Wednesday, 28 October 2020

The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) by Renee Ahdieh - A Review

 


Hello everyone!!

Today we are reviewing The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh the first book in the duology. It is a YA fantasy and was published in October 2019 by  G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. 
The second book The Damned is already out (July 2020).

The Beautiful was marketed as a vampire book. Thankfully, for me, it wasn't one, at least not all of it. 
This is the first Renee Ahdieh book I read and I really enjoyed her writing. It's beautiful and lyrical. 
I loved the setting of the story. New Orleans is always magical. 
I would prefer it though if the book was more fast-paced and not only towards the end. The ending left me with many questions but thankfully I don't have to wait to get my answers as book two The Damned is already out. 
The story is a combination of romance with a supernatural  murder mystery and it is done pretty well. I loved the atmosphere of the book but the book didn't manage to explain many things that are important to the story. 
For me the characters were well written despite the fact that Celine was inconsistent. I enjoyed the three POVs (Celine, Sebastien & the mysterious man). 

I will pick book two to see where the story goes. 

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads
In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she's forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city's glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group's leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien's guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina

Thursday, 22 October 2020

Circe by Madeline Miller - A Review

 


Hello everyone!!

Today we are talking about Circe by Madeline Miller which is a retelling of the myth of Circe. It was published in 2018 by Bloomsbury Publishing. Madeline Miller has also written The Song of Achilles which explores another Greek myth. 

When I picked up Circe I didn't know what to expect. The only thing I knew was it's general theme Circe's myth. I really liked the way Madeline Miller  told us the story of Circe through her eyes and not the others around her. We saw the real Circe and what had happened to her from her childhood throughout the years. All these explained why she acted like this. 

If you enjoy Greek Mythology, complex heroines and adventures then this book is for you. 


Rating : 4 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. But Circe has neither the look nor the voice of divinity, and is scorned and rejected by her kin. Increasingly isolated, she turns to mortals for companionship, leading her to discover a power forbidden to the gods: witchcraft.
When love drives Circe to cast a dark spell, wrathful Zeus banishes her to the remote island of Aiaia. There she learns to harness her occult craft, drawing strength from nature. But she will not always be alone; many are destined to pass through Circe's place of exile, entwining their fates with hers. The messenger god, Hermes. The craftsman, Daedalus. A ship bearing a golden fleece. And wily Odysseus, on his epic voyage home.
There is danger for a solitary woman in this world, and Circe's independence draws the wrath of men and gods alike. To protect what she holds dear, Circe must decide whether she belongs with the deities she is born from, or the mortals she has come to love.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina


Wednesday, 21 October 2020

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust - A Review

 


Hello everyone!!

Today's review is for Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust which was published in May 2020 by Hodder & Stoughton. 

I didn't expect to like this one but I really did like it. It's a kind of a retelling of a Persian myth and reads like a real fairytale. The story is perfectly structured. Fast-paced were you need it to be. 
The character development is really good, with Soraya being my favourite. I also liked the diversity of the characters. It may sound strange but I loved the villain of the story too and sometimes I rooted for him. 
I cannot believe this was only a standalone. The world building and complexity was very good.

I highly recommend it!

Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads
A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse...
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it's not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother's wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she's willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming...human or demon. Princess or monster.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina



Sunday, 18 October 2020

Incendiary (Hollow Crown #1) by Zoraida Cordova - A Review

 



Hello everyone!

Today we are talking about Incendiary by Zoraida Cordova which is the first book in the Hollow Crown duology. It is a YA Fantasy book and was released in April 2020 by Hodder & Stoughton.

Well, I loved this book!
To be honest not from the beginning but as it moved on I loved it even more and I couldn't put it down. It's a page-turner with a wonderful and unique magic system that is very well explained. 
I loved Renata, the main character, and the way her personality showed throughout the book. She evolves from what others tell her she is, to who she really is and who she wants to be.
It has many plot twists which were unexpected and left me open-mouthed. I love the way Zoraida Cordova writes the story and how everything that happens is so unexpected. 

Rating : 5 Stars

I cannot wait for the sequel, which by the way is called Illusionary and comes out on May 2021. Just look at that cover.


Synopsis from Goodreads:
I am Renata Convida.
I have lived a hundred stolen lives.
Now I live my own.
Renata Convida was only a child when she was kidnapped by the King's Justice and brought to the luxurious palace of Andalucia. As a Robari, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, Renata's ability to steal memories from royal enemies enabled the King's Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, rebel spies working against the crown and helping the remaining Moria escape the kingdom bent on their destruction. The Whispers may have rescued Renata from the palace years ago, but she cannot escape their mistrust and hatred--or the overpowering memories of the hundreds of souls she turned "hollow" during her time in the palace.
When Dez, the commander of her unit, is taken captive by the notorious Sangrado Prince, Renata will do anything to save the boy whose love makes her place among the Whispers bearable. But a disastrous rescue attempt means Renata must return to the palace under cover and complete Dez's top secret mission. Can Renata convince her former captors that she remains loyal, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
But returning to the palace stirs childhood memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the politics of the royal court, she uncovers a secret in her past that could change the entire fate of the kingdom--and end the war that has cost her everything.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina



Wednesday, 14 October 2020

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune - A Review


Today we are talking about The House in the Cerulean Sea by T. J. Klune published on March 2020 by Tor Books.

