Book Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Title: Reign of the Fallen
Series: Reign of the Fallen #1
Author: Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Razorbill
Date: January 23rd, 2018
Pages: 384
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Odessa is one of Karthia’s master necromancers, catering to the kingdom’s ruling Dead. Whenever a noble dies, it’s Odessa’s job to raise them by retrieving their souls from a dreamy and dangerous shadow world called the Deadlands. But there is a cost to being raised–the Dead must remain shrouded, or risk transforming into zombie-like monsters known as Shades. If even a hint of flesh is exposed, the grotesque transformation will begin.

A dramatic uptick in Shade attacks raises suspicions and fears among Odessa’s necromancer community. Soon a crushing loss of one of their own reveals a disturbing conspiracy: someone is intentionally creating Shades by tearing shrouds from the Dead–and training them to attack. Odessa is faced with a terrifying question: What if her necromancer’s magic is the weapon that brings Karthia to its knees?

Review:

If I’d have to choose only one word to describe Reign of the Fallen, I’d choose the word unique.
In my life, I’ve read many books (almost 500), but I’ve never read anything similar to this story.

Reign of the Fallen is a novel set in a world where people after their death can come alive, with the help of people who’s job is to take them out of the Deadland into their real world.
As you can imagine, most people that rule this world have already died many times.
However cool that might sound, there is one catch: if a dead person stays “alive” for too long, there’s a chance for her to become a Shadow, which is basically some sort of evil zombie that eats and kills everything and everyone.
So therefore, after some time, a person who is Undead (that’s the word for a person who was brought back to life) should be killed and then brought back to life again.
As you can imagine, the circle goes on and on and on…

As I already stated, reading Reign of the Fallen was a pleasant surprise since I have never read anything like that.
It took me some time to figure out how this world really works, but I thing that the world building was done great and I really enjoyed all the elements of it (also, I couldn’t help but think how this world must smell really bad!).

The story follows Sparrow who is the best in bringing Dead people back to life. She works for the king and she lives and breathes her job. She wouldn’t know who she’d be without it.

Sparrow was an interesting character, to say the least. She made some decisions that really left me confused, but I have to stress out that after everything that has happened to her, she was very lost and confused herself.
She was pretty selfish and self centered, and even though that is a turn off in a way, it is also a very realistic thing, because it is in human nature to centre the world around your own self.

There was one situation in the book that I just have to mention.
We got to see how a character got herself addicted to drugs, and how painful it was to take herself off it, and I have never saw anything similar in ya fantasy.
It was kind of silly, to be honest, but in the same time, I welcome it.

I also have to emphasize that this novel has a great diversity representation.

When I look at Reign of the Fallen as a whole, I honestly think it would have been a better book if it was an adult fantasy novel.

Overall, I am glad I gave this book a chance because it was like a breathe of fresh air, but when I look at the whole picture, it was a solid read.
I would still recommend it, though!

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Book Review: Batman Nightwalker by Marie Lu (Blog Tour) @prhinternational #partner

I am so happy to be today’s host in Batman Nightwalker blog Tour.
I want to say thank you to Amanda Holman for giving me this opportunity, and to Penguin Random House for sending me a free copy of the book.

Blurb:

Before he was Batman, he was Bruce Wayne. A reckless boy willing to break the rules for a girl who may be his worst enemy.

The Nightwalkers are terrorizing Gotham City, and Bruce Wayne is next on their list.

One by one, the city’s elites are being executed as their mansions’ security systems turn against them, trapping them like prey. Meanwhile, Bruce is turning eighteen and about to inherit his family’s fortune, not to mention the keys to Wayne Enterprises and all the tech gadgetry his heart could ever desire. But after a run-in with the police, he’s forced to do community service at Arkham Asylum, the infamous prison that holds the city’s most brutal criminals.

Madeleine Wallace is a brilliant killer . . . and Bruce’s only hope.

