Rating: 3.5 Stars
How I got this book: Bought - Fairyloot
Sinister sorcery. Gallows humor. A queer romance so glorious it could be right out of fae legend itself. Master of One is a fantasy unlike any other.
Rags is a thief—an excellent one. He's stolen into noble's coffers, picked soldier's pockets, and even liberated a ring or two off the fingers of passersby. Until he's caught by the Queensguard and forced to find an ancient fae relic for a sadistic royal sorcerer.
But Rags could never have guessed this "relic" would actually be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince called Shining Talon. Good thing Rags can think on his toes, because things just get stranger from there...
With the heist and intrigue of Six of Crows and the dark fairy tale feel of The Cruel Prince, this young adult fantasy debut will have readers rooting for a pair of reluctant heroes as they take on a world-ending fae prophecy, a malicious royal plot, and, most dangerously of all, their feelings for each other.
I have so many mixed feelings about this book, and I've been torn over how to rate it. So, I'm going to start at the beginning.
I've been excited to read this book ever since I first heard of it, and so I jumped at FairyLoot's December box once I knew it was inside. I imagined The Cruel Prince meets Six of Crows, which just sounded fantastic.
I started reading with high expectations. I loved the idea of a heist-style plot and the unexpected LGBT romance, and that a queer couple wrote it was really exciting.
In the beginning, I was not at all disappointed. The prologue was unexpectedly brutal, but it was incredibly gripping and had me hooked immediately.
Then, in chapter one, we meet Rags. He's a cocky, sarcastic thief from the slums who's found himself on the end of a job gone wrong, bruised and battered in the royal dungeon, trying to plot his escape.
I love Rags. He's the perfect incarnation of the loveable rogue. A sweet-heart with a rough, sardonic exterior and I instantly wanted the best for him.
"Daring a ravens, rich as magpies."
As Rags sets off on his journey, I flew through the pages. The pace was brilliant, the deception and trickery gripping, and that puzzles and challenges that Rags has to face are really interesting.
I was convinced that this book was going to be a 5* read for me.
The next character we meet is Tal, affectionately referred to by Rags as Shiny and, even though something between them felt a little 'off' for a while, I grew to enjoy their connection and the scenes they shared.
However, shortly after this point, the narrative completely changed and split into multiple POV's. After 20 chapters of focusing solely on Rag's perspective, it felt really jarring to suddenly have POV chapters from completely new characters.
The pacing also took a bit of a nosedive from here and I sped through to find Rag's chapters, which were easily the ones I enjoyed the most.
A couple of the characters, to me, felt a little stiff and lacking depth and it took a while for me to settle back into the story.
Saying that though, as I neared the end of the story, the pace, the danger and the intrigue picked up again to where, upon finishing the book, I'm back to feeling how I did at the beginning and really wanting to read the next book (although it hasn't been confirmed yet) to find out what happens next and how it all plays out. (Read: I really want Rags to get the happily ever after he deserves.)
Can you see what I meant now about not knowing how to rate this one?
So, I've decided to go for 3.5 stars because I loved Rags and enjoyed the plot itself but just felt that the pace took a nosedive once the additional POV's were introduced.
What do you think? Agree or disagree? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
Rating: 4 Stars
Series/Standalone: Seekers #1
How I got this book: ARC from the author
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.
It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.
When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.
To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.
Body bags on standby.
TW: Abuse, rape, violence.
This is the first book that I've read by Josie Jaffrey, but when I saw the book advertised on Twitter as 'Vampires, murder mystery and a bi love triangle', I instantly wanted to read it.
As a side note, I'm loving that we're getting more bi-rep in Fantasy!
So, to begin with, I felt that the pace was a little slow, and it took me a while to get into what was happening. However, I think that may have been down to my reading preferences, more than the writing itself, as I rarely lean towards mystery/crime.
But, saying that, I quickly realised how great of a character Jack Valentine really is. I love how the author has created a hero who is not the typical gorgeous, glamorous, put-together person but is flawed and relatable.
Jack is a bit of a mess, she's always running late, almost always hungover, usually wearing the same unwashed clothes and she really couldn't give a shit what anyone thinks.
I love her. She's fiery, sarcastic, and she carries the story well.
"Come to think of it, being Silver is kind of like being bisexual. I came out to them when I was sixteen and they never believed that was real, either."
