Wayward Children Series Audiobook Review & Beneath the Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire – Mini Spoiler Free Review

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Okay, so this post will be a little all over the place. First I just want to do an overall review of the audiobooks for Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones & Beneath the Sugar Sky.

All three books were narrated by different people. Every Heart a Doorway is narrated by Cynthia Hopkins,  Down Among the Sticks and Bones is narrated by the author, Seanan McGuire & Beneath the Sugar sky is narrated by Michelle Dockrey.
So because of that I can’t really do an overall opinion of all of them as they were all slightly different.

My least favourite was actually Down Among the Sticks and Bones narrated by the author. I personally didn’t love her voices for some of the characters, mostly the Doctor. She used this creepy husky whisper and it was very off-putting. This was a reread for me and I enjoyed the Doctor when reading the physical book, but with that voice it just made him feel like the creep. Down Among the sticks and Bones is also my least favourite out of the series so far and the narration didn’t help with that.

Now onto a more positive note. I really enjoyed the narration for Every Heart a Doorway, especially the narration for Kade, his voice just sounded like what it was meant to. He has a thick accent and when reading in my head I just didn’t give him that, but with the narration it was great.  I honestly think the audiobook helped me like him a lot more than I did when I first read the book too. My first opinion was he was kinda boring, but now I quite enjoy him. Overall Cynthia’s narration was really good and matched well with the narrator of the last book, whereas Seanan McGuire’s narration really stood out as not as good as the others.

Next onto an even more positive note. I loved the last book! I will talk more about why in my mini spoiler free review below but I really enjoyed the narration. Michelle Dockery did a great job! Her voices were really good!

I highly recommend the audiobooks of this series, even if I didn’t love book 2. The other two make up for it and maybe you won’t have an issue with Seanan’s narration as much as I did.

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

Now onto the spoiler free review of Beneath the Sugar Sky!! I’m not doing a full review as it will start to get spoilery to the other books discussing certain characters. Especially when some of the Wayward Children’s series are in the past and some in the future, so everything adds up and you just need to read it all!

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Title: Beneath the Sugar Sky
Author: 
Seanan McGuire
Series Name: 
Wayward Children
Genre: 
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Jan 9th, 2018
Pages: 174 (Hardback)
Publishers: Tor
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Beneath the Sugar Sky returns to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. At this magical boarding school, children who have experienced fantasy adventures are reintroduced to the “real” world.

Sumi died years before her prophesied daughter Rini could be born. Rini was born anyway, and now she’s trying to bring her mother back from a world without magic.

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You can find my review for Every Heart a Doorway HERE & Down Among the Sticks and Bones HERE!

If you can’t tell by my rating, this is my favourite out of the series so far! This one was just so fun and adventurous! I also really enjoyed seeing 2 new worlds that we haven’t explored before! I also loved that we got to see some of the characters that I love. I enjoyed Every Heart a Doorway because of the school and the idea of the doors and the magical and amazing worlds they lead to. Even though we did see that in Down Among the Sticks and Bones it left me underwhelmed as the world wasn’t actually explained or explored. So I didn’t get what I wanted. In this one, however, we got to explore 2 new worlds that we did get to learn a bit about, one more than the other, but it was still really interesting and fun. Especially learning about Sumi’s candy land world! Reminds me of Wreck it Ralph to be honest, but it was so fun.

This book just has everything! Awesome character, amazing worlds and unique ideas. It made me both laugh and tear up at different points!

I really enjoyed this book and I can’t wait to continue the series! I hope the next one is just as adventurous as this one was! I haven’t read a synopsis but by how this one ended I have a fair guess of who it will be about! I hope I’m right!

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

You can purchase Beneath the Sugar Sky at the links below!

Book Depository
Hardback

Booktopia
Hardback

Amazon (Aus)
eBook   //    Hardback

If you’re Aussie you can also get the first three books in the series on audiobook as part of a Scribd membership! Scribd is awesome! You pay around $13 (AUD) a month and get unlimited access to all the eBooks and audiobooks on their app! It is available in other parts of the world too, however, I don’t know if the Wayward Children’s books are available as there are different books available to different countries.

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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Are You Reading More Than A 5th Grader? ReadAThon TBR

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Okay, so you may have seen my TBR for the Book To School Challenge over at TBR and Beyond on Facebook! Well alongside that challenge they have a week-long ReadAThon going on to help us get those Book To School TBRs complete!! I thought I would share my TBR here!!