In Arkham, Bruce meets Madeleine, a brilliant girl with ties to the Nightwalkers. What is she hiding? And why will she speak only to Bruce? Madeleine is the mystery Bruce must unravel. But is he getting her to divulge her secrets, or is he feeding her the information she needs to bring Gotham City to its knees? Bruce will walk the dark line between trust and betrayal as the Nightwalkers circle closer.

Review:

Like most of my generation, I grew up with Batman movies and cartoons. I loved watching them even when I was too little to understand them, and his partner Robin was my first love.

I always knew Bruce Wayne had a great tragedy in his life, saw his parents murder when he was a child, but I have to admit, never in my life have I wondered how he was like when he wasa  teenager.
Thanks to Marie Lu, I got a glimpse of his adolescent life.

Now I know he was smart, well educated, builted his first laptop and had an interesting group of friends. He was also brave and always fought for justice (who’d say, right?).

Batman Nightwalker was a perfect entertaiment. I read my copy during Christmas and it was the last book I read in 2017. I am so happy to say I finished a year with a great book in my hands.

I liked almost everything about it. I had fun reading scenes with Bruce and his friends, I enjoyed exploring Gotham city, but most of all, I liked scenes with a mysterious girl, Madaleine Wallace, who was our main villain.

I have to say that Madaleine was one of the best villains I came across lately (read “for the longest time”), and that includes not only books, but movies and tv shows too.

I was satisfied with the whole story, including the very end of the book too, even though I guessed one part of the book, the one that should have been a shocking moment (at least I think so).

Overall, I had a blast reading Batman Nightwalker, and a big reason  for that is Marie Lu’s compelling writing.

I would recommend this book to everyone who likes superhero stories and to all Batman fans.

 

 

Book review: The Fifth Letter by Nicola Moriarty

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Title: The Fifth Letter
Author: Nicola Moriarty
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: March 2nd, 2017
Pages: 362
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Joni, Trina, Deb and Eden.

Best friends since the first day of school. Best friends, they liked to say, forever.

But now they are in their thirties and real life – husbands, children, work – has got in the way. So, resurrecting their annual trip away, Joni has an idea, something to help them reconnect.

Each woman will write an anonymous letter, sharing with their friends the things that are really going on in their lives.

But as the confessions come tumbling out, Joni starts to feel the certainty of their decades-long friendships slip from her fingers.

Anger. Accusations. Desires. Deceit.

And then she finds another letter. One that was never supposed to be read. A fifth letter. Containing a secret so big that its writer had tried to destroy it. And now Joni is starting to wonder, did she ever really know her friends at all?

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Review:

When it comes to my reading experience with this book, there’s no other word to describe it but “lazy”.
I confess: I started this (mystery) book knowing that all the questions will be answered eventually and that, with time, I’ll find out who wrote the fifth letter and which from four letters belong to whom, so I didn’t bother.
I just read, the most relaxed as one reader can be, lazy to try to figure out myself.

Is it my fault for not getting invested into the book as much as the author probably wanted me to be?
Definitely.
But is it also the author’s fault for that, because her story didn’t make me want to know the answers right away?
I can’t say for sure.

But let me tell you: I liked this book. I don’t regret my laziness because I enjoyed reading this novel the way I did.

The story follows four friends who every year spend few days together on vacation. It is their tradition.
This year, they decide that each of them will write a letter in which they will tell a secret they haven’t told anyone before.
The idea sounds interesting and fun, especially because the letters won’t be signed.
What starts as a game turns into more serious situation after Joni finds the fifth letter, written by one of them, in which the one spells her bitterness and hatred for one of them.

I liked the premise of the story, and the idea of the plot, but if I’m being completely honest, I think that the content of the fifth letter wasn’t as disturbing (but then again, if I was one of four friends, maybe I’d think differently).
Also, in my humble opinion, some secrets should have stayed what they were in the first place – secrets.

Even though there was too much drama at time, I really, really liked what The Fifth Letter offered.

The main character, Joni, was the one I could relate to the most.
Trina was my second favorite, while I sometimes had problem separating Deb and Eden.

The Fifth Letter is written in third person. It is pretty easy to read, but at the same time it does not read quickly (at least it didn’t in my case).

