RECENT READS #13

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!

A Deal with the Elf King

The elves come for two things: war and wives. In both cases, they come for death.

Three-thousand years ago, humans were hunted by powerful races with wild magic until the treaty was formed. Now, for centuries, the elves have taken a young woman from Luella’s village to be their Human Queen.

To be chosen is seen as a mark of death by the townsfolk. A mark nineteen-year-old Luella is grateful to have escaped as a girl. Instead, she’s dedicated her life to studying herbology and becoming the town’s only healer.

That is, until the Elf King unexpectedly arrives… for her.

Everything Luella had thought she’d known about her life, and herself, was a lie. Taken to a land filled with wild magic, Luella is forced to be the new queen to a cold yet blisteringly handsome Elf King. Once there, she learns about a dying world that only she can save.

The magical land of Midscape pulls on one corner of her heart, her home and people tug on another… but what will truly break her is a passion she never wanted.

I have seen this book hyped up everywhere and I was so excited for its release, and unfortunately it just fell a little bit flat for me. I think I had really high expectations, so that did come into play, but overall I didn’t find this story memorable at all. In terms of the plot, I absolutely loved the premise, but I feel like there definitely wasn’t a sufficient enough plot until about half way through. The second half of the book, especially by the last quarter, the plot had really ramped up and I just feel like if it was that strong the whole way through, I would have really enjoyed it. Most of the time, I felt like there was literally nothing going on, other than characters having conversations. Which I don’t mind – as long as I like the characters. Which, unfortunately, I didn’t. They were okay, but I didn’t feel an attachment to them at all – I feel like Luella was a well fleshed out protagonist, who did have a strong personality behind her, but I didn’t feel anything for the love interest (whose name I’ve forgotten…already). I could feel the tortured bad boy trope trying to work, but it just didn’t for me. Luella mentions this ‘other side’ to him other than the Elf King persona he puts on, but I feel like we hardly ever saw it? The writing I thought was good, although I did struggle with the heavy exposition at the beginning – I couldn’t keep up.

This book reminded me of An Enchantment of Ravens, which I didn’t like, so if you liked that book, I think you may like this one! Unfortunately, despite being hooked with a great premise, I was just disappointed by the end.

This Savage Song

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwaba young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

I’ve been trying to make my way through VE Schwab’s entire backlist since reading A Darker Shade of Magic and The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, two of my all time favourite books. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting with This Savage Song, but I wasn’t expecting what I got, at all! I absolutely loved the atmosphere of this book – it felt electric, and the way this futuristic city drenched in crime was described was so engaging. The main problem I had with this book was in the plot. I feel like it didn’t really kick in until about 40% through. It was a fast paced read though, so I wasn’t bored, but I think there could have been some more engaging points earlier on in the story. There were also a couple of plot twists throughout this book which I wasn’t expecting, at all! I’m glad I went into this story blind as I think that made the reading experience better for me. The ending was really intriguing – it was satisfying enough on its own but also evoked a feeling of ‘….oh no’ in me because the story is obviously not over yet.

I really liked our protagonists Kate and August – they were both unique and well developed by the end of the book. I liked August especially – he went through quite the arc in this book, and I’m really intrigued to see where things will go with his character in the sequel. I also liked their back and forth together – I hope they don’t become a couple in the second book because they seem better as friends, and I really hope that relationship grows too. Overall I did enjoy this book and I look forward to seeing what happens in the next book!

Kingdom of the Wicked

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems… 

This is another really hyped up book that I feel like I’ve been waiting forever for! Let me tell you guys, it was so worth the wait. I loved SO much about this book. The atmosphere, the setting, the plot, characters, relationship development, ALL OF IT! Before I go into more detail though I have to mention that you need snacks when you read this book… it made me so hungry, I ate pasta for like 3 days after reading it.

The plot was very reminiscent of House of Earth and Blood, so if you liked that book I feel like you’ll like this one too. The way the story unraveled I wasn’t expecting at all, and the ending was AMAZING – like, one of the best I’ve ever read. It’s made me so intrigued for the sequel and I have a feeling it’s going to be even better than the first. I thought the worldbuilding was also done really well – it wasn’t in-your-face at all, and the snippets of the grimoires at the beginning of each chapter were a good way of further assimilating us into this world.

Now for the characters, which for me was he highlight of this book.Emilia was an amazing protagonist – she was brave, funny, curious, strong and confident. She also had her darker points, as well as flaws, and I think that definitely contributed to her being a well developed character. You can tell she was passionate about solving the mystery and her love for her sister really shone through the pages. Wrath was such a good character too. He has these little quirks and I’m really glad that Kerri Maniscalco included them, because it made this Prince of Hell seem a little more human. I just loved the way his relationship with Emilia developed – it was definitely on the slower end of things, but I feel like it’s going to be even stronger in the second book and I’m so excited!