If you want to join in! Head over to TBR and Beyond and press join!! It is a super fun group with heaps of things going on! We even have author chats coming up in the next few months!

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So as there are no challenges, I don’t have a definite TBR, but these are the books that I hope to have finished by the end of the ReadAThon!

So I plan to read 6 books. 3 audiobooks and 3 books. I have already started Dragon on Trial and Beneath the Sugar Sky so I may have finished them before the readathon or at least read a fair chunk of them. They are both really short, so I probably will get them finished beforehand.
Krakens and Lies is pretty short too, but I want to continue the Menagerie series as it has been awesome so far!
Mark of the Thief is one of the books on my Book To School TBR, so I need to get to it!
Snow Like Ashes is the BOTM for the Facebook group I run, The YA Book Nerds, so I need to get on that reread so I can write the discussion questions.
Lastly, Whisper is an eARC I have, however, the book is already out and I bought myself a physical copy yesterday when I saw it at Kmart. So hopefully I love it or that will be a waste of money! I have high hopes as I loved The Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni!

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

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The Menagerie by Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Menagerie 
Author: 
Tui T. Sutherland & Kari Sutherland
Series Name: 
Menagerie
Genre: 
Middle-Grade Fantasy
Publication Date: March 12th, 2013
Pages: 288 (Hardback)
Publishers: HarperCollins
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Logan Wilde is accidentally drawn into the mysterious, dangerous world of the Menagerie when he discovers a griffin hiding under his bed . . . and it leads him straight to the weirdest girl in seventh grade, Zoe Kahn.

Zoe is panicking. Her family has been guarding the Menagerie for centuries. If they don’t get the cubs back fast, the whole place will be shut down. To save the griffins’ lives, she’s willing to break all the rules, even if it means letting an outsider like Logan help. But the real mystery remains: Is someone trying to sabotage the Menagerie?

Who let the griffins out…and why?

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Goodreads Synopsis (1)

I love this cover and that is what dragged me in when I first saw it on Scribd. Middle-Grade covers are always so colourful, bright and fun and that is exactly what I see in this cover, except maybe bright, it’s a bit dark really. But still really nice.

Goodreads Synopsis (2)

I absolutely loved the writing of this book. It was a really easy and quick read but also super engaging. This book kept me hooked from the first page. There was also so many enjoyable aspects written into this book.
The friendship was so good even though Logan only just got to know the two other main characters they bonded quickly and became a strong and beautiful friendship.
There was some diversity in this one too, the main being the MC Logan is black, so that was an awesome addition.
I also really enjoyed the little hints at books like Harry Potter and movies like Pirate of the Caribean. It just made it that little more fun. Especially when we have a baby Griffin cub that loves Harry Potter books and wants to be an author.

Goodreads Synopsis (3)

The plot was so fun and action-packed. As I said I was hooked the entire time! This is one of those books that you could call a feel-good read but it was also a little mysterious and magical too.
This one also ended on an extreme cliffhanger and I took 10 minutes debating whether to continue the series straight away and I decided I am going to!

Goodreads Synopsis (4)

The characters were soo good! We follow two main characters in multi-POV.

The first main character is Logan. Logan is a really interesting and amusing character. I loved his joking and messing around. I also loved how he interacted with the Griffins, it was just so amusing. He is also such an awesome friend, even though they only just became friends really.

The next main character is Zoe. She is an anxious but fun character. Of course, you would be anxious if baby Griffins escaped and are running around town eating all the cheeseburgers and stealing Harry Potter books. She is also dedicated and loyal to her friends, family and the Menagerie.

Our other main character is Blue who is the third part of this friendship. We don’t get to read from his POV, so he isn’t really a MC but I consider him part of the main group. Blue is a very interesting character, I won’t explain as it is part of the mystery of the book but I guess you could say he is diverse haha. You’ll get it if you read the book! I really enjoyed him and loved his friendship with Zoe and how he accepted Logan quickly and helped him out.

One thing I want to talk about is Zoe’s family! I hate the absent/dead parent trope and I wrote a discussion about this and also talked about it in my No Disclaimer Book Tag. But for once one or our MCs had awesome, fun and loving parents. Logan does get this trope slightly though. His mum left them but he and his father are fairly close. His father does come under that category of unrealistic though. He just accepts that Logan suddenly has a new friend and stays there two nights in a row without even questioning who this friend is, who his friend’s parents are or anything like that. If I had texted mum and told her I was staying at a random friends house I would have been bombarded with questions before she even considered it.

