The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang – Spoiler Free Review

Title: The Poppy War
Series Name: The Poppy War
Author: R.F. Kuang
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: May 15th, 2018
Pages: 530 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Harper Voyager
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.

But surprises aren’t always good.

Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.

For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .

Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.

Writing

My god, was this book intense! It’s been a while since I have read an adult fantasy book, so I kinda forgot how intense and detailed they can be. There was a lot to this magic system & this world, as well as the insane plot but not once was I lost or confused. This book was so well thought out, explained & detailed. My issue with Adult books is generally the slower pace because of larger amounts of world building but that was not the case in this book! It was the perfect balance of fast paced, detailed & intense and I loved it!

The only thing I disliked and I think the book could have done well still without it was the odd romancey obsession that the MC had with a specific character. It just was kinda pointless to me when the same idea could of been achieved by other means.

Plot

I’ve already partially mentioned the plot. It was fast paced and insane basically. Plot twists on top of plot twists! This plot was SOOO unpredictable it’s not funny. It was just out of this freaking world and you could barely process one thing before another unexpected thing happened! Was definitely a roller coaster ride.

Characters

This is a hard bit to talk about without spoilers because nearly all the characters make drastic changes throughout the book and my opinions of them jumped around all the time! So I’ll just talk about Rin our MC.

Rin, in the beginning I really enjoyed. She was doing what she could to get out of a shitty situation & wouldn’t let anyone hold her back. But by the end of this book, I don’t even know if I like her as a character. Don’t get me wrong, she was written amazingly but her actions in the book make you question everything! For the most part in books, we root for the main character to succeed but this was definitely a twist on that usual view of the MC.

Overall

All I can say it, this book was insane! This book was intense! This book was a freaking roller coaster!
It was amazing and I HIGHLY recommend it!! I can’t wait to read The Dragon Republic, book 2!
Only reason it didn’t get a 5 stars for me was that iffy romance part which I didn’t enjoy but the rest is perfection.

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The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle – Spoiler Free Review

Title: The Storm Keeper’s Island
Series Name: Storm Keeper
Author: Catherine Doyle
Genre: MG Fantasy
Publication Date: July 1st, 2018
Pages: 301 (Paperback)
Publishers: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet …

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn’s grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise.

But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island’s next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.

Writing

May as well get the negative out of the road straight away. While this book was entertaining it wasn’t overly engaging or gripping. I kept put it down and not really wanting to pick it back up. It was a tad childish & tropey for me and I found the characters very one dimensional and also kinda annoying at times.

I did enjoy the references to real world fandoms spread throughout the book. They were a nice little touch!

Whenever he watched The Lord of the Rings, he imagined himself as a lone rider galloping away from a battle while all the other characters were marching into it. When everyone else was in Helm’s Deep, he’d be back in the Shire, making a sandwich.

I did find the world & magic system quite interesting. I would love to learn more about the Storm Keeper’s magic but it was very vague and unexplained in this book.

Plot

I found the plot relatively predictable majority of the time. I also found the plot clunky and all over the place at times. It just didn’t flow nicely and was a bit confusing. Which I think added to my previously mentioned putting it down and not wanting to pick it up. I was guessing most of the major things and didn’t understand the other half, so that took the fun out of the reading experience.

Characters

As I said previously the characters were very one dimensional. So I honestly don’t have many feelings about any of them as I don’t really feel like I know any of their traits well enough.

Overall

So overall this was fairly disappointing. The world & magic system sounds really interesting but paired with the lack of good well developed characters, predictable plot & poor writing this book fell short for me.

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Two Can Keep a Secret by Karen M. McManus

Title: Two Can Keep a Secret
Author: Karen M McManus
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: January 10th, 2019
Pages: 327 (Paperback)
Publishers: Penguin
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

Ellery’s never been to Echo Ridge, but she’s heard all about it. It’s where her aunt went missing at age sixteen, never to return. Where a Homecoming Queen’s murder five years ago made national news. And where Ellery now has to live with a grandmother she barely knows, after her failed-actress mother lands in rehab. No one knows what happened to either girl, and Ellery’s family is still haunted by their loss.
Malcolm grew up in the shadow of the Homecoming Queen’s death. His older brother was the prime suspect and left Echo Ridge in disgrace. His mother’s remarriage vaulted her and Malcolm into Echo Ridge’s upper crust, but their new status grows shaky when mysterious threats around town hint that a killer plans to strike again. No one has forgotten Malcolm’s brother-and nobody trusts him when he suddenly returns to town.

