this trilogy.
For me, this entire book felt a little lost, pointless, and the ending was predictable and way too neat and tidy.
There were just so many moments where I felt that the whole thing was a bit stupid i.e. (no spoilers!) when Jude figures out Cardan's trick, when Nicassia DOES NOTHING and when Jude can't figure out the most obvious clue in the history of clues!
I feel a bit like the characters were done dirty by the author, they almost seemed dumbed down, their relationships rushed and everything tied up with a pretty little bow that made no sense and contradicted past behaviour and key character traits.
I was angry that Nicassia had almost no role in the book. Where was the vengeance, the drama, and the blinding jealousy we've come to expect from this series?
Why was Jude so compliant? Where's her spine, her defiance and the warrior nature that's she's built up over the past two books?
Maddox was boring, for want of a better word, and completely predictable. He had me rolling my eyes.
And Cardan was too damn tame. He completely stopped being interesting.
The big shock twist was completely predictable, and was I the only one picturing Jafar in Aladdin at this point?
Yes, this is a bit of a rant post, BUT I didn't completely hate this book.
I still enjoyed being back in the world of Elfhame. I enjoyed the politics and the scheming, even if it was more toned down than I'd have expected and I did still, in some ways, find the relationship endearing.
The pace moved quickly enough and I finished the book in just a few sittings. I can't say that I didn't enjoy reading the book, I did, but I didn't LOVE it the way I wish I had.
Overall, I can't lie that I am disappointed with the end of this series, but I am glad that I got to spend time in this world.
Welcome to my stop on the Match Me If You Can Blog Tour!
It's my first blog tour of the year and I'm so excited to be back since I haven't done one of these since Halloween.
As always, a huge thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to take part!
Now, on to the book at hand...
Rating: 3 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Mia’s best friend Robyn is known for her matchmaking skills, which is perfect, because homecoming is just around the corner. But Robyn refuses to set Mia up with the guy of her dreams, which forces Mia to take matters into her own hands. She uses Robyn’s matchmaking service to make sure popular Vince Demetrius falls for her.
Vince asks her out, but Mia doesn’t count on Logan, the persistent school newspaper photographer who seems to like her out of the blue. Now she has to choose between Vince – the guy she knows is right for her – and Logan, who insists that she give him a chance. And she needs to make sure Robyn doesn’t find out that Mia’s been matchmaking behind her back.
Mia has two weeks before homecoming. Can she fix the mess she made or will she have to kiss her perfect match goodbye forever?
Romance and YA are two of my favourite things and I was really excited to start reading Match Me If You Can.
First impressions of Mia made me think of a younger Bridget Jones. Mia is a bit clumsy and fumbling, so it made her a more real and relatable character, to begin with.
I noticed on Goodreads that the book is a re-telling of A Midsummer Night's Dream which becomes more apparent towards the middle of the book when certain relationships begin to entwine and clash.
Whilst the plot is super predictable and full of rom-com style clichés, the writing did keep me engaged throughout the story.
My favourite thing about this whole book is Logan, who I love. He's sweet, supportive, funny, flirty and heartfelt, and I can't get enough of his scenes.
I did have a few problems with Mia's character. To me, she seemed quite shallow and a little vapid, she's constantly ignoring the very obvious truth, as well as her own feelings, and I felt as though I was several steps ahead of her throughout the entire book.
The drama also irked me a little as it just seemed a tad over the top and unnecessary but it did fuel the plot and kept the pace moving quickly.
The romance was very sweet but I don't want to go into too much detail and ruin the particulars for you, so all I'll say is that this book is a very light, fun and fluffy read, perfect for fans of quick-paced teen rom-coms.
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a print copy of Match Me If You Can. The giveaway is open to US/CAN only and is 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 :)
Welcome to my stop on the Hush blog tour!!
As always, big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to join in with the tour, I love doing review tours as it's a great way to discover new books and authors! This week's book is Hush by A.M. Salinger, which is book 8 of the authors' Nights series, although it can be read as a standalone.
Rating: 3 STARS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Standalone/Series: Nights Series #8 - (Can be read as a standalone)
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Tom Sutherland is an arrogant prick. There, I said it. Okay, so he’s also my assistant and I couldn’t survive without him, but that doesn’t make him less of an irritating bastard — Lana
Lana Keele is a witch. A beautiful, frustrating witch placed on this earth to torment me. Yeah, she’s my boss, but she’s still the most maddening creature I’ve ever had the misfortune to cross paths with — Tom
When Lana Keele, president of Keele Industries and only surviving heir to business tycoon Oliver Keele, wakes up in her devil-of-an-assistant’s bed after a drunken night out, she fears the worst. That is, until prissy Mr. Perfect Tom Sutherland declares that she’s the last woman he’d ever want to sleep with.
