My Rating System

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So for ages I haven’t had an actual rating system and I have finally created one. Before this I kinda just went with whatever I felt at the time. However I want to start being a bit more critical about my reviews because when I first started I didn’t really think about it too much and now that I look at my Reviews by Rating page I have realised just how many book I rate with 5 stars. So that is why I have created a rating system. I am also going to go back and alter some of the ratings on my previous reviews on this blog so they more accurately fit this rating system.


My Rating System


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Top 5 Wednesday – Books with LGBTQ+ Characters

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This Meme is hosted by Thoughts On Tomes and the prompts can be found on Goodreads.

This week’s prompt is: Favorite LGBTQ+ Reads
–Talk about your favorite books that feature LGBTQ+ characters or are by LGBTQ+ authors.

I don’t have a top 5 LGBTQ+ Books as I haven’t read enough that I loved to make 5. So instead I’m going to talk about 3 Fantasy books with LGBTQ+ characters as I need to read more of them! And I have 2 of my favourite YA books with LGBTQ+ characters.


Fantasy Books with LGBTQ+ Characters

I’m only basing this on google that these books actually have LGBTQ+ characters.

1. The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

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2. Half Bad by Sally Green

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3. The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

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This series has an LGBTQ+ character towards the end of the series I think.

Favourite books with LGBTQ+ Characters

1. You Know Me Well by Nina LaCour & David Levithan

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2. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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If you have any recommendations of YA fantasy books with Diverse characters please leave them in the comments! I want to read more diverse books but as there is a larger amount of diverse books in the contemporary genre than the fantasy genre, and I don’t enjoy contemporary as much as fantasy, I just don’t read many

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April 2017 The YA Chronicles Subscription Box Unboxing

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So I just recently posted me overview for all the boxes since I starting purchasing them! You can find that HERE! On the 1st of April The YA Chronicles put their prices up due to a change in shipping costs or something for them. They did a poll on twitter I think asking whether people wanted it to go up $5 and the box stays the same or $10 and get some more items in the box each month. This is the first box that they has applied to and this box contained 5 bookish items.


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SUBSCRIPTION BOX

The YA Chronicles is based in Australia so for me this is great, being Australian the shipping is pretty cheap and the box gets to me quickly!

Here is the link to their website!

It says on the website that there is international shipping, so I’m assuming they ship everywhere, so I’m sorry if they don’t ship to your country!

I will only be posting costing in AUD, so if you want to know what it would cost in your country then you can go here to convert it.

Cost of the Box: $39.99 AUD
Shipping to Aus and NZ: $9.99 AUD (this includes tracking)
Shipping internationally: $24.99 AUD (this includes tracking)

At the moment they have a Pride Box available which will include 1 new release hardcover  featuring a gay male protagonist & a new release Australian debut novel featuring a bisexual female character. The box are released in May and the boxes will ship shortly after. The box will cost $34.99 + shipping. I haven’t purchased this yet but if I have some spare cash before its sold out then I will. 

Also, this subscription box is not automatically recurring, so you do have to purchase it every month, which is good because it means you can easily pick and choose the themes that you want to purchase

In this box every month, you receive a new release paperback YA book, a TYAC bookmark with that month’s theme on the back and 2-5 other bookish items. Each month is themed and the theme is announced as soon as the subscription box goes on sale!


What I received

Volume twenty, Bippity Boppity Book

As always, I will write under each photo what is written on the description card that you get in the box. I’m also going to add pricing or a guess at pricing to see if this box is worth $50 AUD.

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Harry Potter Inspired notebook

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This month we’ve included for you an absolutely stunning Harry Potter inspired Notebook from Literary Emporium. There were six possible covers for you to receive: Magical Thinking, Potions, Advanced Spells, Divination, Magical Creatures, or Dark Forces.

This book is worth 4.00 GBP on their website, which is $6.65 AUD

A Darker Shade of Magic Magnetic Bookmarks

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We love the A Darker Shade of Magic trilogy and so we’v included ADSOM magnetic bookmarks thanks to ReadAndWonder on Etsy. You will receive either Kell & Lila or Rhy & Alucard.

I haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic yet, can someone let me know which of that characters these are in the comments please! 

On the ReadAndWonder Etsy page a set of 2 magnetic bookmarks are $4.00 AUD

The Night Circus Ticket

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The circus arrives without warning, but fear not for you already have your ticket! Your night circus ticket was created for you by the lovely RedGoldSparksPress on etsy. It’s good for one entry so make the most of it.

You can purchase a set of 3 of these tickets on their etsy site for $10.20 AUD, so that is $3.40 each and we only get 1.

