Friday, 28 June 2019

Historical Time Periods I Loved Reading About

I love historical fiction books that are written so well that you feel transported to the time and place that's being described.  I thought I'd list some of my most favourite historical time periods and settings.

A Sky Painted Gold by Laura Wood

‣Summer Parties & Sister Bonds

The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
‣Shadowhunters & Victorian London

The Diviners by Libba Bray
‣1920s New York
‣Creepy Atmosphere & Supernatural Powers

The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles
‣1930s Brazil
‣Meaningful Friendship & Samba Music

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
‣1950s to 1980s
‣Hollywood Glamour & Complex Characters

Enchantée by Gita Trelease
‣1789 Paris
‣Magic & Revolution

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers
‣1480s France
‣Assassin Nuns & Court Intrigue

What are some of your favourite time periods you read in a book?

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Summer 2019 TBR

I thought I'd list some of the books that are on my TBR this summer and it also happens to be this week's topic for Top Ten Tuesday, which is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  I already did a post on some summer releases I'm excited for which you can find here, I plan on reading some of those this summer too. 

Summer of Salt by Katrina Leno
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Record of a Spaceborn Few (Wayfarers book 3) by Becky Chambers
City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert
Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

What books are on your summer TBR?

Friday, 21 June 2019

Book Review: The Air You Breathe by Frances de Pontes Peebles

Book: The Air You Breathe
Author: Frances de Pontes Peebles
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction

The story of an intense female friendship fueled by affection, envy and pride--and each woman's fear that she would be nothing without the other. 
Skinny, nine-year-old orphaned Dores is working in the kitchen of a sugar plantation in 1930s Brazil when in walks a girl who changes everything. Graça, the spoiled daughter of a wealthy sugar baron, is clever, well fed, pretty, and thrillingly ill behaved. Born to wildly different worlds, Dores and Graça quickly bond over shared mischief, and then, on a deeper level, over music. 
One has a voice like a songbird; the other feels melodies in her soul and composes lyrics to match. Music will become their shared passion, the source of their partnership and their rivalry, and for each, the only way out of the life to which each was born. But only one of the two is destined to be a star. Their intimate, volatile bond will determine each of their fortunes--and haunt their memories. 
Traveling from Brazil's inland sugar plantations to the rowdy streets of Lapa in Rio de Janeiro, from Los Angeles during the Golden Age of Hollywood back to the irresistible drumbeat of home, The Air You Breathe unfurls a moving portrait of a lifelong friendship--its unparalleled rewards and lasting losses--and considers what we owe to the relationships that shape our lives.

My Rating: 5 STARS

My Review:
The Air You Breathe is a beautifully written book set in 1930s Brazil and is about a deep complex friendship and I loved it, it's one of those books that are so emotionally poignant that the story just stays with you.

The Air You Breathe is about Dores and Graça, two friends from childhood who grew up together and formed such a deep friendship despite coming from different backgrounds.  Dores is an orphan working in the kitchen of Graças household.  Graça is the opposite, spoiled and tended to.  This story had such an unlikely tale of friendship and I loved that.  And I also loved how flawed the friendship of Dores and Graça was as well, it wasn't always perfect and that made their bond with each other have more depth to it.

We read from Dores' point of view and the book is her telling her story so we experience her whole life within these pages.  At the beginning Dores is an old woman reflecting on her life and she tells us that Graça is dead and has been for a long time so from the very beginning you just know this book is going to be an emotional rollarcoaster.

We see Dores as a young child growing up, meeting Graça, developing this intense friendship with her, them both finding their love for music and breaking free from their own societal confines to pursue the life they both want in the music industry.

The writing is so beautiful, it really makes your heart ache for the characters especially the present day parts where you get a look at how important on retrospect these moments in Dores' life were for her.

I also loved the overall feeling and atmosphere that surrounded the setting of this book.  I felt totally transported by the way the author described the places, music and time of the book.  I loved reading about the cultural aspects and the talk of samba music.

Overall I loved this book, it's one of my favourite books of the year and I think it's an incredibly beautiful book about meaningful friendship.  Although I don't usually like comparing books I do feel that this book is a mix of both The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo and Daisy Jones and The Six but it also has its own great story and characters.  