Disclaimer: I received an eARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

The House in the Cerulean Sea is a contemporary fantasy book about finding family in an unexpected place. It is a wonderful, heartwarming story that makes you feel good. 
As the author T. J. Klune says: " [The book] is a love letter to those who should be allowed to feel small and cared for when the world seems dark". I couldn't agree more.
If you cannot tell, I love this book. The writing is beautiful and I loved all the characters. 
The author explores the fear and prejudice that exists in society and gives us a message of hope that we can change it if we start with few first.

Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis from Godreads:
A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he's given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.

P.S. : Do you like me find it difficult to write a review when you loved a book? I certainly do!!


See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!

Athina



Wednesday, 7 October 2020

The Girl of Hawthorn and Glass by Adan Jerreat - Poole - A Review

 


Yesterday (October 6th) was the release day of The Girl of Hawthorne and Glass by Adan Jerreat - Poole which I read earlier thanks to an eARC I received from Netgalley and the publisher Dundurn.

To begin with, this book has a gorgeous cover and to be honest that is what drew me to it. Then it has a very interesting story and the word assassin on the synopsis that made me wanting to read the book. It's a YA LGBTQ+ fantasy book set in a world of witches, ghosts and misfits fighting to save the earth.  It's a debut for the author and it's very diverse and lyrically written. 

It's the first book in a duology and the second book The Boi of Feather and Steel is expected to be published in May 2021.

I generally enjoyed the story as it had a lot of potential. I love the fact that there were diverse characters who had very unique personalities. The beginning was very gripping and I thought I would love this book but as it moved on it got slow-paced and the world-building started to confuse me. 

Rating: 3 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
For readers of Nevernight and The Hazel Wood, enter a wicked cool fantasy world of witches and their assassins, where a group of renegades battle to capture the Heart of the Coven.
Even teenage assassins have dreams.
Eli isn’t just a teenage girl — she’s a made-thing the witches created to hunt down ghosts in the human world. Trained to kill with her seven living blades, Eli is a flawless machine, a deadly assassin. But when an assignment goes wrong, Eli starts to question everything she was taught about both worlds, the Coven, and her tyrannical witch-mother.Terrified that she’ll be unmade for her mistake, Eli seeks refuge with a group of human and witch renegades. To earn her place, she must prove herself by capturing the Heart of the Coven. With the help of two humans, one motorcycle, and a girl who smells like the sea, Eli is going to get answers — and earn her freedom.

See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!

Athina

Tuesday, 6 October 2020

New Releases - October 2020

 Well, it's time for the October 2020 new releases post. This month there are a lot of books that are in my most anticipated list (hint, hint Addie La Rue).

 As I said before this list is of course incomplete as it includes only books that I am interested in and the majority of them are in the Fantasy genre.
Don't forget that the titles of the books link to Goodreads.



So, let's start because we have a lot to cover...

We will start of course with my most anticipated book of the whole year which is from V. E. Schwab.

October 6th


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab

Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Tor Books 








The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

Genre: Historical Fiction / Mystery
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark








Broken Wish (The Mirror #1) by Julie C. Dao

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Disney Hyperion









Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy
Sequel to: The Hidden Oracle
                 The Dark Prophecy
                 The Burning Maze
                 The Tyrant's Tomb
Publisher: Disney Hyperion





Genre: YA Fantasy / LGBTQ+
Publisher: Dundurn








Genre: Fantasy / Short Stories
Publisher: Imprint








Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.








October 13th



Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit









Genre: Fantasy / Romance
Publisher: Erewhon









Genre: YA Fantasy / Historical
Publisher: Wednesday Books








October 20th



Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books








Genre: Non-fiction / Books about books
Publisher: Clarkson Potter Publishers







October 27th


Caraval Collector's Edition (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron books









Genre: Fantasy
Publisher: Orbit








Genre: YA Fanatsy / Historical Fiction
Publisher: JIMMY Paterson








These are some of the new releases of October 2020.
Are you excited about them?
Do you have other ones on your radar that I should know of?


See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!

Athina



Friday, 2 October 2020

Recent Reading Wrap up - Summer 2020

It's been some time since my last reading wrap up here on the blog. The reason is simple. I spend my summer in Greece with my family, away from my books and my routine. That had an impact on my reading too and that is why I don't have monthly wrap ups but a summer one.





The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass #0.1 - 0.5) - Sarah J Maas

This is the first time I read anything from Sarah J. Maas and after reading The Assassin's Blade, I think I should have done it earlier. I really enjoyed reading the backstory of Celaena and I cannot wait to read more.

Check out my full review here

Rating: 4 Stars



Or What You Will - Jo Walton

I don't know how to describe the plot of this book but the one thing I can say is that I really liked it.

