Rating: 4.5 STARS!
How I got this book: Bought via Audible
It’s not easy for a young gay artist like Jordan Carson to grow up in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where all anyone seems to care about in middle school and high school are the sports teams. But Jordan was lucky. He met Owen Nelson in the second grade, and they’ve been BFFs ever since. Owen is a big, beautiful blond and their school’s champion wrestler. No one messes with Owen, or with anyone close to him, and he bucks popular opinion by keeping Jordan as his wingman even after Jordan comes out at school.
Their friendship survives, but Jordan’s worst enemy may be himself: he can’t seem to help the fact that he is head-over-heels in love with a hopeless case—his straight friend, Owen. Owen won’t let anything take Jordan’s friendship away, but he never counted on Jordan running off to find a life of his own. Owen will have to face the nature of their relationship if he’s to win Jordan back.
TW: Homophobia, suicide, consent.
I just want to start by saying how much I LOVED the narrator! Eli Easton is a fantastic author and Tristan Wright truly bought this book to life and injected so much emotion that I could not put it down and ended up starting the book before bed and finishing it at around 1:30am (oops!)
I love Jordan (Jordi) - he is so, so sweet and relatable and adorable and I just felt my heart breaking for him throughout the entire book.
Owen is a pure soul and so incredibly naive that I often found myself wishing I could wake him to the truth.
The friendship between these characters is just beautiful, made even more so by the pain and turmoil they each face. Eli Easton writes drama, tragedy and pain incredibly well, none more so (for me at least) than in Boy Shattered but there are sections of this book that are equally moving and heart wrenching.
There was so much drama, emotion, humour and friendship in this book and it was just fantastic!
Rating: 4.5 STARS
Standalone/Series: Spellslinger #4
How I got this book: ARC from Bonnier Zaffre and Hot Key Books via NetGalley
The fourth book in the page-turning SPELLSLINGER fantasy series.
Perfect for fans of The Dark Tower, Firefly, Guardians of the Galaxy, Terry Pratchett, Ben Aaronovitch and Jim Butcher.
(Not much of a synopsis on Goodreads, but, if you haven't read the first three books in the Spellslinger series yet, you can find them here!)
I discovered the first book in the Spellslinger series in December 2017, and after reading the following two books in the series earlier this year, it's become a huge favourite.
So, I was more than excited to see Soulbinder pop up in NetGalley as I was desperate to find out what happened after the events of Charmcaster. I'm going to do my very best here to keep any spoilers out of this review, but if you haven't read the first three books of this series, you might want to look away now. You can find my reviews of book two (Shadowblack) and book three (Charmcaster) by clicking on the respective links.
This series goes from strength to strength with each new instalment that I read, and Soulbinder is no exception. It felt much more action-packed than the other books in the series, which really sped up the pace.
I have noticed a few recurring trends in these books, often with how they start (in the form of the trouble that Kellen is usually in), something bad happening to my favourite character, and the endings which lead Kellen on a new path and show how much he's grown, but each time it's something a little different that keeps things fresh and moving forward, and whilst each individual book has a sub-plot, the overall plot is continuously fuelled and driven forwards.
One of the best things about this book is the new characters, in particular, Butelios who is the absolute sweetest person, and the source of many, many smiles during his interactions with Kellen.
"...wearing an idiots smile so bright it made you want to kiss him. Even if you weren't into boys."
(Shame, because I'd totally ship these two!)
Kellen has developed beautifully throughout this series, discovering new strengths, facing his weaknesses, learning new truths and just becoming a better person. He truly rules this book (as does my little fur baby Reichis, of course) and his agony was so painful to witness, even though at the same time you can visibly see just how much he's grown and learned from Ferius and Reichis, becoming the hero (I personally believe) he was destined to be all along.
This book is the most heart-wrenching of the entire series, and I was so close to sobbing at one point that I almost didn't want to continue, so brace yourself for ALL THE FEELS!
"Life ought to be more than just losing the things you love one after another until you have nothing left."
As always, the politics between the various regions, clans, peoples etc. in this series, made the book extremely interesting, as did seeing the cast of new characters clashing with the old. Look out for some pretty awesome new displays of magic!!
The book itself is absolutely stunning, so far we've had beautifully illustrated covers in red, blue, orange and now green...I think the next one is purple and it's going to look stunning! The illustrations inside are also beautiful and work extremely well alongside the funny and poignant quotes at the start of each paragraph.
"Cages have bars and everyone knows you're supposed to escape a cage, but houses have walls and people lock themselves inside to feel safe. You ask me, it's a lot easier to break out of a cage than a house. - What passes for Squirrel Cat Wisdom."
After reading Soulbinder, I can't wait to find out where Kellen's journey takes him next, to discover new enemies, reface old ones, to reconnect with past characters, to be introduced to new ones, and above all, to see what kind of man he becomes.
