Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Black Girl Unlimited by Echo Brown (Spoiler free)

 

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Hello guys, long time no see. Hope you’re all staying safe and well!
I haven’t had the motivation to blog recently but I’m feeling a bit more motivated now and I just had to share this book with everyone.

 

*I was sent this ALC from Libro.fm in exchange for an honest review

CW: Trauma, abuse, rape, child sexual abuse/pedophilia, mentions of suicide, racism, death 

Synopsis:
Echo Brown is a wizard from the East Side, where apartments are small and parents suffer addictions to the white rocks. Yet there is magic . . . everywhere. New portals begin to open when Echo transfers to the rich school on the West Side, and an insightful teacher becomes a pivotal mentor. Each day, Echo travels between two worlds, leaving her brothers, her friends, and a piece of herself behind on the East Side. There are dangers to leaving behind the place that made you. Echo soon realizes there is pain flowing through everyone around her, and a black veil of depression threatens to undo everything she’s worked for.

Heavily autobiographical and infused with magical realism, Black Girl Unlimited fearlessly explores the intersections of poverty, sexual violence, depression, racism, and sexism—all through the arc of a transcendent coming-of-age.


My thoughts:

Heartbreaking and painful – definitely not a light read. It deals with very heavy topics, please check the content warning for this one before reading.

I have no idea where to begin this review – it’s definitely not what I expected. I thought it was pure fantasy but it’s based on Echo Brown’s life. How she managed to make trauma magical, I have no idea. I had no idea what to expect going in, I assumed it was a fantasy story, purely fantasy. How wrong I was. The fantasy/ magical realism is heavily metaphorical, ‘wizards’ are not how you would expect.

It gives insight into the treatment of black people, especially women in the USA. It was harrowing to read, I can’t even imagine living through it. Brown doesn’t skimp over any details. The harsh truth is shown and devastating consequences but ultimately the hope that remains.

Everything is incredibly well written and well narrated. The author reads the audiobook herself, which is just amazing. She’s amazing! This is the most unique memoir/autobiography I’ve read. I haven’t heard anyone talk about this book but it is an incredibly important and powerful read.

Sidenote – the cover is insanely beautiful. The artwork is outstanding!

Highly, highly recommend picking this one up!

Rating: 4 Stars

Books · Review

Review: Starsight by Brandon Sanderson (Spoiler Free)

 

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“A hero does not choose her trials. She steps into the darkness, then she faces what comes next.”

 

****MAY contain spoilers for book one: Skyward. Spoiler-free review of Skyward here!

Synopsis:
All her life, Spensa has dreamed of becoming a pilot. Of proving she’s a hero like her father. She made it to the sky, but the truths she learned about her father were crushing.

Spensa is sure there’s more to the story. And she’s sure that whatever happened to her father in his starship could happen to her. When she made it outside the protective shell of her planet, she heard the stars–and it was terrifying. Everything Spensa has been taught about her world is a lie.

But Spensa also discovered a few other things about herself–and she’ll travel to the end of the galaxy to save humankind if she needs to. Plot:


Plot:

It felt so amazing to dive back into this world, especially after the ending of Skyward.

The beginning and the end were the best parts; it got a little slow in the middle – which I found with the last book too. That didn’t take too much away from the story, I just wish it was all fast pace, but that’s a personal preference.

I love the introduction of a new place and new characters, the world-building, as with every Sanderson novel, was absolutely incredible. I loved diving into this world and learning more about the universe and Spensa’s world and humans in this universe. So many questions I had from the first novel were answered here and some had really surprise twists! I expect no less from Sanderson, his twists are incredibly well written and unpredictable. How he manages to surprise me in every novel, I have no idea! You’d think I’d be used to it by now, this is the 9th book I’ve read by him. He never lets me down!

It really picked up towards the end, I was captivated! I couldn’t put the book down, I just had to know what happened.  Then… OMG, the ending. INSANE.  I am SHOOOOOOOOK. GIVE ME BOOK 3! Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait a long while… *cries*
It leaves off on a KILLER cliffhanger. Brandon, HOW DARE YOU.

Characters:
Spensa:  I love Spensa!! I was so happy to continue her story and journey. I really love her character development over this novel. I have grown more and more attached to her and I’m super invested in her character!
I was hoping to see Spensa interact with the other characters from Skyward more, but they are pretty absent from this book.

M-Bot: Why do I love an AI system so much?

Doomslug: MY BABY! So glad I got what I wanted from this book!! Cannot wait for more Doomslug.

