Waiting on Wednesday| The Midnight Star

Waiting On Wednesday is a book meme set up Breaking the Spine where all those who participate share weekly those book releases we are dying to get our hand on as soon as they are released.

This week's WoW post is:


The Midnight Star (The Young Elites #3)
Marie Lu

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Synopsis:

There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen.

Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She's turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but the darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy everything.

When a new danger appears, Adelina must join the Daggers on a perilous quest in order to save herself and preserve her empire. But this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger . . .


My thoughts:

Look at the pretty!! Look! Look!

Talk about not judging a book by it's cover and this is the soul reason why 'The Midnight Star' has made it to this week's Waiting on Wednesday post. I haven't read this trilogy yet, nor finished the Legend Trilogy. 

We'll see-- although, it would be nice if Penguin was like-- here have these because we see that you are interested. 

I hate no having an infinite bank account.

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REVIEW| A Torch Against the Night

A Torch Against the Night (An Ember in the Ashes #2)
Sabaa Tahir

⭐⭐⭐


DISCLAIMER: I received this book as an ARC from HarperVoyagerUK in exchange for an honest review.

All views expressed are my own.

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Synopsis:


Elias and Laia are running for their lives. After the events of the Fourth Trial, Martial soldiers hunt the two fugitives as they flee the city of Serra and undertake a perilous journey through the heart of the Empire.

Laia is determined to break into Kauf—the Empire’s most secure and dangerous prison—to save her brother, who is the key to the Scholars’ survival. And Elias is determined to help Laia succeed, even if it means giving up his last chance at freedom.

But dark forces, human and otherworldly, work against Laia and Elias. The pair must fight every step of the way to outsmart their enemies: the bloodthirsty Emperor Marcus, the merciless Commandant, the sadistic Warden of Kauf, and, most heartbreaking of all, Helene—Elias’s former friend and the Empire’s newest Blood Shrike.

Bound to Marcus’s will, Helene faces a torturous mission of her own—one that might destroy her: find the traitor Elias Veturius and the Scholar slave who helped him escape…and kill them both.
 


Review:


The Cover:

COVER CHANGE!

Well for us over here, in the UK, there is. I can here all you OCD book buyers crying your metaphorical river of tears as the steam comes pouring out of your ears. I'm just hoping that they cover doesn't sway and we get a similar format as the UK paperback.

Thank the heavens HarperVoyagerUK sent me an ARC of ATATN otherwise I  would've been reading and reviewing sometime in the summer of next year. 

The Content:

Second-Book-Syndrome is often the case in novels such as this, where there is a MASSIVE fan base and everyone is just really expectant for the greatness of the first novel and so it's incredibly hard to top that. Sabaa Tahir, you, my sweet are a wonder!

A Torch Against the Night starts swiftly after the ending of Ember, Laia and Elias are running through the catacombs trying to escape the Empire. It definitely sets your heart racing. 

Tahir has introduced the POV of Helene in this second novel, which I remember a lot of people feeling sceptical in terms of what she had to bring to the table. I admire Helene, and this was definitely due to the addition of her P.O.V- even if, you didn't like her during An Ember I would get you to give her another shot. Tahir knows the best way to take your heart and make it ache and bleed it out. A slow and steady fangirling mess. 

I remember that one wish that I had with this sequel was that the world would be equally expanded and as it would be fleshed out and it was delivered. I was just intrigued by the multitude of cultures that we were introduced to, that we met only in passing through the first book. Furthermore, this expansion fled into the fantasy sub-genre that this book is slowly growing into. 

These pair of sandals will hopefully fit "him" after book three.


For the whole note:

This Ember has finally caught flames.

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Books I Have Taken To Uni With Me!

As you are all aware I moved to Bangor, Wales on the 18th September in the attempt of my actually studying and pushing myself in the art of writing. And here I am, practically friendless and making it worse by how hard I am finding it to socialise. 

I am so socially awkward that Dan Howell looks like the most sociable man in Britain.

But, in the hopes of pretending that I am not alone, I thought I would share in the glory that is my minuscule bookshelf.

The first two on the list are both of the same series:


A Darker Shade of Magic, A Gathering of Shadows (A Darker

Shade of Magic #1&2)
V.E.Schwab

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I bought these during my "Summer Holiday"- my copy of ADSOM is actually signed by Vee.

I asked her if she would write a little message in order to stop me procrastinating about everything. Which really is what I am doing by writing this post- procrastinating about making friends.