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Top Ten Tuesday- Hyped Books I Didn't Like

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is: Unpopular Book Opinions.  For this week's topic I decided to list some hyped books I disliked.  I know a lot of these books are beloved by many people so just a reminder that these are my own personal opinions. 

Hyped Books I Didn't Like:

Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa
I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson
The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh

Vengeful (Villains book 2) by V.E. Schwab
The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air book 2) by Holly Black
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows book 2) by Leigh Bardugo

What are some hyped books that disappointed you?

Monday, 10 June 2019

Book Review: Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu

Book: Wildcard
Series: Warcross book 2
Author: Marie Lu
Genre: YA Sci-fi

Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo's new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she's always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side. 
Determined to put a stop to Hideo's grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone's put a bounty on Emika's head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn't all that he seems--and his protection comes at a price. 
Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?

My Rating: 4 STARS

My Review:
Even though I enjoyed Warcross I was put off reading Wildcard because I had heard a lot of mixed reviews about it but I ended up loving this book and I liked it even more than the first one.

I thought the story in Wildcard was very exciting and it really felt like the stakes were raised.  I loved being inside this world again, it is so interesting to read and very easy to imagine. 

I felt even more attached to the characters and I liked how the back stories were explained.  I liked finding out the characters motivations behind everything and I thought there were some really interesting twists in this book that surprised me.  I'm still not a fan of the romance in these books but I felt there was a lot more to the story than that so I didn't mind it that much.

Everything felt more emotional, from the characters to the overall storyline.  Maybe it was because we've already been introduced to the world but I felt more connected to the world in Wildcard and I thought the imagery of the world was fantastic.  

Overall I thought this was a great conclusion to the Warcross duology.  Even though I liked Warcross I felt so much more emotionally invested in Wildcard and I liked reading the characters back stories and thought there was some interesting twists.  I've read Marie Lu's previous series' and I loved how she ended them and I feel the same way about Wildcard.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Summer 2019 Releases I'm Excited For

I'm so excited for these books to be released over the next few months (June, July and August).  Some of these books may already be released in different countries but I'm mainly talking about their UK release date, if they have one.

The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg

Sapphire Flames (Hidden Legacy book 4) by Ilona Andrews

All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

War of Mist (The Oremere Chronicles book 3) by Helen Scheuerer 

Wicked Fox by Kat Cho

Under a Dancing Star by Laura Wood

Which summer releases are you most excited for?

Wednesday, 5 June 2019

Book Review: Vengeful (Villains #2) by V.E. Schwab

Book: Vengeful
Series: Villains book 2
Author: V.E. Schwab
Genre: Adult fantasy/sci-fi

Eli Ever and Victor Vale were only medical students when their mutual discovery that near-death experiences can, under the right conditions, manifest extraordinary abilities. 
They were best friends, and rivals, and then enemies. They were dead, then alive, and then---Eli killed Victor, once and for all. 
Or so he thought---but Sydney Clarke felt otherwise, and used her own superpower to tip the scales. Now, a trio hides in the shadows, while another takes advantages of post-death life to take over the city of Merit. 
If there can be life after death—will there be calm after vengeance, or will chaos rule?

My Rating: 2 STARS

My Review:
I enjoyed Vicious a lot so I was shocked at how much I ended up disliking Vengeful.

Vengeful felt like a completely different story to Vicious.  Vicious centred on Eli and Victor and their interestingly twisted relationship with each other and I really wanted to read more about that but instead in Vengeful the story was not centred on them but on new characters.  I felt most of the story focused on these new characters and I didn't feel connected to them so I didn't care about most of the book.

I didn't like Marcella's character but as I was reading I thought that there must be more to this character for her to be built up in such a way, I thought she must link up to the original characters or storyline.  And although her character did cross paths with the others it wasn't in the way I was expecting because there was really no ultimate reasoning behind why her character was built up.

I also felt that the characters were a shell of themselves.  Victor and Eli didn't feel like the quirky characters they did in Vicious and Sydney seemed like a different character all together, becoming much more dependant and in need of reassurance.

Overall I wish I had have known some of these things before reading Vengeful.  I was very disappointed in this book and I felt like it didn't keep the same interesting quirky feeling as the first book had.