Rating: 4.25 Stars


Have you read Starsight? What did you think?

Audiobooks · Blogmas · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert | Blogmas Day 7

 

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Hey Guys!
Welcome to Blogmas Day 7!

Synopsis:

Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan, and a list. After almost—but not quite—dying, she’s come up with seven directives to help her “Get a Life”, and she’s already completed the first: finally moving out of her glamourous family’s mansion. The next items?

Enjoy a drunken night out.
Ride a motorcycle.
Go camping.
Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex.
Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage.
And… do something bad.
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written step-by-step guidelines on how to do it correctly. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job.


My Thoughts:

This book was AMAZING.

Firstly, the rep: Black, plus-size, chronically ill

I loved every moment, all the characters, everything. It was so funny and cute, I cannot get over it. I’m not huge on romance books in general but this one had me interested and boy, am I glad I picked it up!

I listened to this on audiobook, I listen to maybe an hour and I put it down because life got busy. I was bored one day and put it on, ended up listening to it all day and reading 90%.  It is so addicting and engrossing. Once I got going I was hooked. It was so easy for me to become invested in these characters, the romance and the story.

I absolutely love the humour, I love it when a book can make me laugh out loud and this did. I was giggly, smiley and just so happy reading this book. It’s seriously wonderful.

This book is described as steamy and it is. There’s no escaping it, there are some steamy sex scenes – I am not a huge fan of this myself but I managed to get through it with minimal embarrassment. If you’re not a fan of detailed sex scenes, you may want to skip this. The book isn’t filled with them, however.


Characters:

Chloe: She’s is such a great protagonist! I have never connected and felt more like another character. Chloe suffers from a chronic illness, which I can personally relate to. Her experiences and the way she lives and feels because of her illness is something I can relate to 100%. I have never felt so seen and understood.
I have no idea if the chronic illness rep is own voices – I couldn’t find anything about it but it is very well written and accurate.

Red: 
One word: SWOON.


Narrator:
Adjoa Andoh is a great narrator. The voices and accents she did were so enjoyable, she fitted this book perfectly. I am so glad I got to listen to the audiobook, the listening experience was incredible.

 

Rating: 4.5 Stars

* Thank you to Libro.fm for providing the audiobook for review. All opinions are my own.


Audiobooks · Books · Review

Audiobook Review: Crownbreaker by Sebastien de Castell | Spellslinger Finale (Spoiler free)

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Reviews for the others: Spellslinger | Shadowblack | Charmcaster | Soulbinder | Queenslayer

Synopsis:
Kellen and Reichis are settling into their new lives as protectors of the young queen and dealing with the constantly shifting threats to her reign and to her life. For the first time in his life, Kellen feels as if he’s becoming the kind of man that his mentor Ferius had wanted him to be. Even Reichis has come to appreciate having a noble purpose – so long as no one minds him committing the occasional act of theft from the royal treasury.

But what seems to be a simple card game between Kellen and an old man is soon revealed to be a deadly game of wits in which a powerful mage has trapped the queen’s spellslinger in order to kill him.


My Thoughts:

I have no idea where to begin.
I am SO SAD this series has ended. BOY has it been good though. Although not my favourite book in the series, this is a worthy conclusion to what has been an amazing series.

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Side note: the synopsis does not do this book any justice nor is it completely accurate. A lot of stuff goes on, which I won’t spoil, all of which completely surprising after reading the synopsis. It’s definitely a bit misleading but if anything, the book is way better than it sounds from that description.

This book picks up immediately after Queenslayer, as per, we see Kellen causing trouble and being hunted. He’s up to his usual shenanigans, narrowly escaping death constantly with help from Reichis, his murderous Squirrelcat business partner.

This being the last book there are some returns of character, which I loved!(!!!)
Some of my favourite side-characters appear and I was delighted. This book had me on edge, I was dying to know what happened constantly. I was very emotional (I didn’t fully cry but I was super close.) – it was an emotional rollercoaster.

The post-script was amazing. 

I have loved watching Kellen grow as a character through all 6 books, it has been quite the journey! This series will forever stay in my heart and be one of my all-time favourites. These books seriously make me happy, they’re so much fun, the humour is amazing. I look forward to reading more from Sebastien de Castell in the future.

Rating: 4 Stars

*Purchase on Amazon UK: Kindle | Hardback 

The audiobook is AMAZING. The narrator makes this story truly come to life, his voice is incredible. I highly, highly recommend the audiobooks. They really are an amazing experience.
*Free trial of Audible here.