Niffler Key Chain

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One of the best things to come from Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is the niffler. We wish we could have our own pet Niffler and this Niffler Keychain is the next best thing.

I found a similar keychain for sale for $12.00 online. I couldn’t find any with hearts instead of coins as this was obviously specially made.

Cinderella & Fairy Godmother Print

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With a theme like this, we just had to include something from Cinderella. This Cinderella and Godmother print from Loliefreta on Etsy is stunning with the use of colour on black. All of loliefreta’s prints are stunning so make sure to check out her shop.

On their etsy shop this costs $13.47

The Secret Science of Magic Playing Card

The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil

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Welcome to the April “Bippity Boppity Book” box filled with all things magical! Our book this month is the wonderful The Secret Science of Magic by Melissa Keil. This coming-of-age tale follows teenagers Sophia and Joshua. Sophia is genius-level smart but can’t quite figure out how to crack the code that is social interaction. Joshua spends his time honing magic tricks and planning how to win Sophia’s heart. In live and love, timing is everything.

Goodreads Synopsis:

A captivating novel about two extraordinary teens, and the unsolvable problem of life after high school.

Sophia is smart, like genius-calculator-brain smart. But there are some things no amount of genius can prepare you for, and the messiness of real life is one of them. When everything she knows is falling apart, how can she crack the puzzle of what to do with her life?

Joshua spends his time honing magic tricks and planning how to win Sophia’s heart. But when your best trick is making schoolwork disappear, how do you possibly romance a genius?

In life and love, timing is everything.

From Melissa Keil, the award-winning YA author of Life in Outer Space and The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl.

This book cost $19.99 on QBD at the moment. It isn’t available on Book Depository or I would have got their pricing. 

The Bookmark

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I will just give this bookmark $2 in value because its not a handmade/homemade/hand designed print. It’s just a printed bookmark. 

The Card

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So for pricing this box is worth $61.51, so it is worth a bit over $50 (the $50 includes shipping within Aus) so that is pretty good and worth the money!

I don’t know if the book is something I will read, but maybe eventually! I’m not a big contemporary reader, so this book isn’t going straight to the top of my TBR pile. The magnetic bookmarks are cute but as I haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic yet I don’t know which pair they are yet. The niffler keychain is cute but he needs a nose! The notebook is interesting and I love how old it looks. The Night Circus ticket is a fun item, I haven’t read The Night Circus yet but plan to and the Cinderella print is really pretty and will go up on my wall by the end of today!

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An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: An Ember in the Ashes
Author: 
Sabaa Tahir
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Pages: 446 (Hardback)
Publishers: Razorbill
Rating:

4 and a half Star

Goodreads Synopsis:

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

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Well I am having an awesome reading month so far! I was in a tad bit of a reading slump the last couple months and had only been getting 2 to 4 books read in a month, but so far this month I have read 6 books and finished an audiobook! 


Cover Art: 

I like this cover because it actually shows part of the place where the story takes place. The cliff with the Blackcliff Academy at the top in the background. I like that you can picture how the buildings and stuff look at the Academy. I also like that Elias & Laia are in the cover, Laia at the bottom in the sand and Elias in the H. 

Also, this book is bloody huge! And I don’t mean thick/pages I mean the actual size, like this book is the same length as my iPad Air 2 and only 1 cm narrower than the iPad. It is massive and because its a hardcover its pretty heavy too and hard to hold up for long periods of time when laying in bed.

Writing:

I enjoyed Sabaa Tahir’s writing in this book, it’s not as beautiful as say Laini Taylors or J.K. Rowlings but it was still pretty good and also really easy to follow. This was also a pretty quick read for the size of the book. Her writing is really easy to read and I think that is why it was such a quick read. The world building in this book was really well done aswell and also easy to follow.

Also, it has maps!!! 2 to be exact! I like that these are in the front and back cover of the hardcover, which makes it easy to flip back to them. Inside the front cover has a map of The Empire & the back cover has a map of the Blackcliff Academy! Most books only have maps of entire countries or whatever they happen to be called in the certain book, but this book has a map of the academy as well which is really cool and interesting to get a close up view of where everything is in the Academy. 

Plot:

I love how intense and interesting this plot was! There was never a dull moment in this book and there were tonnes of twists and turns to keep you interested the whole time! This plot was also fairly unique, I have obviously read books with similar tropes in it, but the rest of it was pretty unique from anything else I’ve read!

