the hazel wood arc review // creepy setting but a bit of a let down????

Okay, I need to say that this is a good book, the writing is absolutely breath-taking and the world that has been created just blew me away, like I was surprised by just how much this world and it’s dark and creepy fairy tales captivated me.

I think if this book was just set in Hinterland I probably would have rated it higher as that’s what I did expect from it but a lot of it was set in New York with Ella and Alice on the road. ALSO, it was so, so, so slow. Like the pacing in the first half was ridiculous and I was bored, I hate being bored while reading a book but I was.

“Look until the leaves turn red, sew the worlds up with thread. If your journey’s left undone, fear the rising of the sun.” 

Then there were the characters and other than Finch who we didn’t get to see that much of really I didn’t like any of the characters and some of them weren’t really in it long enough or we didn’t find out much about them for me to really care, which is a shame since some of them had potential to be so unique and interesting.

The second half is where it picks up a bit as we get to see the Hinterland and lots of different fairy tales and that was pretty cool, we also got to meet some other character but like I said before they all fell a little flat.

“We were each our own island, gathered together into one messed-up archipelago.” 

As for the ending I just wanted something more?

I wasn’t as impressed with this book as I thought I would be but the story and the writing I can’t deny how good that was, the fairy tales although incredibly creepy at times were amazing and I just wish we had more of them!

Actual rating – 3.5 stars.

Thank you to Netgalley & the publisher for the arc!

Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1)

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth.
The first book in the Carve the Mark series.
468 Pages.
My rating – 3*/5*

‘In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s current gift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.

Then Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?’

 

I was very sceptical of picking this book up because of the controversy surrounding this book regarding race, chronic illness and self harm so I wasn’t really sure that this book would be something that interested me but I loved the first two Divergent books and I brought this book when it first came out as it was the first thing Veronica Roth had written in forever so I was super excited to pick it up but all in all I just wasn’t impressed with this books. It was slow paced, boring and predictable.

I didn’t dislike this book exactly I just wasn’t really impressed with it as a whole – there were some things I enjoyed about this book and some things I didn’t.

“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.” 

THINGS I LIKED 
⚫ POWERS ARE COOL. Not all of theirs are cool of course but I think Vas’ may be my favourite, never being able to feel pain (BYE BYE STOMACH CRAMPS).
⚫ Instead of the girl being a damsel in distress and the guy being the strong saviour it’s almost like the roles are reversed for Cyra and Akos. Cyra is the tough strong one who’s had a difficult life and Akos is more like a gentle soul.
⚫ There are some good action scenes but I felt like they were rushed and were over far too soon, I wish that more time had been spent on those scenes as the book would have been a bit more enjoyable then.
⚫ I liked Cyra – Maybe not all the time but I liked her she was flawed and it made her feel more real too me; she was far from perfect.

THINGS I DIDN’T REALLY LIKE 

⚫ This book may be a bit too long considering there wasn’t much action in it, at times it dragged a lot and I found myself loosing interesting quite easily ☹
⚫ There was too much detail in some areas and nowhere enough in others which was super annoying.
⚫ The “Villain” was boring, I wanted him to be more evil and scarier but he just ended up falling a little flat.
⚫ The romance (this should be shocking coming from me as I love romance), but I just felt it was boring and forced and not for me.
⚫ I was a little confused about the world, I didn’t really understood how it worked and found I had stopped being interested in finding it out pretty quickly so I ended up just going with the flow :’D

“I didn’t choose the blood that runs in my veins, any more than you chose your fate. You and I, we’ve become what we were made to become.” 

Overall, as a fan of her other work I wish that I hadn’t actually picked this up, I felt like I was constantly comparing the two together. This isn’t exactly a bad book but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, I’m not 100% sure if I will pick up the second book just yet but I do hate not finishing a series once I’ve started!!!

So Near the Horizon

So Near the Horizon by Jessica Koch.
The first book in the Danny trilogy.
356 Pages.
My Rating – 5*/5*

‘From the moment she crosses paths with Danny, Jessica is fascinated. The dashing, confident twenty-year-old has everything she dreams of—looks, success, independence, money—and his kind, infinitely cheerful nature is spellbinding.

Yet Jessica sees something else lingering underneath Danny’s perfect facade. Bit by bit, she manages to pick it apart, unveiling harrowing truths about a deeply traumatic childhood that has left more than just emotional scars. Now, far away from his home and family, he is fighting to build a normal life for himself—even though he may be destined for a future as dark as his past.