The pacing also picked up, for me, pretty quickly and I flew through the book.
I'm not going to lie, I think the pace really picked up and my interest piqued when we first meet Killian Drake who is just....*swoon*.
"Go on, Valentine." He pulls me in close with one hand and strokes my cheek with the other. "Pretend that you want me."
Killian is fun to read, he's dark and brooding but cocky and entertaining, and at times sweet and uncertain. Next to Jack, Killian is my favourite character, and I actually didn't feel that he was utilised enough in this book, I just wanted more.
Which brings me to my first actual issue with this book, the love triangle. I'm not an enormous fan of love triangles anyway, but I enjoyed how this triangle did a wonderful job of illustrating Jack's sexuality.
"And just because I'm bi...I mean, that's not how it works. I don't need one of each, you know? It's not like I'm missing out. That's not the way I am."
However, while I felt that Tabitha was a potentially interesting character, one that could build well overtime, I didn't sense any actual chemistry between her and Jack. There were no sparks, no sizzle, nothing. It felt like a dead relationship to me, and not one that could contribute to a believable love triangle.
So, for me, that element just didn't work, so it'll be interesting to see what happens in the next book and whether that dynamic improves/changes any.
In terms of the plot, I really enjoyed the mystery element, the setting and the variety of characters, and I spent a lot of time trying to work out who the 'killer' was, and I have to say that I didn't guess, it was a complete twist that I hadn't at all expected.
"We're not generally in the business of guarding the humans from themselves. We only exist to guard them from others like us.
I also felt the author handled a lot of darker themes (see TW above) woven into the story well, making the case not as straight-forward as I'd expected.
Overall, I think this was an interesting start to a new series, and I'm really looking forward to more of Drake's charm and Jack's wit in the next instalment.
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 :)
Rating: 4 STARS
Genre: Horror Fiction
How I got this book: Bought at the NYALitFest
The Villa Diodati, on the shore of Lake Geneva, 1816: the Year without Summer. As Byron, Polidori, and Mr and Mrs Shelley shelter from the unexpected weather, old ghost stories are read and new ghost stories imagined. Born by the twin brains of the Shelleys is Frankenstein, one of the most influential tales of horror of all time.
In a remote mountain house, high in the French Alps, an author broods on Shelley's creation. Reality and perception merge, fuelled by poisoned thoughts. Humankind makes monsters; but who really creates who? This is a book about reason, the imagination, and the creative act of reading and writing. Marcus Sedgwick's ghostly, menacing novel celebrates the legacy of Mary Shelley's literary debut in its bicentenary year.
Let's start with a confession: I chose this book because of the cover, and can you blame me? The illustrations inside are beautifully done and alongside the formatting make this book an immersive experience.
So, going into this book I had literally no clue what to expect only that it was supernatural fiction, and I only know that because it was one of the books featured on the supernatural panel at the NYALitFest.
Whilst the genre on Goodreads categorises this as a horror, I wouldn't particularly agree, although it is a gripping ghost story.
I opened this book on a whim and quickly fell in love with the prose, the rhythm and flow of the words, and the poetry-esque format, so much so that I couldn't put it down. I devoured this book in just two hours.
I quickly fell under the writers spell, his voice swept me up immediately and plunged me into the story, the setting, the mystery. I had a hard time actually figuring out whether it was fiction or non-fiction, and I love that it made me doubt reality (or at least my reality) for a little while.
This book spoke volumes to me, maybe because I’m working on my own writing, my own creations.
However, it isn't without it's faults. The fact that the main premise of the book centres around a man expressing his hatred for the work of a woman and then that very woman asking him for help to 'fix' or help people to better understand her creation, seems more than a little arrogant.
There were also times when I felt as though I was 'missing' something. As if the story was only meant for those who had read the author's other books (which I haven't) and so I almost felt as though I'd skipped a step, not able to fully understand certain parts of it.
That aside, I can't deny that I did enjoy the ghost story itself. I experienced moments of humour, fear, trepidation, awe and beauty in this book and I would highly recommend it to readers and writers of fiction alike.
"For fiction is not about life; it's about the troubles in life. That is why we read it. To understand, to grow, to know, to believe, to hope. That all the troubles one faces in life can be overcome, eventually."
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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.
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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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