The Bone Clocks 
David Mitchell

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Currently, I am on page 262 out of 613 pages and I started this a long long while back. I thought it would be best if I brought it with me so I can finish it.
That hasn't worked so far.

But, at least it has made my shelf look nicer. Seriously.




Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)
Sarah J. Maas

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Another one that I had started before I left but never finished because, I had so many other books to finish before I left otherwise I would have had to bring another 4 books.

Real not good.

No spoilers either please.

Caraval (Untitled #1)
Stephanie Garber

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I received an advanced readers copy of Caraval back in June,  and still haven't been able to pick it up and read it.

Of course, it had to come.

Out: 31st Jan, 2017



Frostblood
Elly Blake

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Another ones of those amazing ARC's that I have been sent by Hodder & Stoughton to review. I have no clue really about what his book is about but hopefully I'll get to find out soon and share all my new knowledge with you guise.


Sabriel
Garth Nix

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Mum bought me this for my 18th birthday after writing her a small list of books that were at the top of my radar in terms of what I wanted to read next.
So at least I got a small piece of mum with me.


Sort of.


The Miniaturist
Jessie Burton

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I bought this with me the last time I was in Wales on a writers retreat back in February. I only ended up reading 50 or so pages due to staying up way past our bedtimes in order to talk and get to know everybody.

Let's hope it doesn't sit on my shelf until I go back to London in July of 2017, aye?


Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Day #1)
Susan Ee

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I got a copy of this after winning a giveaway some point in the summer last year and like many others was never got to. Although, a couple months later my friend ended up buying me the whole trilogy for cheap in the The Works.





Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1)
Laini Taylor

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I read this some point last year and never did finish this trilogy despite what I thought of Laini's beautiful writing. I did try and start the third and final instalment this summer and just didn't understand where the story was at. So time for a reread.

This is all in prayers that I get this trilogy read and reviewed before Laini's new book is released next year in March. EEEEEK! I'm so excited.



Northern Lights (His Dark Materials #1)
Phillip Pullman

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This is another one that has been on my TBR in like forever; if it weren't for Georgina (*wink wink* Yeah, you!!) I probably would have left it on there for a little bit longer.

Also, let's all thank Ma seeing as she's the one who made the official purchase.


A Dance with Dragons: After the Feast (A Song of Ice and Fire #5.5)
George R.R Martin

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I had such determination to read ADWD but, GRRM has just left me in a waiting mood. Seriously, just write the god damn books. I don't like the thought of finishing this one and never getting the next. At least now it's suspended as there will always be one to read.

Fine. Fine. I'll read it okay?




The Sin Eater's Daughter (The Sin Eater's Daughter #1)
Melinda Salisbury

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Tried reading this one earlier this year and couldn't quite get into it. It was Karen over at ASimpleCupofTea that has made me want to give this another go.

Samantha Shannon seems to be a fan of the books as well so maybe?
The Lie Tree
Frances Hardinge

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Don't know a great deal about this one except that it won the Costa book awards for 2015...











So, there you go. All the book that I have taken with me. I will say that already since writing this post that I have gone and purchased four more books. FML, I am just book trash. Whoops.



Waiting on Wednesday| Heartless

Waiting On Wednesday is a book meme set up Breaking the Spine where all those who participate share weekly those book releases we are dying to get our hand on as soon as they are released.

This week's WoW post is:

Heartless
Marissa Meyer

Synopsis:


Long before she was the terror of Wonderland — the infamous Queen of Hearts — she was just a girl who wanted to fall in love.

Catherine may be one of the most desired girls in Wonderland, and a favorite of the yet-unmarried King of Hearts, but her interests lie elsewhere. A talented baker, all she wants is to open a shop with her best friend and supply the Kingdom of Hearts with delectable pastries and confections. But according to her mother, such a goal is unthinkable for the young woman who could be the next Queen.

At a royal ball where Cath is expected to receive the king's marriage proposal, she meets Jest, the handsome and mysterious court joker. For the first time, she feels the pull of true attraction. At the risk of offending the King and infuriating her parents, she and Jest enter into an intense, secret courtship.

Cath is determined to define her own destiny and fall in love on her terms. But in a land thriving with magic, madness, and monsters, fate has other plans.


Thoughts:

I remember awhile back that I wrote that I wanted to complete the Lunar Chronicles before the end of the summer seeing as I am now away at University. As you can guess I did no such thing.