"...I won't know for sure until I meet the man you're going to be once you finally get tired of being the boy you once were."
If fantasy and magic is your thing and you're looking for a story featuring an unlikely non-typical hero, a ferocious, bloodthirsty squirrel cat, beautiful friendships, brutal enemies and uncertainty at every turn, I highly recommend that you read this series!
Feel free to chat with me about it in the comments whilst I twiddle my thumbs waiting for book 5!
Rating: 4.5 STARS
Genre: Contemporary Romance
How I got this book: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review
Brooklyn Manning thought her life was perfect in every way, until it crumbled down around her and turned into a dumpster fire. With her pride wounded and her tail tucked between her legs, she leaves New York and goes back to her tiny hometown of White Timber, Montana.
No more twenty-four-hour taco trucks, no more shopping at the best designer stores within walking distance, no more giving taxi drivers the finger when they angrily honk at her. She didn’t think it could get any worse. But then Clint Hastings walked into the room and insulted her.
Her arch nemesis from high school is no longer a nerdy computer whiz, masturbating to pictures in PC World magazine in his free time (allegedly). He’s grown up to be a hot-as-hell cowboy, and she has no other choice but to be a smart ass right back to him. After all, it’s what they do. It’s what they’ve always done, and twelve years apart hasn’t changed anything.
Only this time, getting under each other’s skin is a hell of a lot more fun than it used to be.
Pumpkins. Enemies to Lovers. Pumpkins. Cute Kids. Pumpkins. Sexy Cowboy. Pumpkins. Friendship. Pumpkins.
If, like me, you freaking LOVE AUTUMN and you're ready for falling leaves, chilly evenings, blankets, jumpers, gorgeous sunsets, morning frost and Halloween...I know, I know, I didn't mention pumpkins, fun fact, I don't like pumpkins (not that I take offence at the fruit itself, I love carving the buggers), I just hate the taste, so pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice latte, all that fun stuff that people go crazy for at this time of the year, I just can't stand...PLEASE DON'T BURN ME AT THE STAKE!!
Anyway, if you love Autumn, and you're looking for a book to match your Autumn mood, The Simple Life is the book for you.
Brooklyn is a hot shot writer living in New York City but her 'perfect' life quickly goes south and she's forced to move back home to the town she fled when she was younger. Forced to face facts, not to mention an incredibly handsome and infuriating man who she hasn't seen for years, along with a couple of fun, yet struggling kids, Brooklyn's life is about to be turned upside down.
This book is so much fun! Tara Sivec has this way of writing that just draws me in and hooks me from page one and I always have trouble putting her books down. The Simple Life was no exception. The characters are realistic, the humour is blunt and hilariously inappropriate and the chemistry is sizzling.
I loved the insult trading between the two main characters. I loved seeing each character grow and develop over the course of the book, especially Brooklyn who completely came out of her shell, and then there's the girls; the two amazing crazy girls, the youngest of which totally reminded me of my own crazy, free spirited daughter.
I love the farm life aspect of this book and I love the unfiltered humour. Brooklyn and Clint's sarcastic nature along with their sizzling off-the-page chemistry really made this book stand out and made their relationship one of my favourites.
I devoured the book, not wanting to put it down, which is how I am with almost all of Tara Sivec's books, so if you're looking for a cosy, romantic, autumn read, The Simple Life is definitely the book for you.
This book is a 100% feel-good romantic comedy from one of my favourite romance authors with a guaranteed HEA.
Welcome to my stop on The Soul Keepers blog tour!!
Big thanks to Xpresso Book Tours for allowing me to participate, I really enjoyed reading this book and I'm excited to share my review with you all.
Rating: 3.5 STARS
How I got this book: ARC from Xpresso Book Tours
Death is just the beginning.
After dying in a terrible car accident, Rhett awakens in the afterlife and is recruited to join the crew of the Harbinger, a colossal seafaring vessel tasked with ferrying the souls of the dead. To where exactly, no one knows. But the crew must get the souls there, and along the way protect them from vicious soul-eating monsters that will stop at nothing to take the ship and all of its occupants.
Rhett and his new friends have a hard enough time fighting back the monsters that grow bolder and more ferocious every day. But then a new threat emerges, a demon who wants something that Rhett has. And if she gets it, it could mean the end of everything... for both the living and the dead.
This book took me COMPLETELY by surprise!
I admit that I struggled a little to get into it at the beginning but I quickly got caught up in the fantastic mythology.
To sum it up, this book felt like a mixture of Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean and a modern spin on Greek mythology.
I loved the writing style, particularly when it came to the action scenes which were fantastic, and also the plot twists which were extremely unexpected.
The characters were varied and interesting, keeping me engaged throughout and the mythology is fascinating, especially the ship itself, and its changing nature.
