Crescent City: House of Earth & Blood - Sarah J Maas


House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City, #1)Title: House of Earth & Blood

Author: Sarah J Maas
Source: Publisher

Bound by blood.Tempted by desire.Unleashed by destiny.
Bryce Quinlan had the perfect life—working hard all day and partying all night—until a demon murdered her closest friends, leaving her bereft, wounded, and alone. When the accused is behind bars but the crimes start up again, Bryce finds herself at the heart of the investigation. She’ll do whatever it takes to avenge their deaths.
Hunt Athalar is a notorious Fallen angel, now enslaved to the Archangels he once attempted to overthrow. His brutal skills and incredible strength have been set to one purpose—to assassinate his boss’s enemies, no questions asked. But with a demon wreaking havoc in the city, he’s offered an irresistible deal: help Bryce find the murderer, and his freedom will be within reach.
As Bryce and Hunt dig deep into Crescent City’s underbelly, they discover a dark power that threatens everything and everyone they hold dear, and they find, in each other, a blazing passion—one that could set them both free, if they’d only let it.
With unforgettable characters, sizzling romance, and page-turning suspense, this richly inventive new fantasy series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Sarah J. Maas delves into the heartache of loss, the price of freedom—and the power of love.

I'm planning to just refer to this book as Crescent City throughout this review because I have had enough of these ‘­­­­_____ of _____ and ______’ titles. They are too long and all start to sound the same and I’m not wasting my time typing it out.

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Crescent City is a hot mess of a book, that is the only way I can think to describe it. I have no idea how to actually review this one, so this review is about to be as much of a hot mess as the book is. Was this book terrible? No. Was it amazing? Definitely not. Do I recommend it? I don't know, it depends if you want another cookie cutter SJM book or not. This book basically goes the way all of her books do, even to the point where she seems to have copied and pasted characters and plot points from one series to the next. If you aren't a big SJM fan or are just done with her books in general, you are probably going to want to avoid it. Her other series were hard for me because I enjoyed them both in the beginning but both had big issues and I was disappointed with the finales for both books. I still seem to come back to her books though because they are addictive and easy to read.

Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan HansenTitle: Dear Evan Hansen
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Source: Purchased

When a letter that was never meant to be seen by anyone draws high school senior Evan Hansen into a family's grief over the loss of their son, he is given the chance of a lifetime: to belong. He just has to stick to a lie he never meant to tell, that the notoriously troubled Connor Murphy was his secret best friend.

Suddenly, Evan isn't invisible anymore--even to the girl of his dreams. And Connor Murphy's parents, with their beautiful home on the other side of town, have taken him in like he was their own, desperate to know more about their enigmatic son from his closest friend. As Evan gets pulled deeper into their swirl of anger, regret, and confusion, he knows that what he's doing can't be right, but if he's helping people, how wrong can it be?

No longer tangled in his once-incapacitating anxiety, this new Evan has a purpose. And a website. He's confident. He's a viral phenomenon. Every day is amazing. Until everything is in danger of unraveling and he comes face to face with his greatest obstacle: himself.

A simple lie leads to complicated truths in this big-hearted coming-of-age story of grief, authenticity and the struggle to belong in an age of instant connectivity and profound isolation.

Dear Evan Hansen was a book I eagerly anticipated releasing but then also felt very apprehensive about reading it. It's probably why it has actually taken me a few years to actually get to it. I absolutely love the musical, it makes for a very emotional, moving watch and also the soundtrack is one I never tire of listening to. I really wanted to read the book but then I was also scare that I wouldn't love it as much as the musical or the book would end up leaving me disappointed. I can now say that I wasn't disappointed by this book and I did enjoy it, however it still felt like it was lacking something that it was hard to put my finger on. 


What I Liked:

Connor Murphy:  Connor is a character that you don't actually get to hear from during the musical. Yes, he has musical numbers and moments where he is there but the character is dead and really what we are getting is what Evan imagines Connor would be saying and doing, it is like he feels haunted by Connor and judged for what he is doing. In this we actually get chapters from Connor's POV, in a very 'The Lovely Bones' kind of way where he is watching what is going on once he is gone. I really enjoyed his point of view and voice, and also the fact that we get to know Connor a little better.

The writing: I was worried this would read like a terribly written fan fiction or one of those awful novelisations of movies you sometimes get. I was very pleasantly surprised and really happy with that aspect of the book, it is very well written. I also felt like you could tell that the author really wanted to do the musical justice whilst also fleshing out the story to fit to a novel length. 

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What I Didn't Like:

Connor's backstory: I didn't dislike the actual backstory itself and the deeper look into Connor but I felt that it took away something by giving him that. I can't quite explain why. I feel it might be because without that it makes it even more obvious how Connor's story has been taken from him, how other people are creating a narrative of who he is and why he did what he did. He isn't there to give his side of the story but in this we get it and I don't know if it was really needed or added to the story.