Overall, this book didn’t disappoint me at all and I just know he sktakes will be so mich higher in the sequel. I have no idea how I’m going to wait that long!

Heartless

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

Then Cath 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.

GUYS. THIS BOOK! Why did noone tell me this was going to ruin my life??? I’ve been a fan of Marissa Meyer’s for a while now, after reading the Lunar Chronicles series earlier this year and adoring it. This book has definitely made it into my all time favourites list.

I genuinely loved everything about this book. The plot was amazing the whole way through. I loved the different threads throughout this book – the mystery behind the jabberwock, Catherine’s journey with the bakery and also her developing relationship with Jest. I also just adored the way the story was told, it was so whimsical but the delivery was done in such a matter-of-fact way – like, yes of course Jest could pull an entire man out of a hat. It makes perfect sense. It was so bizarre, but I loved it! It entirely did justice to the Alice in Wonderland stories I grew up on.

The main reason I loved this story so much though was the characters, Catherine especially. I think maybe because I knew how this was going to end, being a prequel, I felt attached to her from the very beginning. She seemed so innocent, so eager to impress, it was hard for me to watch everyone walk over her. I just wish she had stood up for herself sooner, and was frustrated when she didn’t. I hardly ever get angry at characters, but I was angry at her, because I knew she deserved so much better. It was such a shame and definitely contributed to why I loved the story so much (that sounds horrible but… its true). Also, I just loved her relationship with Jest. I found their back and forth to be so well written, their chemistry was so clear to me, and again, I just wished for a happy ending between the two of them!

I could speak about this book for hours. It is definitely one I will go back to again an again. This book also really reminded me of Once Upon a Time (the TV show) which has been one of my favourites for the last 10 years. Obviously, the Queen of Hearts is in that, but I also found similarities to Regina’s story too. I think it was another reason why I loved it so much – it was so similar and it had a nostalgic feeling attched to it, as well as a sort of timelessness – like I’d already read it. Again, I don’t know what that says about me that heartbreaking stories are comforting to me, but it’s true!

Spoiler Alert

Marcus Caster-Rupp has a secret. While the world knows him as Aeneas, the star of the biggest show on TV, Gods of the Gates, he’s known to fanfiction readers as Book!AeneasWouldNever, an anonymous and popular poster.  Marcus is able to get out his own frustrations with his character through his stories, especially the ones that feature the internet’s favorite couple to ship, Aeneas and Lavinia. But if anyone ever found out about his online persona, he’d be fired. Immediately.

April Whittier has secrets of her own. A hardcore Lavinia fan, she’s hidden her fanfiction and cosplay hobby from her “real life” for years—but not anymore. When she decides to post her latest Lavinia creation on Twitter, her photo goes viral. Trolls and supporters alike are commenting on her plus-size take, but when Marcus, one half of her OTP, sees her pic and asks her out on a date to spite her critics, she realizes life is really stranger than fanfiction.

Even though their first date is a disaster, Marcus quickly realizes that he wants much more from April than a one-time publicity stunt. And when he discovers she’s actually Unapologetic Lavinia Stan, his closest fandom friend, he has one more huge secret to hide from her.

With love and Marcus’s career on the line, can the two of them stop hiding once and for all, or will a match made in fandom end up prematurely cancelled?

This book had been on my TBR for a while then after seeing it has been shortlisted into the Goodreads 2020 awards I decided to bump it up on my TBR. I’m so glad I did! I ended up really enjoying this one. Also can we take a minute for this cover, which is absolutely adorable.The premise, of course, is one that requires you suspend your disbelief but I think that was one of the reasons why I loved it so much. I love anything to do with fandom culture, I think i’s fascinating, so to see a whole book revolving around that (and it being spoken about in a positive way) was so much fun. If I had one critique, I would say it went a little too heavy on the fandom at first, but this definitely got to a more comfortable level towards the middle of the book. The very obvious references to the dumpster fire that was the ending of Game of Thrones was hilarious to read about too.

I really liked our love interests Marcus and April. I thought they were well fleshed out with developed backstories and they were both really likeable on their own. Their chemistry was really good and throughout the book I think their relationship development was really well paced. The conflict at the end was entirely understandable – it didn’t come out of nowhere and we sort of knew it was going to happen all the way through the book. I thought the way it was resolved was absolutely adorable!

This book to me was like if Punk 57 met fandom. Also sprinkle some elements of your classic romcoms like Pretty Woman and Bridget Jones. I would definitely recommend you check it out if it sounds up your street!

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

Happy reading,
Lucy

4 thoughts on “RECENT READS #13

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