Goodreads Synopsis (5)

I really enjoyed this book! It was just so fun and adventurous! I recommend it to anyone who wants a quick, fun and action-packed read that is light and easy but full of mythical creatures and great characters. I can’t wait to dive into book 2, Dragon on Trial, and finally get to meet the dragons in the Menagerie!

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

You can purchase this book from the below links!

Book Depository
Paperback

Booktopia
Paperback

Amazon (Aus)
eBook   //   Paperback   //   Hardcover

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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Books I am changing my rating for

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Okay, so when I first started my blog I felt like everything was good and threw 4/5 stars around everywhere. I also used to let hype choose my ratings a lot of the time. I also used to be kinder and rate books that I really didn’t enjoy that much a bit higher. However, now I am a fair bit more critical and also don’t mind throwing a 1 or 2 star around if a book deserves it. Also, I may feel a certain way when I finish reading a book, but after time I came to realise that maybe it wasn’t as good as I initially thought, or I can’t stop thinking about it and I feel like the rating should go up a bit.
Another thing that has changed is that I now have more books to compare to and have kinda got more comfortable with what each of the star ratings means. When I first started I just kinda guessed and was like ‘that’ll do’ but now I have a better idea or my rating system.

I hope that makes sense, it was kinda hard to explain. Let’s just get into it!

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

So the first ones I’m going to talk about is a bit of an unpopular opinion. But I fail to care.
So this is one that I got caught up in the hype of. However the longer it gets from when I read them the less I care about this world, the characters and the hype. I didn’t love the romance, to begin with, so that hasn’t changed.
I rated ACOTAR 4.5 star & ACOMAF and ACOWAR 5 stars. I still didn’t enjoy ACOTAR as much as the others. So I am changing the ratings to
ACOTAR: 3 stars
ACOMAF: 3.5 stars
ACOWAR: 3.5 stars

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This one won’t be a huge change as I did enjoy it. But also I found it predictable and now, I remember nothing. The story just didn’t stay with me. I just don’t feel like it deserves to be rated along with some of the books that I loved!
Old Rating: 4.5 stars
New Rating: 3.5 stars

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This is another one that I just don’t remember anymore. I do however know that I didn’t enjoy the ending and the writing wasn’t as fabulous. It was a tad confusing really and the overall book didn’t blow my mind. So again, I don’t feel like it deserves to be with some of my favourites.
Old Rating: 4.5 stars
New Rating: 3.5 stars

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This one I did mention the problem in my review. The whole book just felt like it was leading up to book 2 and felt more like a prequel than an actual novel. It was also kinda predictable except the one plot twist at the end.
Old Rating: 4.5 stars
New Rating: 4 stars

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This was a book that I felt like I should loved and that is how I rated it. However, I found these two books boring and underwhelming.
I did rate City of Ashes appropriately. I rated it 3 stars and I think City of Bones deserves the same rating.
Old Rating: 4 stars
New Rating: 3 stars

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This is another one that I just don’t even remember anymore. I didn’t love it to begin with, but now I care even less. The only thing I remember actually liking was the shadow cat, Mr Kindly and that occasionally Jay wrote as if actually talking to the reader and I found that amusing. Besides that I just didn’t care for it.
Old Rating: 3.5 stars
New Rating: 3 stars

The last thing I am changing is my rating for DNFs. In my rating system I have DNDd as a half star rating, however, sometimes I feel like that isn’t the case. Some of them aren’t absolutely awful, they just aren’t for me. So I have decided to just not rate books I DNFd.
This only includes the books that I have DNFd and never plan to pick up again, not the ones that I DNFd because it wasn’t the right time to read it or I want to try again with a different format. The ones I plan on trying again I didn’t try even rate or review because I’m not finished with the story yet.

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

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No Disclaimer Book Tag

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So I haven’t been tagged in this, but I haven’t done a tag in ages as I always forget when I get tagged. I have seen this one around a fair bit, along with the Unpopular opinions Book Tag and want to do both. So let’s get straight into the questions.