After surviving four years in the company of the infuriating woman he’d lusted after since his teens, Tom has had just about enough of the unholy siren that is Lana, especially when she turns up inebriated on his doorstep one night and demands sex. Convinced that Lana will never return his affections, Tom decides that it’s high time to get over his unrequited love.
Except Lana doesn’t quite seem to agree with this plan. Not after she sees him with another woman. Not after she confronts him about it. And most definitely not after he succumbs to temptation and kisses her.
As they finally ignite the fire that has burned so long between them, Tom cannot help but be certain that for Lana, this is just about sex. Will he be satisfied with only having the body of the woman he loves and not possess her heart? Or will Lana convince Tom that she truly means to give him her everything?
Hush is the first book that I've read by this author and since I'm always looking to discover new romance authors I jumped at the chance to review it. The synopsis struck me as an enemies to lovers style trope (which I love) and I read the book in just a couple of hours.
It's also the first novella I've read in quite a while and I found myself flying through it.
As it's a novella, the story kicks off straight away with Lana waking up in her assistant's bed with a blazing hangover and no idea what happened the night before.
Tom and Lana's relationship quickly heats up, with the tension between them building rapidly. The chemistry between the two characters sizzles off the page and the love scenes are SUPER descriptive, if a little cringe-worthy at times, but that's just my opinion.
Some of the characters in this book are clearly from the other books in the series but I never really felt as though there was something I'd missed because the author gives a quick overview to introduce each character.
Although this book is categorised as a contemporary romance on Goodreads, I'd personally class it as erotic romance as it seems that the sex is at the forefront of the novella with the plot taking a bit of a backseat.
I did like that the secondary characters in the book were diverse in terms of their sexuality but I was massively confused by the fact that this book is supposed to be set in Shanghai but I think every single character is white. It would have been nice to have some cultural representation going on here, otherwise why choose Shanghai as a setting at all? Unless I'm missing something here....
The writing style was fun and fast-paced and after looking at the synopsis and reviews of some of the other books in this series, I'm definitely interested in finding out what more A.M. Salinger has to offer.
Overall, this was a fast paced, hot read with a simple, fairly drama-free plot and a guaranteed HEA.
Click the cover photo above to add the book to your Goodreads TBR and enter below for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card + 2 signed paperback copies of Hush (Open Internationally - giveaway hosted by Xpresso Book Tours).
Finally, you can click the banner at the top to follow the rest of the tour and feel free to leave your comments below :)
Rating: 3 STARS
Genre: YA Fantasy
Standalone/Series: Summoner #1
How I got this book: Bought from Audible
When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.
As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.
I decided to read this book after seeing Taran Matharu at the NYALitFest. It had been on my radar for a while and I decided, after listening to the sample, to give the audiobook a try.
This was a buddy read and it took us a month to listen to this one.
The first thing I noticed about The Novice were the clear comparisons to Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Pokemon - an interesting combination.
I found the story intriguing, if following a fairly typical, boy stumbles across powers/magic and starts training at magic school, befriends a boy and a girl and has to defeat the evil, snobbish, wealthy child(ren).
However, I had a huge problem with the narrator. It got to the point where the narrator was massively distracting me with the way he pronounced a lot of the words. It was just driving me crazy, and making me laugh when the story just didn't call for humour.
I persevered because I was enjoying the story, the magic was interesting, and I loved the Pokemon similarities, especially finding out that the humans are the pokeballs which was a funny twist!
I also loved the characters, especially the daemons who have their own personalities.
Where the story ended was a little frustrating (probably because I'm not a huge cliffhanger fan) but it does leave the story open for book 2 and I am interested to see where this goes.
However, I think I'll definitely be going with the paper book/eBook next time, instead of the audiobook.
Rating: 3 STARS
Genre: YA Fantasy
Standalone/Series: The Numair Chronicles #1
How I got this book: ARC from NetGalley
Arram Draper is a boy on the path to becoming one of the realm’s most powerful mages. The youngest student in his class at the Imperial University of Carthak, he has a Gift with unlimited potential for greatness–and for attracting danger. At his side are his two best friends: Varice, a clever girl with an often-overlooked talent, and Ozorne, the “leftover prince” with secret ambitions. Together, these three friends forge a bond that will one day shape kingdoms. And as Ozorne gets closer to the throne and Varice gets closer to Arram’s heart, Arram begins to realize that one day soon he will have to decide where his loyalties truly lie.
In the Numair Chronicles, readers will be rewarded with the never-before-told story of how Numair Salmalín came to Tortall. Newcomers will discover an unforgettable fantasy adventure where a kingdom’s future rests on the shoulders of a talented young man with a knack for making vicious enemies.
If you've been following me on Twitter or Goodreads, you'll know that I've really struggled with this book.