Evan: I love Evan but I feel he is a character that doesn't do so well on the page and where you are actually in his head. Let's not pretend that what Evan does is in anyway okay, it is indefensible. It is easier to see how it goes that way and snowballs away from him in the musical then it is here though. The actor I saw in the role portrayed it so well and I felt Evan was easier to sympathise with. He definitely is less so in this and I can see people who aren't familiar with the story would get frustrated with him very quickly.

Zoe & Evan's relationship: I can't explain why it works so much better on stage than it does on the page, it just does. It just feels much more manipulative and hurtful in the book and harder to empathise with Evan here. It doesn't help that his infatuation with Zoe comes across a lot more creepy when you're reading it, rather than a little teenage crush. 

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For the most part I enjoyed the book, so much so that I managed to read it in one sitting and stayed up far too late to finish it. However it just didn't pack the emotional punch that I was expecting. I found it a lot harder to connect with Evan, which also then made it harder to understand how he could do what he does in regards to Connor and his lies. I feel I'd have also enjoyed this even less if I wasn't already familiar with the characters and story through the musical. 

3/5


Aurora Burning

Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle, #2)Title: Aurora Rising
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Source: From the publisher

Our heroes are back… kind of. From the bestselling co-authors of the Illuminae Files comes the second book in the epic series about a squad of misfits, losers, and discipline cases who just might be the galaxy’s best hope for survival.
First, the bad news: an ancient evil—you know, your standard consume-all-life-in-the-galaxy deal—is about to be unleashed. The good news? Squad 312 is standing by to save the day. They’ve just got to take care of a few small distractions first.
Like the clan of gremps who’d like to rearrange their favorite faces.
And the cadre of illegit GIA agents with creepy flowers where their eyes used to be, who’ll stop at nothing to get their hands on Auri.
Then there’s Kal’s long-lost sister, who’s not exactly happy to see her baby brother, and has a Syldrathi army at her back. With half the known galaxy on their tails, Squad 312 has never felt so wanted.
When they learn the Hadfield has been found, it’s time to come out of hiding. Two centuries ago, the colony ship vanished, leaving Auri as its sole survivor. Now, its black box might be what saves them. But time is short, and if Auri can’t learn to master her powers as a Trigger, the squad and all their admirers are going to be deader than the Great Ultrasaur of Abraaxis IV.
Shocking revelations, bank heists, mysterious gifts, inappropriately tight bodysuits, and an epic firefight will determine the fate of the Aurora Legion’s most unforgettable heroes—and maybe the rest of the galaxy as well.

I have one thing to say about this book that sums up my feelings about it:

"I am not feeling nothing."

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And if you have read the book then you already know exactly what I mean. If not, let me just say that I absolutely loved this book so much. It ended and I just felt like I wanted to flip right back to the first page and read it again. It also left me wanting book three so badly that I know the wait is going to feel excruciatingly long. This was a superb read and a new 5/5 favourite read for me. If you haven't started book one in this series, go read it. And if you haven't ordered Aurora Burning yet, do it, you won't regret it.


What I Liked:


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Basically me during every part of this book.
Pacing: There wasn't much I didn't enjoy about book one, I did however think the pacing was slightly off and that made the book harder to get through. I am happy to say that the pacing was absolutely perfect here. There was a lot of action but it wasn't all shoved near the end of the book, nor was it followed up by pages of nothing until another action-packed scene. This book had the perfect balance, there was enough action to keep you engaged but also time to be with the characters and to really get to know them better, as well as helping to build up their friendships. I honestly can't find one fault with the pacing here, I loved it.


Action-packed: I can't say it enough but I loved, loved, loved, loved this book! There was so much going on in this book and I didn't want to put it down. It jumps straight into the action and the book doesn't really let up until you reach the end. I couldn't get enough of this story and I loved all the twists, turns and surprises and the wait for book three is already killing me.

Backstory: I loved Squad 312 in book one but I felt that we definitely only scratched the surface of some of these characters, especially Zila. She was the character I most wanted to find out more about when I was reading book one, especially because she could be so quiet at times and we didn't know very much about her before she joined the Aurora Legion. I got what I wanted, more backstory for her and other characters. I loved getting to know characters more, I wasn't expecting for this to be a book that would have me sobbing though - it did!

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Characters: I still absolutely love the cast of characters here, even more so now that we are exploring more of their backgrounds and lives before they joined the squad. I still absolutely adore their interactions, they make me laugh and I love the back and forth between them all.


The Ending: P.E.R.F.E.C.T.I.O.N! I loved the entire book and I especially loved the ending and how it has just left me wanting to build a time machine so I can go forward in time and read book three already.