Characters:

This book is Multi POV and follows 2 main characters Elias & Laia. Elias is a really interesting character I love how he always tried to stay true to what he believed in unless he had no choice and in the end he drew a line and stuck to it, even if his own life was in danger. Laia was probably one of the more relatable ‘female heroin’ type characters that I’ve read. She never tried to pretend that she was some badass, tough and fearless character, she showed weaknesses and she showed that sometimes she felt like giving up. But she is loyal to her brother and her friends and what is right and will never give up and that is what makes her strong! 

I enjoyed Izzi’s character and the fire in her that she occasionally showed when helping Laia. Cook I believe had her and Izzi’s best interest at heart and will always take the safest road. But she came through in the end and I’m really curious about her back story but I don’t know if we’ll find out in the following books. I honestly didn’t like Helene, she annoyed me basically the whole time and she always contradicted herself which was irritating. She wants to make a difference but not enough of a difference for it to actually mean anything! At the end I get why she chose what she did but that was the only time I really agreed with her. Mazen I didn’t like from the start and was suspicious of the whole time. Keenan was an interesting character and I’m keen to see more of him in the next books hopefully! The commandant, can someone just push her over the cliff already. 

Overall:

I really enjoyed this book, the only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was that the writing didn’t blow me away and I’m trying to be a bit more critical as I easily give out high ratings to books I enjoy without thinking through every aspect of the book and judging the entire thing. So I did really enjoy this book but there was just a couple little things that weren’t perfect for me, so that is why I chose to rate it 4 1/2 stars. 


So as I just said I’m going to try and be more critical about my ratings. I’m also thinking about creating a type of rating system to judge it by easily. 

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Tag Sunday – The Chocolate Book Tag

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And I’m back for another tag! This one I thought should be easter themed! So that is what I searched and this is what I found!

Here we go!


1) Dark Chocolate – A book with a dark theme/content

I honestly can’t think of a book I have read that has a really dark theme or content, so I’m going with a book that is on my TBR that has dark themes.

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2) White Chocolate – A light-hearted/humourous read

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3) Milk Chocolate – A book with a lot of hype that you are dying to read

4) Chocolate With a Caramel Centre –  A book that makes you feel gooey on the inside

Well honestly I don’t think of any books as ‘gooey feeling’. So I turned to google and apparently Vampire Academy is a gooey read, I don’t see it but I’ll chuck it up anyway haha

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5) A Wafer-Free KitKat – A book that surprised you lately

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 6) Snickers – A book you are going nuts about

I don’t really have an answer for this as I’m not ‘going nuts’ about a book right now. I’m going nuts about the Fantastic Beasts movie as I’ve watched it about 5 times in the last 2 weeks!

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7) Hot Chocolate with Whipped Cream and Marshmallows – A comfort read that you turn to again and again

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8) Box of Chocolates – A series that has something for everyone


I TAG:

Because I’ll be doing them every Sunday, I am only going to tag 1 person in each so I’m not tagging the same people all the time! So each week I will tag my latest follower! Hopefully there will be a new ones each week to tag.

My Name Is Daniela

And this is a brand new blog, go and follow!


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Discussion Friday – Cover Buys

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Well HAPPY EASTER everyone! I don’t know what day you’re actually mean to say that as their is damn 4 days of Easter, 3 with names and it’s confusing. But anyway, here is my second Discussion Friday post! If you saw my post on Sunday, I think, I explained why I missed last weeks Discussion Friday, but if you didn’t see it… I was at the pub drinking, didn’t get home till 3 in the morning and that was not happening after 3am, so I missed a week, oh well, moving on!

Now onto the discussion! I want to break this kinda into sections so it’s not just a tonne of paragraphs all over the place..


Have I Purchased Any Books ONLY Because Of The Cover?

Yes, yes I have. It happens occasionally. I have 2 books on my TBR shelves that are Cover Buys and they are Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon & These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. So two isn’t that bad and they are both books that I think I might read eventually, probably more likely These Broken Stars as I’m mainly a Sci-Fi & Fantasy reader. That probably sounds bad because I know that Everything, Everything is meant to be really good and it’s diverse, but I don’t really read diverse books, purely because I don’t enjoy contemporary as much as fantasy and there is a limited amount of diverse characters in fantasy books. But if you have suggestions of diverse fantasy, please share them in the comments!

Why I don’t generally ONLY cover buy

So I usually have pretty good control of myself when it comes to book buying. This is partially, well actually mainly because I can’t afford to be wasting money on books that are just going to sit on my shelves and never get read! Sorry but I aint that rich! So I usually control myself. I never go to bookstores either, so that helps. I wish I could go to book stores but I live 3 hours from the nearest decent one and it’s also alot dearer than Book Depository! So I don’t have the impulse to buy books that I see are beautiful sitting on the shelf, because I don’t shop in book stores and looking at books on Book Depository doesn’t have the same effect.

