4 stars

Book Review: Devils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist

Book Review: Devils Unto Dust by Emma BerquistDevils Unto Dust by Emma Berquist
Genre: Horror
Release Date: 10th April 2018
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Willie has always survived. No matter what life in Glory, Texas, has thrown at her. The sickness that swept through the state and turned most living creatures into terrifying shakes. Her own mother succumbing to the disease. Her father disappearing into saloons and gambling and liquor. Willie survives. And she'll make sure her younger brothers and sister do, too.

Then her good-for-nothing father steals a fortune from one of the most merciless shake hunters in town, and Willie is on the hook for his debt. With two young hunters as guide, Willie sets out across the desert to find him, and make him pay up.

But the desert holds many dangers—and the shakes are only a few of them. This is no place for the weak.

You guys have been sitting on this book! I read Devils Unto Dust when it first came out, and let me tell you that it’s THE zombie Western that you’ve been waiting for.

Devils Unto Dust is a debut novel, and yet it feels as though Berquist has years of writing experience. She drew me in right away with the desert landscape and the adorable family that are trying to survive the apocalypse. Not only was the writing descriptive and lush, the characters were easy to connect to and gripped me from the very start.

I was addicted the entire time, and I’m so, so pleased that I picked up this debut. I only regret not shouting about it sooner! Devils Unto Dust is super intense and action-packed, and I couldn’t put the book down once I’d started it. Now that I’m talking about it again – over a year later – I kind of want to revisit this world in either a sequel (PLEASE) or a reread.

I loved the cross between a Western and zombies, and it’s something that I suddenly need more of in my life. If you’re a fan of zombie horror or survival stories, then this is definitely the book for you. If you love reading about families and siblings doing anything for one another then THIS IS THE BOOK FOR YOU.

While Devils Unto Dust isn’t an all time favourite, it’s one that has clearly stuck with me, and will probably continue to stick with me over the years. I’ve already read the author’s sophomore novel, Missing, Presumed Dead, and I can’t wait to see what she comes out with in the future.

Book Review: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales

Book Review: Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie GonzalesOnly Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 3rd March 2020
Publisher: Macmillan
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Summer love...gone so fast.

Will Tavares is the dream summer fling―he's fun, affectionate, kind―but just when Ollie thinks he's found his Happily Ever After, summer vacation ends and Will stops texting Ollie back. Now Ollie is one prince short of his fairy tale ending, and to complicate the fairy tale further, a family emergency sees Ollie uprooted and enrolled at a new school across the country. Which he minds a little less when he realizes it's the same school Will goes to...except Ollie finds that the sweet, comfortably queer guy he knew from summer isn't the same one attending Collinswood High. This Will is a class clown, closeted―and, to be honest, a bit of a jerk.

Ollie has no intention of pining after a guy who clearly isn't ready for a relationship, especially since this new, bro-y jock version of Will seems to go from hot to cold every other week. But then Will starts "coincidentally" popping up in every area of Ollie's life, from music class to the lunch table, and Ollie finds his resolve weakening.

The last time he gave Will his heart, Will handed it back to him trampled and battered. Ollie would have to be an idiot to trust him with it again.

Right? Right.

I had a lot of fun with Only Mostly Devastated! It’s the perfect summer contemporary, and a really well written debut, so definitely get your hands on it if you can.

I did think that the main character, Ollie, was a bit whiney at the beginning, but to be fair he’s a teenage boy, and as someone with three younger brothers I can confirm that this is accurate.

I got very invested in the ship, which is something that rarely happens to me with YA romance so that was an added bonus! Ollie’s relationship with Will was emotional and sweet, and they were a much better couple than Danny and Sandy. I got a bit weepy over some of their interactions because they were just so sweet.

The Grease parallels were a lot of fun, which is something I think we can all appreciate!

There was also a lot of bi rep in this book, which I wasn’t strictly expecting going into it. I enjoyed that part a lot, although I do with that one of the bi characters hadn’t been portrayed as overly sxual, as that seems to happen a lot. That’s not really a complaint, but just a personal preference!

Book Review: Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Book Review: Tweet Cute by Emma LordTweet Cute by Emma Lord
Genre: Contemporary
Release Date: 21st January 2020
Publisher: Macmillan
Source: Borrowed
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Meet Pepper, swim team captain, chronic overachiever, and all-around perfectionist. Her family may be falling apart, but their massive fast-food chain is booming ― mainly thanks to Pepper, who is barely managing to juggle real life while secretly running Big League Burger’s massive Twitter account.

Enter Jack, class clown and constant thorn in Pepper’s side. When he isn’t trying to duck out of his obscenely popular twin’s shadow, he’s busy working in his family’s deli. His relationship with the business that holds his future might be love/hate, but when Big League Burger steals his grandma’s iconic grilled cheese recipe, he’ll do whatever it takes to take them down, one tweet at a time.

All’s fair in love and cheese ― that is, until Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life ― on an anonymous chat app Jack built.

As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate ― people on the internet are shipping them?? ― their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
 

Tweet Cute was just as adorable as I thought it would be. It was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and I was loving how much hype it was getting as a debut, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it once it was released. It met my expectations perfectly, and I’m so glad that I nabbed it as soon as it came out.

I went into this ready for a sweet YA romance, and that’s exactly what I got. I really have to be in the right frame of mind for romance in YA because sometimes it gets a bit silly and the author doesn’t manage to pull it off, but the hate-to-love romance in this and the secret Twitter war was well crafted and I ended up really liking the main pairing.