Despite all adversity and against all reason, a deep and intimate love develops between Danny and Jessica. But soon they find themselves confronting the harsh realities of a superficial world, battling against prejudice and exclusion at every turn… and, worst of all, racing against time…’

I’ve been sitting on this review for quite a while now because I just don’t know what to say. Seriously, this book was so heartbreakingly beautiful and I loved it way more than I ever thought I would. What makes it worse for me was knowing that this was a true story, that this happened to Jessica, I don’t cry at books that often but I was a crying mess reading the last few chapters of this book.

There is nothing sweet and fluffy about Danny and Jessica’s romantic, it’s hard and painful but it is so full of love – it is one powerful story that’s for sure.

I’m not sure how to write a review without spoiling anything for this book but I’m going to try my best not do give anything too big away but I apologise in advance if I do.

”Someday,” he said, “when I’m not around anymore. When you’re near the horizon, you’ll be near me, too..”

When we first met Danny, I didn’t really like him, he seemed a bit of an arrogant player and I just didn’t really like him very much – but as the story goes on and we learn about his back story it just broke my heart, he had got through so much but I believe it shaped him into an amazing, loving and thoughtful (very stubborn) man who so clearly loved Jessica with all his heart.

Tina is another character who has a terrible back story who is trying to overcome it and be the person who Danny knows she can be.

It’s so lovely to read this book and watch how Jessica impacted on their lives and how they impacted on hers and I highly recommend this to every single person please read this lovely book, you won’t be disappointed!

Thank you so much to Jessica for sending me a copy of her book to review!

The Sun Is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star

The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
348 Pages.
My rating – 4*/5*

‘Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?’

I am such a sucker for a cute romance story, like so bad, and although this was very “I love you” very quickly (like they met and he loved her sort of thing) I still found myself falling hopelessly in love with this book from the very beginning – I loved Daniel and Natasha so much it was lovely!

When I first read the synopsis of this book, I will admit that I was a by cynical, how can two people who are such polar opposites of each other meet and fall for each other? Especially since when they did meet they had nothing in common, Daniel had a love for poetry and love while Natasha thought they were both useless things! 💔

I have to admit though, I was rooting for them!

“There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.”

Watching Daniel and Natasha befriend each other was enjoyable, it was obvious to me though the more the story developed how I could see that it as doubtful it would work between them, Daniel was destined towards a path forged by his parents and Natasha was to be deported all thanks to a mistake her father made one night. I loved how Daniel didn’t give up, he wanted to show Natasha that love is a good thing – I liked how Natasha (against her better judgement of course) was beginning to fall for him.

The ending I know is a touchy subject for some people but the ending was my favourite bit! It was believable and I saw it coming as soon as I read a few chapters of the book so I wasn’t surprised but I liked that Nicola Yoon chose to go with that ending. I wished it was a little longer but we can’t have everything can we 😉

Overall if you are a big fan of romance and YA cotemporary than this one will be for you 😊

I’ll Give You the Sun

I’ll Give You the Sun

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
384 Pages.
My Rating – 3.5*/5*

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.” 

At first, Jude and her twin brother Noah, are inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them. 

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor. 

The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world. ‘

“Meeting your soul mate is like walking into a house you’ve been in before – you will recognize the furniture, the pictures on the wall, the books on the shelves, the contents of drawers: You could find your way around in the dark if you had to.” 

I feel like I read a different book to everyone else?

I picked up this book expecting something that was a nice, easy, fluffy contemporary and got anything but that – it wasn’t an easy book to read, at times it was even depressing, but it did have a lot of redeeming qualities but I just wasn’t keen on the book.

This was the first book by Jandy Nelson that I read so I didn’t know what to expect with her writing style – I ended up not liking it. Yes, I can see why people find it beautiful and it is unique and different to a lot of writing I’ve seen in YA contemporaries but I didn’t like the writing, I found it difficult to read which was a shame ☹

It took me ages to read this, so long and I ended up picking up books to read in-between because I just wasn’t enjoying it as much as I had wanted too. I did at some point feel like giving up but I think halfway through the book I started to enjoy it – I enjoyed Noah’s chapters a lot more than Jude’s so I wish that the whole book was told from Noah’s POV.

This book just dragged a bit for me, I felt like it took too long to get to the exciting bits of the book, the whole however many chapters before the “big incident” just dragged, it was only after we find out what happened that I began to enjoy the book and by then I was halfway through.

I did love how everything began to fit into place towards the end of the book and I enjoyed seeing Jude and Noah develop. I did get used to the writing style towards the end but I’m still undecided if I’ll be picking up anymore of her work after reading this ☹

I’m sure there are loads of people who loved this book and I do say read it! The writing style isn’t for everyone but I can’t deny that it isn’t beautiful.

If you have read this book I would love to hear your thoughts on it!!!!
Did you love it/hate it/weren’t sure on it?