But I am really excited about this retelling, based on the Red Queen from Alice in Wonderland. My main hope is that it takes on a rather dark part of the Red Queen's origin story. We will see.

Out: 8th Nov, 2016

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REVIEW| Replica

Replica (Replica #1) 
Lauren Oliver

⭐⭐⭐

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Synopsis:

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals since she was born. 'A sickly child', her lonely life to date has revolved around her home, school and one best friend, Alice. But when she discovers her father's connection to the top secret Haven research facility, currently hitting the headlines and under siege by religious fanatics, Gemma decides to leave the sanctuary she's always known to find the institute and determine what is going on there and why her father's name seems inextricably linked to it.

Amidst the frenzy outside the institute's walls, Lyra - or number 24 as she is known as at Haven - and a fellow experimental subject known only as 72, manage to escape. Encountering a world they never knew existed outside the walls of their secluded upbringing , they meet Gemma and, as they try to understand Haven's purpose together, they uncover some earth-shattering secrets that will change the lives of both girls forever...

Review:

At first glance, Replica comes off as a book that is perhaps about two girls from two different sides of the metaphorical school "court". Although, their lives differ they are too "replica's" of the situations they face throughout their lives. Even if, this wasn't your initial thoughts, I know that these were certainly mine. Since then, I've read the synopsis and by default the entire thing.

Actually the cover artist has done a great job of getting the feel for the content of the book across to a potential reader. On one side is Lyra, in a bold, solid pretty pink and purple butterfly; the better at suggesting a character that is confident in their identity. Something we acknowledge early on in Lyra's chapters; she knows who she is, what she is-- a replica, a clone. On the other side is Gemma, in a mellow underconfident orange with a teal butterfly. Gemma has always known she was different which Oliver really gets across in her unsureness of who she thinks she is. 


I've never really got on with Oliver's work just because her content has never been anything that takes my interest. And then she wrote Replica. Lauren Oliver has something I would call:  an "old-fashioned" story teller narrative. It's paired down enough not to be overcomplicated and divide our attension from the point she is trying to get across but, still holds enough detail to paint a picture and for us as readers to gain enough data about who our protagonists and side-characters are.  This simplistic writing style worked really well, with the story that Oliver was telling. It made it all the more raw and heartbreaking and left my heart shattered. 

Releases: 8th Oct, 2016

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REVIEW| An Ember in the Ashes

An Ember in the Ashes (An Ember in the Ashes #1)
Sabaa Tahir

⭐⭐⭐

Synopsis:


Laia is a slave. Elias is a soldier. Neither is free.


Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.
It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.
But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.
There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Review:

The Cover:
I am so glad for this cover change, the UK hardback was following in that trend of minimalistic fantasy cover. Thankfully, HarperVoyagerUK managed to get their hands on the US cover and put the go-ahead to use it. Thankfully.

What? 

Of course, I liked it but, it just didn't appeal to me. I wanted that beautiful scene, the gold and bronze tones that reflect Tahir's influences of Ancient Rome. And the magical book cover fairy granted my wishes- seeing as I am just to cheap to get the US hardback imported. 

I like to support UK publishers.

The Content:
I really want to give this the five stars that everyone else seems to be giving this book but, personally, I felt that it fell flat. Perhaps, it's the fact that at this moment in time I have started the sequel 'A Torch Against the Night' and the promise of maneuvering political power that is evident in slight throughout An Ember in the Ashes that left me hanging and never satisfied.

My biggest praise for An Ember in the Ashes is Tahir's the world building of Serra and the Martial empire. For a book that has claims of a world deriving from Ancient Rome-- fair play! An actual novel that left me as uncomfortable in it's brutality as in my own understanding of the brash ruthlessness of rulership in Ancient Rome. I absolutely loved it! 

What brought me to take away that star is the mellow influence of fantasy that this book falls into. I was somehow expectant of a world that magic was either outlawed or fully in power yet, it fell short of only the small hints of it here and there. That being said I did really enjoy this  mythical elements and a sense of deep heritage of story-telling that Tahir has woven into the world building. This is something that I hope Tahir takes further exploration in her world in A Torch Against the Night especially in terms of the Tribes.


My favourite quote in AEITA is "There is hope in living." It something that I really took to heart in terms of hope. This book is literally An Ember in the Ashes, that slow, deep burning glow between the fly-away ashes, indistinguishable from the rest of the books on the shelf.

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