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Thursday 31 August 2017

August 2017 Wrap Up!

Can you believe August is over already? This summer absolutely flew by! August especially was such a busy month for me - I was volunteering for two weeks in South Africa at the start of this month so there was no chance whatsoever for me to blog between all the work I was doing (as well as the fact that there was very little internet in the little village I was staying at). However I did get quite a bit of reading done so even though I've very few blog posts put up, it was still a productive reading month! Let's see how much I read!

*click on each cover to see the book on Goodreads*



 I also read the five novellas that go with the Shadow and Bone trilogy, but since they were all less than 100 pages do they really count??

Currently Reading:


Never finished:


I just couldn't get into Atlantia, unfortunately. I bought it only because it was €3 so there's no love lost, I wasn't expecting anything huge, but it's always sad to have to give up on a book. I made it halfway, at least.

Not a bad month, if I do say so, but I guess 16 hour planes to Africa definitely helps! I spent the majority of the month in Leigh Bardugo's Grishaverse, while also going back to World War II in Salt to the Sea. 

Did you have a good reading month? What did you read? Let me know in the comments!

*cover photo courtesy of Star Crossed book blog!*

Tuesday 29 August 2017

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo


Book: Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

Series: Six of Crows #1

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company

Release Date: September 25th 2015

Game of Thrones meets Ocean's Eleven in this brand new fantasy epic from the number 1 NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author of SHADOW AND BONE, SIEGE AND STORM and RUIN AND RISING, Leigh Bardugo.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price - and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy, Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone. 

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction - if they don't kill each other first.

Leigh Bardugo's writing has captivated readers since SHADOW AND BONE was published in 2012. SIX OF CROWS will take Leigh's fans back into the world they know and love. As gripping, sweeping and memorable as The Grisha Trilogy, this is perfect for fans of Laini Taylor, Kristin Cashore and Game of Thrones.

Tuesday 22 August 2017

Reviews: Siege and Storm & Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Hi all!! I'm back. I'm sorry I was MIA for a small while, I was volunteering in South Africa for two weeks - I only came home on Saturday! There was next to no internet where I was staying so there was no way of updating my blog or Goodreads while I was away. But I had an absolutely amazing time, want to go back again, but I am now ready to go back to real life and everything it beckons. And with that comes the reviews of the Grisha trilogy which I finished while in Africa!



Book: Siege and Storm, Leigh Bardugo
Series: Shadow and Bone #2
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company 
Release Date: June 4th 2013
Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

I completely fell head over heels in love with the world of the Grisha in Shadow and Bone and couldn’t wait to get back into this world, especially with how Shadow and Bone ended.

It’s been a few weeks since I finished this book so I can’t go into huge detail about everything that’s happened (sorry) but I did absolutely love it, I do know that much.

But I can sum up why I adored this book in one word: Nikolai.

I mean, need I go on? The pirate cough privateer cough is so snarky and loveable and amazing that I was beaming ear to ear every time he appeared on the page. He was completely confident and at ease with who he was and never once apologised for it.

Alina is still struggling with her new role and she goes through so much emotional turmoil and challenges, yet her strength and perseverance and love of her country allowed her to come out swinging and never let herself give up. 

And between herself, Mal and the Darkling… sigh. The Darkling came out as the official villain at the end of Shadow and Bone and despite the connection between Alina and the Darkling; I can’t see anything happening romantically between them. This makes me really sad though, because even though Mal is obviously the one who is best suited for Alina, it is impossible not to get shivers every time Alina and the Darkling are together. 

“I’ve seen what you truly are,” said the Darkling, “and I’ve never turned away. I never will. Can he say the same?” 

No matter what, I will always root for the misunderstood villain. They can be so much more relatable than the perfect-without-faults good guy.

I know this review is all over the place, so I'm sorry, but basically, this world and story is definitely one getting invested in and I'm really enjoying the journey I'm being taken on. 



Book: Ruin and Rising, Leigh Bardugo 
Series: Shadow and Bone #3
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Release Date: June 17th 2014

The capital has fallen.

The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

Now the nation's fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova's amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling's secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.

Wow. I can’t believe some of the reviews on GR for this book. I mean, I get it, in a way. It must be next to impossible to write an ending that is realistic, while not being too perfect, which satisfies everyone. I didn’t even know how I wanted this book to end for the most part.

At the start I was rooting for Alina and Nikolai to rule as king and queen despite not being romantically linked toward each other, but when those that ever happen in a YA book? Even though it happened all the time in real life royal history, you’ll never see it in YA fantasy.

I don’t want to spoil exactly what happened, but my exact feelings are… meh. I don’t hate it, I don’t love it. I'm squarely in the middle of neutral-ville. I'm not rating this book for its ending; I'm rating it in spite of it.

So let’s move past the controversial ending and onto the book itself and its characters. Alina has been such a fantastic heroine. She has grown so much from that ordinary, skinny, grumpy girl we first met into a powerful, confident and strong leader who knows what she’s capable of and what she needs to achieve. She was far from perfect, and made some decisions I didn’t agree with sometimes, but that imperfection made her that much more likeable, and completely drove her away from Mary Sue territory.

This book had me guessing and confused until the very end, and even at the end I wasn’t sure what to expect. It completely kept me on my toes and I absolutely loved it for that! Mal and Alina’s relationship, while not my favourite YA couple, is still full of love and commitment even though you weren’t always sure how they were going to survive.

The Darkling was amazing as usual, and despite how terribly evil he was, it was impossible not to feel drawn to him most of the time. Did his ending suit his character? I don’t know. I feel Leigh Bardugo tried to be as realistic as possible while still pleasing fans, and while I love to imagine a “perfect ending” for all these characters, I know I'm never going to read that unless I write it myself or read about it in fanfiction.

Nikolai is still the most snarky, arrogant, fantastic character in this world and I hope he appears in Six or Crows, or is at least mentioned! I have no clue what that duology is about except that some agree it’s even better than this trilogy. I don’t know how that will be, but I’ll soon find out!

All in all, I adored this trilogy and I'm not ready to leave this world yet. Read it if you love fantasy, kickass characters and magic. It won’t let you down.