What I Disliked:

Romance: I still do not like the romance between Kal and Auri. I loved basically everything else about this book. I even love these two characters as individuals, but I fucking hate them as a pair and any scene with just the two of them made me cringe. I'm honestly just done with 'mates' being used as an excuse for authors to not actually build a real or realistic relationship between two characters. This feels as rushed, forced and underdeveloped as mate romances usually do. I honestly think this book would have worked way better if they built up an actual relationship and there wasn't a 'mate' part to it.


5/5

*I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher.

Aurora Rising

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1)Title: Aurora Rising
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Source: Purchased

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.

They're not the heroes we deserve. They're just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.


Let me just get this out of the way first: The Illuminae Files is a series that I have a deep love for and consider one of my favourite series of all time. I loved the format of it, it made for such a unique reading experience and wasn't something I had seen a lot or read for myself. My expectations going in to Aurora Rising were definitely high because it was coming from the duo that brought me one of my favourite series. Once again I was getting a sci-fi trilogy with a whole host of characters and stretching across galaxies and I was excited, I was also worried that it would not measure up. Try as you might to not compare a book to an authors other work, you inevitably do. Did I enjoy Aurora Rising? Yes, very much so. Is it as good as or better than Illuminae? In my opinion, no. Should you go read it as soon as possible in preparation to book two? Most definitely yes, I've read book two and you will not be disappointed.


What I Liked:


I'M Here For It Yes GIF by VH1 - Find & Share on GIPHYCharacters: I am always here to read about a group of people having to join up to become just the unlikely team you need to take down an evil force. I loved this group of characters a lot but I'm also excited for the next book because I can't wait to find out more about characters that kind of took a back seat. The main cast of characters gel together so well and I loved their back and forth during this book.

Tyler Jones: Tyler is the leader of Squad 312, top of his class at the Aurora Academy and about to get first pick for his dream squad before doing his first mission for the Academy. That is until he decided to take a quick, relaxing trip into Fold entry to clear his head as he can't sleep. Instead what he gets is an SOS from the Hadfield, a ship that disappeared in the Fold over 200 years ago, losing over 10,000 people. Tyler answers the SOS and finds only one survivor who has been frozen the entire time. This kicks of our epic space adventure and also gives us a great introduction to Tyler.

Aurora O'Malley: Aurora is the seventeen year old human who was expecting to wake up from her cyrosleep to find herself on Octavia III and reunited with her father. What she gets instead is to wake up 220 years later to realise that every single person she loves and cares for is now dead, and that they died never knowing what happened to her. She begins getting strange visions and then slowly discovering that she can now do things she could never have imagined and she doesn't know why. I love Aurora and she's a character you really empathise with and feel for throughout this book.

Cat Brannock: Cat is the star pilot in her year of the Aurora Legion, she's been best friends with Tyler since they were kids but she definitely wants them to be more than that. She's also cynical and not a fan of Aurora or the situation saving her has got them all in.

Scarlett Jones: Scarlett is the twin sister of Tyler, she's also the diplomat at the group who has an almost sixth sense about how others are feeling and thinking. She's a total heartbreaker, who has never had a long lasting relationship but does have a long list of hearts she has broken. Scarlett is incredibly sarcastic and I love that about her.

Kaliis Gilwraeth: Kal is a Syldrathis, which explains his violet eyes, silver hair and pointed ear. He was a member of the Syldrathi Warbreed cabal but chose to join the Aurora Legion. Kal is the typical brooding character who also has a habit of solving his issues with violence, an urge he calls the Enemy Within. He's an interesting character but again, he isn't my favourite.

Finian de Seel: Finian is a Betrasken and also the Gearhead of Squad 312, he wears an exosuit to help with nerve damage, muscle weakness and impaired mobility caused by an illness he had at a young age. He is also hilariously funny and has a quick, witty comment ready for any occasion. I also love all of his attempts to flirt with Scarlett. I adore him and yes, he is definitely a favourite and I want much more of him in the next book.

Zila Madran: Zila is the most intelligent of the group, she is also the quietest. She keeps to herself a lot but when she does speak it is with rationality, she doesn't really take into consideration what her observations and comments will mean to other people and their feelings, she is very blunt and to the point. She's the character I most want to know more about in the next book as we really don't know much about her or why she acts the way she does. 


Banter: I should have known that I'd love the interactions between the characters here. These two authors already proved with the Illuminae series that they are great at dialogue, they can make you laugh during even the most tense scenes where characters lives are literally at stake. I really couldn't get enough of the dialogue here.