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

1. Which trope (or tropes) in books, annoy you the most?

I have done a discussion on this topic actually but the one that annoys me the most is the missing/dead/unkown parents trope or just crappy parents. Why can’t our main characters have a nice family?!?! Like I know in real life this isn’t a trope, it is a reality for a lot of people. However, I feel like it is the case in 90 YA books out of 100 which is a little out of hand. I will do the same as I did in my discussion post on this subject. I will look at the last 10 books I read, in order, and say whether this was a present trope. I won’t say titles of the books though because I don’t want to spoil anything.

Father present, mother I think is dead (can’t remember as it’s been a while since reading the first book)
Dead parents
Dead mother & unknown father
Parent’s only paid attention to the child fully after the events of the book, beforehand, they didn’t really care as the MC wasn’t the smart or athletic one like his brothers.
Dead parents
Dead parents
Dead parents
Parents killed early in the book
Parents alive but don’t understand their daughter and are more worried about other things most of the time
Dead parents

Do you see what I mean?!!?!?!?!?!

2. Which writer/writers do you feel are overrated/overhyped?

Hands down, Cassandra Clare. I couldn’t seven finish the first series and I have no interest in continuing to the other books. I might consider it if she ever solo writes a book that isn’t in the TMI world. Because at this point everyone loves the other 2 series, but you have to read TMI to continue and I couldn’t be fucked reading 4 more boring books just to get to the better series. I’m not doing it.
I do however enjoy the Magisterium series by her & Holly Black, but it’s middle grade and because of the co-author situation it has a whole other feel to it compared to TMI.

Another one that is overhyped is Neil Gaiman. I just haven’t been able to get into any of his books. I have read 3 Neil Gaiman books now and have not enjoyed any in the slightest.

3. What are your least favourite books you’ve read, since joining BookTube?
(Yes this is a BookTube started tag, but I’m just doing it on my blog!)

Out of the books I fully read, not DNFd the books with the lowest ratings on my Goodreads are:

Zenith by Lindsay Cummings & Sasha Alsberg
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This is Where the World Ends by Amy Zhang
End of the World: The Beginning by Nesly Clerge

These were all under 2 star reads for me.

4. A terrible ending, that ruined an otherwise quality book?

I can’t think of a book that really fits this. For most of the books that I think about with crappy endings, there was something else throughout the book that I didn’t like either, so it wasn’t necessarily just the shitty ending the ruined it.
So instead, I’m going with a series that had a crappy ending and I’m choosing the Everlife series by Gena Showalter. I really enjoyed the first two books in this series and then the last book ruined it for me. It was obsessively romantic whenever we were reading from Killian’s POV, which was completely unnecessary in a YA fantasy book. It was actually kinda bordering on creepy as fuck at some points, just the way that character talked about the love interest. It completely put me off this series. If you want to see some quotes of what I am talking about and other reasons why this book felt like an over the top cringe-worthy romance more than a YA fantasy, then check out my review HERE.

5. Which fictional character(s) do you wish were not killed off?

**** Highlight the blank spaces to see the spoilers! ****

Okay, so spoilers for Harry Potter first off.
There is a tonne in Harry Potter that I wish weren’t killed off. Dobby, Fred, Lupin, Tonks, Colin Creevey, Lavender Brown and probably more that I can’t think of right now.

Next, spoiler for The Bronze Key, the 3rd book in the Magisterium series.
This one is fresh in my mind as I only just finished listening to the audiobook of this today, but Aaron! Why did they have to kill him? Like I have a weird feeling that somehow he will come back in the next book as weirder shit has happened in this series, but why?

Next, just everyone amazing character that dies in the Rebel of the Sands series. There is so many and that last book fucking killed me. Why did you have to kill off the best characters?
Okay, spoilers! Why did you have to kill SAM???????

6. What are some of your bookish pet peeves?

Soft touch covers. They look nice, they feel nice but they leave FINGERPRINTS FUCKING EVERYWHERE!!!! And the covers just don’t last as they don’t have that protective plastic coating over the top! All the silver detail just rubbed of my ACOTAR books because there was no top coating.

And just books in general that have that cheap plastic coating on top that just peels up. I have had Harry Potter books that are first edition paperbacks and read multiple times that the cover is still in perfect condition, yet I read some brand new books once and the plastic starts peeling off and taking half the cover image with it! Bitch, I probably paid near $20 for you!! Stay in one piece, at least for the first damn read!