Why I think cover buying is fine, if done right

So, no I will never think only cover buys are okay, meaning books that you pick up and think ‘hey this is pretty, but I don’t know anything about it, it’s a genre I don’t read? Oh well it’s beautiful’ and put it in your basket. That’s just not smart, if you have more money than me, by all means waste it on books that will sit on your shelf for years and never be touched. But I’m not about that life.

How I Cover Buy

What I mean by done right, is I think the way you go about buying books that you didn’t just go onto book depository or into the book store specifically looking for. So, if I am in a book store or browsing through book depository and I see a beautiful book, the first thing I do is look at the genre. In bookstores that easy because its usually labelled what section you’re in, on BD I just jump on Goodreads and search it. If it is a YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi, then I may just purchase it, as I enjoy going into books knowing bare minimum if I can help it. I don’t always reads synopsis for that reason.

However if I’m still hesitant then I will check on Goodreads to see if any of my Goodreads friends have read it and look at their rating or want to read it. If Goodreads friends I know I have similar tastes to either want to or have read it and rated it 4 or 5 stars then I will probably pick it up.

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This is a section of  my ‘friend reviews’ for Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

If it isn’t an as well known book and my friends don’t have any ratings or very few then I might look at the synopsis on goodreads, I don’t always do this as like I said I like going into a book knowing nothing, but if the cover really has me curious and my other methods don’t work then I will read the synopsis and see what it’s about and then I will decide to either pick it up or leave it.

Why Covers Are Important To Look At

So (I really need more words besides ‘so’ to start paragraphs, oh well), the way I see it, book covers are like movie trailers. They are the first thing you see about a new movie and covers are the first thing you see about a book. They are advertisements that are meant to draw you over to that shelf in the book store and make you want to pick that one up. That is just how it is.

Yes I know “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” but you kinda have to when it comes to books you’re not familiar with. You do it without even noticing it. You walk into a bookstore and go into the section for your fave genre and there is a book sitting there with just a grey background colour and the name of the author and title on the front in white and next to it is a gorgeous bright blue coloured book with colourful feathers on it. Which are you going to pick up? The dull one or the beautiful one, of course, most people will pick up the beautiful one and read the blurb from there. That’s how it works. I know that book sitting next to the pretty one could be an amazing book that you would love, but humans are visual things and we can’t help when pretty things draw our attention, it’s human nature.

Of course their is times when you shop for books and the covers aren’t important to you, like if you’re searching for a specific book that you think you’ll enjoy, even if it has a ugly cover in your opinion, you pick that up. But when it comes to books you aren’t familiar with, it is going to happen.

Yes, cover shopping is okay

I think there should be a new term, ‘cover shop’. When you are shopping and you look at books that appeal to you but you assure they are something you will enjoy before actually making the purchase. I’m okay with cover shopping.

So, yes people are going to cover shop, but as long as you are smart enough to make sure it is something you will actually read before choosing to buy it, then you’re fine. If not your thing then just have another look at that beautiful cover  and walk away.


Discussion time

Do you cover shop or cover buy?
How do you decide to purchase a new book that you weren’t familiar with prior?
What cover buys have you made?
What cover shopping books have you chosen to purchase and turned out to be amazing books?

Also let me know any topics I should discuss!

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The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid – Review

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Title: The Diabolic
Author: 
S.J. Kincaid

Genre: YA Science Fiction
Publication Date: November 1st, 2016
Pages: 403 (Hardback)
Publishers: Simon & Schuster
Rating:
5 Star

Goodreads Synopsis:

A Diabolic is ruthless. A Diabolic is powerful. A Diabolic has a single task: Kill in order to protect the person you’ve been created for. Nothing else.

For Nemesis, that person is Sidonia, heir to the galactic Senate. The two grew up side by side, and there’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the Imperial Court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corrupt politicians and two-faced Senators’ children, and Nemesis must find within herself the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have—humanity. With the Empire beginning to fracture and rebellion looming, that could be the one thing that saves her and the Empire itself.

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Okay, so I’m going to try something a little bit different for this review! I saw someone else do this on their blog, I don’t remember who it was or I would credit them as that’s where I first saw it. 

What I’m going to do is do both a spoiler free & spoilery version of this review. The Spoiler free parts will be in black and the spoilery parts will be in purple. This is a review that I simply don’t think I can fully write with only spoiler free. I won’t be giving away massive spoilers but just some things that can be counted as spoilery! 


Cover Art:

I really like this cover! It’s so beautiful and matches Nemesis perfectly in this story! I can’t find a pic the exact one I have as my hardback copy says “Designed to protect. destined to destroy…” written under the butterfly. I love that little piece of text as well. I went into this book knowing 0 things about it, so that little quote intrigued me. 