Found Family: Who doesn't love the found family trope! Honestly, this book really reminds me of Six of Crows but in space. Some also compare it to Guardians of the Galaxy, which also makes total sense but I must admit I was the only person who didn't really love the film all that much. I'll take Squad 312 over the Guardians any day. I love watching the characters get to know one another and get close over the course of this book.

Galaxy Knowledge GIF - Galaxy Knowledge Universe - Discover ...Space Adventure: I think it is also easy to compare this to Illuminae because both are sci-fi trilogies with a host of different characters, that span across galaxies and involve sketchy galactic governing bodies that you can't really trust. I loved that aspect of it, the traversing across space and the different planets they need to visit. 



What I Didn't Like:

Pacing: I feel one of the only things that stopped this book becoming a new favouite for me was the pacing. This can be a problem with first books in a series, as they often have to spend time introducing the characters, the world, the different races of aliens and other information you need to know. It is laying the groundwork for what is to come and it is fascinating, but it also slows the plot down. At times the plot is slow and it feels like you are just plodding a long, then it will suddenly speed up and rush through a piece of action. It is also one of those books where most of the action and excitement happens right near the end and then leaves you craving the next book. I also think I should have loved the Six of Crows style heist that happens in this book but I didn't, it felt forced, weird and a little out of place for some reason.

Romance: The other thing I am not a fan of in this book is the romance, I was not a fan of it at all. Quite honestly I would love to see the end of mates being used in YA fiction. I HATE IT! It just feels like an easy way to rush your romance and try to excuse insta love. I'm completely done with mates in my books, that plot device needs to be thrown away and never used again. I feel if they had a more organic and realistic romance than I could actually have got behind it and liked it more. Instead it just feels rushed and the mates aspect is just a way to excuse the fact they don't actually build a relationship between the two.


Aurora Rising is a fun and enjoyable read overall. It has a great cast of characters, an interesting story that keeps you guessing and keeps you reading. There are some great action sequences, as well as quieter moments where we just get to be with the characters. I do feel the romance here is weak and lacking and that the pacing is off at times, but the book is still a lot of fun. This book leaves you wanting more and was a great story, it just doesn't feel s original or as good as Illuminae. I highly recommend you still pick this up and read it though, especially since I have read book 2 and it is 5/5 perfection and you don't want to miss it.

4/5




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F*ck Love by Tarryn Fisher: Review

28601248Title: F*ck Love
Author: Tarryn Fisher
Source: Purchased

Helena Conway has fallen in love. Unwillingly. Unwittingly. But not unprovoked. Kit Isley is everything she’s not—unstructured, untethered, and not even a little bit careful. It could all be so beautiful … if he wasn’t dating her best friend. Helena must defy her heart, do the right thing, and think of others. Until she doesn’t.

I don't know how I feel about this book. I started it late at night and ended up reading it in one sitting, suffering for it the next day. There is no denying that I couldn't put it down but it definitely frustrated me and has left me confused about how to even rate it. I was surprised when I went to my Goodreads and found I actually read this back in 2016. I don't remember it, at all. I didn't remember whilst reading it which isn't a good thing. A book shouldn't be that forgettable.

Image result for get your shit together gifI found a mini review that I did for the book way back in 2016 where I said it was okay and kept me reading but I hate books where the main characters are completely incapable of getting their shit together. STILL TRUE! This is such a readable book, the kind of book you can read in one sitting, that doesn't stop it being utterly frustrating.

F*ck Love follows Helena Conway, a woman who has a dream one night where she's married to her best friend's boyfriend, they have a child together and she suddenly knows how to draw. This dream suddenly makes her question her entire life and she finds herself suddenly falling in love with a guy she had no interest in, taking art classes and changing her whole life. Yup, it is about as dumb as it sounds.

Image result for harry potter reference gifIt isn't all bad though, it was a book I devoured in one sitting. The writing is solid, I definitely want to read more by Tarryn Fisher. The Harry Potter references are EVERYTHING! The main character is that girl who loves HP so much that she can throw a reference in to any situation. So... ME! I loved the Harry Potter references.

The negatives are that clearly the story is forgettable, which I can say quite confidently as I completely forgot reading it. The characters are beyond frustrating, they can't seem to get their shit together at all. I can't explain why I didn't like this without spoilers so skip to the rating if you don't want to know.


SPOILERS:

I hate the whole pregnancy as a plot device and a way to conveniently keep two people apart. The first time that Kit and Helena almost get together, Kit reveals that Della is pregnant. She then conveniently has a miscarriage, giving them another chance. The next time they almost get together Kit receives a phone call that, guess what, Della is pregnant again. I hate the whole 'I have to stay... for the BABY!' as if a baby growing up with parents who are just together because they have a baby is a healthy home for a child. It isn't. So then we have a guy marrying someone else, whilst in love with a different person. That doesn't make you a valiant gentleman, it makes you an asshole.



3/5