Overall, The Fifth Letter is a solid, enjoyable read that I would recommend.

3,75

Book Review: Paris for One by Jojo Moyes

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Title: Paris for One & Other Stories
Author: Jojo Moyes
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: February 9th, 2017
Pages: 336
Format: Hardback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): From the #1 “New York Times” bestselling author of “Me Before You” and “After You,” a sensational collection featuring the title novella and eight other stories. Quintessential Jojo Moyes, “Paris for One and Other Stories” is an irresistibly romantic collection filled with humor and heart.
Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She’s never even been on a romantic weekend away to anywhere before. Everyone knows travelling abroad isn’t really her thing. But when Nell’s boyfriend fails to show up for their romantic mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone including herself wrong. Alone and in Paris, Nell uncovers a version of herself she never knew existed: independent and intrepid. Could this turn out to be the most adventurous weekend of her life? Funny, charming, and irresistible, “Paris for One”is vintage Moyes as are the other stories that round out the collection.”

Paris for One
Between the Tweets
Love in the Afternoon
A Bird in the Hand
Crocodile Shoes
Holdups
Honeymoon in Paris
Last Year’s Coat
Thirteen Days with John C.
Margot
The Christmas List

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Review:

Paris for One is collection of two novellas and 9 short stories.

My favorite story (or I should say novella) was Honeymoon in Paris. It is a standalone novella, but is also connected to Moyes’ full lenght novel The Girl You Left Behind. 80 pages long, the story follows two couples placed in different time, separated by 80 years, who’s stories together make a whole. Even though I really liked it, I think I would appreciate it even more if I have read the novel.

Paris for One is second best in this collection.
It is fun and easy to read, but I think it would be better if the story was set in 90’s, because characters were really bad when it comes to communication. If there were no mobile phones, the story would make more sense.

Other two stories that I really enjoyed were Between the Tweets and Crocodile Shoes.

As for other pieces, I think they were put into this collection just for sake of having enough stories for the whole bind up.
Some were forgetable (Love in the Afternoon), some were there so Jojo Moyes’ fans would have something new to read, and one was so…. silly and ridiculous (I don’t mean it in a good way). The story I’m talking about is Holdups. I really didn’t like that one.

I don’t want to sound rude here, but I’ll say this anyway: some stories sounded like someone’s practice writing, so I couldn’t help but wonder if they were written before Moyes found her voice, before she became a successful writer.

To be fair, when it all comes down together, I think three stars rating is realistic.

I would recommend this collection to fans of Jojo Moyes.
If you haven’t read anything by her before, and you come upon this book, I would still recommend four stories I mentioned as my favorites. It would be a shame not to read them, if you already have a chance to do so.

3

Book Review: White Lies and Wishes by Cathy Bramley

white-lies-and-wishes-blue

Title: White Lies and Wishes
Author: Cathy Bramley
Publisher: Punguin Random House UK, Corgi
Date: January 26th, 2017
Pages: 384
Format: Physical ARC
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): What happens when what you wish for is only half the story…?

Flirtatious, straight-talking Jo Gold says she’s got no time for love; she’s determined to save her family’s failing footwear business.

New mother Sarah Hudson has cut short her maternity leave to return to work. She says she’ll do whatever it takes to make partner at the accountancy firm.

Bored, over-eating housewife Carrie Radley says she just wants to shift the pounds – she’d love to finally wear a bikini in public.

The unlikely trio meet by chance one winter’s day, and in a moment of ‘Carpe Diem’ madness, embark on a mission to make their wishes come true by September.

Easy. At least it would be, if they hadn’t been just the teensiest bit stingy with the truth…

With hidden issues, hidden talents, and hidden demons to overcome, new friends Jo, Carrie and Sarah must admit to what they really, really want, if they are ever to get their happy endings.

A feel-good romantic comedy that’s guaranteed to make you smile – perfect for fans of Carole Matthews, Trisha Ashley and Katie Fforde.