Ellery and Malcolm both know it’s hard to let go when you don’t have closure. Then another girl disappears, and Ellery and Malcolm were the last people to see her alive. As they race to unravel what happened, they realize every secret has layers in Echo Ridge. The truth might be closer to home than either of them want to believe.

And somebody would kill to keep it hidden.


You can find my Mini Spoiler Free Review for One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus HERE!

Writing

This author is on my auto-buy list now. Her books are just so good! She has a way of throwing a thousand little clues at you throughout the book but you don’t even realise 90% of them are important. I think I changed my mind about 60 times as to who the murderer was. Which is exactly what you want in a Thriller/Mystery!

The world building is awesome in this book. I felt like I was sitting in Echo Ridge watching this all unfold.

Tell me and I forget

Teach me and I may remember

Involve me and I learn

Plot

I have one word for this plot. Followed by 3 secondary words for this book.

Hectic.

What the fuck?

Characters

I really enjoyed Ellery, she was super smart but also knew her flaws and accepted when they came through. I also love that she is a twin. Not very often do you see a book with a main character that is a twin. I also enjoyed that we only follow one of the twins POV and then another character which was a little unexpected. Ezra, Ellery’s twin was awesome too. He was super loyal, kind and thoughtful. He would always be there when Ellery needed him and also their other friends. He was trusting and caring and I just loved him. ALSO he is on the LGBT+ spectrum, which is awesome!!!

Ezra watches them leave with a bemused expression, then turns to me. “I have a really strong feeling that on Wednesdays, they wear pink.”

Malcolm is our other MC

Next we have Mia, who I also love and is bisexual! Can we have a story from her and Ezra’s POV please? That would be awesome too! I really enjoyed Mia’s humour & sarcasm. I saw myself in her a lot as we are both bisexual, loyal to friends & sarcastic as hell!

Mia’s taken shit for years from guys like Kyle and Theo who think bisexual equals threesome.

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*Alternate Cover is below!*

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The Princess and the Fangirl by Ashley Poston – Spoiler Free Review

Title: The Princess and the Fangirl
Series Name: Once Upon a Con
Author: Ashley Poston
Genre: YA Contemporary
Publication Date: April 2nd, 2019
Pages: 316 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Quirk Books
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.

Anther review not in my normal format! Oh well haha!

While this book is a typical ‘everything will turn out right in the end’ type book it is still super fun & addictive. Hands down the best way to describe it is addictive! The Fandom/Con atmosphere of this book makes my book loving heart happy! I love the hints to real fandoms, Harry Potter especially of course!

“Nice to meet you, Gryffindor.”

There are also other fandoms/movies/TV shows/Games/etc. mentioned like Edward Scissor Hands, Mortal Kombat, etc. But Harry Potter the most which I LOVED!

This book is very fast paced and gripping, I read it so damn quickly and loved every second of it. There is a mystery element to this book which I really enjoyed trying to guess. You’ll be glad to know I did not guess correctly at all! So definitely unpredictable, that or I’m just blind haha.

Of course I loved the first book, Geekerella, so I adored seeing characters from Geekerella make an appearance in this book. While I love Darien & Elle from Geekerella, it was really refreshing that this book was a companion and followed new characters instead of the same ones as Geekerella. It was awesome getting to know characters mentioned in Geekerella in this one as well. There is also a book 3 and I can’t wait to see how it is tied into the first 2 books!

This book is in multi POV following Jess & Imogen. My only negative for this book was the POV. I enjoyed our two main characters, they were 2 very different people. However the POVs read very similar, so at times it was a little hard to follow as you would kinda forget who you were reading from as they felt very similar at the beginning. After a while we kinda got into the swing of it and they felt different. But in the beginning they didn’t have a lot of substance, I guess, to make them feel like different people. That’s my only negative for the book.

Thank you to NetGalley & Quirk Books for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Find all the details about The Princess and the Fangirl HERE!

You can purchase a copy for yourself at any of the links below.