7. What are some books you feel should have more recognition?

Hands down, The Medoran Chronicles by Lynette Noni! If someone asks for a YA fantasy recommendation I straight away recommend this series! It is so damn good! Has a bloody awesome world and magic system. Has the best friend group I have ever read in a YA fantasy. Basically no romance until the 4th book. It has dragons!! That can bond with humans and communicate telepathically! Come on?! What’s not to love about this series?!?!!?
Yes I know, people overseas can’t get the physical copy as it’s an Australian publisher, but you should be able to get the eBook. Or maybe even check QBD for international shipping. It is so worth it. Her new book is available in US & Canada, but it is with a different publisher! Hopefully, eventually, The Medoran Chronicles will be available too!

8. What are your thoughts on censorship, and banning books?

Okay, I don’t think a lot of the books that are banned in schools should be. Like Harry Potter, that decision was just stupidity, not that there was actual content in the book that could be harming. However, I do think that library books should have trigger warnings displayed. Actually, scrap that, I think all books should have trigger warnings easily identified on the cover.

If a teen wants to read a book with topics such as mental health then that should be allowed because most of the time, during high school, is when a lot of people struggle with mental health, I was one of them. There should be books available that they can read about similar topics to possibly help them deal with that. Like The Perks of Being a Wallflower being a prime example that I know has been challenged and banned in the past and maybe still is. I don’t know. I can’t find an actual list of challenged and banned books in Aus. I have found a list for the US, but I can’t find any Aussie based lists and I have been searching for half an hour..
Also, books that feature LGBT content was often banned. However it is actually legal now in a lot of places, why should that be banned now?!

I do however agree that books with certain sexual content don’t need to be in a school library. Not necessarily banned, but does the school librarian really think that books like 50 Shades of Grey need to be on their shelves were an 11 year old can go and grab it?
But that is just common sense.

Side note, I was just reading some of the reasons certain books were challenged in the US and some of this shit is hilarious.
Wanna know one reason 50 Shades of Grey was challenged?? “Poorly written”.
What about Harry Potter? “Setting bad examples”
‘Be right back, just going to hiss at a tap and see if the sink disappears into the floor so I can hide from class?’ Yes, Harry Potter is definitely setting realistic bad examples for muggle children.
How about The Lord of the Rings? “Supernatural themes”, no fucking shit sherlock! That is the point of fantasy!
What about a book called ‘Sex Education’?? “Sexual content”. Fucking really?! What year do kids do sex ed in the US that a book about Sex Ed is banned? Look out! Scary pictures!!!!
Where’s Waldo! Where’s Waldo was challenged?! Are you shitting me right now? We have Where’s Wally here in Aus and I’m fairly certain my primary school had those books and we used to get in trouble for hiding in the corner doing Where’s Wally instead of reading a book! Wanna know the reason why it was banned though? “Nudity”! Okay, maybe Where’s Waldo is a lot more different to Where’s Wally than I thought, but I don’t remember hunting for a set of binoculars and finding a set of tits instead. Just saying.

9. Who do you tag?

I haven’t done a tag in so long, I don’t know who to choose!

Kathy @ Books & Munches

Wonderful Words 101

One Bookish Girl

That is the only ones I can think of atm! If you want to do it, then do it!

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

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The Seer’s Curse by J.J. Faulks – DNF Spoiler Free Review

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Title: The Seer’s Curse
Author: 
J.J. Faulks
Genre: 
MG/YA Fantasy
Publication Date: March 22nd, 2018
Pages: 304 (Paperback)
Publishers: Matador
Rating: I have no idea really

Goodreads Synopsis

Orleigh is cursed. Or so the other villagers believe. With each harvest worse than the last, something must be done. And so they consult the Seer. A deal is struck: the village will thrive once more, but in return, Orleigh must be sacrificed to the Earth God, Teymos.

Years later, when Orleigh’s closest friend, Piprin, learns that Orleigh might still be alive, he resolves to rescue her and to return her to the Land of Mortals. Guided by the Seer and the myths of his childhood, Piprin sets out on a quest to the Land of Gods, where mortals like him are forbidden.

But will Piprin survive his quest? And why is the Seer so interested in Orleigh’s fate?

A tale of friendship, acceptance and self-discovery, filled with a new mythology, The Seer’s Curse is a moving debut to be enjoyed by all fantasy fans.

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Goodreads Synopsis (1)

The cover art is really interesting and was the main thing that caught my eye when I saw this book on NetGalley. The cover looked awesome and the synopsis sounded promising, so I requested it. I like all the small drawings on the cover and now after reading some of the books I actually get what most of them are/mean.