My only complaint with this book was the ending, I just felt that it left so many unanswered questions. However, I still thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend The Soul Keepers to mythology and YA fantasy lovers in general.
You can 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 The Soul Keepers (US/CAN only - 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
How I got this book: ARC from HarperCollins UK, Children's via NetGalley
Everyone knows what happens in the end.
A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss.
But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends.
One feared, one royal, and one already dead.
Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.
A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.
But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.
The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster.
I spotted this book on NetGalley and was drawn to it for two reasons:
1.) The cover is gorgeous! It's a little superficial to judge a book by its cover, I know (yet we all do it!), but it really drew me in. I loved the creepy, mysterious vibe to it and had high hopes for a dark story.
2.) From the synopsis, it's obvious that this story is connected to The Little Mermaid and I've really enjoyed a lot of the fairytale retellings that have been released year!
On that note, as you can probably gather from the cover and the synopsis, this story isn't so much a retelling as an Ursula origin story, which I was more than on-board with! I love a good villain story!
My thoughts on this book are a little mixed, so please bear with me as I'm still processing!
The opening chapter was interesting but a little confusing and I wasn't entirely sure I'd be able to get into this book. However, I soon found myself flying through chapters, the pace really picked up and I became heavily invested and intrigued to find out what would happen next.
It was definitely an interesting start to the story. I was invested in the characters, most particularly Evie, her story of hardship and life as an outcast made her character much stronger.
I also really liked Tante Hansa and Annemette; the latter really comes into her own as we near the end of the book and Tante Hansa's no-nonsense approach to life made me an instant fan of hers, especially with this particular quote,
"Don't grant all the prince's requests, darling girl. Men are always asking for more than they should."
Sadly, I wasn't too keen on the other characters. Iker was predictable from the start and Evie's obsession with him never made sense to me.
Nik is a marginally better character but the 'romance' aspect of this book really threw me off. It felt a bit messy and wishy-washy in places, leading up to a 'surprise' reveal at the end that was quite strange and didn't really make sense to me.
Sadly, just over halfway through the book, whilst I didn't at all lose interest or get bored, I did become more and more frustrated with Evie. She's so naive and at times almost oblivious to what's immediately in front of her and I just found some of the storyline a bit repetitive as she goes back and forth over how she's treated by everyone, her attraction to Iker, and her guilt.
I did push past this and kept reading, which I'm really glad I did because things got decidedly better when a certain 'truth' is finally revealed, which does take the story to a much darker place, and I did enjoy this a lot more.
The epilogue was probably my favourite chapter, although I ultimately felt sad that what I'd hoped at the beginning would be an empowering female novel, ended on a bit of a sour note for me.
Overall, whilst I did enjoy the premise of the story and the backstory it provided, I just felt that the main character lacked a little punch.
Recommended for fans of To Kill A Kingdom, The Language of Thorns and fairytale retellings in general.
Rating: 3.5 STARS
Standalone/Series: Spellslinger #2
How I got this book: Bought
It's a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind.
Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn't blind, and who carries a secret that's all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help - but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold - and Kellen can't help but suspect his own people may even be behind it.
I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days and I've really struggled to get the words to flow with this review, so apologies in advance if it stinks!
I read Spellslinger at the end of last year. I'd initially started it in October, got about 40% of the way in and then stopped because I just wasn't connecting fully with the story. But, I knew there was potential there and maybe it was just my mood at the time because I came back to it in December, finished it and really enjoyed it.
The characters are fantastic, and not the typical characters you'd expect. The main character Kellen is, well, I'm not really sure what he is. He isn't your typical hero, but he's also not an anti-hero. He's pretty helpless, clueless and s*** out of luck to the point that even his own sister lands him in a heap of trouble that will change his entire life...for better or worse, it's not all that clear yet.
Shadowblack starts shortly after Spellslinger ended and begins in the borderlands, our unwitting hero, Kellen is now an outlaw with the magical disease Shadowblack. Hunted by his own people, he's had to leave everything behind and now travels in the company of Ferius, a mystery Argosi traveller with a sharp tongue and even sharper card-fighting skills, and Reichis, a talking Squirrel cat with a thirst for eyeballs and thievery.
The story begins with Kellen finding himself on the wrong end of a beating (yet again), which is consistent with the previous book. The other thing consistent with the previous book is that I found the first 40% a little slow going. I kept pushing because, like with the last book, I was hoping things would pick up, and they did. Just after that 40/50% mark the pace definitely took a turn for the better and I found myself flying through the pages.
This instalment introduces new characters, new mystery and a deeper plot to the original story.