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The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts – Spoiler Free Review

Can you tell I’m still not happy with the overall look of my Blog? Yes I changed it again. Bare with me here! I’m indecisive.

Title: The Flower Girls
Author: Alice Clark-Platts
Genre: Adult Thriller
Publication Date: January 24th, 2019
Pages: 329 (Paperback)
Publishers: Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (Raven Books)
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

YOU’LL NEVER FORGET THE FLOWER GIRLS

The Flower Girls. Laurel and Primrose. 

One convicted of murder, the other given a new identity.

Now, nineteen years later, another child has gone missing.

And The Flower Girls are about to hit the headlines all over again…

I’m not formatting this review the same way I usually do purely because I don’t have enough to talk about in all the sections I generally use. So instead I’ll talk about the negatives and the positives.

But first I just want to touch on thoughts that aren’t necessarily positives or negatives. This is the first time I have read an adult Thriller and I really don’t know how to feel about how the book ends. I think this is purely because I generally read YA and I am so used to the typical, everything is resolved in the end, type books. Which this is NOT! Most things were revealed to the reader but then you are thrown a spanner at the end that makes you sit there thinking ‘NO, what, help!’. There is also two major things that are mentioned once at the end and it’s not explained and I want to know why & how!! To some degree I get it and understand that leaving it how the author did makes it thrilling and makes you think. I’m not okay with not really knowing how things would end though!

Negatives

So I have 2 main things that annoyed me with this book.

First off, the POV, this book is told in third person POV which I always struggle with a bit. It was the same in this book, I couldn’t really connect with the characters. So while I wanted to know what happened because I was curious as hell, I didn’t care who it specifically was because I didn’t have a connection with any of the characters that made me root for one or the other. The POV just meant I was a bit disconnected from the book and it’s characters.

Next is the jumps in the time line of events. Honestly the book was all over the place when it came to the time line of events. Each chapter would swap between who we were following, where the person was & the time line. Things were barely ever revealed simply in order. I appreciated the glimpses into the past sprinkled throughout the book. They were distinguished by a simple ‘1997’ or ‘1998’ at the start of the chapter however they were also no in order and while the ‘1997’ or ‘1998’ made it easy to know that we were in the past but not when specifically in the time line of events.
All this jumping around simply made the book hard to follow. Most chapters were only a couple chapters and some of the time it took most of the chapter figuring out when & where we were currently looking at.

Positives

This book took a bit of getting used to with the POV & time jumps which took about 100/150 pages but once I got into it I was hooked! I read the last 200ish pages in one day easily!

The chapters are super short which means you feel like you are getting through the book quickly, which I was but it just added to it. Some of the chapters also ended on cliff hangers of sorts and then the next chapter would be completely unrelated to whatever just went down. So you are gripped and speed through the next couple chapters till you find out what just happened after that cliff hanger. This book is very hard to put down in that way. I was literally walking about the house reading it while doing other things because I just wanted to know what happens.

Every character in this book is very fleshed out and interesting. They all have very different views & backgrounds. It was really interesting learning about these characters and figuring out what happened to make them who they are. Granted they aren’t all revealed, but that is just part of the mystery.

Lastly this book is COMPLETELY UNPREDICTABLE!! You think you have a grasp on what went down but then a spanner, no scratch that, the whole fucking toolbox is thrown into the works and your ideas are completely out the door.

Well that is all my thoughts thrown on a post. Thanks for reading!

Thank you to NetGalley & Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for providing me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

You can purchase a copy for yourself at any of the links below.

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Have you read The Flower Girls?
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Also, is leaving you with 1000 questions normal for Thrillers?!

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Warrior of the Wild – Spoiler Free Review

Title: Warrior of the Wild
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: February 26th, 2019
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Feiwel & Friends
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

How do you kill a god?

As her father’s chosen heir, eighteen-year-old Rasmira has trained her whole life to become a warrior and lead her village. But when her coming-of-age trial is sabotaged and she fails the test, her father banishes her to the monster-filled wilderness with an impossible quest: to win back her honour, she must kill the oppressive god who claims tribute from the villages each year or die trying.

Writing

Let’s just get the negative out of the road straight up. I didn’t like how the romance was written. It was a very very typical YA romance and felt very forced. I didn’t mind the romance in the end, they were fine together. However everything leading up to that was just meh. I just didn’t care about it and the same thing could have been achieved better with friendship.