Writing:

The writing was well done! I have seen a fair few people adding this book to their DNF shelf on goodreads and some reviews from people who DNF are saying they did it because this book is slow paced and they couldn’t connect with Nemesis. As for being slow paced at the start, I wouldn’t say that, granted it wasn’t action packed every second, but there is nothing wrong with that! In life there isn’t going to be action all the time, it just doesn’t happen and it’s not realistic, even for a fictional world. So I have no issue with the slower pace at the start, we learnt things about the world and the people in it and built up for the intense rest of the book, to me, that’s good writing. As for not connecting with Nemesis, sorry did anyone else read the part about her being genetically modified human being that are designed to have no emotions? Was I the only one that got that bit, because taking that into account, to me it makes complete sense that you didn’t connect with the character! We as readers are human, we have feelings, we have experiences. She is not meant to have feelings or a personality, that is the point. How can we connect with a character that isn’t meant to have a personality? Rant over, moving on! 

Plot:

I did really enjoy this plot! I loved the setting as well, I don’t read very many books set in space for some reason, but I really enjoyed it in this book. To me this book had some Beauty and the Beast vibes too. Nemesis being the ‘foul creature who doesn’t know love’ and someone coming into her life that changes that even if it was a struggle for her! Definite Beauty and the Beast vibes with that, but I’m not mad at it. Besides the fact that Beauty in the Beast is a massive thing I haven’t read many books that use that trope. Well except the fact that I just read A Court of Thorns and Roses and it touches on the same trope. 

This  books was also FULL of twists and turns! There was a couple times where I literally had to close the book, sit it down and take a second to think about what just happened. Plost twist galore! Usually I’m okay at getting a rough idea of what might be coming next but this book definitely threw me off my game! I would definitely not read this next bit if you haven’t read the book!! First Sidonia and her family gets killed, and then Tyrus turns out not to be a madman, Tyrus & Nemesis nearly die from a missile and then Sidonia appears ALIVE and then Elantra tried to kill Nemesis and Sidonia and then Cyga kills her son and then when Nemesis thought she was going to be sent to her death Tyrus comes around and sends Cyga to her death instead?!?! Like WHAT just happened?! 

There is one little sentence that struck me as odd in this book and that was in chapter 37 where *someone* is looking through books and they are using a translation bot to translate from obsolete languages including “Latin”, “Russian” and “English”. I don’t know why but the fact that it implies that they are speaking some new or other language intrigued me when the book is written in English. I don’t know why that struck me as so odd, but it did. 

Characters:

So if you read the spoilery part above talking about connecting with Nemesis then you know that obviously I didn’t connect with her, because of reasons above. Anyway, I did still like Nemesis as a character that internal struggle with her was interesting. Sidonia was an enjoyable character too. I like how she cared so much about Nemesis, especially at the end we find out just how much she cared. I’m still not 100% sure that that part was meant to imply whether she just simply cared and loved Nemesis like a friend or more. It wasn’t directly specified but I got the hint of more than a friend. I liked the first time we met Tyrus through the, I can’t think what they called it, but the virtual reality type thing. That part made me laugh and set him as an interesting character from the start. Even if he was a madman to begin with. Senator Von Impyrean wasn’t really there enough to comment on as we only really knew him from the facts that Sidonia and Nemesis said not him personally. The Matriarch may not have cared for Nemesis but she was just trying to do what was best for her daughter by sending Nemesis instead of Sidonia. There was a lot more hated characters in this book than loved ones, but that’s just how it is when you’re surrounded by people who are simply power hungry and will kill anyone that stands in their way. So there was characters like Elantra, the Emperor and Cyga who you just wanted to punch from the start. There was also people like Glaggic who were just pathetic and followed higher powered people around like puppy dogs. Then there was Salivar and Devineé and I couldn’t be more happy to what came to them considering what they did to most of the young girls that came to the Chrysanthemum alone. It’s disgusting.  

Overall:

I really enjoyed this book, it had meaning, it has a message and was well done. This is definitely  book I can see myself reread and picking up on even more stuff that I didn’t pick up the first time.

Also, this book was meant to be a standalone, some of the editions on goodreads still appear as a standalone but on the goodreads authors page in the question someone asked and S.J. Kincaid has said that there will be 2 sequels coming! And now that I have checked there is some editions that come up saying that this is book #1 of The Diabolic series. So that’s really exciting! I’m keen to find out what happens next! 


Now to decide what to pick up next!

Also curious I have been considering doing a video bookshelf tour as I love watching them on YouTube!?!? Would you be interested?!

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