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Books · Review

Review: Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff | WHAT A LETDOWN.

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“When all is blood, blood is all.”

* SPOILERS for Nevernight and Godsgrave!*
Click on the titles for my reviews of them!


Synopsis:
The greatest games in Godsgrave’s history have ended with the most audacious murders in the history of the Itreyan Republic. Mia Corvere, gladiatii, escaped slave and infamous assassin, is on the run. Pursued by Blades of the Red Church and soldiers of the Luminatii legion, she may never escape the City of Bridges and Bones alive. Her mentor Mercurio is now in the clutches of her enemies. Her own family wishes her dead. And her nemesis, Consul Julius Scaeva, stands but a breath from total dominance over the Republic. But beneath the city, a dark secret awaits. Together with her lover Ashlinn, brother Jonnen and a mysterious benefactor returned from beyond the veil of death, she must undertake a perilous journey across the Republic, seeking the final answer to the riddle of her life. Truedark approaches. Night is falling on the Republic for perhaps the final time. Can Mia survive in a world where even daylight must die?


My Thoughts:

Oh boy. I have such mixed feelings on this book.
After THAT cliff hangar in Godsgrave, I immediately picked this one up. I was dying to know what happened next. But alas, as with Nevernight, the book was pretty damn slow, to begin with. I felt like a lot of this book was filler. It took a while to pick up, which happened in the middle-last part but slowed down again in places. It took me an incredibly long time to get through this, I could put this down for DAYS without touching it. It got to the point where I was just fed up of it being unread and would read. It just didn’t have me gripped most of the time. In some places, I was super gripped but not for long.

THE ROMANCE = NO.
I am not a fan of Mia x Ashlinn anyways. I literally will never get over her killing Tric and the fact Mia doesn’t really care just annoys me. Like???
The fact Tric is brought back into the mix for basically no purpose other than a love triangle. DISAPPOINTING.

I REALLY hated the ending. WHAT WAS THAT! I feel kinda cheated and unsatisfied.
It’s literally like the ending of Ruin and Rising all over again. Disappointing and stupid!

I said it before, I’ll say it again: this reads like YA. Everyone rabbits on and on about how these books aren’t YA but they literally read like YA. I’ve read plenty of adult fantasy but this even follows the typical YA-chosen-one path. It goes less towards the revenge plot and the chosen one plot takes over. Bleh. This book is basically YA trying to be adult by adding graphic sex scenes and using swear words.

Enough with the ranting about things I didn’t enjoy…

Here’s what I liked:
There was A LOT emotion and feelings going on. (I didn’t cry but I did have the feels)
There were high stakes, to begin with. (Ultimately let down but oh well)
Mia’s Badassery
CLOUD. (If you know, you know) Amazing. Love him.
Daemons.
Gods.

Characters:
Mia: I like Mia but this book lessened her a little for me. I found her predictable and a tad whiny. I did love Mia and Mercurio. That relationship was beautiful.
What I didn’t like were Mia and Ashlinn. Pass.

Ashlinn: I wasn’t hugely fond of Ashlinn in the first two, I’m still not fond of her.
I especially hate her for killing my fave (Tric) and now taunts him??? No bitch. The tension/ love triangle that happens is just pathetic. It was just annoying. Ashlinn is incredibly annoying in this book in particular.

Tric: 
My love!! So happy he’s back. I kinda knew he’d be back. I wasn’t spoiled for the series but I knew somehow he’d be brought back into it. I loveeee Tric but I feel like he was wasted???! I want so much more. (Kinda wanted Tric and Mia back together, don’t hate me)

Rating: I HAVE NO IDEA.
2.5? 3? Maybe
Parts of this book were 4 stars. Some were 2 stars.


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*Purchase here on Amazon UK: Hardback | Kindle


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Books · Review

Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

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There may be spoilers for the first book.
I have a spoiler-free review of Nevernight here.


Synopsis:

Assassin Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo, or avenging her familia. And after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it’s announced that Scaeva and Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end them. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between loyalty and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.


My Thoughts:

Oh. My. God. This. Book.

It was absolutely amazing! I enjoy this so much more than Nevernight, which I did enjoy, but this took it to the next level. Nevernight took ages to pick up and get gripping, for me. Godsgrave had a faster pace from the beginning and I was sucked into the world much easier in this one. It still took me a while to read, the writing style isn’t one I find I can fly through but that didn’t hinder my enjoyment of the story.

