3.5 stars

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

One Dark Throne by Kendare BlakeOne Dark Throne by Kendare Blake
Series: Three Dark Crowns
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 21st September 2017
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, the elemental sister once thought to be the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must confront the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

So I didn’t like One Dark Throne as much as Three Dark Crowns, but it was a really fun read. I think compared to the first book there is more action and less world building, which is a shame because I want to know more about this world. I’m crossing my fingers in the hope that we’ll get more of that in the third book.

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Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron

Out of the Blue by Sophie CameronOut of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
Genre: Magical Realism
Release Date: 22nd March 2018
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.

Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.

When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.

Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.

I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Out of the Blue considering paranormal books aren’t typically my thing. I picked this book up because I’d heard some amazing things from early reviewers, and thankfully it didn’t disappoint!

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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

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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Love, Life, and the List by Kasie West

Love, Life, and the List by Kasie WestLove, Life, and the List by Kasie West
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 26th December 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-half-stars

Seventeen-year-old Abby Turner’s summer isn’t going the way she’d planned. She has a not-so-secret but definitely unrequited crush on her best friend, Cooper. She hasn’t been able to manage her mother’s growing issues with anxiety. And now she’s been rejected from an art show because her work “has no heart.” So when she gets another opportunity to show her paintings Abby isn’t going to take any chances.

Which is where the list comes in.

Abby gives herself one month to do ten things, ranging from face a fear (#3) to learn a stranger’s story (#5) to fall in love (#8). She knows that if she can complete the list she’ll become the kind of artist she’s always dreamed of being. But as the deadline approaches, Abby realizes that getting through the list isn’t as straightforward as it seems… and that maybe—just maybe—she can’t change her art if she isn’t first willing to change herself.

I was a bit hesitant to read Love, Life, and the List because I was really disappointed by the last book I read by Kasie West (By Your Side). She’s an auto-buy author for me, but I was so let down by that book that I almost reconsidered. I haven’t read Lucky in Love yet, but I heard mixed things about that one, so by the time Love, Life, and the List came around, I was very much on the fence. (Ha!)

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