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!
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasures are in his possession. And together with Calidus and his ally Queen Rhin, Nathair will do anything to obtain the remaining Treasures. With all seven under his command, he can open a portal to the Otherworld. Then Asroth and his demon-horde will finally break into the Banished Lands and become flesh.
Meanwhile Corban has been taken prisoner by the Jotun, warrior giants who ride their enormous bears into battle. His warband scattered, Corban must make new allies if he hopes to survive. But can he bond with competing factions of warlike giants? Somehow he must, if he’s to counter the threat Nathair represents.
His life hangs in the balance – and with it, the fate of the Banished Lands.
Not going to lie, I was scared about picking the finale to this series because I was afraid of what was going to happen to the characters. But after that cliffhanger of book 3 I just couldn’t resist! The plot was so tightly woven it and there was one surprise after another I found to impossible to stop reading. I read the whole 700 page book in a day because I just couldn’t stop! One thing I loved throughout this series was John Gwynne’s female characters. There wasn’t one I didn’t enjoy reading about, even the villains. I’m always a big cautious picking up epic fantasy books because I’ve had bad experiences of reading awful portrayals of women, but this book did such, such a good job. Cywen and Coralen were incredible warriors, Rhin was a fantastic villain and Fidele was so intelligent and brave! As with the other books, not everyone made it out alive. I cried a lot during this book, mostly out of fear for my favourite characters, but when deaths happened I still found myself surprised. Seeing some of the villains meet their comeuppance was so, SO satisfying – I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see characters die before (in my defense, Lykos is literally the worst person I have ever read about in my entire life – I hated him). The romantic relationships were also something I found myself more attached to than I thought. No spoilers here, but there was one specific relationship I would have loved to have seen more of – we got a taste of it in book 3 and it was literally hinted on the last page of this finale. Overall this series was so well plotted and well written throughout all four books, and the character arcs were just impeccable. I can easily say there was development in every character by the end of the series. The ending was also really bittersweet but also satisfying in the best way. If you’re looking for a great fantasy series to sink your teeth into I would really recommend it.
Heartstopper (vol 2)
Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.
But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.
After finishing the darkness that was The Faithful and the Fallen series I really, really needed something sweet and adorable to pick me up – and this book did just that! I honestly didn’t think anything could be better than Volume 1, but to me it feels like Volume 2 just blew it out of the water. I absolutely adored it and I know I’ll go back to it time and again. I loved how sweet it was, I loved the story of Nick coming to terms with his identity and I’m not ashamed to admit I cried multiple times. I love how this book had a mixture of light and dark moments, it could literally have me smiling on one page and crying on the next. The final scene of Nick coming out to his mum was so heartwarming and left the volume on the perfect note. I absolutely loved it and I cannot wait to pick up the next one!
What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.
From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
After finishing Warcross recently and really enjoying it, I had to pick up Marie Lu’s most famous series as soon as I could! Overall though, I can’t say that I absolutely loved it. It’s a shame as it hs such good reviews, and unfortunately I just feel like ti wasn’t really for me. That being said, I read the entire trilogy in just a day, so nothing really had a chance to sink in my head. I gave the first book 4 stars and the second and third both 3.5.
I think the main reason I felt these books weren’t for me is because I didn’t really feel overly attached to the characters. They were entertaining enough, but I didn’t feel that really strong connection that I know I can feel towards other characters in this genre like Katniss for example. I also thought that Day and June’s relationship progressed initially far too quickly for my liking, although all of these books were very fast paced so I understand why that needed to happen as soon as possible. I did think the world was really creative though – similarly to how I felt about Warcross, Marie Lu’s strengths for me definitely lay in her world building and pacing. There was obviously a reason why I had to read all three in a day, even if I didn’t really enjoy them that much!
Another thing that sticks with me is the ending of the last book. To be honest, I don’t really like time jumps at the end of books, and certainly not time jumps that big. The ending of what happened to Day at the end I didn’t like at all, I felt like it happened way, way too fast and we didn’t get any resolution between him and June before everything kicked off. The ending reminded me of the Shadowhunters TV show finale which makes me shiver in cringe every time I think about it… honestly though, I think that is more my personal opinion and there are probably many out there that really found that ending sweet. Overall, I didn’t hate these books but I was definitely expecting to like them more than I did after seeing such good reviews.