Still not a fan of the footnotes, I have to be honest: I just don’t see the point. It just seems like an info dump/ lazy world-building. Most of them are too long and they have a tendency to slow down the story and take me out of the story. It’s just odd. If I were to reread this series I would probably skip the footnotes, they aren’t hugely relevant to the story and I forget them almost immediately after reading. Yet I keep reading them. In hope, it’ll be important at some point.

The setting was amazing: it is a gladiator centred setting – which was so cool! I did not expect this type of setting after the last one being wholely a school setting. It was a nice surprise!

I loved getting to know more about Mia’s power’s/ Darkins in general; I love anything to do with dark magic, daemons etc. I was dying to know more about Mr Kindly from book one and you definitely get everything you want in this book!

The only “bad” thing I can say is: the plot twists were seriously predictable. I wasn’t overly surprised at anything. That’s the only reason this book wasn’t a 4.5-5 star read for me.

I know this book is suppose to be adult but it seriously reads like YA. (Other than the excessive swearing + sex scenes)

Characters:
Mia: I love Mia, especially in this book. I felt so connected and invested in her story and the revenge she wants for her family. I am fully invested, emotionally, in Mia, I had all the feels for her in various ways over the course of this book.
Her character development has been decent, not super amazing but it’s definitely there.

Mr Kindly + Eclipse: These two!! I love that they hate each other and have banter back and forth. I loved getting to know more about them in this book. It was SO cool and interesting to get deeper into the daemon stuff.

Rating: 4.25 Stars


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Books · Review

Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

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Synopsis:
Mia Corvere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Destined to destroy empires, the child raised in shadows made a promise on the day she lost everything: to avenge herself on those that shattered her world.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, and Mia must become a weapon without equal. Before she seeks vengeance, she must seek training among the infamous assassins of the Red Church of Itreya.
Inside the Church’s halls, Mia must prove herself against the deadliest of opponents and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and daemons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Church is no ordinary school. But Mia is no ordinary student.
The Red Church is no ordinary school, but Mia is no ordinary student.
The shadows love her.
And they drink her fear


My Thoughts:

When I first started this, I was like what the hell is this? Why are there footnotes? Why is everything so slow? It took me a LONG time to get into this, but I really wanted to see why everyone loved this book/series so much. I’m going to be honest: I almost DNF’d this book because of its slow start. BUT I am so glad I didn’t. I ended up really enjoying this book, despite it being a slower pace to my taste. Side note – I was also in a reading slump, which could’ve hindered my enjoyment a little.

The writing style is quite overwhelming – There’s A LOT of flowery, long sentences and repetition. One of the reasons I found this book to be slow was because it was dragged out a lot. I feel like it could’ve been said in literally half the words. That being said, it isn’t a bad thing per se, it completely depends on personal taste. At first, I thought I hated it, but it grew on me and bothered me less and less as time went on.
The footnotes on the other hand: annoyed the hell out of me. I honestly don’t see the point. I feel like they’re there for worldbuilding purposes only, but it feels kind of lazy to put them in footnotes rather than the story itself? This is the first time I’ve ever read a fantasy with footnotes and it is kind of jarring. The only books I’ve really read with footnotes are classics/books for uni – it’s not something I enjoy in reading. I’m not sure I can get used to the footnotes, I read them, but I’m not a fan. I’m not even sure the information was that important in the footnotes of Nevernight, I honestly don’t remember them.

I do really love assassins – this is kind of like the adult, graphic extreme version of Throne of Glass. Or at least I hoped ToG would have more assassin qualities, I still loved that series, but it sold as a completely different story to what it is. Anyways…  Most of this story follows an assassin school/trial/competition setting – which is cool. I know a lot of people love a school setting in fantasy, it’s not one of my favourite settings but I did like it in this instance.

Characters:
Mia:  I loved Mia. I loved her character, her development, her everything. She was a great main character, she had such great development and story. It took me a while to get attached but by the end of the book I was fully invested in her character and story arc, I knew I’d be finishing this series! I NEED to know what happens. I’m loving her journey and cannot wait to get to Godsgrave.

Tric: MY LOVE TRIC!! God, I love him. He’s such a great character and him + Mia are just amazing. I loved their interactions with each other (+others).
Tric was seriously the highlight of this novel, especially through the slow parts. I instantly took to his character; he is one of the main reasons I kept reading.

Mr Kindly: Shadow cat thing. I love an animal sidekick/companion and he didn’t disappoint. I cannot wait to learn more about Mr Kindly. He’s super intriguing!

Rating: 3.5 Stars

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