Check out my full review here

Rating: 4 Stars




The Lost City (The Omte Origins #1) - Amanda Hocking

I really enjoyed reading The Lost City. It's the first time I read a book with trolls as main characters and I liked it. The book is fast-paced and the writing style suits me perfectly. 

Check out my full review here

Rating: 4 Stars



The Magic of Terry Pratchett - Mark Burrows

The Magic Of Terry Pratchett is the first full biography of Sir Terry Pratchett ever written. In this book Marc Burrows does a brief analysis and description of the books while giving background information on them, which is very interesting and informative at the same time. I also learned many things about his personal life that made Terry Pratchett even more interesting than before.

Check out my full review here

Rating: 4 Stars


The Beautiful (The Beautiful #1) - Renee Ahdieh

This book was marketed as a vampire book. Thankfully , for me, it wasn't one, at least not all of it. I really enjoyed the writing and the setting of the story. 


Review to come soon

Rating: 3 Stars



Why you should read children's books, even though you are so old and wise - Katherine Rundell

This is a small non-fiction book about children's books and how they constantly ignite our imagination and create new perspectives. It points out that we should read children's books without feeling any shame.  I really enjoyed reading it.

Rating: 4 Stars




Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of cards #1) - Janella Angeles

Where Dreams Descend is full of magic! 
I really enjoyed reading this book and I practically devoured it. It is well-written  fast-paced and the action starts from the beginning.
It's a fun and at the same time dark story with some mysterious characters. 

Check out my full review here

Rating: 4 Stars



Girl, Serpent, Thorn - Melissa Bashardoust

I didn't expect to like this one, but I really did like it. It's kind of a retelling of a Persian myth and it reads like a real fairytale. The story is perfectly structured and well-paced.

Review to come soon.

Rating: 4 Stars



Harry Potter: Film Vault: Volume 10: Wizarding Homes and Villages  -  Titan Books

It's a book about the filmmaking secrets behind the HP films regarding the wizarding homes and the Hogsmeade Village. It's the 10th volume out of 12 in total and I am intrigued to get them all. I really enjoyed it and I highly recommend it for any Harry Potter fan.


Rating: 5 Stars


That's it from me now regarding my reading wrap up. 
I hope to come back to regular monthly wrap ups starting from October.


See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!

Athina


You can buy this book from Book Depository using this link (affiliate link) 


Wednesday, 23 September 2020

From Russia With Love (James Bond 007) by Ian Fleming - A Review



 
From Russia With Love is Ian Fleming's fifth James Bond novel and it was published in 1957. 

I am slowly making my way through  the James Bond novels by the incredible Ian Fleming. This one was a little different from the previous ones because we got to see James Bond after page 130, which was a little odd. That of course didn't bother me and it didn't affect the way I enjoyed the book. 
It had all the classic James Bond tropes that I love and all the necessary adventures. It is full of action and intrigues. 

Rating: 4 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads
James Bond is marked for death by the Soviet counterintelligence agency SMERSH in Ian Fleming’s masterful spy thriller.
SMERSH stands for ‘Death to Spies’ and there’s no secret agent they’d like to disgrace and destroy more than 007, James Bond. But ensnaring the British Secret Service’s most lethal operative will require a lure so tempting even he can’t resist. Enter Tatiana Romanova, a ravishing Russian spy whose ‘defection’ springs a trap designed with clockwork precision.
Her mission: seduce Bond, then flee to the West on the Orient Express. Waiting in the shadows are two of Ian Fleming’s most vividly drawn villains: Red Grant, SMERSH’s deadliest assassin, and the sinister operations chief Rosa Klebb-five feet four inches of pure killing power.


See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina





Tuesday, 15 September 2020

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl



Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a book by the amazing storyteller Roald Dahl and was published in 1964. Roald Dahl knows how to tell you a story and he does it very very well every time. 
 
The way Roald Dahl describes everything in the Willy Wonka chocolate factory is incredible. You just feel like you are in there and you want to touch everything. 
I have read Roald Dahl books before but this one I hadn't read and I knew the story only from the movie, which helped me visualize what I was reading. 

Obviously the Oompa Loompas are my favourite. Charlie and his Grandpa were perfect. They were humble and sweet, and Willy Wonka himself was lovely and I liked how sarcastic he was. 

Rating: 5 Stars

Synopsis from Goodreads
One miraculous moment changes Charlie Bucket's life forever.
A boy who only gets to eat cabbage soup for breakfast, lunch and dinner finds a Golden Ticket that will take him into Willy Wonka's magical chocolate factory.
Joining him on the tour are four horrible blighters:
Augustus Gloop - a great big greedy nincompoop, Veruca Salt - a spoiled brat, Violet Beauregarde - a repulsive little gum-chewer and Mike Teavee - a TV addict.
With a chocolate river, crafty squirrels and mysterious Oompa Loompas, Mr Wonka's chocolate factory is the strangest, most magnificent place Charlie has ever seen.
What other surprises are in store for the lucky ticket winners?


See you in the next post and don't forget to keep reading!!!
Athina