I can’t not mention the food descriptions because OH MY GOD it was beautiful. Not only do the characters go on and on about grilled cheese, Pepper is a baker and makes the most beautiful sounding concoctions. Please bear in mind that I read this during No Sugar January, so I was pretty much DYING while I was reading this because I wanted ALL OF THE FOOD. I’m thinking about doing a vlog in which I talk about the book and also bake a few of the things mentioned because that’s how much I loved the food in this.

Like I said, Tweet Cute met all of my expectations and I’d highly recommend it to you if you’re looking for a fluffy romance based around a viral Twitter war. I think people on Book Twitter will find it quite relatable. Overall, a solid debut!

Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Book Review: The Guest List by Lucy FoleyThe Guest List by Lucy Foley
Genre: Thriller
Release Date: 19th March 2020
Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Set on a remote island off the Irish coast, this is one guest list no one would want to be on, just as no one would have wanted an invitation to the New Year's Eve party in Foley's previous novel, The Hunting Party . Lives unravel amid the revelry on an eerie and remote island as family and friends assemble for a glam wedding in an updated Murder on the Orient Express. Each of the principal characters has a reason to want one of their number dead, there are old secrets, and one of them is murdered.

The Guest List was a fast-paced and intriguing thriller, which was exactly what I was expecting from Lucy Foley after I read and enjoyed The Hunting Party early last year. I’m very glad that it lived up to my expectations on that front!

I was kept engaged by the mystery of what happened on the wedding night – I needed to know who had been killed and who the killer was. The fact that the book was written in first person added to the mystery, as the characters were clearly keeping things from the reader and I knew something was amiss.

That said, I think I would have preferred for the book to have been told in third person. I always struggle when thrillers are written in first, and then the author clearly goes out of their way to keep things from the reader and has the characters omit certain information. I find it quite irritating, and sometimes it can come across as lazy writing. It wasn’t a big deal with this book, as I still thought it was written really well, but I would have preferred for it not to have happened.

I loved the way Lucy Foley wrote the different points of view. There were a lot of characters in this book, but they were all very unique and distinct. She did a really good job with those.

I didn’t find any of the characters to be likeable apart from Hannah and Olivia, but to be honest they weren’t really supposed to be!

As for the twist at the end, I thought it was really well done! I liked how we were fed little bits of information that came together towards the end. I was able to put most of it together right before the big twist was revealed, and I love it when stories do that! I love being able to piece together information just as the twist is happening. It reminded me of how I felt with The Silent Patient, as I figured out the twist right at the last minute, almost along with the characters!

Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli

Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Sky Weaver! I’m really excited to work with Orion Publishing for this tour, because The Sky Weaver is a book that I’ve been anticipating for ages. See below for my honest review of the book (provided for free by the publisher), and make sure you check out the other stops on the tour!

Blog Tour: The Sky Weaver by Kristen CiccarelliThe Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
Series: Iskari #3
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 14th November 2019
Publisher: Orion
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars
Lavish, romantic and magical, The Sky Weaver is a new standalone story set in the world of The Last Namsara - one that fans of Leigh Bardugo, Holly Black and Laini Taylor will flock to. . .

At the end of one world, there always lies another.

Safire, a soldier, knows her role in this world is to serve the King of Firgaard-helping to maintain the peace in her oft-troubled nation.

Eris, a deadly pirate, has no such conviction. Known as The Death Dancer for her ability to evade even the most determined of pursuers, she possesses a superhuman ability to move between worlds.

When one can roam from dimension to dimension, can one ever be home? Can love and loyalty truly exist?

Then Safire and Eris-sworn enemies-find themselves on a common mission: to find Asha, the last Namsara.

From the port city of Darmoor to the fabled faraway Sky Isles, their search and their stories become threaded ever more tightly together as they discover the uncertain fate they're hurtling towards may just be a shared one. In this world, and the next.

The Sky Weaver was an utterly addictive read that I spent just three hours on because I was enjoying it that much. As soon as I opened the first page I was swept back into Ciccarelli’s Iskari world, and I couldn’t put the book down. I’m now really sad that the book – and the trilogy – is over, because now that I’m back in this world I want more!

Full disclosure, I only read The Last Namsara prior to reading The Sky Weaver. I haven’t read The Caged Queen yet, partly because I heard bad things, and partly because it kind of flew over my radar. Thankfully, I don’t think I missed out on anything, since Ciccarelli did a good job of recapping everything for me. It seems to me that most of the things that are relevant happened in The Last Namsara anyway!

While this book is being marketed as being full of pirate-y goodness, I wouldn’t say it’s the focus of it. There are lots of pirate-y moments and scenes, but the main draws of the book are Safire, the dragon king’s commander, and Eris, someone who can shadow-walk.

I absolutely loved both of these characters, and I adored spending time with both of them. Their enemies-to-lovers romance made me smile a lot, and I’m so happy that I read their story. I have to say that I felt a bit detached from Eris to begin with, since she has no connection to Asha’s family and she kind of came out of nowhere. That said, she really grew on me, and by the end I was truly invested in her story.

I also have to mention that, as usual, I adored the stories that Kristen Ciccarelli was able to weave (ha!) in there. The interwoven stories were something that I loved the most about The Last Namsara, and I was so pleased to see that they were back in this book. They really help with the world building and the mythology, not to mention the overarching story! I feel like they do spoil things sometimes, but they’re meant to be a sort of low-key build up to the things that are happening in present day.

Not to mention that stories themselves play a massive part in this world, since it’s how humans connect with dragons! I just really love everything about them.

I honestly don’t have a bad word to say about this book. It was a highly enjoyable read, and while it’s not an all time favourite, I genuinely loved reading about the gods, the dragons, and the dragon riders!