 

Our Chemical Hearts

Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland
320 Pages.
My Rating – 4*/5*

‘Henry Page has never been in love. He fancies himself a hopeless romantic, but the slo-mo, heart palpitating, can’t-eat-can’t-sleep kind of love that he’s been hoping for just hasn’t been in the cards for him—at least not yet. Instead, he’s been happy to focus on his grades, on getting into a semi-decent college and finally becoming editor of his school newspaper. Then Grace Town walks into his first period class on the third Tuesday of senior year and he knows everything’s about to change.
 
Grace isn’t who Henry pictured as his dream girl—she walks with a cane, wears oversized boys’ clothes, and rarely seems to shower. But when Grace and Henry are both chosen to edit the school paper, he quickly finds himself falling for her. It’s obvious there’s something broken about Grace, but it seems to make her even more beautiful to Henry, and he wants nothing more than to help her put the pieces back together again. And yet, this isn’t your average story of boy meets girl. ‘

Our Chemical Hearts was one of those heart wrenching books that leaves an imprint on your heart. It’s about first loves, grief, friendship – told by a witty narrator who I absolutely adore, Henry Page you sweet precious cinnamon roll deserve all the love in the world.

This book was lovely and frustrating at the same time, half the time I was smiling happily because everything was going good and the next time I was getting so frustrated I was almost crying, this book messed with my emotions bad, it was definitely a bittersweet read.

Henry is by far my favourite character in this book, I absolutely loved everything about him, he was witty and awkward and I just love him. Grace is deeply broken over a tragedy that happened in her life before she met Henry. Grace I didn’t like, I’m sorry I couldn’t relate to her what so ever, I didn’t like her at all to be honest, I understood that she was going through so much but I didn’t think that it made it okay for her to treat/m mess around Henry quite as much as she did.

Not only were the main characters well developed as were the side characters, Henry’s best friends and his family were so interested and I loved reading about them, especially his best friends they were so funny 😊

If you are looking for an emotional and though provoking read then this book is for you, although I didn’t love all the characters I still enjoyed this book immensely, the characters are awesome, the writing is captivating and the story is truly something, if you haven’t read this already you should 😊

Fangirl

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
481 Pages
My Rating – 5*-5*

‘Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?’

WARNING THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN LOTS OF FANGIRLING (lol get it?)

I LOVED THIS BOOK
L O V E D I T
💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕

I don’t know why I haven’t picked it up sooner other than I’m a total idiot because this is quite possible my favourite book of this year, it was just perfect in every way and I have nothing bad to say about this book because I had a big fat smile on my face pretty much all the way through it and I already want to re-read it and I only finished it a couple of days ago.

I have no idea even where to begin with this review, like I’m just so happy that I’ve read such an amazing book. I think I should change the warning that it’s gonna be a load of garbage rambling because I already know that’s what it’s going to end up being XD

The characters in this book I love. Cath is relatable and loveable and Levi is the complete opposite to Cath, he is outgoing and excitable (think a golden retriever and that is basically Levi). The friendship between the two is just perfect, of course the characters all had flaws but that’s just what made them so real for me – I just loved them so much.

I just love this book so much!!!! 

I feel like the mental health aspects of this book was handled well, Cath suffers from anxiety and her father is bipolar, I thought she did a great job of writing about it and managed it well 😊

Basically, from start this book was amazing and I can’t wait to pick up more books by Rainbow Rowell 😊

Carry Me Home – Arc Review

Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien.
356 Pages.
My Rating – 2*/5*

Lucy and Ruth are country girls from a broken home. When they move to the city with their mother, leaving behind their family ranch and dead-beat father, Lucy unravels.

They run to their grandparents’ place, a trailer park mobile home in the barrio of San Jose. Lucy’s barrio friends have changed since her last visit. They’ve joined a gang called VC. They teach her to fight, to shank, to beat a person unconscious and play with guns. When things get too heavy, and lives are at stake, the three girls head for LA seeking a better life.

But trouble always follows Lucy. She befriends the wrong people, members of another gang, and every bad choice she makes drags the family into her dangerous world.

Told from three points of view, the story follows Lucy down the rabbit hole, along with her mother and sister as they sacrifice dreams and happiness, friendships and futures. Love is waiting for all of them in LA, but pursuing a life without Lucy could mean losing her forever.

Ultimately it’s their bond with each other that holds them together, in a true test of love, loss and survival. ‘

First things first I’m going to give everyone a trigger warning as I wished I had got one when I picked this up, so a trigger warning for: abuse, rape, drug use, violence.

I didn’t like this book, believe me I tried but every time this book had something good happen it took two steps back. It’d told from three different POV’s, Lucy and Ruth and their mom. Lucy was really the main character as most of the story revolved around her and what happens in her life and Ruth and the Mom’s POV is trying to start a new life for themselves while dealing with what Lucy is doing.