 

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Review:

Cathy Bramley is the author I found out about because of blogging community.
Her book Wickham Hall was so well received, and I couldn’t help but added it to my ever-growing tbr list.
Unfortunately, I still haven’t got a chance to read it, but when I saw there was an opportunity to read and review Bramley’s newest novel, I had to grab it.

White Lies & Wishes is a story about three women, very different at the first glance, but with one thing in common: all of them have wishes they want to make happen’, all of them want more from life.

These three women, Jo, Sarah and Carrie, meet at the funeral. It’s not a happy event, but it makes them realize that life is short, and they have to make the best out of it while it lasts.
They promise to help each other reach their goals – every one of them makes a wish, and with common support, they will do their best for their wishes to become reality.

Out of all the three characters, I honestly can not say that I have a favorite.
They were all somewhere in the middle, when it comes to likeability.
Each of them had some flaws, as well as good features, and that is why, in my opinion, they felt real to me.

I enjoyed reading all of the stories, but I have to admit that the one about Jo was predictable.
It also took me longest to like Sarah, because I just couldn’t understand her. In my eyes, she was too selfish, chasing her career and not appreciating her husband enough.

The story is written in third person.
It reads really easily, but for the better reading experience, I decided to take my time with it.

White Lies and Wishes not only made me think about my life and how it is still not too late to do something more from it, but it also reminded me that it is never too late to make new, true friendships.

I would recommend this novel to women’s fiction lovers out there.

3,75

Book Review: My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon

my-sweet-revenge

Title: My Sweet Revenge
Author: Jane Fallon
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: January 12th, 2017
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): I want to make my husband fall back in love with me.

Let me explain. This isn’t an exercise in 1950s wifeydom. I haven’t been reading articles in old women’s magazines. ‘Twenty ways to keep your man’. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

I want him to fall back in love with me so that when I tell him to get the hell out of my life he’ll care. He won’t just think, ‘Oh good’.

I want it to hurt.

Paula has had Robert’s back since they got together as drama students. She gave up her dreams so he could make it. Now he’s one of the nation’s most popular actors. And Paula’s just discovered he’s having an affair.

She’s going to remind Robert just what he’s sacrificing. And then she’s going to break his heart like he broke hers. It will be her greatest acting role ever.

Revenge is sweet. Isn’t it?

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Review:

It has been two weeks since I finished My Sweet Revenge, and I still don’t know how to write my review without possibly offending some people.
Not reviewing it would easy and, in a way, right decision, but after a while I decided to do it anyway.
My opinions are my own, and I do apologise to everyone who might be offended by them.

My Sweet Revenge follows the story of Paula, who found out her husband was cheating on her for a while. Instead of confronting him, she decides to keep a secret that she knows what he’s doing, and to make him fall in love with her all over again. Once he’d realize he doesn’t want to lose her, she’ll leave him.

The reason why this story was on my most anticipated books in 2017 list is because I was so curious how Paula is going to make her husband fall in love again with her.
I also didn’t know where the story is going to go, and I was eager to find out.

The one thing I should emphasise is the novel’s unpredictability. No matter how hard I tried, I just could not imagine what was going to happened next, and I wanted to read as fast as I could to find out.

Paula was a character so much different from me, with many different opinions, making decisions I would never make.
Because of that, I wanted to follow her story, trying to understand her decisions with an open mind.
However, it was so hard for me to connect with her or like her in general.

Paula’s husband was cheating on her, and it is a terrible thing to happen’ to anyone.
She felt betrayed (as she should have), blaming her husband for everything, stating over and over how self centered he was, but not once did she ask herself what made him do it.
You see, Paula gained a lot of weight (which SHOULDN’T be a reason to be cheated on, but sometimes it is) while her husband was working out every single day, making sure he looks right.
She also can’t remember when was the last time they slept together, and one time in the story when he wanted some action, she refused.
People have needs, and having sex is one of them. If a person does not get it from his/her spouse, it’s natural that with time he/she will want to find someone else to get it from.
It’s like being thirsty and not getting a glass of water from the one person you’re sharing your life with.

So yeah, I don’t justify cheating, but in this case, I understand why Robert did what he did.