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So honestly, this book was just boring. I DNFd at 51%, so I gave it a fair chance but so far it was just dull and not much has happened.

The book felt very familiar. The whole idea of a child is born and things start going wrong and the village thinks the child is at fault or cursed and blames them for everything *cough* The Trials of Morrigan Crow *cough*. There was also a story in, I think, Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo that started similarly. So I wasn’t overly impressed with the set up for the story.
There was also the idea of the Seer, which I thought was kinda pointless. He basically just watches over everything. Which also reminded me of the movie Happily Never After, with the pig and whatever the hell that pink thing is watching over the fairytales playing out. However, in this one, the Seer doesn’t have a magical set of scales that if bumped everything goes to hell. The seer does, however, have a map thing that he moves pieces around on that represents the different characters in the story. I saw someone say that he uses the map to control the characters, but in the couple times, the map was mentioned in what I read that wasn’t the case. It was more like he moves them around after something happens so he can keep track of where they are. So no he isn’t controlling them with the pieces. Also for that reason, I think it was kinda pointless, why does it matter if he keeps track of them on a map? Really what did that add to the story? But also, did the author get that idea from that map in Spy Kids were the weird scientist dude keeps track of the hybrid creatures on the island from inside his volcano?????

The writing wasn’t anything to rave about either and I didn’t enjoy the multi-POV. It wasn’t specified at the start of the chapter whose POV we were reading from, which can be fine if it is written well. However, all the POVs just felt the same, there was nothing distinct that made it feel like a different person’s POV. It also just randomly swapped to a person that we hadn’t heard from before, so that got confusing as well.
I also didn’t like the huge jump in time. The first jump was fine. We see Orleigh’s birth, which played a part and then we jumped to when she was a kid. That jump in time was fine, it was done well. The next one is after Orleigh is taken to Teymos and it jumps 10 years ahead. That would be fine, however, nothing adjusted to account for the fact that the main person we are following at the time is no longer a kid, he is like 17 or something now! Yet, he still acts like a whining child and it feels like he hasn’t grown up at all. There was just a bit of disconnect with Piprin after that point.

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I did like the addition of the ‘myths’ throughout the book. They were just short little tales that Piprin’s mother told and they were quite interesting. They always had a moral to tell that helped the kids through something that was going on in the story.
Those were the only things that really stood out as well done for me, so this section is very short.

Goodreads Synopsis (5)

Overall, it could have been a lot better with a few small tweaks. I in no way hated the book, but it just wasn’t captivating my attention and it felt like just a few aspects that I have seen before in movies and books thrown together. Which wasn’t enough to motivate me to continue reading.

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

I was provided with an eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much to Matador NetGalley for this opportunity.

You can purchase this book at any of the below links!

Book Depository
Paperback

Booktopia
Paperback

Amazon (Aus)
eBook   //   Paperback

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

Lizaxx1

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Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Ace of Shades
Author: 
Amanda Foody
Series Name: The Shadow Game
Genre: 
YA Fantasy
Publication Date: April 23rd, 2018
Pages: 408 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Harlequin Teen Aus
Rating:
5 star

Goodreads Synopsis

Welcome to the City of Sin, where casino families reign, gangs infest the streets…
and secrets hide in every shadow.

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, her only lead is a name: Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

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Goodreads Synopsis (1)

This cover is great! It is eye catching and perfectly represents this book! I love the addition of the shadow taking the form of the city in the background and the card suits right at the back. I also loved the little quotes on the back and front of the book. Before I started the book it made me really interested in the book!

“Take a card and stake your soul. Survival is your only goal. Surrender to the vice within. Bet your life – hope you win.”

Goodreads Synopsis (2)

Amanda Foody’s writing is absolutely superb! After reading Amanda Foody’s debut, Daughter of the Burning City, she was straight away on my auto-buy list! The world building in this book is amazing. It is such a vivid and unique world. Some of the ideas that came to life in this book were just so interesting! I’m so keen to see how this world will expand even more in book 2 & 3. I honestly feel like, given the chance, Amanda Foody could create a world as vivid and in-depth as the worlds in Harry Potter, LOTR and other similar books. I’m so glad we got a trilogy from her this time where she can expand her world so much more (don’t get me wrong, her stand-alone debut was still amazing and the world was so detailed as well).