I was expecting this book to be violent since I knew it was about gangs but I didn’t expect all the other things to happen in this book so I was quite shocked when I read chapter after chapter and the things that were happening. As for the characters I didn’t like any of them, Lucy was a selfish little girl who clearly only thought about herself, I wish Ruth had got a backbone and actually put herself first instead of her mother and her sister and I just wasn’t that keen on the mom, I didn’t feel like she was like a “mom”, she was more like a friend.

The story as a whole I didn’t really like and I thought the ending was too easy? I just didn’t enjoy it, me and this book didn’t get on which is a shame as it did sound pretty interesting!

➡️ thank you to acorn publishing and Netgalley for the arc.

Warcross (Warcross #1)

Warcross by Marie Lu
The first book in the series.
368 Pages.
My Rating – 5*/5*

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire. ‘

This is the second Marie Lu book I have read and by far the book that I enjoyed the most. Obviously, you can’t really compare The Young Elites to Warcross as they are very different but I enjoyed the latter a lot more, I wanted to read it as slow as I could to make it last since I have no idea when the second book in the series will be released.

This book had me hooked from page one and I actually wanted to play the game Warcross, it sounds friggin’ awesome after all! I just started reading Ready Player One(which is awesome) and I feel like Wacross has similar vibes as Ready Player One while holding its own.

I loved all the unique and diverse characters that were created, Emika was probably my favourite closely followed by Ren and Ash, I even liked Hideo a bit too! 😊

The writing was captivating as was the setting – a massive arena (set in Tokyo) where they play this game that’s watched by hundreds and thousands and millions and billions of people all over the world. It truly was such an enjoyable read for me.

Also, I feel like the cover needs a quick mention because as a person who loves covers (and buys impulsely based on the cover) this one was friggin amazing and so colourful and I really wished I had brought the hardback as when you take of the dust jack it’s so pretty! 😀

I love how Emika grows throughout the book and we see her open up to her team mates and her relationship with Hideo I really liked as well.

The next book can’t come quick enough as I need to know what happens to bad, the twists and turns in this book I didn’t expect and I enjoyed very much. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Marie Lu’s books 😊

The Upside of Falling Down – ARC Review

The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane.
My Rating – 3.5*/5*

‘For Clementine Haas, finding herself is more than a nice idea. Ever since she woke up in an Irish hospital with complete amnesia, self-discovery has become her mission.

They tell her she’s the lone survivor of a plane crash. They tell her she’s lucky to be alive. But she doesn’t feel lucky. She feels…lost.

With the relentless Irish press bearing down on her, and a father she may not even recognize on his way from America to take her home, Clementine assumes a new identity and enlists a blue-eyed Irish stranger, Kieran O’Connell, to help her escape her forgotten life…and start a new one.

Hiding out in the sleepy town of Waterville, Ireland, Clementine discovers there’s an upside to a life that’s fallen apart. But as her lies grow, so does her affection for Kieran, and the truth about her identity becomes harder and harder to reveal, forcing Clementine to decide: Can she leave her past behind for a new love she’ll never forget?’

THERE WILL BE SOME SMALL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW

When I saw this book on Netgalley to request I thought it looked like a super cute, adorable, quick read and that was exactly what it was! 😊

It’s all about Clemetine who is our main character, she is the only survivor in a plane crash and wakes up in hospital with amnesia. It follows her as she pretty much hightails it out of hospital with a stranger so she doesn’t have to face her forgotten life. I didn’t agree with every descision she makes, especially going off with a complete stranger and living with him – although because of the plane crash pretty much everyone is a stranger for her. There is something quite mysterious about Clementine and the plane crash so I was super happy that there were the occasional flashback throughout the book of her “past life?”.

My favourite part of the book was Kieran, he is so handsome and swoon worthy I was 100% all for him he was just soooooo lovely and he really cared for Clementine (or Jane as she was currently going by).

There were a few things I didn’t like that much about this book was when Clementine overstepped her boundaries, like snooping through people’s things, I know you are curious and that sort of stuff but personally I could never imagine doing that, even though she had amnesia I don’t think that means she can go looking through stranger’s things but maybe that’s just me?

The whole money thing was odd for me, I get that Kieran is rich but leaving £100 a day for her? Surely she shouldn’t be using it to buy some of the things she did and I could understand why Siobhan (Kieran’s sister) was so annoyed at her.

The twist in this book at the end I didn’t see coming and I really enjoyed it – it answered a lot of questions for me and I thought it was a really good twist! 😊

Overall it was a cute quick read and I did enjoy it!

➡️ thank you to Skyscape and Netgalley for the arc.

 

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