Now onto everything else. I loved it. The world building was really well done. Everything was so detailed and the creatures were super unique and interesting. The character development was also done well, you saw the characters progress and grow through their experiences.

Plot

The plot was very fast paced which made the book super quick to read. It was also fairly constant. I wouldn’t say it was always action packed, but there was nearly always something interesting going on. I don’t think there were very many dull moments honestly.

Characters

Rasmira was a really awesome main character. She was a badass and you soon learn how strong she is, but not just outwardly, inwardly as well. She faces a lot of inner turmoil which she battles with and learns from throughout the book. She is also a badass axe wielding warrior. So there is that too.

Soren was probably my least favourite of the 3 major characters. He just felt very typical to me. Attractive, funny, charming, etc. You know the drill.

Iric I really enjoyed. He didn’t just accept the easiest option and he actually questions things which made him feel more realistic than Soren. I also liked his sense of humour and how stubborn he was. It made for a fun clash between Rasmira and Iric as they are both as stubborn as each other.

Overall

I really enjoyed most aspects of this book. Obviously I didn’t like the romance and didn’t love Soren as a character that much but besides that it was a really solid read.

I also want to mention that this is a standalone fantasy, which is rare to find. I love a good standalone so this was awesome. It was well rounded and everything fit in nicely in the end. I wasn’t really left with any questions that I felt needed to be answered, which is a good thing after a standalone!

You can purchase a copy for yourself at any of the links below.

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The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson – Spoiler Free Review

Title: The Vanishing Stair
Author: Maureen Johnson
Series Name: Truly Devious
Genre: YA Mystery
Publication Date: January 22nd, 2019
Pages: 369 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating:

Goodreads Synopsis

All Stevie Bell wanted was to find the key to the Ellingham mystery, but instead she found her classmate dead. And while she solved that murder, the crimes of the past are still waiting in the dark. Just as Stevie feels she’s on the cusp of putting it together, her parents pull her out of Ellingham academy.

For her own safety they say. She must move past this obsession with crime. Now that Stevie’s away from the school of topiaries and secret tunnels, and her strange and endearing friends, she begins to feel disconnected from the rest of the world. At least she won’t have to see David anymore. David, who she kissed. David, who lied to her about his identity—son of despised politician Edward King. Then King himself arrives at her house to offer a deal: He will bring Stevie back to Ellingham immediately. In return, she must play nice with David. King is in the midst of a campaign and can’t afford his son stirring up trouble. If Stevie’s at school, David will stay put.

The tantalizing riddles behind the Ellingham murders are still waiting to be unraveled, and Stevie knows she’s so close. But the path to the truth has more twists and turns than she can imagine—and moving forward involves hurting someone she cares for. In New York Times bestselling author Maureen Johnson’s second novel of the Truly Devious series, nothing is free, and someone will pay for the truth with their life.

Writing

These books just get better and better! This series is extremely addictive. The Vanishing Stair is very fast paced and will keep you guessing the entire time. This is definitely one of those books that you will hate the author just a little bit at the end because while a lot of your questions from book 1 were answered in book 2, you will have 1000 more. Which can be a good thing, because its addicting and you are super keen, or bad because it makes you feel like slapping a bitch.

Plot

Lets just say the plot is insane. You have literally no idea what to expect next and you can guess all you want about who did what, but you will be wrong 99% of the time! I just love how unpredictable this plot is.

Characters

The Characters in this book will never be fully developed but that is just one of the aspects of this book. If you know too much about them it would be easier to figure out motives. So I’m not really mad about not connecting with any of the side characters.

As for Stevie, our main character, she is awesome. She is extremely intelligent and very realistic. She show weakness, she shows fear and that makes her super relatable in this book.

Overall

I LOVE this series. It has been added to my Top 5 favourite series of all time. It is addictive, action packed, mysterious and just fucking awesome. This is definitely a book I will always recommend.

You can purchase a copy for yourself at any of the links below.

You could also use my affiliate links for Book DepositoryBooktopia or Angus & Robertson.

Book Depository
Hardcover

Booktopia
Hardcover

Angus & Robertson
Hardback

Amazon (Aus)
Hardback / eBook

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