RECENT READS #10

Hi everyone, I hope you are all well and having an amazing day. Today I will be doing the next in a series on my blog called Recent Reads. As I’ve been reading 20+ books each month, it would be really hard for me to incorporate that into a standard wrap up format. Doing a list of my recent reads that I want to do mini-reviews on is the best way for me to keep track of everything I’ve been reading!

Star Daughter

If the night sky holds many secrets, it holds Sheetal Mistry’s secret the closest. A secret that explains why her hair is the silver of starlight, or why some nights the stars call Sheetal by name.

Stars like her mother, who returned to her place in the constellation Pushya years ago. Since that day, Sheetal has been forced to hide.

But as her seventeenth birthday draws near, the pull from the sky is growing stronger. So strong that Sheetal loses control, and a flare of starfire burns her human father—an injury only a full star’s blood can heal.

Sheetal has no choice but to answer the starsong and ascend to the sky. But her celestial family has summoned her for a reason: to act as their human champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of heavens.

Desperate to save her father, Sheetal agrees. But nothing could have prepared Sheetal to face the stars’ dark history—or the forces that are working to shut the gate between the realms for good.

First of all I absolutely loved the blurb of this and I was so happy to see it in my Fairyloot box for this month. I could really see the inspiration from Stardust, which is one of my favourite books and movies. It made me enjoy the story so much more. I loved that the characters, and Sheetal especially, felt like teenagers. Yes she’s moody, paranoid and dramatic at times but what teenager isn’t?! The strongest part of the book for me was the first half where there was more action. In terms of the pacing it definitely slowed down around the 60% mark, although I did really like the way the story ended I think it wrapped up in quite a messy way and a bit too quickly. I would’ve liked a bit more action to tide us over to the ending sequence. I really liked the best friend element but I also would have liked to have seen more of this. The blend of realism and surrealism was also really cool.Overall I thought it was a really fun read that’s great for anyone interested for a fantasy take on astrology!

Strange the Dreamer

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.

What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?

The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Guys, this book was so good! I know I’m late to the party but still! I felt so attached to the characters and Laini Taylor’s writing style is just to die for. She has a way of making such mustical stories feel entirely real while still holding a dramlike quality to it. You can really tell the development from her Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. The love story was similar in both books – normally I disagree with instalove but the way she writes them makes the characters seem destined to be together! Both Lazlo and Sarai I was rooting for so much, they were so adorable and I wish there were more people like them in the world! Overall, I found every character in this book fascinating – I wish we had seen more of Thyon and Eril-Fane especially – I hope we get some character arcs from those two in the second book. I absolutely hated Minya with a burning passion and she was a great villain (idk, can you even call her a villain?). The pacing I had a slight issue with, I feel like the lead up to get to Weep didn’t need to be as long as it was, but I ended up thinking it was well paced as soon as the characters made it to Weep. And the ending, while a bit predictable, ended in a cliffhanger and I can’t wait to see how things develop in the next book! 

Muse of Nightmares

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.

Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the Muse of Nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.

As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?

I liked this book but unfortunately not as much as the first one. I liked seeing the character development especially from Minya and Sarai. I wish we had seen more of Lazlo though as I feel like he wasn’t in this book as much? Also, I think Thyon’s and Eril-Fane’s arcs were okay but I wish I could’ve seen a bit more development. I enjoyed seeing Nova and Kora’s storylines and how that tied into the rest of the story. In terms of the plot though, I found the first half of the book to be really slow with not much holding my attention at all. The second half really redeemed itself though and I had no idea where things were going to go, and there were things I didn’t predict at all. The final ending came across as quite flat to me, but I don’t know it that’s because a lot of the action had happened just before. Overall I did think the ending was sweet and did enjoy this series. Laini Taylor is one of my favourite writers and the way she weaves such magical stories always makes me fall in love with them! 

Serpent & Dove (Reread)

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou’s, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou’s most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

I wanted to do a reread of Serpent & Dove in order to jog my memory for the release of Blood & Honey. I was worried it wouldn’t hold up as it was my favourite book of 2019, but I still absolutely adored it! Some things I picked up this time is how surprised I was at the foreshadowing – now I knew the ending and some of the reveals, it seemed so painfully obvious to me and I can’t believe I didn’t pick it up sooner!! Another thing I noticed this time around is how different Lou and Reid’s voices are. I love that you can easily distinguish which chapters are which because of the way they speak and think. It was also much funnier than I remember? Lou is so witty and when she riles up Reid it’s absolutely hilarious. I noticed last time but one of the things I love so much about this book is that nothing is black and white – it’s a theme that’s picked up throughout the book but both Lou and Reid are incredibly flawed characters; the witches are just as bad as the Chasseurs but in different ways, and there’s various degrees of morality within those institutions. I’m so glad I reread this book and I’m super excited to read Blood & Honey soon!

Stalking Jack the Ripper

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

I’ve always been fascinated with this mystery so I’m really glad I got around to reading this book. There were so many plot twists I wasn’t expecting! I don’t know why, but it was definitely gorier than I thought it would be? That’s definitely my fault though considering it is a Jack the Ripper story… I really liked that the story didn’t lead us in one direction, it constantly brought twists and turns so we had no idea who to trust. Audrey Rose got on my nerves a bit – we get it, you’re not like other girls, but I did find myself relating to her at times. The feminist message was just really in your face. As for Thomas, he was definitely my favourite part of the book and I think he’s a really strong character – charismatic and witty but also kind and selfless too! He’s definitely going to grow on me as I continue the series.

Have you read any of these books? Any on your TBR? Let’s chat in the comments below!

Happy reading,
Lucy

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