Book Review

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca Ross

The Queen’s Rising by Rebecca RossThe Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross
Series: The Queen's Rising #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 6th February 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

Full disclosure, I went into this book thinking it was a standalone, and I spent the majority of my reading time still thinking that, so that affected my view of the book. I later learnt that The Queen’s Rising is the first in a series, so now my feelings are a bit off. Continue reading

Heart of Iron by Ashley Poston

Heart of Iron by Ashley PostonHeart of Iron by Ashley Poston
Series: Heart of Iron #1
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 27th February 2018
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Seventeen-year-old Ana is a scoundrel by nurture and an outlaw by nature. Found as a child drifting through space with a sentient android called D09, Ana was saved by a fearsome space captain and the grizzled crew she now calls family. But D09—one of the last remaining illegal Metals—has been glitching, and Ana will stop at nothing to find a way to fix him.

Ana’s desperate effort to save D09 leads her on a quest to steal the coordinates to a lost ship that could offer all the answers. But at the last moment, a spoiled Ironblood boy beats Ana to her prize. He has his own reasons for taking the coordinates, and he doesn’t care what he’ll sacrifice to keep them.

When everything goes wrong, she and the Ironblood end up as fugitives on the run. Now their entire kingdom is after them—and the coordinates—and not everyone wants them captured alive.

What they find in a lost corner of the universe will change all their lives—and unearth dangerous secrets. But when a darkness from Ana’s past returns, she must face an impossible choice: does she protect a kingdom that wants her dead or save the Metal boy she loves?

Heart of Iron was weeeeird, you guys. On the one hand, I enjoyed the space chase storyline and the action at the beginning. It did a great job of hooking me in. On the other, there was a weird romance that I’m unsure about, and then the plot got worse as the book went on. I have such mixed feelings about this book!

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Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah VaughanAnatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 23rd January 2018
Publisher: Atria
Source: Borrowed
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Sophie’s husband James is a loving father, a handsome man, a charismatic and successful public figure. And yet he stands accused of a terrible crime. Sophie is convinced he is innocent and desperate to protect her precious family from the lies that threaten to rip them apart.

Kate is the lawyer hired to prosecute the case: an experienced professional who knows that the law is all about winning the argument. And yet Kate seeks the truth at all times. She is certain James is guilty and is determined he will pay for his crimes.

Who is right about James? Sophie or Kate? And is either of them informed by anything more than instinct and personal experience? Despite her privileged upbringing, Sophie is well aware that her beautiful life is not inviolable. She has known it since she and James were first lovers, at Oxford, and she witnessed how easily pleasure could tip into tragedy.

Most people would prefer not to try to understand what passes between a man and a woman when they are alone: alone in bed, alone in an embrace, alone in an elevator… Or alone in the moonlit courtyard of an Oxford college, where a girl once stood before a boy, heart pounding with excitement, then fear. Sophie never understood why her tutorial partner Holly left Oxford so abruptly. What would she think, if she knew the truth?

I wouldn’t say Anatomy of a Scandal is entirely worth the hype, but it’s certainly entertaining and well worth a read. It’s an incredibly interesting courtroom drama that kept me reading.

I liked the different perspectives in this book. Multiple points of view don’t always work for me, but reading from the different characters’ perspectives was a really good insight into various characters and their feelings and behaviours.

The ending was a bit disappointing because something came about at the very end, leaving no room for resolution. I’m not a fan of open endings, even if the main plot has been resolved.

I wouldn’t describe Anatomy of a Scandal as a thriller, as it’s more of a quiet drama, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

The Lies They Tell by Gillian French

The Lies They Tell by Gillian FrenchThe Lies They Tell by Gillian French
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 1st May 2018
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

Everyone in Tenney’s Harbor, Maine, has heard of the Garrison tragedy. A mysterious fire. A family of five reduced to one. For people like Pearl Haskins—whose dad was the caretaker of the Garrison property when the house went up in flames—the whispers about that night are more than upsetting. They hurt. With her disgraced father now trying to find steady work in between booze benders, Pearl is stuck waiting tables at the town’s country club where the rich townspeople come in the summer to flaunt their money and gossip about one another.

This year, a group of privileged boys has made a point of sitting in Pearl’s section—throwing careless insults her way while also attempting to flirt. Though she’s repulsed by everything they stand for, she’s drawn to the quiet leader of the pack, Tristan—the last surviving Garrison. He wasn’t home the night a blaze took his entire family, and the sadness coming off him in waves is hard to ignore. Befriending the summer boys might irk her to her core, but inside their fold of elite parties and reckless whims could be answers to what happened the night of the fire. And that’s just what she finds.

Hidden beneath the glittering façade of wealth and luxury, Pearl discovers a dark and twisted web of lies and betrayals that, once untangled, will leave no life in Tenney’s Harbor unchanged. That is…if it doesn’t take Pearl’s first.

The Lies They Tell was boring. There’s no other way to put it. The beginning does nothing to grip you, aside from the initial prologue where the family dies, and the book really doesn’t improve from there.

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Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk

Blood and Sand by C. V. WykBlood and Sand by C. V. Wyk
Series: Blood and Sand #1
Genre: Historical
Release Date: Tor Teen
Publisher: Tor
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus...

I picked up Blood and Sand because I have a bit of an obsession with the Spartacus TV show. And Ancient Rome, but mostly Spartacus. So when I saw that a Spartacus-inspired YA book was being released I FREAKED. OUT. Blood and Sand isn’t a true story about the historical events that happened during the Third Servile War, but it’s enjoyable and the parallels made me happy.

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