Ferius, as always, is there to guide Kellen, without getting too involved (as is the Argosi way) but this time there's discord in their relationship, and it's enhanced by the arrival of some new faces:
- Rosie (a.k.a The Path of Thorns and Roses) - an Argosi from Ferius's past - the relationship with these two was fun to watch but left a fair amount of mystery that I hope will be revealed in the future.
- Seneira - a blindfolded girl who isn't blind. Seneira has a secret, a potentially deadly one, and her snarky, no-nonsense attitude made a great addition to this book.
- Dexan - a mysterious Jan'Tep outlaw who gives Kellen a new path to follow.
- Mama Whispers - other than my absolute favourite character (I'll get to him in a minute), I absolutely loved the creepy Mama Whispers. I want more of her!!
Now to my favourite!! Reichis is without a doubt the best character of this entire series. I don't think I've ever related to a character as much as I did in the bath and biscuit scene (look out for it). Reichis is all of us after a long, hard day.
''Right now I just want to murder another one of those biscuits. Gimme.' I really don't understand squirrel cats.'
Kellen might not understand you Reichis, but I do! Biscuits are life!
And his constant need to murder someone after being around them for more than 5 minutes is entirely relatable!
'I crave human flesh tonight, and I will drain the blood of every skinbag I catch!'
The second book in this six book series shows Kellen coming into his own a lot more. He's starting to grow, using his head to figure things out and learning more about who he is, who he could be, and who he wants to be.
The overall plot that started in the first book really thickens in Shadowblack and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out over the rest of the series.
One of the things I enjoyed a lot about Shadowblack was that we get out of Jan'Tep, away from Kellen's home and can finally explore a little more of the world. I particularly love the idea behind the Seven Sands and that each region has a different colour of sand.
This book is packed to the brim with bounty hunters, magic, danger, mystery, secret plots, Argosi wisdom and trickery, squirrel cat bravery, a few kisses, spirits, butter biscuits, a bath or two, a lesson in smiling, a pink squirrel cat, and a crocodile.
Enjoy skinbags ;)
Rating: 4.5 STARS & 5 STARS!
Standalone/Series: Six of Crows Duology
How I got this book: Bought
So, I finally got my head out of the sand and picked up these two books. Holy crap! Why did it take me so long to read these?!?
I'm reviewing both books together because:
1 - I literally read them back to back with barely time to breathe between them.
2 - These two books belong together.
So, let's start with Six of Crows!
I finished this book a lot quicker than I expected to when I started. It's the first book I've read with quite so many POV's (there's 8 in total I think, although 2 are fleeting) and so at first, I found myself longing for more time to get to know each character.
However, I think this flitting POV gives the book a fantastic pace, I was half-way through and wondering how I'd got there so quickly and after a short while, I'd really started to bond with the characters.
I love them all, some more than others 💓INEJ💓JESPER💓!!
I also love the pairings, the ships in this book are some of my favourite - EVER!!
"I have beguiled you with my Grisha wiles!" 😂❤️"
The characters are fantastic:
Kaz, Inej, Jesper, Wylan, Nina and Mathias. They each have fantastic personalities, wit, drive, passion and fears they need to overcome and work through.
“They're all survivors. They adapt.”
The world building here is amazing. The character building is even better.
Six of Crows has intrigue, mystery, danger, friendship, misdirection and a whole hell of a lot of badass!
This really was like a much better, more fantastical and cooler teen version of Ocean's 11 crossed with the Breakfast Club - some of the plot twists were great and I loved the character development and backstory behind each character.
I'm slightly annoyed that EVERYTHING I've read lately ends on a cliffhanger...I need the next book, like yesterday!
So, I immediately picked up Crooked Kingdom after finishing Six of Crows because my love for this gang was burning and I needed more.
This book has destroyed me. The ending was so damn bittersweet it hurts.
Six of Crows was amazing, but Crooked Kingdom was everything, and in my opinion it made the first book so much better.
I love these characters. I love their skills, talents, flaws, secrets and most of all their fiercely beating hearts.
I have favourites (Inej and Jesper) but it's a close call as each character is fantastic in their own way. The world building continues to be brilliant and the way the author (and Kaz) keep you guessing until the very last minute is sheer perfection.
There were some truly joyous moments in this book that built from the last and were all the better for the buildup. I love that you literally never know what to expect from the plot and the characters (particularly Kaz who is a phenomenal character).
The ending literally made me cry with both sadness and joy, and whilst I won't spoil it for anyone, just make sure you have tissues close by, and plenty of waffles!
The book ended in a place that made me think there should surely be more. A few things were left in a place that I'm just not happy to leave but then maybe that was the intention as I can now stress dream over what happens next!!!
If you haven't read Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom yet, just do it, you won't be disappointed.
Leigh Bardugo is incredible and I NEED more! I guess it's only a matter of time now before I pick up the Shadow and Bone trilogy!
"No mourners, no funerals."
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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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