Also one more thing I didn’t like is how Paula (and one more character in the book) stated more then few times how young girls dating older men is gross.
I get why some women think that way, but young girls dated (or married) older men always, in the past and today, and it is not gross, it is natural. To each their own!

The book is written in first person, following Paula’s and Robert’s mistress POVs.
I really liked Part 2 because the story became more interesting from there.

There were some laugh out loud moments, some “OmG moments”, and then, there were some dull moments.

The writing style is good. The book reads pretty easily.

I was happy with the end. It all concluded very well and I am glad how every character got an ending that was the best for him/her, even though not all of them were aware of that.

All in all, I am glad I read this book because it showed me perspectives different from my own.

4

Book Review: A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom

a-year-and-a-day

Title: A Year and a Day
Author: Isabelle Broom
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Date: November 17th, 2016
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): From the author of My Map of You

Welcome to a city where wishes are everywhere

For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she’s determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything – and she won’t let that happen again . . .

For Hope, the trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she’s struggling to enjoy the beauty of the city when she knows how angry her daughter is back home. And that it’s all her fault . . .

For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can’t stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past . . .

Three different women.

Three intertwining love stories.

One unforgettable, timeless city.

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Review:

This year I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity to read Isabelle Broom’s debut novel My Map Of You. I complitely fell in love with the story and Broom’s writing style (the book is in my top 5 books I read in 2016), so when I found out her second novel was also coming out this year, I was thrilled.
A Year and a Day immediately became one of my most anticipated releases of 2016.

This novel follows three different stories that intertwine, every story centered around another woman.
The stories take place in Prague, during period of 5 days, around Christmas time.

Megan came to Prague with her friend Ollie who has feelings for her. She doesn’t want to gamble their friendship into becoming something more. Although it could be risky, Prague sounds too good to pass. After all, she might find an inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition in that magical city.

Hope goes to Prague with her new boyfriend, who gave her a trip to that place as a Christmas gift. She recently left her husband and now is on bad terms with her daughter because of that. She would do anything to make piece with her, but she also has an urge to live the life she never had for the first time ever, to find her indenpendency and to be a part of passionate relatonship.

Sophie came to Prague to be with her boyfriend, who’ll came few days after her arrival.
Prague has a special place in their hearts, as it’s the city where they met each other for the first time.

From those three stories, Sophie’s was one that was the most interesting to me.
Other two weren’t exciting and if I’m being honest, I found them boring at times.

The writing style is simply amazing. Broom captured the beauty of Prague perfectly and I guarantee you, after reading this book, you will probably want to visit that place.

I was in Prague myself years ago, but after reading this book, I’d like to visit it again and see the beauty and culture once again with new eyes. Now when I’m older, I would appreciate everything that Prague offers so much more then I did then.

The writing consists of so many beautiful descriptions, but less character conversations.
I liked it that way, but if you’re looking for a fast paced book, this isn’t the one.
This book is the one you should take your time with.

The story is written in third person.

I wish the book had no overture (or prologue). The first sentence is absolutely astonishing, but in my opinion that part of the book spoils the big surprise that was revealed closer to an end.
I suspected what was going on from the very beginning of the story, and my guess was right.

Every single character of the story is realistic.
You could meet people like them in your every day life anytime.
I can’t say I liked one character more then the other, but I can say who I’d probably get along with and who I wouldn’t, if I ever cross my paths with any of them.
(I’d get along with Sophie, and wouldn’t get along with Megan or Charlie.)

The ending was really good.
I was satisfied with it’s realness.

If you ever decide to go and visit Prague, I would recommend you to read this book prior that trip.
It brings the bauty of the city close to reader and it could be really helpful when you have to decide what places in Prague you’d like to see.

I would recommend this book to readers of general fiction who like for their books to explore human relationships as well as inner thoughts.

Even though it wasn’t as brilliant as My Map of You, A Year and a Day is a nice festive novel that, I trully believe, will be recognized by many readers for it’s delightful writing.

Broom’s third book should be released in April 2017 and I already can’t wait to read it.

3,75