The book is written in multi-POV, following Enne & Levi. The multi-POV was awesome. It was really easy to differentiate between the two POVs, which is one of my main issues with a lot of multi-POV books. But in this one, the two characters showed different personalities within their perspectives and it was really easy to tell whose POV I was reading from, even without reading the name.
Her characters are also really well done! She has left a little to still be discovered in the next book, which I also enjoy.  The characters are well rounded and complex and it was awesome seeing them develop throughout the book.

As someone that is not a romance fan, I didn’t mind this one. Even though the whole book took place in 10 days, it didn’t feel like insta love. For the most part, it was just attraction, tension and genuine care, so that is the main reason why I don’t see it as instalove. Either way, she does write the tension really well!

I also loved how she wrote the diversity in this book! There was no questioning, it was just completely normal to be a person of colour, LGBTQIAP+, etc. There were a couple LGBTQIAP+ characters that popped up throughout the book which was great!

Goodreads Synopsis (3)

The plot was really addicting complex and kept me hooked for the whole book. There are so many aspects of the plot in this book and every one of them was really well done. There were tonnes of twists and turns to keep it interesting the whole time. There is also a mystery that keeps you guessing all the time.

Goodreads Synopsis (4)

Enne is the first main character that we are introduced to and she was an awesome character. She developed amazingly throughout the book, but we also see the struggle within herself as she develops and changes away from how she thought she was meant to be or how she planned to be. She is a realistic character, she doesn’t have these unbelievable skills, bravery or anything along those lines. She has insecurities, fears, and she makes mistakes but that doesn’t stop her, she learns from her mistakes and overcomes her fears, she is brave when she has to, to save herself or others, and I just found her a joy to read from.

Next, we have Levi, who is the other MC we follow. He is made out to be dark, dangerous and devilish and he plays those rolls when he has to. However, we see him open up as he comes to trust Enne and he is so much more than just a street lord. He is such a warm and amazing character. He is always trying to help out rather than actually start trouble, whether that be saving himself, trying to look after the Irons, trying to save a friend or helping out Enne. He is such a caring person and I love him for it. He is one of those people that you could always rely on if you were friends with him.

There are a couple side characters that we meet that were also really interesting. First, we have Jac. His friendship with Levi is amazing. He is always there when Levi needs him and he trusts him completely, but he also questions Levi if he thinks Levi is doing the wrong thing and calls him out on stuff. Which is how a real friendship should be. Jac also has a dark past but he and Levi will always have each other’s backs. He also learns to trust and open up to Enne as Levi begins to trust her more.
Next, is slightly a spoiler I guess, it isn’t a full-on spoiler but this character isn’t how they first are shown, so if you want to know nothing then maybe skip this paragraph. I’m talking about Lola. At first, she does not get along with our other characters but she develops over time and becomes an awesome side character. She is another one with a dark past and is just trying to survive and help the people she cares about. Her friendship with Enne is quite amusing throughout most of the book but she turned out to be a reliable friend in the end.

Well, those are the main characters I want to talk about as the others had a smaller roll. Most were still well developed for a character that didn’t get a tonne of page time, but they are still smaller rolls. All the characters were so well done though!

Goodreads Synopsis (5)

I love this book so much! The world is amazing and unique and the characters are complex and well rounded. The book rounded off amazingly to lead up to the sequel. The epilogue is a direct lead up to the events in book 2 and its mystery makes me so keen for book 2 to come out!!

“She had entered New Reynes as delicate as glass. She had even shattered. But as it turned out, beneath the dust and shards, something stronger lay within her, a substance less easily broken.”

Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

*I read a finished copy that I had already pre-ordered before requesting the eARC. I did plan on reading the eARC before release but I just didn’t have time and the physical copy arrived before I had a chance to read it*

I was provided with an eGalley of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thank you very much to Harlequin Teen Australia NetGalley for this opportunity.

You can purchase this book at any of the below links!
Some of the links are to the alternate cover which I will put a pic of below and I will put a (*) next to the ones that have the alternate cover.

Harlequin Website
Paperback   //   eBook

Book Depository
Hardback   //   Paperback*

QBD
Paperback

Booktopia
Paperback   //   Hardback   //   Paperback* – Pre-order

Amazon (Aus)
eBooks   //   Hardback   //   Paperback   //   Audible

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Copy of Goodreads Synopsis

HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!

IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

Also, my blog has had a makeover! Let me know what you think?!

Lizaxx1

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