The Bride Test
Khai Diep has no feelings. Well, he feels irritation when people move his things or contentment when ledgers balance down to the penny, but not big, important emotions—like grief. And love. He thinks he’s defective. His family knows better—that his autism means he just processes emotions differently. When he steadfastly avoids relationships, his mother takes matters into her own hands and returns to Vietnam to find him the perfect bride.
As a mixed-race girl living in the slums of Ho Chi Minh City, Esme Tran has always felt out of place. When the opportunity arises to come to America and meet a potential husband, she can’t turn it down, thinking this could be the break her family needs. Seducing Khai, however, doesn’t go as planned. Esme’s lessons in love seem to be working…but only on herself. She’s hopelessly smitten with a man who’s convinced he can never return her affection.
This was a reread for me after I originally picked it up in January 2020, and even though I’ll be giving it the same rating (4.5 stars), I actually think I enjoyed so much more about this book than the first time around?! I found myself getting a lot more emotional towards these characters, especially Esme, who I just find absolutely adorable – she is one of my favourite female love interests in all of romance. In general I just found myself much more attached towards the characters – both Esme and Khai, but also Jade and Quan (whose book I absolutely cannot wait for!).
It was also so nice to see Stella and Michael from the first book, as I hadn’t read The Kiss Quotient before my initial read and I’ve since read it twice. As I remembered most of the plot points and wasn’t in a rush to find out what happened, I took my time with it and it made me think more about how incredibly well written Khai and Esme were. I know that this is an Own Voices romances and the care that has gone into writing this story you can certainly see on the page. I loved this book and will no doubt be rereading it again in the future!
Kira Dallaire is desperate.
Some challenges in life seem too hard to overcome. With little money, and even fewer options, the quick-witted and vibrant twenty-two-year-old needs to reinvent herself. Known for her generous heart and impulsive personality, she devises a survival plan, possibly her most outrageous idea yet.
Grayson Hawthorn is losing hope.
Some obstacles in life seem too hard to overcome. Betrayal definitely being one of them. With limited capital, and dwindling resources, he is attempting to resurrect his failing family vineyard, a self-imposed vow seemingly destined to fail. That is until a young woman enters his office with an outlandish, unexpected proposition impossible to refuse.
What begins as a temporary business arrangement, soon evolves into more as vivacious, spirited Kira challenges detached, arrogant Grayson to want more from life. To want more for himself. But as their wills clash and fiery passion ignites, they’ll realize that sometimes the past creates walls too difficult to climb, and that lies and deception rarely precede a happily every after.
As Kira and Grayson race toward their destiny, they will discover that some vows are meant to be broken, and others are worth risking everything for . . . even your very own heart.
As you will all know by now , Mia Sheridan is probably my favourite romance author of all time, an I’m slowly going through her backlist. This book has every trope I absolutely adore – enemies to lovers, marriage of convenience, slow burn, etc but for some reason it just didn’t work for me! I’m really surprised and actually quite shocked about this!
I think the main reason I didn’t really get on with it is because I didn’t feel too attached to the characters – Mia does such, such a good job at creating amazing characters and unfortunately Kira and Grayson just didn’t hit me with that same impact as all her other protagonists do. They were still good but just not on that next level like I expect her characters to read after reading so many of her books. Some of Grayson’s thought processes and behaviour towards Kira I also found a bit questionable at times – when he lashes out, he REALLY lashes out, and I found it much harder to forgive him than Kira did. Another thing I didn’t really like about the book was the third act break up – I got about 75% of the way through and thought ‘oh! They haven’t done a third act break up that’s amazing!’…. Then they did and I was disappointed.
There were areas about the book that I enjoyed however – the chemistry between the two love interests was really strong, and I liked the slow burn relationship development between them. The setting was also gorgeous, as it always is in Sheridan’s books, and I loved the found family element between Grayson and his staff.
Have you checked out of these books? If you have, what did you think of them? I’d love to know your favourites in the comments below!