Ever the Hunted (Clash of Kingdoms #1)

Started: December 13, 2017
Finished: December 17, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 3/5 stars


Bravery is a choice that is yours to make. Don’t let fear steal your will.


A few months before the start of the book, Britta’s father – the king’s bounty hunter – was assassinated. As her parents’ marriage was not viewed as legal in the eyes of her kingdom, Britta is not eligible as heir to his home – and in order to survive she has to poach. Only, one day, she is caught by the king’s men and is given a choice; execution, or help hunt down the man suspected for killing her father. Her childhood friend and crush, Cohen.

This book follows a very common YA Fantasy structure; an odd girl is sent out on a quest and ends up fighting evil and saving her kingdom. Done well, that is still an enjoyable way to present a story. But since it is so common nowadays it needs its own twists and turns – and, sadly, I felt that this book lacked some of those. The romance felt weak, the one who turned out to be the villain was not completely unexpected, and a lot of the things that occured throughout the novel felt very predictable.

The ending, however, was not. By that I mean the slight cliffhanger that leads into the next novel – as it hinted at things that I did not expect. Due to that I will probably read the next book as well, just to find out what those things actually meant. And because there were some characters that I found really interesting that I hope will be given more time in the next novel.

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Princess of the Silver Woods (Princesses of Westfalin #3)

Started: December 12, 2017
Finished: December 14, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars


I abducted Princess Petunia last week. I didn’t harm her; I delivered her to the Grand Duchess Volenskaya, but now she is in terrible danger.


Many years have passed since Petunia, youngest of Westfalin’s twelve princesses, was forced to dance every night for the King Under Stone. But now those powers are stirring again. Every night Petunia dreams that the Prince she always danced with comes to take her away. To get away, she travels to the estate belonging to the Grand Duchess Volenskaya – but on the way there she is abducted by a band of outlaws. And soon a line of suspicious events are unravelled.
In short; the King Under Stone is not coming soon to take Petunia and her sisters away. His people are already there.

This book is the perfect ending to this trilogy. Petunia is the perfect image of a youngest sister; beloved and a bit spoiled by her father, and with a tendency to ignore the wise words of those who are older than her. The story leans on the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale as well as the legend of Robin Hood – and, of course, the tale of the 12 Dancing Princesses. It is an exciting, fun and easy read. Which is why I cannot give it a full 5 stars; there are several things that could have been developed and made more complicated, or explored further, in order to make this an even better story. But it is still a very, very good conclusion and I’m going to miss these tales. Wouldn’t mind a spin-off at all!

Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1)

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Started: December 1, 2017
Finished: December 12, 2017

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars


You want to see people as extremes. Bad or good, trustworthy or not. I understand. It’s easier that way. But that isn’t how people work.


So this book received a lot of negative press just before it was released, because many said it puts a bad light on topics such as race and self harm. And I do admit I was a member of the group that, because of these negative posts about this novel, felt the need to push it away. To not read it and form my own opinion. Which is terribly, terribly wrong.
Believe me; listening to what others say can be a good thing, but when it comes to your opinion on matters, you should not have one unless you’ve read or studied what you’re being opinionated about. Meaning if you’re going to have an opinion about this book, you should read the book and form your opinion based on that and on discussions you have with people who have also read it.

So, yes, I read it and I’ve formed my own opinion. And I have to say that what I read about race and self-harm before reading it kind of makes sense, but I don’t feel like it’s portrayed quite as bad as people made it seem. However I am not the one who can say this for sure, as I have not been subjected to racism nor have I been in such a depression that I have resorted to self-harm. People who have might have a different opinion, one that I want to listen to and take in and understand. But, for now, this review is based on my own opinion.

The setting here reminded me a lot of the setting for Star Wars, which was quite incredible. I’m such a Star Wars geek (thanks, dad) and reading something that could very much be set in that universe was entertaining. Also, the idea of fates was intriguing. I really felt for both Akos and Cyra as they struggled with their fates and what they would mean for how they lived their lives. How it would affect the people around them – and one another.