This is my first book by Tamora Pierce and I was really intrigued by the synopsis and liked the start of the book, but it quickly felt dull and boring. I had a lot of trouble connecting with the characters and the plot for the first 45% of the book and I almost stopped reading.
I just felt as though nothing was really happening and I struggled to see an overall plot. I persevered because I hate giving up on books and there were some parts of it that I did like, such as the magic itself, and some of the other characters such as the masters, the gladiators and the gods provided the most amusement.
I did feel as though the book picked up around 55-60%, things seemed to get more interesting and I felt more of a connection with Arram as he faced certain challenges.
Mostly, I was somewhat disappointed with the ending. I know that this is the first book in a series but honestly, it took me such a long time to read with very little taking place and then ended in such an odd, non-conclusive place that I feel really confused.
I think the story and the characters have more to offer and I'm really hoping that book 2 has better pacing as I'd like to find out what happens next, but only if it doesn't drag on for quite so long.
Have you read this one? What do you think?
RATING: 2.5/3 STARS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
How I got this book: Bought
He was that boy in the playground.
The one that pulled your pigtails.
The one that lifted your dress in front of the entire school.
Now he's that guy in the office.
The one that steals your lunch from the fridge.
The one that gets away with everything.
I'm sure you know him. Everyone knows that guy.
He's a #JERK.
Presley Malone knew her relationship with her fiancé, Jason, had run its course.
The second that ring came off her finger, she didn't expect to be the pawn in an immature game played by the office jerk.
His name is Haden Cooper, and he is six years younger than her. Immature and irresponsible, getting drunk and stoned every weekend like he never left college. He rode a motorcycle, carrying a different girl each week. He was everything a jerk should be—insensitive, unreliable, and most importantly, a heartbreaker.
Haden enjoyed playing games, and when it came to Presley Malone, it was all too easy. Miss Know-it-all with her over-the-top OCD was soon going to get a taste of what it was like to live on the edge.
But what starts off as an innocent prank soon becomes an unhealthy obsession.
He is wrong for her and she is wrong for him. It's a battle of the sexes ready to go to war. But in this battle there are no winners, and it takes only one fateful night and six tequilas for their lives to take an unexpected turn that changes them both forever.
Rating: 3 STARS
Genre: Paranormal, Romance/Suspense
Standalone/Series: Beautiful Monsters #1
How I got this book: Bought
Matthew Callahan has spent seven years struggling against the insatiable hunger for blood consuming him. Unable to stop the vampire inside from preying on humans, he keeps himself confined to a lonely existence.
Everything changes the night he is lured into a trap and taken prisoner by High Lord General Tarrick—a seductive incubus who feeds off sexual energy. Forced into the middle of a war between vampires and incubi, Matthew is used as a weapon against his own kind. Although he's desperate for freedom, he is unable to deny the burning desire drawing him to the incubus general he now calls Master.
I have sooo many mixed feelings about this book.
First of all, I had no idea how to categorise this book. It's definitely paranormal, full of suspense and yeah, there's a lot of sex, both M/M and F/M, but I don't feel like 'romance' is the right category for this book, even if Goodreads disagrees, which is the only reason I've included it above lol.
Let me start by getting the bad stuff out of the way first, because there's a serious amount of traumatic sh** in this book including mental, physical and emotional abuse, and slavery - none of which are things I enjoy reading about.
However, moving past that, there was a lot about this book that I did like. The world-building was fantastic, especially the description, history and development of the four different species featured in this book; look out for vampires, incubi, gargoyles and more.
I really like the main character Mathew, he's very likeable, and I just wanted to save him through every single moment of this book, especially at the end where I honestly felt like bursting into tears.
I also liked how the author changed my opinion of different characters, those I started off liking/hating sometimes switched, and then again switched back. It was different, and I ended the book still completely unsure who's 'good' (although that's an extremely loose term) and who isn't.
The absolute best thing about this book was the action. The fight scenes were the kind that have you on the edge of your seat, heart pounding, hoping that everything will work out in the end.
I think ultimately, this book features far too much sex, which detracts a lot from the plot. Honestly, if you cut the majority of the sex scenes from this book between various characters, the pace would flow so much quicker.
There are four books in this series, and I'm just not sure yet if I want to continue with this series. I'd hope for more action, less sex, and in truth, the synopsis of book two sounds really promising.
What do you think? Have you read this book? Should I keep reading?
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About Kayleigh (She/Her)
Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
About Sophie (She/Her)
Sophie loves books (obviously). She has a passion for photography and spotting wildlife, and is interested in anything made with passion and creativity.
THIS BLOG IS SPOILER FREE!
5 Stars - AMAZING!!
4.5 Stars - Almost perfect!
4 Stars - I really loved it
3.5 Stars - I liked it alot
3 Stars - I liked it
(I don't typically review books that I rate below 3 stars)
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