Compared to Divergent, this story does not hold the same intensity. A lot of it feels quite slow – though that does make it so that you’re totally unprepared for when the action begins. And there was a lot of action – both political and bloody. I am intrigued enough to continue with this series – but I also want to hear the opinions of others who have read this book and felt differently about the controversies.

The Girl with the Windup Heart (Steampunk Chronicles #4)

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Started: December 18, 2016
Finished: December 28, 2016

Language: English
Rating: 5/5 stars

Actual rating: 4.5/5 stars

Oh, yes, I’m happy about this ending!

I love Mila’s character and her relationship with Jack – honestly, they became one of my favorite ships of all time when I read this. Mila’s naivete and fresh eyes are an amazing addition to the dysfunctional group of main characters in this series, which was exactly what was needed after the past 2 books. If things had continued the same way and Mila had been different, I think I wouldn’t have enjoyed this final novel as much.

The story is actually quite short – time-wise, not page-wise – and that’s usually something that makes me squint my eyes and go “alright, you better have a ton of details and a brilliant story line or this was not worth it”. In the case of this book the beginning was a bit of a let-down – and the reason why I deducted half a star – but then it picked up. It became intense, action-packed – and far bloodier and scarier than I had anticipated. And I loved it! Also, loved seeing the return of some characters and the addition of other, unexpected ones!

In short; a good, good, good ending to this series 🙂

Gilded Cage (Canary Club #0.5)

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Started: December 27, 2016
Finished: December 27, 2016

Language: English
Rating: 3/5 stars

I received this book as an ARC from Reading Addiction PR on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

This was certainly an interesting introduction to Sherry D. Ficklin’s new series.

Set in New York in the 1920s it follows Masie Schultz, the daughter of bootlegger Dutch Schultz, and her struggle to find a place in a world built on money earned on smuggled alcohol. The novella is quite short and fast-paced – and as it is the introduction to this series you don’t get much in way of character development, relationships or world building, but you do get some, just enough to wake your interest and make you think “hm, this series might be interesting”.

Due to that I’m giving it a 3 star rating. Once we have the first proper novel for this series I’ll probably give it a go as well.

Stardust

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Started: December 22, 2016
Finished: December 26, 2016

Language: English
Rating: 4/5 stars

Alright, so, here’s a tip: don’t watch the movie before the book, don’t watch it multiple times and don’t ever expect the two to be the same.

Usually I follow that advice – with this one, however, I went against it. Well, not intentionally; I saw the movie Stardust at some point with my sister when I was in my older teens and at that time I didn’t even think “hm, maybe I should read the book first” because it was either watch it or do some boring thing which I cannot remember right now.

Anyhow, me having watched that movie – not once but several times – and me having way too good a memory when it comes to details expected this to follow just about the same story line. Which was not the case. The two are not the same and, once I’d realized that (I’m ashamed to say it took a while) I ended up enjoying this immensely because it became an entirely new story! Add Neil Gaiman’s brilliant storytelling and you’ve got a really good book.

The reason why I deducted one star from this review is that the movie is – sadly – still affecting me. I keep remembering the details in it and, at times, those made me disappointed in the lack of details in this story. Which is the way it should be, because this is a fairy tale like story and fairy tales are supposed to have details left out. But, yeah, in the position I was now I had trouble reconciling the details of the movie with the lesser amount in the book.

I still want to re-read this, though, and who knows; maybe then I’ll up the rating? 🙂

Twelve Doctors of Christmas

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Started: December 21, 2016
Finished: December 21, 2016

Language: English
Rating: 5/5 stars

On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…
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…the Twelve Doctors Christmas stories!

(yeah, that rhyme didn’t work, moving on)

This was the best thing ever to listen to while Christmas cleaning an entire house. I loved that there was one story for each Doctor, because I’ve been missing the old ones.
No, not all of the stories were 5 stars – but so, so many of them were spot on perfect. There were fun stories, sad stories, dramatic stories, action-filled stories, stories focusing on adults, stories focusing on kids – and the references throughout the entire thing were amazing.

In short, I might have found a new Christmas tradition.